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After Sumerian finally died out as a living language toward the middle of the 2nd millennium, it lingered on as a cult idiom of Babylonian religion. Many of the cultures employing cuneiform (Hurrian, Hittite, Urartian) disappeared one by one, and their written records fell into oblivion. This word is now known to be pronounced, âª Pronouncing pictures! The expansion of cuneiform writing outside Mesopotamia began in the 3rd millennium, when the country of Elam in southwestern Iran was in contact with Mesopotamian culture and adopted the system of writing. From such beginnings, he was eventually able to read several long proper names and to determine a number of sound values. This brought about a transition from pure word writing to a partial phonetic script. âª How does ancient Assyrian language sound? The rediscovery of the materials and the reconquest of the recondite scripts and languages have been the achievements of modern times. Even when its independent character was established, the difficulties of interpretation were appalling because of its strange and unrelated structure. This is understandable, because almost only among the Persians was cuneiform used primarily for monumental writing, and the remains (such as rock carvings) were in many cases readily accessible. The Code of Hammurabi is written in Old Babylonian cuneiform, which developed throughout the shifting and less brilliant later eras of Babylonian history into Middle and New Babylonian types. Type of writing system: mixed (partly alphabetic, partly syllabic and partly logographic) Farther north in Mesopotamia the beginnings of Assur were humbler. Such word writing was able to express only the basic ideas of concrete objects. They also kept the phonetic values but extended them far beyond the original Sumerian inventory of simple types (open or closed syllables like ba or ab).
The political correspondence of the era was conducted almost exclusively in that language and writing. The name, a coinage from Latin and Middle French roots meaning “wedge-shaped,” has been the modern designation from the early 18th century onward. There are four basic components and new signs are created by adding wedges to these basic components. The earliest written records in the Sumerian language are pictographic tablets from Uruk (Erech), evidently lists or ledgers of commodities identified by drawings of the objects and accompanied by numerals and personal names. For a table illustrating the development of cuneiform, see below. However, the vowel symbols are usually still included so [di] would be written as [di] [i] even though [di] already implies the vowel. In addition, while Old Persian is written in a consistent semi-alphabetic system, Elamite and Akkadian used borrowings from other languages, creating mixed systems. The effect is not unlike the English [dÊ] sound, which is typically written g before i or e, but j before other vowels (gem, jam), or the Castilian Spanish [Î¸] sound, which is written c before i or e and z before other vowels (cinco, zapato): it is more accurate to say that some of the Old Persian consonants are written by different letters depending on the following vowel, rather than classifying the script as syllabic. Indo-Iranian Journal, 1970. Because a logogram often represented several related notions with different names (e.g., “sun,” “day,” “bright”), it was capable of assuming more than one phonetic value (this feature is called polyphony). In the 2nd millennium the Akkadian of Babylonia, frequently in somewhat distorted and barbarous varieties, became a lingua franca of international intercourse in the entire Middle East, and cuneiform writing thus became a universal medium of written communication. This situation had its origin in Assyrian cuneiform, where several syllabic distinctions had been lost and were often clarified with explicit vowels. It inspired the later Semitic Ugaritic alphabet and Old Persian cuneiform. Grotefend's contribution to Old Persian is unique in that he did not have comparisons between Old Persian and known languages, as opposed to the decipherment of the Egyptian hieroglyphics and the Rosetta Stone. Specifically Old Assyrian cuneiform is attested mostly in the records of Assyrian trading colonists in central Asia Minor (c. 1950 bce; the so-called Cappadocian tablets) and Middle Assyrian in an extensive Law Code and other documents. Windfuhr, G. L.: "Notes on the old Persian signs", page 1.
