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Egyptian Writing For Non-Egyptian Languages And Vice Versa: A Short Overview

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Chapter Summary

The fact that the Egyptian writing could be, and was used for writing other languages is of some theoretical interest. This chapter discusses cases where not only single words were rendered but also connected texts of at least one sentence in length. The literary letter of the New Kingdom, attested mainly in papyrus Anastasi I, contains, besides many deliberately chosen individual foreign words, in 23, 5 one single phrase entirely in a Semitic language. The famous papyrus Amherst 63 is written entirely in Demotic script but Aramaic language. In summation, we have to note that there are guaranteed cases where Egyptian writing was used for non-Egyptian language, even though they are quite few in number. This use of an Egyptian writing system for preserving rather the effective sound than the meaning of a passage has a good parallel in inner-Egyptian renderings.

Keywords: Aramaic language; Egyptian writing; New Kingdom; non-Egyptian language; papyrus; Semitic language



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