Publications in classifier studies

In Press
Orly. Goldwasser. In Press. “Was There an ‘Animal’ in Ancient Egypt? Studies in Lexica and Classifier Systems, with a Glimpse Towards Sumer.” In Seen Not Heard: Composition, Iconicity, and the Classifier Systems of Logosyllabic Scripts. March 2–3, 2017 Proceedings.
Simon Thuault. 2021. “Classification of "directive speech acts" in Egyptian teaching texts.Edited by Patricia Mora Riudavets, Jónatan Ortiz García, Raúl Sánchez Casado, Sergio Alarcón Robledo, Marta Arranz Cárcamo, and Albert Planelles Orozco. Abstract
This article can be downloaded from the URL given here; it has no URL or DOI of its own.

Many pieces of advice, recommendations and warnings in Egyptian teaching texts are introduced by imperative verbal lexemes (which linguists call "directive speech acts"). Examples can be found, for example, in the teachings of Ptahhotep, Ani, and Amenemhat. The great numbers of imperative lexemes in these texts offer a wide range of spellings, syntactic constructions, and semantic contents. The same lexeme can appear in several forms within a single text, with various phonograms and classifiers. From a semantic point of view, there are also notable variations, such as the various meanings of sA(w), which is usually translated as "refrain from", although it is polysemous. This paper gives an overview of a project that is intended to fill a gap in the Egyptological literature on directive speech acts. Every aspect of the related verbal lexemes is studied, including grammatical analysis, graphemic comparisons, lexicographical and semantic study, as well as issues arising and potential conclusions.
Gaelle Chantrain. 2021. “Classification Strategies from the End of the Ramesside Period until the Late Period: a Living System.” Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde, 148, 1, Pp. 50–64.
Susana Soler. 2021. “Los orígenes del sincretismo Seth-Baal. Seth y la tormenta según los clasificadores de los Textos de los Sarcófagos del Reino Medio” (‘The Beginning of the Syncretism Seth-Baal. Seth and the Storm according to the Classifiers of the Middle.” In “Sentido de un empeño”. Homenatge a Gregorio del Olmo Lete. , edited by Ll. Feliu, A. Millet, and J. Vidal, Pp. 461-475. Barcino: Monographica Orientalia.
This book has a double scope: first, bringing a contribution to the knowledge and understanding of the time conceptions in Ancient Egypt through a lexical study and, second, contributing to the definition of a methodological frame for lexical semantics in Ancient Egyptian.

In the introduction, the reader will first find a state of the art from the point of view of time-related studies in Egyptology, lexical semantics studies, and classifiers studies. The next introductory sections deal with the links between time, space and motion, with the complexity of time conceptions in Ancient Egypt, and with the impact of this plural vision on the lexicon. The first part of the core study aims at establishing a proposition of canvas for the semasiology of nouns. It also presents the semasiological analysis of eight lexemes belonging to the unbounded time domain: A.t (moment), wnw.t (hour), nw (moment), tr (time), HAw (epoch), rk (epoch), aHaw (lifetime) and Hnty (period).

The second part is dedicated to the onomasiology of the unbounded time domain, as well as some of its connections with some contiguous domains like space.

Aperçu du contenu:

English Abstract;
0.1 État de la question;
0.2 Objectifs de la présente étude;
Partie I: Notions théoriques:
I.1. Définitions;
I.2. Temps, espace et mouvement;
I.3. Le temps en Égypte ancienne: une conception plurielle;
I.4. Corpus;
I.5. Méthodologie;
Partie II: Sémasiologie;
II.0. Introduction aux analyses de sémasiologie;
II.1. A.t;
II.2. wnw.t;
II.3. nw;
II.4. tr;
II.5. HAw;
II.6. rk;
II.7. aHaw;
II.8. Hnty;
II.9. Récapitulatif des sémèmes identifiés;
Partie III: Onomasiologie:
III.1. Définition des significations-types;
III.2. Oppositions structurelles au sein du réseau sémantique;
III.3. Organisation du sens;
IV. Conclusions;
Liste des abréviations employées;
Index des passages cités.

For a detailed table of contents and the English abstract, see
Publication of the author's doctoral dissertation, defended in 2017 at Paul Valéry University of Montpellier.

