November 10, 2017 | Author: Francesca Iannarilli | Category: Semantics, Hierarchy, Theory, Hypothesis, Epistemology
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Lincke, Eliese-Sophia: Die Pr inz i p i en der Kl a s s i f i z ierung im Al t ä g y p t i s ch en . Wiesbaden: Harrass...




tradition as an artificial language stage used after the Middle Kingdom to produce religious and cultural texts in a deliberately archaizing, elevated speech register. Closely related, she also posits that Egyptian culture did not operate with the notion of a ‘sacred language,’ set apart from colloquial speech and deemed required for certain text genres and pragmatic situations. She maintains that irrespective of genres and contexts, Egyptians produced new texts in the contemporary language phase and were in fact incapable of (because they were not interested in) producing texts that mimic earlier, supposedly more authoritative and appropriate, stages of the language. Therefore, the presence of linguistic features attributable to a phase of the language earlier than the date of the preserved text witness is not the result of a scribe striving to archaize his text for ideological reasons, but plain and simple a trace of an earlier layer of the text or text passage. At any given time, so her argument runs, scribes copied and adapted texts in earlier language stages, while also writing new texts in contemporary speech and producing hybrids of old and new from using archival copies and set phraseologies. Her thesis is provocative and deserves consideration. It is however not without problems and will surely elicit strong reactions among linguists and historians alike. It implies that the earliest version of what later became ‘The Foundation of the Course of the Stars’ dates to the Old Kingdom – as does then the entire genre of cosmographic texts, for that matter. The emergence of cosmographic texts is thus set close to a millennium earlier than common opinion. The commentary to the text is exemplary. The discussions of mythological references are well informed and bring new insights to the text. Given the fragmentary nature of all text witnesses and the at times highly technical and then again obscure mythological language, the author deserves high praise for her work. She has given us a reliable new edition of a composition that is crucial to understanding Egyptian cosmology and religion. Jacco Dieleman (Los Angeles)

Lincke, Eliese-Sophia: D i e Prinzipien der Klassifizierung im Altägyptischen. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2011 (Göttinger Orientforschungen IV. Reihe Ägypten 38 / Classification and Categorization in Ancient Egypt 6). XIII + 159 Seiten. ISBN 978-3-4470-5900-8. 38,00 €. The latest addition to the ‘Classification and Categorization in Ancient Egypt’ subseries of the Göttinger Orientforschungen is a reworked edition of the author’s Magisterarbeit at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. The introduction first presents the aims of the book, the central purpose of which is to elucidate the use of classifiers in the Pyramid Texts, with particular respect to ‘mutilated’ human figures. On the following pages is found a brief introduction to the theoretical framework, based to a large extent on classification studies from outside the field of Egyptology and introduced to this discipline particularly by Orly Goldwasser and Frank Kammerzell. The remainder of the introduction provides bibliographic overviews of the Pyramid Texts, Egyptological discussions of determinatives/classifiers, and especially the cross field between these two areas.



