Widmaier Verlag Hamburg

Journal issue


Marc Brose,
Das ägyptische Verb und der ägyptisch-semitische Sprachvergleich
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"The Egyptian Verb and the Egyptian-Semitic Comparative Analysis"
The Semitic languages are the oldest (and perhaps proximate) cognates of Egyptian-Coptic. For description of lexis and grammar of Egyptian, they were and are consulted for the comparative perspective, mainly in the field of lexis, to a lesser degree in the field of grammar, probably least for the Egyptian verb and verbal forms because there are superficially the most eye-catching differences. Some phenomena of verbal morphology and verbal syntax as currently most intensively discussed fields shall demonstrate that the Semitic languages – especially the older idioms from Akkadian down until Classical Arabic – are still appropriate for comparative discussions of grammatical phenomena primarily of Older Egyptian, but also that the comparative method can fail. Following fields are under discussion in this article:
– Root inflection and verbal stems;
– The number of finite verb forms: graphematic discussion; tense- / aspect- / mood-system;
– The "Rule of Gunn".
Gaëlle Chantrain & Camilla Di Biase-Dyson,
Making a Case for Multidimensionality in Ramesside Figurative Language
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In this contribution we consider the interplay of metaphorical language with Ramesside orthographic strategies (particularly classification) in the composition and copying of the London (L) manuscript of The Teachings of Amenemope. We argue that this text provides cases in which the classification was changed in order to mark a metaphor and that lexemes seem to have been chosen partly on the basis of their classification strategy. We thus see clusters of metaphors being tied to particular classifiers, which play out across the whole structure of the text, thus underlining the importance of metaphor analyses that consider all dimensions of meaning in a text. A final case study shows that this strategy is complementary with a broader text-based pattern, in which, beyond metaphorical language, classifiers orient themselves towards large-scale themes related to the highs and lows of human interaction.
Roberto A. Díaz Hernández,
Von wn.|n und wn zu ⲛⲉ. Ein diachroner Fall der Hintergrundinformation
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“From wn.|n and wn to ⲛⲉ. A Diachronic Case of Background Information”
This paper deals, from a diachronic point of view, with the use of wn.|n, wn and ⲛⲉ as textual markers of background information. On the one hand, it will be shown that wn.|n, wn and ⲛⲉ + an adverbial predicate or infinitive express imperfective/progressive actions in the past and, on the other hand, wn.|n, wn and ⲛⲉ + a pseudo-participle (alias stative) express durative actions in the past. From the evolution of the use of these verbal constructions, it will be chiefly inferred that wn and ⲛⲉ adopted the semantic and syntactic functions of wn.|n (i.e. its "signified", Fr. "signifié"), changing only their linguistic forms (i.e. their "signifiers", Fr. "signifiants").
Barbara Egedi,
Two Kinds of Definiteness in Coptic
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The paper deals with a grammatical micro-variation that can be observed between Coptic dialects. All dialects have a rich system of determiners, but in certain varieties simple definiteness can be marked by two series of definite articles. According to the proposed hypothesis, in dialects that make use of a double system of determination, in Bohairic and in Fayyumic, the distribution of the articles corresponds to the strategy as to how the referent of a noun phrase is identified in the given discourse. The main claim is that weak articles grammaticalized to encode inherently unique and inherently relational referents, while strong articles are used in anaphoric contexts. This model will account for the asymmetry attested in plural forms as well as for the seemingly inconsistent variation of determiners in similar syntactic contexts.
Roman Gundacker,
Where to Place ‘Ältere Komposita’? Traces of Dialectal Diversity Among Early Toponyms and Theonyms
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The creation of ‘Ältere Komposita’ (‘Older Compounds’), which required that the ‘Zweisilbengesetz’ (‘Two-Syllable-Law’) was not yet in force, can be traced back to the Old Kingdom or earlier periods. ‘Ältere Komposita’ which can be assigned to certain localities, among them toponyms and names (epithets) of gods, are thus a remarkable source for information on the dialectal landscape of the 3rd millennium BC. The distribution of this kind of theonyms and toponyms allows for the determination of the speed of language development of Egyptian in different regions. According to the data collected, the court royal’s idiom at Memphis was the last vernacular to create ‘Ältere Komposita’ which then became an obsolete category.
Elsa Oréal,
Nominalizations as a Source for Verbal Morphology. Grammaticalization Paths of Modality and Information Structure in Earlier Egyptian
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In Earlier Egyptian, verb forms whose translation involve some sort of modality include the sDm(w)-f, often called “Prospective,” and the “Emphatic” mrr-f form. Both have been recognized to have nominal features, although their syntactic and discursive function remains a much discussed topic. This contribution proposes to reconstruct paths of change that explain the emergence of these forms out of former participant/event nominalizations marked for definiteness vs. indefiniteness. Exploring this hypothesis sheds light not only on what is inherently marked by the forms themselves, but also on the role of particular uses within distinct source constructions in elaborating their respective semantics.
