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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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From Scribal Repertoire to Text Community

From Scribal Repertoire to Text Community

The Challenge of Variable Writing Systems

(p.20) 2 From Scribal Repertoire to Text Community
Scribal Repertoires in Egypt from the New Kingdom to the Early Islamic Period

Merja Stenroos

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the problem of relating individual scribal usages to community-level linguistic variation in languages for which the surviving records consist of handwritten texts (‘manuscript languages’). In the absence of detailed contextual information, both individual texts and corpora pose problems of representativeness. A solution is to study the surviving texts strictly on their own terms, rather than attempting to reconstruct the overall variation within the language area. The study of smaller text communities, defined on the basis of groups of texts sharing specific parameters, may provide a useful approach. The discussion is based on work on late Middle English materials, but deals with problems common to many manuscript languages.

Keywords:   repertoire, discourse community, text community, late Middle English, textual parameters

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