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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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Linguistic Variation in Ancient Egyptian

Linguistic Variation in Ancient Egyptian

An Introduction to the State of the Art (with Special Attention to the Community of Deir el-Medina)

(p.60) 4 Linguistic Variation in Ancient Egyptian
Scribal Repertoires in Egypt from the New Kingdom to the Early Islamic Period

Stéphane Polis

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides an overview of the types of linguistic variation attested in pre-demotic Egyptian. More specifically, a sociolinguistic perspective is adopted in order to describe the impact that extralinguistic factors—such as time, origin, and social status of the scribe, situation of communication—may have on the written performance at the time. It is observed that the dimensions of variation related to the scribes, while not entirely absent, are rather elusive in this corpus. Variation resulting from the contexts of communication, conversely, is significant: within a multifaceted scribal repertoire, each genre imposes the selection of specific linguistic registers, which range from greater vernacularity and variation to greater formality and standardization. In a final section, the community of Deir el-Medina, namely the settlement of (royal) tomb-builders during the New Kingdom, is in focus so as to describe the effects that this particular scribal environment had on the written production.

Keywords:   linguistic variation, registers, language space, repertoire, text community, social network

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