Helmut Satzinger,
Second Tenses in Egyptian-Coptic and Some Other African Languages
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Egyptian has special verb forms for non-main clauses in two varieties: one for relative clauses, one for complement clauses. More and more, the latter tend to serve one of the focalising constructions, whereas the cleft sentence constructions employ the forms for relative clauses. The cleft sentence is the preferred focalising construction throughout Africa. Many languages have, like Egyptian, special morphological features for complement clauses or relative clauses that often serve for focalising constructions of the cleft sentence type. In this way, Egyptian fits perfectly in the linguistic landscape of Africa, whereas, in this respect, it is here in contrast to Semitic.
Wolfgang Schenkel,
|n-/= “sagt” < |(.|) |n- “sagt(e), nämlich”
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|n-/= ‘says’ < |(.|) |n- ‘says/said, namely’ ”
Reported speech can be indicated as a quote in Earlier Egyptian via the word | or the word |n. As for |, it most certainly appears in pseudoverbal forms as, for instance, we can see in |.t(|) |n X ‘she says/said, namely X’. On the other hand, with respect to |n one may be uncertain whether |n is an | in the construction È@m.n=f, and is thus |.n, or whether it is actually the word |n.
The following contribution offers, with reference to sources from the Coffin Text corpus, two possible approaches to these open questions (§ 4). In the first study (§ 4.1), examples from Spell 404 of the unclear |n + masculine agent ‘he says/said, namely X’ will be compared with the concordant |.t(|) |n + feminine agent, which is constructed with a pseudoparticiple, ‘she says/said, namely X’. One can conclude from this that analogue to the formulation with the feminine agent, the |n with a masculine agent is to be construed as an expression constructed with the pseudoparticiple, namely |(.|) (|)n + masculine agent ‘he says/said, namely X’. In the second study (§ 4.4), some of the so-called Abscheusprüche are employed as examples to explain that |n in its connections with suffix pronouns, specifically in |n=Èn ‘they say/said’, is the word |n originating from the abbreviation of |(.|) (|)n. The interchangeability of |n with the verb of citation Xr_ is significant here, as it disproves the explanation of |n as a È@m.n=f form (§ 4.4.2).
Introductory studies also present a selection of the Egyptological grammatical literature (§ 2) as well as a linguistic outline of the problem, the catalyst for the study presented here (§ 3). In the conclusion the problems surrounding the collaboration of linguists and philologists concerning this case are considered (§ 5).
Gebhard J. Selz, Colette Grinevald & Orly Goldwasser,
The Question of Sumerian “Determinatives”. Inventory, Classifier Analysis, and Comparison to Egyptian Classifiers from the Linguistic Perspective of Noun Classification
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The two most ancient writing systems, Sumerian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs share one feature: the use of so-called “determinatives” thought to be of purely graphic nature and unpronounced. After considering the state of the art discussion of these cuneiform determinatives, the first contribution of this paper is to present a consolidated list of the alleged cuneiform determinatives, including a short discussion of the various entries, related to their semantics, estimated origin, frequency and chronological distribution. The second import of this paper is to further demonstrate that the Sumerian determinatives constitute a “noun classifier” system strikingly similar to better-studied classifier systems. This demonstration starts by establishing the particular categorization domains and functions of the Sumerian system, in order to then compare it with two classifier systems: one a noun classifier system in a contemporary Mayan language (Jakaltek), the other that of the Ancient Egyptian script, a much more complex system in its inventory, use and function but including a similar classification function. It is suggested in conclusion that a future path of research should discuss in detail how the Sumerian classifier system emerged and in what ways it forms the basis for the later evolution of classifiers in the cuneiform world, taking up both the issue of noun formation and noun classification in that script, to eventually establish Sumerian as the earliest attested language with true noun classification.
Nathalie Sojic,
Identifying Late Egyptian Virtual Relative Clauses
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The Ancient Egyptian constructions known as “virtual” relative clauses (VRCs) are adverbial clauses that function like relative clauses. In Late Egyptian, they are introduced by the particle iw. Descriptions provided by grammars mention their existence and propose some translational devices. But these translational devices are not sufficient for a linguistic description of the Late Egyptian relativization system in a linguistic perspective. This paper aims at establishing clues based on syntax and discourse analysis to identify Late Egyptian VRCs.
Elisabeth Steinbach-Eicke,
Experiencing is Tasting Perception Metaphors of Taste in Ancient Egyptian
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In this contribution the different meanings of the Egyptian verb of gustatory perception ³p “to taste sth.” are explored. The verb has a wide range of meanings in physical, emotional and mental domains, which result from intrafield and transfield mappings. Various metaphorical extensions in the semantics of the lexeme ³p are illustrated using approaches from the field of Cognitive Linguistics, particularly the framework of property selection processes.
Sami Uljas,
Where to Stick an Adverbial in Earlier Egyptian
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After a brief formal discussion, the syntactic and syntagmatic placement of (non-clausal) adverbials in Earlier Egyptian is shown to follow a set of morphological and semantic principles ranging from clitic-like status and iconicity to argument- and complement role versus adjunct role. However, these principles turn out to be of a rather flexible sort, and in case of clusters of adjunctive expressions they increasingly seem to give way to pragmatically based decisions. This study is a sequel to an earlier paper by the present author on the positioning of clausal adjuncts in Earlier Egyptian.