Following the introduction, the main body of the work is divided into three parts. The first, smallest part, “Computergestützte Aufbereitung hieroglyphischer Texte”, deals with the problems of codifying Egyptian texts electronically. A problem of particular magnitude when dealing with the highly diverse inventory of signs in the Pyramid Texts is that of ascribing a code in the sign list to individual variants of a particular sign. This challenge has been met by keeping sign variants separate to a large degree, thereby creating a substantial addition to the sign list reproduced here as appendix 1. The second part is entitled “Die Systematisierung der ägyptischen Klassifikatoren” and deals with the development of a conceptual framework suitable for describing and analyzing the use of classifiers. The first section of this part takes up the by now relatively well-established analysis of taxonomical hierarchies into superordinate, basic, and subordinate levels. As a transversal axis to this hierarchical one, the author discusses next the importance of meronymical (part-whole) and metonymical (contiguity) relations along with various subtypes useful for describing relations between a lexeme and its classifier(s). As an innovation in the Egyptological literature, the next subsection introduces a previously unpublished framework developed by Frank Kammerzell, that of semantic roles. It is suggested that classifiers, especially those classifying verbs, can be described according to semantic roles such as agent, undergoer, location etc., giving a small set of possible roles a given entity may play in an event. Each classifier can then be analyzed as depicting (in whole or in part) one or more of these prototypical participants. After discussing and suggesting a few minor changes to the framework developed by Kammerzell, the author moves on to the special case of mutilated hieroglyphs as they can be understood within this conceptual framework. Semantic roles can account for the majority of cases, but a few exceptional examples are left that appear to exhibit a kind of lucus a non lucendo-logic, such as Hor, ‘hunger’ classified with man-with-hand-to-mouth classifier (A2) or bread (X2). To explain these, the author introduces the notion of frame semantics, according to which lexemes form part of frames evoking an entire experiential scenario. Referring to modern psycholinguistic experiments of word association, the author points out that test subjects often associate notions such as ‘food’ or ‘eat’ with the keyword ‘hungry’ because the words belong to a common frame, thus indicating a possible parallel to the Egyptian classifiers. Concluding this part, a small handful of classifiers are analysed according to the framework presented, more specifically [MIT DEM MUND] (A2), [BEWEGUNG] (D54), [GEWALT/KONTROLLE] (A24) and [ADMINISTRATIVES] (Y1). The third part, “Klassifizierung in Kontext” sets up a number of hypotheses regarding the influence on classifiers by the wider or narrower contexts. Some of the hypotheses arise from the examination in the earlier parts of the book, while others have been advanced in the previous literature. The general note in this part is negative: the use of classifiers in the material examined here shows very little influence from the context. The main exceptions are personal names, where the classifier can be changed to reflect age, gender, status etc., and so-called secondary classifications, i.e. cases such as participles classified both by the verbal classifier of the root and a sitting-man (A1) classifying the designation of a human male.



A few pages of “Zusammenfassung und Ausblick” conclude the book, which also contains two appendices, one presenting a list of anthropomorphic classifiers in the Pyramid Texts, and one reproducing an excerpt of an unpublished project report by Frank Kammerzell on the research project “Typologie und Gebrauch der ägyptischen Hieroglyphenschrift”, in which he introduces the theoretical framework forming the basis of the book. The book offers much interesting material for discussion, but for the present purposes focus will be limited to a few brief remarks on theory and method, as the presentation and implementation of the new conceptual framework in part 2 is likely to be seen as the main contribution of the book to the field of Egyptology. In most cases, the new framework for understanding the relationship between a word and its classifier based on semantic roles is able to offer convincing and often remarkably elegant new explanations for both frequent and more marginal phenomena. Perhaps for this reason, the author in most cases does not assign much space to the alternative theories and explanations advanced in the field of classifier studies in Egyptology, a strategy which on the whole works very well. However, in a case like the discussion of such classificatory phenomena as Dnd, ‘rage’ classified , and Hntj, ‘be greedy’ with (pp. 53-57), the discussion would have with gained by following the theory being criticized back to its origins. The great advantage of the author’s analysis is that it manages to bring these otherwise somewhat exceptional usages completely in line with the general principles of verb classifiers: The classifier shows a prototypical participant in the event expressed by the verb, so the bull is a prototypical experiencer of Dnd, ‘rage’, just as it is a prototypical undergoer of smA, ‘slaughter’, accounting for the use of the same classifier in both of these words. However, if one reads the original theory behind Goldwasser’s suggestions criticized by the author,1 it becomes clear that some of the objections given by the author seem to rest on a misapprehension of the notion of ‘ad hoc category’, understood rather too literally by the author in her critique (p. 55f).2 Similarly, there is no reason a priori to assume that the hieroglyphic writing system should present a ‘neutral’ view of the world, and thus it does not appear to be a weighty counterargument to object, as the author does (p. 56f), that a metaphorical understanding would entail a graphemically fixed evaluation that could not shift with the context. In fact, the association of particular acts with animal-like behavior would remain whether the classification is understood as metaphorical with Goldwasser or, following the author, the animals are seen as prototypical experiencers. In the latter case, the animals would still be marked as more prototypical experiencers than human beings, making the action in question particularly characteristic of the classifying animal. It should be noted, however, that there is no doubt in this reviewer’s mind as to the cogency of the analysis



