The Babylonian name Shumer was used in the cuneiform inscriptions together with Akkad, viz.
In the 'non-Semitic ideographic documents the equivalent for Shumer is Kengi, which seems to be a combination of ken, " land " -}- gi, " reed," i.e.
It was formerly thought that Shumer was employed especially to denote the south of Babylonia, while Akkad was used only of the north, but this view is no longer regarded as tenable.
It is more probable that the expression Shumer designated the whole of Babylonia in much the same manner as did Akkad, and that the two words "Shumer and Akkad " were used together as a comprehensive term.
That Shumer actually did mean all Babylonia appears evident from the biblical use of Shinar=Shumer to describe the district which contained the four chief Babylonian cities, viz.
The identity of Shinar and Shumer is also demon= strated by the Septuagint renderindof Shinar in Isaiah xi.
Furthermore, the fact that the Syriac Sen'ar = Shinar was later used to denote the region about Bagdad (northern Babylonia) does not necessarily prove that Shinar-Shumer meant only northern Babylonia, because, when the term Sen'ar was applied to the Bagdad district the great southern Babylonian civilization had long been forgotten and " Babylonia " really meant only what we now know as northern Babylonia.
The actual meaning of the word Shumer is uncertain.
Pinches has pointed out' that Shumer may be a dialectic form of an as yet unestablished non-Semitic form, Shenger, just as the non-Semitic word dimmer, " god," is equivalent to another form, dingir.
In this connexion Hommel's theory 2 should be mentioned, that the word Shumer was a later palatalization of Ki-imgir, " land of Imgir "=Shiimgir, subsequently Shingi with palatalized k = sh and elision of the final r.
Hence we find Shumer, probably pronounced Shuwer, with a sound similar to that heard to-day in the Scottish Gaelic word lamh, " hand "; viz.