Ce livre se concentre sur une particularité hiéroglyphique et hiératique traditionnellement appelée "dissimilation graphique" er désormais nommée "dissemblance graphémique". Principalement attestée dans les textes de l'Ancien Empire, on rencontre cette particularité graphémique dans les duels et pluriels archaïques, offrant plusieurs classificateurs (ou déterminatifs) au lieu d'un seul agrémenté de traits diacritiques. Es dit "dissemblable" un lexème dont les classificateurs sont distincts, et non identiques comme il est d'usage la plupart du temps. Par exemple, mHy.t, "poissons", montrera une graphie standard si les trois poissons servant de classificateurs sont les mêmes; sa graphie sera "dissemblabla" si trois espèces - au lieu d'une seule - sont représentées.

Le présent ouvrage se donne pour objectif d'étudier de façon systématique les occurrences de dissemblance graphémique dans les textes égyptiens de l'Ancien Empire. Lexèmes concernés, hiéroglyphes employés, catégories représentées... L'analyse grammatologique et linguistique jette ainsi un nouvel éclairage sur une particularité peu prise en compte dans la littérature égyptologique, offrant par là même une nouvelle approche de la catégorisation et de la pensée égyptiennes en général.


This book focuses on a hieroglyphic and hieratic peculiarity traditionally called "dissimilation graphique," but now labelled "dissemblance graphémique" (graphic dissimilarity). Mostly attested in Old Kingdom texts, we can see this graphemic peculiarity in archaic duals and plurals, thus showing several classifiers (or determinatives) instead of a single one with diacritic strokes. A lexeme is "dissimilar" if its classifiers are distinct, and not identical as is usually the case. For example, mHy.t, "fish(es)" is written in a standard way if the three fishes used as classifiers are the same; but its writing is "dissimilar" if three species are figured, instead of a sole one. So, the present book aims at studying in a systematic way the occurrences of graphemic dissimilarity in Old Kingdom texts. Involved lemmas, used hieroglyphs, relevant categories... The grammatological and linguistic analysis shed new lights on a little studied peculiarity, thus offering a new approach for ancient Egyptian categorization and Weltanschauung in general.

Table de matières:

English abstract;
0.1 La "dissemblance graphémiqeu!, définition et état des lieux;
0.2 Problématiques et objectifs;
0.3 Méthodologie;
0.4 Plan;
Première partie: La dissemblance comme particularité graphémique;
1.1 Êtres humains;
1.2 Faune;
1.3 Alimentation;
1.4 Architecture (santuaires);
1.5 Artéfacts;
1.6 "Fausse" dissemblances et autres cas particuliers;
1.7 Absence notables;
1.8 Dissemblance chromatique;
Deuxième partie: Causes et conséquences de la dissemblance graphémique;
II.1 Architecture, titulature et dissemblance graphémique;
II.2 Les hiéroglyphes, entre texte et image;
II.3 Copie, régionalisme et distinction royale;
II.4 Objectifs de la dissemblance graphémique;
II.5 Conclusion;
Troisième partie: Dissemblance graphémique et catégorisation;
III.1 La catégorisation, théorie(s) et application à l'égyptologie;
III.2 Catégories égyptiennes;
III.3 Synthèse: la catégorisation égyptienne d'après la dissemblance graphémique;
Conclusion: La dissemblance graphémique: comment et pourquoi?;
- Dissemblance graphémique et classification;
- La dissemblance graphémique après l'Ancien Empire;
- Bilan;
Liste des figures;

For a detailed table of contents, see
Translated title: "Comparative zoological classification parameters: the Anatidae family in Egyptian and Sumerian".

