Sumerian handsignage: symbol-linguistics

a discovery-invention from self-evidence and, a probability that they just did it -integrally- unrecorded

(See also universal protolinguistics, first-half, Sumero-Egyptian-archaic-Hebrew.)

The archaic Sumerians were highly inventive and teachers of mankind, yet themselves new to mankind: whence it is highly likely they integrated rather than segregated the skills they taught: hence they could have taught by combined speech and handsign and written language, to discover whatever mankind would readily learn .... The teacher-tutor simultaneously handsigning while speaking would become quite the effectual attention-getter: especially as it was complete, not mere children's hand-sack-puppetry.

The handsign would be an obvious phonetic reduction of the same speech: A hand imitating the action of the speaking mouth ...

The model we choose here uses either-hand, held up steady, the thumb and four fingers representing the position of the lower lip-or-tongue and upper lip, plus relative and intensive front-back closures, lip-to-lip, lip-to-teeth, tongue-to-teeth, tongue-to-palate, mid-back-tongue-to-palate, far-back-tongue-to-throat ... (Note that this keeps the tongue behind the teeth; and the lip in front):--

BY DEPICTION: (© 2006 screenplay "SHTH! -A story of purpose-" PG-13)

professor (vo)
Firstly,-- I wish to thank you all, for coming this evening....
cut to:
Alert Audience: Dressy adults, some high school students...
BACKWALL VIDEO: CAMERA CU: afore his raised-hand:
(a beat for audience)
Secondly, Thank myself, for coming: I did not want us to miss this: the last of the series....
(a beat)
This is a special night for me, And for-which I make a small disclaimer on what you are about to learn:--
(half a beat)
Your title, "Reading Into History," is exactly what it says:-- This, is back,-compatible fiction: a raw re-invention, where none was extant:--
(a beat)
There is no, archaeological, proof, nor precedent, for believing either the Sumerians or the Egyptians used handsigning: except for the obvious meaning we can discover ourselves-- in teaching "with signs following:"
(palm up relaxed)
BACKWALL VIDEO: His Hand palm-up relaxed:
(confirms backwall video)
Sumerian,-Egyptian, handsignage ...
(to audience)
This, is our rest-position: Palm-up relaxed:-- a neutral, unemphasized, schwa, "Uhhh", Or plain quiet....
(a beat)
Now, The first handsign, is:--
(opens palm full wide)
"Ah"-- Looks obvious: doesn't it?-- The mouth open wide, tongue resting "Ahhh..."-- And it means definitive upwelling outpouring: Outflow, Deep water....
(two-hand gesture)
You're all welcome to try this with me ... So,-- Everybody, Raise, your right-hand ... And say,--
(hand-up palm-open)
Audience giggles,- and conforms hands-up saying, "Ahhh..."
(when quiet, reconfirms)
Now, Watch, as I close all fingers:
(all-fingers gather long)
Still long,-- "Ahh Aww Ohh Uuu...."
(a beat, prompts)
Again: Slower, And everybody...--
professor (unison)
(all-fingers long-gather)
"Ahhh... Awww... Ohhh... Uuuu...."
IN-UNISON: Audience hands: "Ahhh...Awww...Ohhh...Uuuu...."
(palm rest)
Very good!-- That's a lot of vowels you just learned:-- Four the way we Americans count....
(brightens, fingers up)
But, Run that faster, Fingers up:--
(up, wide, long-gather)
"H-Ah...Oh...Uu"-- How! An American indian greeting for, Let's talk...!
Audience giggles... and tries handsigning "Hao", too...
(as it calms)
To get the H, initially, Start with all fingers up-together: closed:--
(all-fingers up closed)
"Hhhh"-- Then burst wide-open:
(flash-open to Ah)
"Hahhh...!"-- And down together:--
(fingers long-gather)
(a beat)
You can also practice, your H's, by laughing --in handsignage:--
(repeat up close-open...)
"Hah! Hah! Hah...!"-- Like *Spock.
Audience giggles and tries "Hah hah hah..."-- with giggles.
(handworking 'ha-ha's)
Sometimes easier said, than done...
Audience laughs, continuing 'ha-ha'-practice and mutual ...
(high-hands 'haw-haw's)
I've got, it!-- It's easier if, you sign 'Haw-haw-haw' or 'Ho-ho-ho'...
Audience giggles...
(watching Audient-1)
