Heike asked

> While we're at it, the last I picked up on linguistic matters were
> attempts to put Sumerian into Dene-Caucasian, but that was more
> than half a decade ago now. So what is the state of the art these
> days?

Alan Bomhard places Sumerian as a linguistic isolate firmly in the
Nostratic camp. This would also seem to make sense when we think of
the East Arabian culture circa 7,000 BCE ultimately had links with
the Kebaran techniques of the Levant, which according to the work I
have done was the cultural "carrier" for Nostratic languages coming
from Africa.

I know Bengtson and Blazek in 1995, and Nikolaev in 1996 tried to fit
Sumerian into Sino-Dene-Caucasian, along with Burushaski, Yenisean
and Basque. Vitaly Shevoroshkin adds Etruscan to this group. It
seems that it has the danger of becoming a "catch-all" for those
languages which seem to not fit into the major phyla. A more
promising relationship appears to be when comparing separate groups
of Caucasian languages. Those are Abkhaz-Adyghe-Hattic and Nakh-
Dagestanic-Hurrian hypotheses. Finally in modern macro-comparative
theories North Caucasian is included in Sino-Caucasian (with Sino-
Tibetan and Yenisei) or Dene-Caucasian (also Na-Dene) macrofamilies
and Kartvelian is viewed as a part of Nostratic macrofamily within
which it is possibly close to Indo-European, with Sumerian comewhat
closer to Elamo-Dravidian (if McLeans thesis hold's up).

Igor M. Diakonoff before he died wrote an article proposing a genetic
relationship between Sumerian and the Munda languages of India
("External Connections of the Sumerian Language," Mother Tongue
III:54-62, 1997). Munda is often connected to the Austroasiatic Mon-
Khmer family, and this is another connection that needs to be taken
into account.

Hope this helps