nl en

Tutorial Sumerian


Admission requirements

No previous knowledge of Sumerian or the cuneiform script is required.


Sumerian is an ancient Near Eastern language which was spoken in what is now southern Iraq. It was the main written language there until ca. 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. Sumerian is a language isolate and its position in a remote corner of the Near East shows it to be a last remnant of the languages that preceded the arrival of Semitic languages in the area. Students in fact participate in the BA course ‘Introduction to Sumerian’, where they will study the basic grammar of Sumerian and read a few texts in transliteration. The final examination for MA students will consist of the written exam for 'Introduction to Sumerian' plus an additional, longer text to be read independently. Furthermore, ResMA students will not only translate the extra text, but also write a brief analysis of its content, in order to show that they understand its message and style as well as its grammatical structure.

Course objectives

After this course students can:

  • describe the basic principles of the Sumerian script and spelling,

  • analyze the grammatical structure of Sumerian words and clauses, and

  • independently translate Sumerian texts in transliteration.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Assessment method


  • weekly written tests on vocabulary and grammar

  • midterm take home assignment of a text to be read independently

  • a written exam with open questions on the subject matter of the seminar

  • final take home assignment of a text to be read independently (and by ResMA students also analysed)


  • weekly written tests: 15%

  • midterm take home assignment: 15%

  • written exam with open questions: 45%

  • final take home assignment: 25%

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the written exam must always be sufficient.


If the final grade is below 6.0, the written exam and/or the final assignment can be repeated.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

The study materials will be provided through Brightspace at the beginning of the course.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal


Not applicable.