Reference : Navigating polyfunctionality in the lexicon. Semantic maps and Ancient Egyptian lexic...
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Navigating polyfunctionality in the lexicon. Semantic maps and Ancient Egyptian lexical semantics
Grossman, Eitan mailto [> >]
Polis, Stéphane mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département des sciences de l'antiquité > Egyptologie >]
Lexical Semantics in Ancient Egyptian
Grossman, Eitan mailto
Polis, Stéphane mailto
Winand, Jean mailto
Lingua Aegyptia
Lingua Aegyptia - Studia Monographica, 9
[en] Lexical semantics ; Semantic maps ; Ancient Egyptian ; Polufunctionality ; Allative ; Comitative ; Instrumental
[en] In lexical semantic descriptions of Ancient Egyptian, there is a tendency to search for a single basic meaning or Grundbedeutung, even if the element in question has a wide range of meanings or functions. The actual functions of these elements — as they occur in texts — are usually explained as contextual or combinatory, derived from the interaction of the basic meaning with environmental cues or triggers. While there are certainly lexical items for which this is appropriate, there are nonetheless other ways of describing polyfunctionality, a generic term for situations in which multiple functions (or meanings or senses) are associated with a single signifier. The goal of the present article is to demonstrate that other kinds of analyses are possible, and can be equally interesting and useful for describing the facts of Ancient Egyptian and for relating them to cross-linguistic research. Moreover we show that Ancient Egyptian linguistic data allow us to test — corroborate, extend, or revise — hypotheses that have been proposed in the typological literature. The paper is structured as follows: Part 1 raises the problem of polyfunctionality and possible approaches to this pervasive linguistic phenomenon; Part 2 presents the (classical) semantic map model developed by typologists in order to account for the cross-linguistically recurrent relationships between two or more meanings of single linguistic forms; Part 3 examines the applicability and usefulness of this model in Ancient Egyptian with two small-scale case studies dealing with specific semantic areas ([a] instrument-companion and [b] allative). In each case, the semantic map provides a principled method for the analysis of polyfunctionality in both synchrony and diachrony.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS

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