WE CANNOT BE absolutely how Sumerian and Akkadian were spoken; but many useful guidelines are available to the student, including the transliterated tablets found all over Mesopotamia. Basically, we can offer the following principles which should prove of value in reciting the foreign language instructions :
Vowels a as in "father"
e as in "whey"
i as in "antique"
o as in "boat" (but rarely found)
u as in "zulu"
Most are basically the same as in English. The Sumerians did not have an alphabet as we know it, but they had developed a syllabary, very much like the Japanese "Kana" script of today. In phonetic transliterations, the English spelling sought to approximate the Sumerian pronunciation. However, there are a few sounds which English does not possess, and which have been put into phonetic variations. Important examples below :
as in the German "ach"
(same as above)
as in "like"
(same as above)
as in "shall"
as in, perhaps, "lasso"; a hissing "s" common to Arabic languages
as in "lots"; a hard "ts" sound, not quite as in "zoo"
Remember, in the transliterations which follow, every letter must be pronounced. There are no schwas or silent syllables in Sumerian. Hence, "KIA" is pronounced "keeya"; "KAIMANU" is pronounced "ka-ee-mah-nu" or, if spoken rapidly, the two initial vowel sounds slur into 'kigh' rhyming with "high"
The incantations should be said carefully and slowly at first, to familiarise oneself with the tongue-twisting phrases. A mistake may prove fatal to the Work
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