Strukturen und Transformationen des Wortschatzes der ägyptischen Sprache

Text-und Wissenskulturen im alten Ägypten


With its 4,500 years of history, the Egyptian-Coptic language, which is now extinct, is the language of mankind that has been handed down in written form for the longest time. Their words are the mirror of the understanding of the world and the universe of knowledge of one of the formative cultures of the Old World. In order to tap the linguistic and cultural studies research potential of this inscribed knowledge, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) and the Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Leipzig (SAW) are working together to build a comprehensive digital corpus of Egyptian texts of all linguistic and literary eras, annotated lexically and morphosyntactically. This text corpus, which builds on the results of the Old Egyptian Dictionary project and its thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae completed in 2012, is provided with a diachronic, semantically and morphologically distinguished word thesaurus. This results in a digital environment that represents the entire vocabulary of the Egyptian-Coptic language, i. e. Egyptian, Demotic and Coptic, and shows the semantic structures and developments in detail.

For the first time, the project provides the opportunity to research text and vocabulary beyond the boundaries of the individual written forms (hieroglyphic-hieratic, demotic, copyist) and to understand the language change. Concepts, formats, and procedures as well as technical instruments are developed for the annotation, structuring and dynamic analysis of text corpus and thesaurus. The aim is to open up the Egyptian vocabulary to differentiating and structuring analysis throughout its entire tradition. In doing so, the project can make a significant contribution to the development of structures and changes in Egyptian vocabulary in its complex linguistic, historical, and social reality as well as in the contrast between general and technical terminology. The text database and word thesaurus are made freely available on the Internet via a dynamic user interface - the extended thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae - for both internal and external use.

The project work is divided between two complementary positions at BBAW and SAW. BBAW is building Textcorpora for the period from the 1st millennium BC to the 1st millennium CE. It is also responsible for the methodical and technical structure of the text database and the structuring of the thesaurus. The SAW is dedicated to the corpus of technical texts and the analysis of technical vocabulary.


  • Angela Böhme (Technical Research Associate)
  • Dr. Silke Grallert (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Ingelore Hafemann (Office Site Leader)
  • Maxim Kupreyev M.A. (Research Associate)
  • Prof. Dr. Tonio Richter (Project Leader)
  • Dr. Simon Schweitzer (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Doris Topmann (Research Associate)
Running time
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Responsible for the academies' programme

Sebastian Zwies M.A.

Geschäftsstelle Mainz
Union der deutschen Akademien der Wissenschaften
Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 2
55131 Mainz

Tel: 06131/218 528-17