And looks, more-laughable, too....
The whole world, used-to know this.
(half a beat)
Albeit even the indians forgot much as they only show the starting-H:--
(fingers up, thumb out)
"Hhah..."-- Live-long,-and-learn...
(2 beats)
Okay, Now: Push the fingers long--
(fingers long-gathered)
Almost-closed,-- You can even get-- "Wwww"-- The double-U.... Neat...!-
(fingers touch long)
But, fully,-closed, would be B:--
(mouth-and-eyes bulge)
Audience giggles...
Not exactly in one's right-mind...
Audience sporadic giggles...
(hand paused)
So we let the air out the nose, and it becomes M:-- "Mmmm..."
(a beat; NB. a nasal)
Nota Bene: True, Sumero-Egyptian-W, was V-like-vibrating-nasal, "Wngh": Something of an M-ish-W or W-ish-M; And they each heard it differently:
(half a beat)
It is where the Greeks got their O-Mega: their Giant,-O...
(2 beats, palm up ready)
Okay... Now, The common consonants: First finger:--
(thumb slaps 1st finger)
"Ba"-- B.... Second finger:
Audience follows quietish-ly:
(thumb slaps 2nd finger)
"Da"-- D.... Third finger:
(thumb slaps 3rd finger)
"Ga"-- G.... Fourth finger:
(thumb slaps 4th finger)
"La"-- L ... A clumsy stretch....
(repeats hand-only)
Like manipulating a glove-puppet...
(a beat)
And, How do we double a consonant?-
(thumb-1st slap-slap)
"Baba"-- double, B-B ...
(thumb-2nd slap-slap)
"Dada"-- doubled, D-D ...
(thumb-3rd slap-slap)
"Gaga"-- doubled, G-G; and ...
(thumb-4th slap-slap)
"Lala".... And, Double suffices for seeing and hearing... And counting.
Checks-about the Audience imitating, a moment...
But note, how we've used the thumb:
(half a beat)
Watch, now, as I instead bring only the thumb around, As the lower lip:
BACKWALL VIDEO: Only thumb swings to point forward at -us-:
(continuous syllable)
"Ahhh...Awww"-- like, Taut.... Yet, Essentially the same "Awww" we had;
(a beat)
But, Moving your lower lip farther,
professor (mcu)
Back, -behind your teeth,- makes no difference in sound:--
(lower lip deep-inside)
"Awww..."-- the same sound... So,--
(and to backwall video)
BACKWALL VIDEO: Thumb, swings fully across the open palm:
(slowly swings thumb)
Bringing the thumb farther around-- knuckle across the palm-- means the tongue, tip: instead of lip: And,--
(thumb across palm)
"Arrr"-- An R-somewhat-open;- and a real tongue-stretcher at that...
(half a beat)
As was the L,-- almost, as much...!
(new tack)
Okay: Ease it,- Raising the back of the tongue and shortening the mouth is like curling, the fingers:--
(fingertips only to rest)
"Arrr...Errr"-- which is clearer in our English ears, and easier on our English hands:-- "Er"-- pronounced, "Er", and handsigned, "Er" ... But, spelled, "Ar" ... Go figure....
ON HIS HAND: still R:
(holds eR a beat)
So here we see a hint of L-R-fusion found in many tongues: handsigning, R-L ... Watch, the finger-touching:
(thumbs eR-L-eR-L-eR)
(2 beats, still palm-eR)
Let's do our first combination:-- A word:-- Watch and listen closely:--
(palm eR abruptly open)
(a beat)
See that?-- Hear it?--
(repeats eR-Ah)
"Ra"-- Fingers fly-apart, like rays of sunlight, from--
(again eR-Ah: brightens)
"Ra"-- The sungod, of Egypt...!--
(a beat, sincere)
And you now know more than all the professors of archaeology-- in the world:-- You now know what archaic Sumero-Egyptians, knew: To invent.
(a beat)
That there is, no, record, of them, handsigning, --nor correlation with cuneiforms and hieroglyphics,-- may mean they handsigned in conjunction with speech ... they integrated not segregated ... handsigning: to keep audience-attention as they spoke!--
(ponders hand-'eR-Ah's)
But you know: While this looks like sunlight pouring out, It may, be an exploding star:-- Ra, may have been an escapee from a supernova....
(nods Sure-sure)
Audience giggles...
On his boat-of-millions of escapees crossing space, millions, of-years.
(a beat, flash-smiles)
Let's continue: Our flower, "Ahhh":
(palm open full wide)
And hear each vowel, as we curl the fingertips,-- lifting the tongue in back-- keeping the thumb-tip out:--
(fingers only ease a bit)
"Ahhh...Aaah"-- like, bat ...
(fingers curl to forward)
"Aaah...Ehhh"-- like, bet ...
