Learn Sumerian Online
3 weeks, from Nov 22, 2021 to Dec 10, 2021

Online from Yerevan, Armenia

Applications for this course are closed, check out upcoming courses.

For inquiries please contact [email protected]

Armenian School of Languages and Cultures - ASPIRANTUM is organizing an online course on Sumerian language. The 3 week-long Sumerian online course will start on November 22, 2021, and last till December 10, 2021. The Sumerian language online course will help the participants become proficient in reading and interpreting Sumerian texts.

Previously ASPIRANTUM language school has organized Old Persian, Middle Persian, and Old Armenian online courses. You can find the testimonials of all students here: https://aspirantum.com/testimonials

Now the application for the Sumerian online course is open. It will start on November 22, 2021, and last till December 10, 2021.

This course will be organized on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays each week (4 days each week, 12 days over three weeks) and will include 42 hours of intensive Sumerian teaching (3.5 hours during each day). 

The students will receive a detailed syllabus of each day's class. Currently, only the 1st week of the syllabus is available online on our website https://aspirantum.com/curriculum/sumerian-language-syllabus

We are planning to start the online classes at 9 PM Yerevan time. This time is mainly comfortable for the students from European and American countries. Depending on applicants' geography, the time may be changed, and all applicants will be informed about the time changes before the course.

Classes each day will be divided into the following sections:
First class - Homework and discussion
Break
Second class - Sumerian Grammar and Readings
Break
Third class - Sumerian Readings

During the Sumerian classes, the following components will be covered every day:

Grammar: Everyday class will cover the main grammatical concepts of the Sumerian language.
Vocabulary: During the 3 weeks (42 hours total) course, the participants will learn more than 500 Sumerian words.
Speaking: Participants will be forced to speak Sumerian and tortured if not, just like in ancient Babylonian schools. This language teaching methodology has been productive at all times :) (this is a joke, no one will be tortured, and it is impossible because the class is online).
Translation: Each day, the participants will have translation assignments and other homework to complete for the next day.
Readings: During the course, students will read several Sumerian texts, including Old Sumerian texts from kings like Ur-Nanshe, Eannatum, and Lugalzagesi, Sargonic and Gutian period texts from kings like Gudea of Lagash, and Neo-Sumerian (Ur III) royal inscriptions. 

Since this course aims to be as comprehensive as possible given the time constraints, the Sumerian texts will come from as many of the eras of the language as possible. The Old Sumerian texts, which come from approximately 2700-2350BC, are the earliest royal inscriptions we have that contain important historical information. The texts from the Ur-Nanshe dynasty of Lagash are especially important, which is why they will be the focus of the first week of the course. In this period, the writing system and system of determinatives were in an early stage of development, but regardless, the Old Sumerian period was when the writing system of Sumerian became solidified and really cemented cuneiform’s place in history. During the last few weeks of the course, we will be taking a look at how Sumerian developed during the incredibly important reigns of Gudea of Lagash in the 22nd century BC and the Ur III dynasty.

The benefits of the course: Familiarity with Sumerian benefits not only for those interested in Sumerian linguistics, history, and religion but also for students and researchers interested in a more in-depth understanding of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East as a whole. While most are aware of some aspects of Ancient Near Eastern history through the lens of Greek historians, the Bible, and even post-Sumerian era texts like the Code of Hammurabi, reading foundational Sumerian texts gives one a more thorough perspective to better understand Ancient Near Eastern civilization and royal ideology as a whole.

Truly understanding the history of even the later Mesopotamian empires of Hammurabi, Sennacherib, and Nebuchadnezzar is impossible without a thorough knowledge of the Sumerian text corpus of the third millennium BC.

Knowledge of Sumerian will also provide the student with the necessary tools for a better understanding of other ancient cuneiform languages, including Akkadian and Hittite. The cuneiform writing system was invented especially to write Sumerian, and this is also reflected even in non-Sumerian languages like utilized cuneiform. Some time will be spent explaining and exploring how knowledge of some Sumerian was essential for writing the other cuneiform languages, including Akkadian, Hittite, Elamite, Hurrian, Urartian, etc.

It is hard to overstate Sumerian’s importance for a correct and deep understanding of Ancient Near Eastern religion and political ideology.

The student will also be given various academic articles on Sumerian and its context, which will provide them with a deeper understanding of the academic principles at work behind our current knowledge of the language.

Goals: 

  • Familiarity with the Sumerian cuneiform writing system and its development
  • Learning c. 500 Sumerian words.
  • Recognizing the main features of Sumerian grammar
  • Being able to read and interpret Sumerian texts from various periods

Required prior reading: Hayes, A Manual of Sumerian Grammar 2nd edition, Lesson 1

Levels:

The Sumerian online course will have 1 group of up to 10 participants. The participant’s background in linguistics and history is preferable. The language of instruction is English. 

ASPIRANTUM's Sumerian language course is organized so that undergraduate and graduate students, researchers and professors, and anyone interested in learning Sumerian and becoming familiar with the corpus of Sumerian inscriptions will benefit from it. 

Instructor: Mr. Nshan Kesecker will teach the "Sumerian" online course. 

Deadline:
The deadline to apply to the "Sumerian" online course is November 10, 2021.

To apply, please fill in the application form below.

Participation fee:
The participation fee for the 3 weeks Sumerian online course is $900.

Discount
Need-based discounts will also be available. Please send an email to [email protected] describing your situation, and we will consider your case individually.

Each participant of the online school may find financial aid sources from their own University/School/Community or other relevant foundations.

Letter of Invitation
If necessary, ASPIRANTUM will provide applicants with an official letter to support scholarship applications.

Maximum capacity in the group: 10 students

Communication medium: The online course will be organized through Zoom.

To apply, please fill in the application form below.

Registered participants should send 100% of the participation fee before November 15, 2021, online via debit/credit card (Visa or Mastercard).

For questions and inquiries, please contact [email protected] or Whatsapp Dr. Khachik Gevorgyan +374-91-557978

To apply, please fill in the application form below.

Teachers

Nshan Kesecker profile image

Nshan Kesecker

Instructor of Old Persian

Nshan Kesecker is an expert when it comes to studying Ancient Near Eastern royal inscriptions. He is an expert in Mesopotamian and Iranian royal ideology and texts. When taking a course with him be prepared to analyze an inscription from all possible angles, linguistically and contextually.

Course Syllabus

Sumerian Language Online Course Syllabus

This three-week intensive course is an introduction to the Sumerian language. Students will learn the language by studying several Sumerian royal inscriptions and administrative texts, including those of famous city-state rulers and kings such as Eannatum, Lugalzagesi, and Gudea. Some bilingual texts (in Akkadian and Sumerian) of kings like Sargon and Hammurabi will also be discussed. Thus, this course will give students not only a command of the grammar of Sumerian but also of a large part of the Sumerian corpus and general Ancient Near Eastern text genres. Since this is an intensive introductory course, we will be covering texts from the Old Sumerian to Neo-Sumerian (Ur III) and Old Babylonian periods in order to properly analyze and put in context the development of the language and cuneiform writing system.

Learn More

Applications for this course are closed

For inquiries please contact [email protected]