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Title: The Alleged Lack of Generic Terms like 'Animal' and of Some Interrogatives in Sumerian
Author(s): KEETMAN, Jan
Journal: Bibliotheca Orientalis
Volume: 75    Issue: 3-4   Date: 2018   
Pages: 272-282
DOI: 10.2143/BIOR.75.3.3285887

Abstract :
It was stated more than once that Sumerian shows archaic traits especially a lack of abstract thinking. This was demonstrated by the alleged missing of generic terms like a word for 'animal'. Further it was said, that Sumerian was lacking most of Aristotle’s categories since there were no interrogatives for these categories. In this article it is shown that Sumerian possessed a word which comes close enough to our word 'animal'. It is sometimes overlooked that Sumerian uses just other tools than the languages with which we are familiar but may reach the same aim. Regarding the question of the interrogatives it is shown that Sumerian was very well equipped with interrogatives. At the end of the article some problems are discussed which may evolve if we use terms like 'old', 'modern' and 'conceptual autonomy' expressis verbis or in the background of our mind. Such terms must not be totally banned but they should be used consciously. In an appendix yes-no questions are discussed.

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