(fingers to easy down)
"Ehhh...Aeee"-- like, bait ...
(fingers to curled)
"Aeee...Eeee"-- like, beat ...
(fingers curled, tight)
"Eeee", tightly,-- like, Yes.... E, which means the closed-house,-of...
(half a beat)
And, a second name:--
(palm reopens to wide)
(palm repeats Ee-Ah)
"Ee...Ah"-- Yah: Sumerian god E-Ah: House of Groundwater,- also El,-Yah El-E-Ah El-I-yah, modernly Elijah--
(half a beat)
And now you know, twice, as much as all the professors in the world....
And, we include the short-vowels in the middle between tight and long:-
(fingers easy-curl-down)
"Ah...Uh..." --and the schwa-- and, "Ih...Uih"-- like, put....
(flexing through vowels)
It's all, easy, natural handsigning where hand and mouth are symbiotic.
(a beat)
Okay... Fricatives: Consonants that leak air ... We speak V, near B: by bringing the lower lip back, under, preventing full closure-- V: So, We handsign, V, by bringing the thumb, back, under, to adjust B,-to-V:--
(thumb slides down 1st)
"B'vvvv..."-- B-V.
(a beat)
Likewise D-to-Z the tongue under:--
(thumb slides down 2nd)
"D'zzzz" or-further "Zzzh"-- D-Z-J;
(half a beat)
But they, pronounced Z, Zh, anyway;
(a beat, finger at teeth)
And we, use our teeth to enhance Z, But it really-is from the tongue:--
"Zzzzee...-- Ssssee...?"
(a beat)
Okay, third:--
(thumb slides down 3rd)
"G'ggggh"-- not a sound in English, But, Close-relative-J, we pronounce all the time: Gentle... Giraffe...
(a beat)
Note this yields two J-like sounds:
(thumb slides down 3rd)
"Ggha", and:--
(thumb slides down 2nd)
"Dzha":- which shows how articulate they could-be; We Americans aren't.
(a beat)
I won't try "Lha":-- L, is, liquid; But Babylon did-have "Lha-mu" Adam: as we form the tip of L like the D:
(mouthes tongue-tip-"L")
'Llll...'-- But open at the sides.
(a beat)
And one more: Extending our tongue-thumb, forward,-instead, We get:--
(thumb out-under 2nd)
"The"-- T-H, the only distinct one:
"Ba" and "Gha" are both idempotent.
(a beat)
And, Nasals -like M: remember?- are 4-finger-consonants held, nasal:--
(thumb holds 1st-2nd-3rd)
"B-M'mmm... D-N'nnn... G-Ngnn...."
(2 beats)
And likewise the aspirations of the sibilances are voiceless consonants which the Sumerians used solely ...
(half a beat)
You've heard it said archaic Hebrew linguistics did-not have vowels ... The truth is, The Sumerians did not have voiced, neither: 'til later...
(a bemused beat)
Story goes, The old-gods hated loud sounds and the young-gods revolted.
Audience laughs.... (-to cut-)
[professor] (concurrent)
(as continued)
Aspirated consonants by deemphasis: Smaller motion, closer fingers, and curl the tapping finger: Tip-tap:--
(thumb tips 1st-2nd-3rd)
"PA, TA, KA"-- P, T, K ... Context, was important to distinguish sound.
(with fingers close-open)
And if you start, with your fingers close, that will emphasize P-T-K...
(2 beats)
Let's try a few simple words,- And, show you how to start-and-not-start with a vowel... Peer, and, Ap-pear:
(hand neutral-to-P-E-R)
P-E-R ... Peer.
(hand wide-Ah-to-P-E-R)
Ahhh-P-E-R ... Ap-pear ...
(a beat)
Practice becomes recognizable by-words,- And faster than speech...
(flicks-out P-E-R)
(grabs-out Ah-P-E-R)
(a beat)
Hebrew, uses glottal-stop-A, Aleph.
(a beat)
Look at the word, In:
(easy-curl, tip 2nd: I-N)
Like grasping holding-something-in.
(a beat)
Look at the word, Fear:
(thumb under close-F-E-R)
F-E-R... Looks like a rook castling in fear-- the thumbing sneaking its way across, behind, the fingers....
[Audience giggles...]
Likewise, Counting Vier, in German, Thumb behind four fingers, V-E-R,--
(repeat open-V-E-R)
Becomes a fist with a hidden-thumb.
(repeat open-V-E-R)
They're not showing 'fear', They're counting, Vier: The four fingers...
(a beat)
Compare, our word, Finger--
(thumb 1st-4th, F-N-G-R)
F-N-G-R...! Fi-ng-er...!
(a beat)
Compare our word, Fist, F-S-T--
(thumb under-1st-2nd-tip)
In its finality makes a fist...!
(a beat)
Compare German, Zwei, counting Two: Start from the middle, Two fingers.
(thumb 2nd-back-1st curl)
(half beat)
German, Drei, Three fingers, Start:
(thumb 2nd-back-4th curl)
At the middle, And across, Drei...!
