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There are four special courses which do not specifically belong to any of the other programmes: Sumerian (Jagersma), Dutch for beginners (Pronk-Tiethoff), History of Linguistics (de Jonge, Lubotsky, Verhagen), and Lexicostatistical Methods in Historical Linguistics (Starostin).
Bram Jagersma (Leiden) Course description Sumerian is an ancient Near Eastern language which was spoken in what is now southern Iraq. 1700 BC and is known to us from more than 100,000 inscriptions and clay tablets written in the cuneiform script, which the Sumerians invented around 3200 BC.
The evidence of cognation may come from various information sources, such as phonetic similarity, semantic similarity, and recurrent sound correspondences. Anyone who tries immediately faces a barrier of extremely technical language and a host of concepts which are often peculiar to one author and disputed by everyone else.This lack of consensus is both striking and a sign of serious disjunction at the heart of this discipline.During the rest of the course, we will cover the basic grammar of Sumerian and read a few simple texts in transliteration.The course materials, including an introductory grammar to Sumerian, will be supplied.
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Sidwell also reviews Austroasiatic scholarship in the contextof the racial theory of Turanian languages, a cover term for languages of'uncivilized' races as opposed to the more 'civilized' Europeans, the Aryanrace!