Gutian language

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Region Zagros Mountains?
Ethnicity Gutian people
Era attested c. 2400 BCE
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Glottolog guti1235[1]

The Gutian language (/ˈɡtiən/; also Qutian) was spoken by the Gutian people who briefly ruled over Sumer around 2100 BCE during the Gutian dynasty of Sumer, who lived in the territory between the Zagros and the Tigris in present-day Iranian and Iraqi Kurdistan.

Nothing is known about the language except its existence and a list of Gutian ruler names in the Sumerian king list. The existence is attested by a list of languages spoken in the region, found in a clay tablet from the Middle Babylonian period presumably originating from the city of Emar,[2]:p.13 which also lists Akkadian, Amorite, Sutean, "Subarean" (Hurrian), and Elamite. There is also record of "an interpreter for the Gutean language" at Adab.[3][4]

The Gutian king names from the Sumerian list are Inkishush, Zarlagab, Shulme (or Yarlagash), Silulumesh (or Silulu), Inimabakesh (Duga), Igeshaush (or Ilu-An), Yarlagab, Ibate, Kurum, Apilkin, La-erabum, Irarum, Ibranum, Hablum, Puzur-Suen, Yarlaganda, Si-um and Tirigan. Based on these names, some scholars claim that the Gutian language was neither Semitic nor Indo-European, and was unrelated to the languages spoken around it.[2]

However, according to Tamaz V. Gamkrelidze and Vyacheslav Vsevolodovich Ivanov, Gutian language was close to Tocharian languages of the Indo-European family.[5]

The historical Guti have been widely regarded as among the ancestors of the Kurdish people, including by the modern Kurds themselves. However, in the late 19th-century, Assyriologist Julius Oppert sought to connect the Gutians of remote antiquity with the later Gutones (Goths), whom Ptolemy in 150 AD had known as the Guti, a tribe of Scandia. Oppert's theory on this connection is not shared by any scholars today, in the absence of further evidence.[6]


  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Gutian". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  2. ^ a b Wolfgang Heimpel (2003), Letters to the King of Mari: A New Translation, with Historical Introduction, Notes, and Commentary. Eisenbrauns. ISBN 1-57506-080-9, ISBN 978-1-57506-080-4; 657 pages
  3. ^ Claus Wilcke (2007), Early Ancient Near Eastern Law: A History of Its Beginnings : the Early Dynastic and Sargonic Periods. Eisenbrauns. 204 pages. ISBN 1-57506-132-5, ISBN 978-1-57506-132-0
  4. ^ Yang (1989), Was Adab the home of the Gutean king Erridupizzir who left 3 inscriptions at Nippur stil copied there in OB schools (Frayne 1993, 20-228)?, A956; OIP vol. 14 no. 80, p. 2.
  5. ^ Гамкрелидзе Т. В., Иванов Вяч. Вс. Первые индоевропейцы на арене истории: прототохары в Передней Азии // Вестник древней истории. 1989. № 1.
  6. ^ 'Trapped Between the Map and Reality: Geography and Perceptions of Kurdistan', by Maria T. O'Shea, 2004 p. 66