Primarily the original formulation of the theory by Sam Glucksberg and Boaz Keysar, “Understanding Metaphorical Comparisons: Beyond Similarity”, Psychological Review 97/1 (1990), pp. 3-18. Thus, as pointed out ibid., p. 9, it is no problem for an ‘ad hoc category’ to be deeply entrenched, even to the point of being lexicalized, which weakens part of the author’s argument somewhat.



offered by the author, if only partly due to the arguments she advances against Goldwasser’s previous analysis. The author’s introduction of the theory of frame semantics (pp. 67-69) enables a persuasive explanation of apparently incongruous cases such as Hor, ‘hunger’ classified with the man-with-hand-to-mouth classifier (A2), and makes a promising and useful innovation in the study of graphemic classification. However, given the cultural specificity of semantic frames,3 the author’s reliance on modern psycholinguistic experiments with English and German speakers to explore ancient Egyptian semantic frames is questionable. In the specific case where the question concerns relations between such profoundly embodied and universal concepts as eating and hunger, the argument is convincing enough (as indeed it would have been without recourse to the modern experimental data), but for the notion to work as a general principle, semantic frames would need to be studied on the basis of culture-specific data. Although a few particular details of the implementation of the framework are thus methodically debatable, the book as a whole constitutes an important addition to the literature on graphemic classification, both for its introduction of the previously unpublished theoretical framework of semantic roles which is likely to be of use in future classifier studies and for the specific analyses presented of the writing system in the Pyramid Texts, on which it offers new valuable perspectives. Rune Nyord (Cambridge)

Luiselli, Maria Michela: D i e S u c h e n a c h G o t t e s n ä h e . U n t e r s u c h u n g e n zur Persönlichen Frömmigkeit in Ägypten von der Ersten Z w i s c h e n z e i t b i s z u m E n d e d e s N e u e n R e i c h e s . Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2011 (Ägypten und Altes Testament 73). XIX + 465 Seiten, 13 Tafeln. ISBN 978-3-44705890-2. 98,00 €. Es ist nunmehr ein gutes Jahrhundert her, dass James Breasted und Adolf Erman das Phänomen der „persönlichen Frömmigkeit“ in einer Reihe von Texten aus dem ramessidischen Theben entdeckten. Diese Inschriften, die die Gottheit preisen, die den Hilferuf des bedrängten Menschen erhört und sich dem reuigen Sünder wieder gnädig zuwendet, zeigten ägyptische Religion in einem Licht, das wenig mit dem aus den Zeugnissen der offiziellen Staatsreligion gewonnenen Bild gemein hatte und in der Forschung als umso erfrischender empfunden wurde. Im Laufe der Zeit wurde klar, dass sich persönliche Frömmigkeit vereinzelt auch schon früher – wie dies ja ohnehin zu erwarten war – in verschiedenen Quellen manifestierte, auch wenn es ein weiter Weg bis zu den eindrucksvollen Äußerungen der Ramessidenzeit war: Die „persönliche Suche nach Gottesnähe“, wie die Autorin dieses Phänomen benennt (z.B. S. 36), wird bereits in Personennamen des Alten Reichs fassbar, aber außerhalb davon erst ab der Ersten Zwischenzeit thematisiert. Eine umfassende und 3

Cf. e.g. the framework around concepts such as breakfast or week-end in Charles J. Fillmore, “Frame Semantics”, in: Dirk Geeraerts (ed.), Cognitive Linguistics: Basic Readings, Berlin and New York 2006, p. 380f.

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