This volume is the first to be devoted specifically to the study of lexical semantics in
Ancient Egyptian. While much research has been dedicated to a wide range of grammatical
issues in past decades, lexical semantics has rarely been treated in a systematic fashion.
The papers collected here treat a range of semantic phenomena, from the lexical semantics of
spatial expressions, to the problems of analyzing polyfunctionality and even to the
semantics of the Egyptian writing system. The scope of these issues goes well beyond the
individual ‘word’ or lexical item, as a number of papers address the semantics of syntactic
constructions. Some authors call into question the distinction between lexicon and grammar,
or analyze the lexical semantics of items usually considered ‘grammatical’ or ‘function’
words, such as discourse particles. This volume also spans a number of theoretical
frameworks and methodologies that have not been prominent in Egyptian linguistics and
philology, such as typologically-oriented semantic maps and other visual tools.
The papers in this volume do not aim to define the ‘state of the art,’ but rather seek to stimulate the study of meaning in Ancient Egyptian, to point to innovative avenues for future research, and to engage in a broader dialogue between Egyptian linguistics and philology, on the one hand, and the research frameworks and agendas of general linguistics, on the other.