Compare, English, Far:
(thumb under 1st, F-Ah-R)
F-Ah-R... Like running-afar-gone... These are modern, words, of course, But you see, what you get...?
(a beat)
Now, Let's run my little video ...
BACKWALL VIDEO, PLAYBACK: Handsigned speech:--
(signing; repunctuated)
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light, Day, and the darkness he called, Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day."
[Audient-3 (oc)]
Oh, God:-- I can see it ....
[professor (oc)]
Exactly as they said in Sumeria ... Oh, God....
[Light laughter...]
(after video-finish)
It works, And you know there's some truth to the Sumerian-Egyptian gods teaching man to read and write with handsigns-following...
(smiles that 2 beats)
As well as doing the other, things, with their daughters....
(as it quiets)
And that much, is our Propositional handsigning.
(half a beat)
The logical extension to Predicate, handsigning, is what happens when--
(hand busy)
You sign all day-- and your fingers get tired:-- You get thumb-tied....
(thumb between 2nd-3rd, pinky-only wiggles)
[Audience giggles...]
We, Relax the rules: Let sounds run fluidly together and distinct words form becoming recognizable subunits among them: Communication of ideas, replacing individual phoneme sound-representations .... And that's our 'tonguage'-precedent to lip-reading and palm-reading ... Thank you all!
(nods Done-thankyou)
[Professor sit-leans on a stool and gestures for questions:]
(hand up)
The hand is too small to see at a distance,- to shout.
Indeed the gods disapproved of loud speech: Apsu complained bitterly of the young gods, and sought to quiet them ... They killed him,- But they in-turn complained of mankind, when they, grew older and drunker:- Enki labeled it, "bull-bellowing"....
In your book, you state, Egyptian Osiris, was the same as Anshar in Sumeria;-- Could you clarify...?
Greek Osiris was Egyptian Oongsher: Ahngshar in Sumeria: Languages were originally similar in the family: A distinction was the emphasis in the balance:-- Example, Nasalization of the W, -that is well-known in later Babylonian: Tiamut Tiawath, Damkina Dawkina... Compare plain English:--
(half a beat)
We say, Emphasis not En-phasis, yet nazalization is all we've done -and written with lettered distinction:- The same sound, heard, differently.
(a beat)
The Tower of Babel became notorious for dividing a mankind speaking the same language until none understood any other...
(half a beat)
A common construction-job, problem.
[Audience laughs....]
(enunciates as it quiets)
Gilgamesh Izdubar Izhdubar: Ishidwn bar: Shidwn bar: Shdwn-bar: today's Shtan or Shtanley-bar... Gilgamesh!
[Audience chuckles-up....]
(End of excerpt)

Note that for signing-practice purposes, it may help to watch the hand from the side, as vowels are particularly form-discernable.

That, sums-up the Propositional handsignage ... amazingly fast and facile .... Predicate handsignage develops the quick recognition of syllables, words, building the phonetic language. Handsignage is intended as an integral augmentation, not a segregative application.

The vowels

~ Examples ~

(This development, while significant, does not touch on the similarities in vowels and consonants, e.g. "Ye" "Gee", but perpendicularly, Nor on interpolatory and extrapolatory envelope phonemes, e.g. semi-hard 'variant' omega-pi ϖ = ωph as in [P=ϖ]rattu = Euphrates.)


  1. duration-of-touch or front-side-touch or length-of-touch enhancing voiced-unvoiced for consonants
  2. open-close being voiced-unvoiced, vs. unvoiced-voiced, as the original Sumerian was unaspirated not voiced (cf Rhah Rah Ra)

A premise discovery under the title,

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© 2006-2010

[ShTh, is the archaic name pronounced, Sheth, or Seth.]
* [prominent legal celebrity not associated with the story]
© 2006-2010 Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry DBA Sesquatercet (HI)
Handsignage and versions © 2006 Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry
Global Simulcast Rights 2006-2010 Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry