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The term "Post-Sumerian" is meant to refer to the time when the language was already extinct and preserved by Babylonians and Assyrians only as a liturgical and classical language for religious, artistic and scholarly purposes.
The extinction has traditionally been dated approximately to the end of the Third Dynasty of Ur, the last predominantly Sumerian state in Mesopotamia, about 2000 BC.
A more widespread hypothesis posits a Proto-Euphratean language that preceded Sumerian in Southern Mesopotamia and exerted an areal influence on it, especially in the form of polysyllabic words that appear "un-Sumerian"–making them suspect of being loanwords–and are not traceable to any other known language.
The "proto-literate" period of Sumerian writing spans c. In this period, records are purely logographic, with no linguistic or phonological content.
The oldest document of the proto-literate period is the Kish tablet.
The special features of eme-sal are mostly phonological (for example, m is often used instead of ĝ (i.e.
[ŋ]) as in me as opposed to the ĝe Sumerian is an agglutinative, split ergative, and subject-object-verb language.