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Scribal Repertoires in Egypt from the New Kingdom to the Early Islamic Period$
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Jennifer Cromwell and Eitan Grossman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198768104

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198768104.001.0001

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Scribes, Repertoires, and Variation

Scribes, Repertoires, and Variation

(p.1) 1 Scribes, Repertoires, and Variation
Scribal Repertoires in Egypt from the New Kingdom to the Early Islamic Period

Eitan Grossman

Jennifer Cromwell

Oxford University Press

As in spoken language, variation abounds in written texts. In the latter, linguistic and extralinguistic variation coexists: one finds variation in lexical and grammatical features, as well as in other textual parameters such as orthography, phraseology and formulary, palaeography, layout, and formatting. Such variation occurs both within the written output of individuals and across broader corpora that represent ‘communities’ of diverse types. To encapsulate this, we use the inclusive term ‘scribal repertoires’, a concept that is intended to cover the entire set of linguistic and non-linguistic practices that are prone to variation within and between manuscripts, while placing focus on scribes as socially and culturally embedded agents, whose choices are reflected in texts. This conceptualization of scribal variation, inspired by the relatively recent field of historical sociolinguistics, is applied to a range of phenomenon in the scribal cultures of premodern Egypt, across languages and socio-historical settings.

Keywords:   historical sociolinguistics, repertoires, variation, scribes, textual communities

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