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From Group-Writing To Word Association: Representation And Integration Of Foreign Words In Egyptian Script

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Chapter Summary

Egyptian writing is traditionally a system which renders only consonants. As long as it uses words known to the readers and has enough mechanisms to avoid ambiguities, this is not likely to cause serious problems for the reader. In the corpus of Middle Kingdom renderings, one-consonantal values are more frequent, but a remarkably large amount (about 25) of two and three-consonantal signs, mostly with phonetic complements, are present and actually used for sequences of two or three consonants. The New Kingdom system is by no means completely new. Occasional cases of using short Egyptian words, or reducing the second part of a two-consonantal sign to a vocalic value if it was a weak half-vowel, are positively attested in the Old and Middle Kingdom. This chapter presents the cases where the foreign word was adapted to the writing in the Egyptian script; and this is certainly what the norm was.

Keywords: Egyptian script; foreign word; Middle Kingdom; New Kingdom

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