Universiteit Leiden

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Bram Jagersma

University Lecturer

Dr. A.H. Jagersma
+31 71 527 1554

Bram Jagersma is a University Lecturer at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies.

More information about Bram Jagersma

Fields of interest

I am a linguist working on Sumerian, an ancient Near Eastern language that was spoken in Southern Iraq until about 2000 BCE. My aim is to describe Sumerian grammar and phonology in the same way as other linguists describe modern living languages. But Sumerian is a dead language and is only known to us from ancient sources written in an early form of the cuneiform script. Where other linguists interview native speakers, I need to figure out how this script reflects the language and how it does not. Because Sumerian texts have come down to us from many different periods and places, I study the language from a historical perspective: how it changed over time, which dialects it had, and how Akkadian-Sumerian bilingualism changed both languages. Every now and then I let myself be distracted by the fascinating content of the ancient Sumerian texts themselves and try to understand more of Sumerian culture. It is, after all, the best documented early Bronze Age culture that exists.


Curriculum vitae

2010: PhD (with distinction) in Linguistics, Leiden University 
1988: MA in Assyriology, Leiden UniversityEmployment

2014-: Lecturer in Sumerian, Leiden University 
1993-2014: Subject librarian for linguistics, Leiden University Libraries 
1986-2006: Circulation desk, Leiden University Libraries


Key publications

  • A descriptive grammar of Sumerian, PhD Leiden University, 2010

  • ‘The calendar of the funerary cult in ancient Lagash,’  Bibliotheca Orientalis 64 (2007): 289-307.
  • ‘Sound change in Sumerian: the so-called /dr/-phoneme,’  Acta Sumerologica 22 (2000): 81-87.



For BA students:

  • Introduction to Sumerian
  • Gudea (Selected texts from Gudea of Lagash)
  • Seminar Sumerian (Literary texts from the Old Babylonian period)

For MA students:

  • The Sumerian language: structure and analysis
  • Advanced Sumerian


Grants and awards

2013 De la Court Prize from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Univ Centre for Linguistics
  • LUCL Taalwetenschap

Work address

Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 4
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 2.04c


University Lecturer

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SMES Assyriologie

Work address

Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 4
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 2.04c



No relevant ancillary activities

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