(John Hill/ CC BY SA 3.0 ) Returning to the middle of the 19th century, Rawlinson and Hincks were soon joined by two other scholars in their quest to decipher cuneiform – … Even after the fall of the Assyrian and Babylonian kingdoms in the 7th and 6th centuries bce, when Aramaic had become the general popular language, rather decadent varieties of Late Babylonian and Assyrian survived as written languages in cuneiform almost down to the time of Christ. Texts written in this cuneiform have been found in Persepolis, Susa, Hamadan, Armenia, Romania (Gherla), and along the Suez Canal. Paradoxically the process began with the last secondary offshoot of cuneiform proper, the inscriptions of the Achaemenid kings (6th to 4th centuries bce) of Persia. Curving lines disappeared from writing, and the normal order of signs was fixed as running from left to right, without any word-divider. To facilitate its artificial acquisition by the priesthood, grammatical lists and vocabularies were compiled and numerous religious texts were provided with literal translations into Babylonian. Thus, for example, the picture of a hand came to stand not only for Sumerian šu (“hand”) but also for the phonetic syllable šu in any required context. Old Persian Cuneiform font available in ttf format for you to download. Old Persian cuneiform is a semi-alphabetic cuneiform script that was the primary script for Old Persian. During the 18th century many new inscriptions were reported; especially important were those copied by Carsten Niebuhr at the old capital Persepolis. Around the time period in which Old Persian was used, nearby languages included Elamite and Akkadian. They were Darius the Great and Cyrus the Great, both of whom became emperor by revolt. Old Persian cuneiform is a semi-alphabetic cuneiform script that was the primary script for Old Persian. Sumer, the southernmost part of the country, continued to be a loose agglomeration of independent city-states until it was united by Gudea of Lagash (died c. 2124 bce) in a last brief manifestation of specifically Sumerian culture.  The decipherment of Old Persian was notably useful to the decipherment of Elamite, Babylonian and ultimately Akkadian (predecessor of Babylonian), through the multi-lingual Behistun Inscription.
(See Proto-Sinaitic script.). In adapting the script to their wholly different language, the Akkadians retained the Sumerian logograms and combinations of logograms for more complex notions but pronounced them as the corresponding Akkadian words.
Vowel diacritics are added to these consonant symbols to change the inherent vowel or add length to the inherent vowel.  While Old Persian's basic strokes are similar to those found in cuneiform scripts, Old Persian texts were engraved on hard materials, so the engravers had to make cuts that imitated the forms easily made on clay tablets. There are three vowels, long and short. American Oriental Society, 1950. Much of the progress made in decipherment depended on the names of kings. However, the representation of proper names, for example, necessitated an early recourse to the rebus principle—i.e., the use of pictographic shapes to evoke in the reader’s mind an underlying sound form rather than the basic notion of the drawn object. Cuneiform, system of writing used in the ancient Middle East. Sometimes medial long vowels are written with a y or v, as in Semitic: ð®ð¡ð¹ dÄ«, ð¯ð¢ðº dÅ«. (la did not occur in native Old Persian words, but was found in Akkadian borrowings.). Compared to the Avestan alphabet Old Persian notably lacks voiced fricatives, but includes the sign Ã§ (of uncertain pronunciation) and a sign for the non-native l. Notably, in common with the Brahmic scripts, there appears to be no distinction between a consonant followed by an a and a consonant followed by nothing.
Attempts at deciphering Old Persian cuneiform started in 1711 when some of Darius's inscriptions were published by Jean Chardin. Indo-Iranian Journal, 1970. Old Persian and Elamite. Late Babylonian and Assyrian were little but moribund artificial literary idioms. For a while it was speculated that the alphabet could have had its origin in such a system, with a leveling of consonant signs a millennium earlier producing something like the Ugaritic alphabet, but today it is generally accepted that the Semitic alphabet arose from Egyptian hieroglyphs, where vowel notation was not important. Online Old Persian keyboard to type a text with the cuneiforms  For the consonants whose shape does not depend on the following vowels, the vowel signs must be used after the consonant symbol.. ).
These have facilitated the penetration of unilingual Sumerian texts, and Sumerian studies advanced greatly through the efforts of such scholars as Delitzsch, François Thureau-Dangin, Arno Poebel, Anton Deimel, and Adam Falkenstein. Emeritus Professor of Classics and Indo-European Studies, University of California, Los Angeles. Oxford University Press, 1996, Daniels, Peter T.: "The World's Writing Systems", page 136. There are three vowel signs , 33 consonant signs