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What is the etymology of Dingir(god) in Sumerian?

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rakovsky View Drop Down
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  Quote rakovsky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: What is the etymology of Dingir(god) in Sumerian?
    Posted: 01-Sep-2016 at 13:57
The Sumerian FAQ connects Dingir (god) in Sumerian with Dime, meaning "to create":

37. Meaning of Sumer?

It is not known why the Akkadians called the southern land Shumeru. The Sumerians called it ki-en-gir (literally, 'place of the civilized lords'). The etymology of the Akkadian term is unknown. It could possibly be a dialectal pronunciation of the Sumerian word kiengir. This possibility is suggested by the Emesal dialect form 'dimmer' for the word 'dingir'.
http://www.sumerian.org/sumerfaq.htm

By the way, some scholars say that Shumeru is probably the Shingar place mentioned in the Old Testament, since Akkadians sometimes matched m with ng.

Phonetic Relations in Sumerian by D.Prince says that "An" in Sumerian has a root meaning of something high or heaven, as in:
  • anu 'ear of grain'; synonymous [with] essu: en=an 'high'+se 'grain'. This essu seems to indicate that the n of an was nasal and hence easily assimilated. Note also en 'be high; lord'; ..... na=[Akkadian]elu 'high'

Prince writes:

  • di/e=[Akkadian] nabatu 'shine'. ... Delitzsch connects dingir (ES dimer), digir 'god' with this di/e-stem 'shining being,' but dingir, dimmer may be a combination of dim = [Akkadian] rabu great + the stem-element ur, er of urum, erum, ere 'man, person'

http://www.jstor.org/stable/592740?seq=11#page_scan_tab_contents

One website proposes a theory that the Hindu/Sanskrit Agni(the fire god)/Angiras, whose offspring are Angiras too, is related to the Sumerian Dingir:

In Hindu mythology, Angiras are celestial beings and descendants of gods, who watch over humans and protect sacrificial fires. The Angirasas are among the oldest families of Rishis (Seers) in the Rigveda. In this text, Agni, god of fire, is sometimes referred to as Angiras.

The supreme deity of the Sumerian pantheon is AN, or Anu. In the first two letters of the Sanskrit word An-gir-as, AN could refer to Anu.... The masters of the sky were perceived as deities by the earthbound. This reminds of Angiras and his descendants, the Angirasas, as a group of higher beings who traversed the realms between gods and men — an inter-stellar and inter-dimensional elite.
http://humansarefree.com/2015/05/the-sumerian-god-anu-and-ancient-seers.html

But this connection looks not strongly reliable because Sanskrit and Sumerian are probably different language families.

The "New Indology" website connects Dingir with Indo-European words meaning day, cover (as in the sky covering the earth), and sky:

Sum. diĝir (dingir) 'deity, god, goddess; sky', the cuneiform symbol, like a star, was also read an, meaning 'sky' in Sumerian, so the word seems to come from another language.

A common comparison is done with Turkic Tengri 'sky, sky god', and in Chinese sky is tian, pronounced thīn in Old Chinese. Etruscans had Tin or Tinia as sky god. Is there an old 'Nostratic' root or something more recent? In PIE he was *Dyaus (Skt. Dyaus, Greek Zeus, Latin Juppiter from *dyus-pǝtar) but there is also a root *din- meaning 'day', found for instance in Skt. dina- or Lith. dienà. And in Lithuanian and Old Prussian we have also dangus 'sky, heaven', clearly from the root dang/deng- 'to cover' found in dangà 'covering', dañgtis 'cover, closure', deñgti 'to conceal, protect', from PIE *dhangh/dhn̥gh- 'to cover, press', giving Old Irish dingim 'I press', Old Russian, Serbo-Croatian duga 'rainbow', Old English dung 'prison', Old Frisian and Saxon dung 'manure', OHG tunga 'manuring', tung 'underground room covered with manure'. Funnily, sky, rainbow and dung apparently come from the same root in different languages. And we can suppose that also the IE source of Sum. dingir derived the term from 'sky' from the root 'to cover', and from 'sky', the meaning still given to the cuneiform sign, Sumerians derived the meaning 'deity'. Interestingly, another Sumerian term, gira, meant both 'sky' and 'concealment'.

Sum. dungu 'cloud', can be reconnected with the PIE root *dhangh/dhn̥gh- 'to cover' discussed above about dingir.

The same problem remains in that IndoEuropean and Sumerian are different families, although there could be some cross-family root or shared word (Dingir) with a root meaning not set in Sumerian alone. Also, I am not sure that this site is right in claiming that Sumerian "gira" means sky and concealment.

Elsewhere on this Allempires forum, people claimed:

Originally posted by Cyrus Shahmiri

I thought you would talk about Sumerian dingir, this is thunder god in several different cultures, Turkic tengri/tanri, proto-Indo-European tenre (German donner, Persian tondar, Latin tono, ...),  Hattian taru -> Hittite and Luwian tarhun, Chinese tian,

http://www.allempires.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=34927

Originally posted by Arthur-Robin

Dingir / Tengri/Tangri is a well known one.

Chinese Tian/Tien is not Din.gir (&/or Tengri?) because Tien/Tian seems to match Zi-ana "spirit of heaven" (like Chinese Ti-mu maybe matches Sumerian/Chaldean Zi-mu(-um)/"Zikum" ("mother")?). The German/Norse for Dingir/Dimmer may possibly be Thingsus/Diens (Tyr/Tiwaz) rather than Donar/Thor. [Note Din.gir may possibly be related to Shin(g)ar/Shin(e)ar of biblical as i said in another post on AE months ago.]

You might possibly be right about Dingir/Tengri & Donar:

Din.gir/Dimmer "god/heaven, gir/rocket, judge/judgment" (Sumerian).
Tengri/(Gok) Tanri "sky" (Mongol).
Tenri "god" (Japanese).
[Tangaroa "sky/sun, sea" (Polynesian)? or else Rangi "sky" (Polynesian)??]
[Dings/Diens (German/Norse)?? or else Jupiter Tanarus (Roman?/Celt?) & Donar/Thor (German)??]

http://www.allempires.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=34927



Edited by rakovsky - 01-Sep-2016 at 13:58
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Centrix Vigilis View Drop Down
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  Quote Centrix Vigilis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Sep-2016 at 15:58
As I recall it was based on the ideogram... sign...for 'An' or sum such. with variants for sky vs. earth. To long ago...but there is still a good source out there for this stuff.

see: Edzard, Dietz Otto (2003). Sumerian Grammar. Handbook of Oriental Studies.
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"

S. T. Friedman


Pilger's law: 'If it's been officially denied, then it's probably true'

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  Quote rakovsky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Sep-2016 at 12:20
Thanks for writing in, Centrix!
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