This study aims to lay the foundations for a further research project in which, through a comparative methodology, a zootechnical compendium of graphic representations linked to semantic content characteristic of the birds in the two main pre-Aristotelian classification traditions of Antiquity, Egypt and Mesopotamia, is carried out in order to establish their points of contact, affinities, possible affiliations and constitutive divergences. Focusing - for space reasons - on some significant species of the Anatidae family, we try to achieve a dual objective: to make a brief description of its possible animal behaviour from iconographic and literary sources, and, in addition, to describe the lexical-graphematic functioning of the determining signs or generic classifiers this class of birds are depicted with in both spellings. This latter aspect will be addressed from a comparative perspective that allows us to shape a kind of basic mental scheme that accounts for the functional and symbolic role that these birds possessed at the core of the symbolic world representation revealed by both spellings. Furthermore, it could help us to understand more accurately the anthropological nucleus that underlies them. The authors of this contribution start from the theoretical principle - already confirmed by recent theoretical studies - that the contrasting study of semantic classifiers can provide valuable information on the categorization and hierarchy of classes of world features represented by the speakers of these languages, particularly as they are underlying cognitive principles and rules that iconically reflect a rather coherent conceptual and spatial microcosm.

This article is also part of Díaz-Iglesias Llanos, Lucía, Alba María Villar Gómez, Daniel Miguel Méndez-Rodríguez, Cruz Fernanz Yagüe, Miguel Ángel Molinero Polo, and José Ramón Pérez-Accino (eds). Horizonte y perspectiva. Estudios sobre la civilización egipcia antigua.
Andréas Stauder. 2020. “Scripts.Edited by Elizabeth Bloxam and Ian Shaw. Abstract
Egyptian writing comprises a variety of structurally and historically related scripts (hieroglyphic, hieratic, demotic), distributed according to historically shifting spheres of use. Egyptian scripts are mixed systems that represent both meaning and the sounds of language, allowing for a remarkable variety of historically changing spelling patterns. Hieroglyphic writing had major aesthetic and sacralizing functions, related to its enduring pictoriality. Beyond representing speech, Egyptian writing was also used to express non-linguistic dimensions of meaning. This chapter discusses categories of signs, different types of spellings of words, the roles played by determinatives and classifiers, and the nature of linear hieroglyphs, hieratic, abnormal hieratic, and demotic. It also considers cultural contacts and influences on the various Egyptian scripts, and the eventual process of their obsolescence.
Jean. Winand. 2019. “Did you say synonyms? The case of pḥ and spr in Late Egyptian.” In In Festschrift für Hans- Werner Fischer-Elfert, ed. M. Brose, Fr. Naether, Dietrich Raue, and Tonio Sebastian Richter., Pp. 1235-1274. de Gruyter.
Elisabeth Steinbach-Eicke. 2019. “Taste metaphors in Hieroglyphic Egyptian.” Perception Metaphors, 19, Pp. 145.
Silvia Zago. 2018. “Classifying the Duat.” Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde, 145, 2, Pp. 205–218.
Stéphane Polis. 2018. “The Functions and Toposyntax of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs. Exploring the Iconicity and Spatiality of Pictorial Graphemes.” Signata. Annales des sémiotiques/Annals of Semiotics, 9, Pp. 291–363.
Francesca Iannarilli. 2018. “Write to dominate reality: graphic alteration of anthropomorphic signs in the Pyramids Texts.” Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections, 17, Pp. 37-46.
Jacobus van Dijk. 2017. “The cloaked man determinative.” In The cultural manifestation of religious experience: studies in honour of Boyo G. Ockinga, edited by Camilla Di Biase-Dyson and Leonie Donovan, Pp. 327-337. Munster: Ugarit.
Mark-Jan Nederhof and Fahrurrozi Rahman. 2017. “A probabilistic model of Ancient Egyptian writing.” Journal of Language Modelling, 5, 1, Pp. 131–163.
T. Pommerening and W. Bisang (eds.). 2017. Classification from Antiquity to Modern Times. Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter.
Gaëlle Chantrain and Camilla Di Biase-Dyson. 2017. “Making a Case for Multidimensionality in Ramesside Figurative Language.” Lingua Aegyptia, 25, Pp. 41-66.
Selz G. J, C. Grinevald, and O. Goldwasser. 2017. “The Question of Sumerian Determinatives: Inventory, Classifier Analysis, and Comparison to Egyptian Classifiers.” Lingua Aegyptia, 25, Pp. 64 pp.
Orly Goldwasser. 2017. “What Is a horse?—Lexical acculturation and classification in Egyptian, Sumerian, and Nahuatl.” In T. Pommerening and W. Bisang (eds.), Classification from Antiquity to Modern Times, Pp. 45-66. Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter.