Gutian language

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Region Zagros Mountains?
Ethnicity Gutian people
Era 22nd century BC
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Glottolog guti1235

The Gutian language (/ˈɡtiən/; also Qutian) was spoken by the Gutian people, who briefly ruled over Sumer as the Gutian dynasty in the 22nd century BC. The Gutians 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 rulers names in the Sumerian king list.

Gutian is included in a list of languages spoken in the region found in the Sag B tablet, an educational text from the Middle Babylonian period possibly originating from the city of Emar.[1] This text also lists Akkadian, Amorite, Sutean, "Subarean" (Hurrian), and Elamite. There is also a mention of "an interpreter for the Gutean language" in a tablet from Adab.[2]

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.

In a posthumously-published article, W.B. Henning suggested that the different endings of the king names resembled case endings in the Tocharian languages, a branch of Indo-European known from texts found in the Tarim Basin (in the northwest of modern China) dating from the 6th to 8th centuries AD.[3] Henning also compared the name Guti with Kuči, the native name of the Tocharian city of Kucha, and with the name of the Yuezhi, pastoral nomads described in Chinese records as living to the east of the Tarim in the 2nd century BC,[3] although the latter name is usually reconstructed with a *ŋʷ- initial in Old Chinese.[4] He also compared Tukriš, the name of neighbours of the Guti, with the name twγry found in Old Turkish manuscripts from the early 9th century AD and thought to refer to the Tocharians.[3] Gamkrelidze and Ivanov explored Henning's suggestion as possible support for their proposal of an Indo-European Urheimat in the Near East.[5][6] However, most scholars reject the attempt to compare languages separated by more than two millennia.[7]


  1. Heimpel, Wolfgang (2003). Letters to the King of Mari. Eisenbrauns. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-57506-080-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Wilcke, Claus (2007). Early Ancient Near Eastern Law: A History of Its Beginnings : the Early Dynastic and Sargonic Periods. Eisenbrauns. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-57506-132-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Henning, W.B. (1978). "The first Indo-Europeans in history". In Ulmen, G.L. Society and History, Essays in Honour of Karl August Wittfogel. The Hague: Mouton. pp. 216–230. ISBN 978-90-279-7776-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Baxter, William H. (1992). A Handbook of Old Chinese Phonology. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. p. 806. ISBN 978-3-11-012324-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Gamkrelidze, T.V.; Ivanov, V.V. (1989). "Первые индоевропейцы на арене истории: прототохары в Передней Азии". Journal of Ancient History (1): 14–39. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Gamkrelidze, T.V.; Ivanov, V.V. (2013). "Индоевропейская прародина и расселение индоевропейцев: полвека исследований и обсуждений". Journal of Language Relationship. 9: 109–136. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Mallory, J.P.; Mair, Victor H. (2000). The Tarim Mummies. London: Thames & Hudson. pp. 281–282. ISBN 978-0-500-05101-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>