Definitions

Middle_Egyptian

Middle Egyptian

Middle Egyptian is the typical form of the Egyptian spoken from 2000 BC to 1300 BC (after Old Egyptian and before Late Egyptian).

Although evolving into Late Egyptian from the 14th century, Middle Egyptian remained in use as literary standard language until the 4th century AD. As such, it is the classical variant of Egyptian that historically attracted most attention from Egyptology. Whilst most Middle Egyptian is seen written on monuments by Hieroglyphs, it is also written using a cursive variant, and the related Hieratic. As it is usually the first and most used form of the Ancient Egyptian language, it is frequently (incorrectly) referred to simply as "Hieroglyphs".

Progress in the understanding of Middle Egyptian is due to Adolf Erman and his "Berlin school". Erman also published the first Middle Egyptian grammar in 1894, surpassed in 1927 by Alan H. Gardiner's monumental work. From the mid 20th century, Egyptologists considered their understanding of Middle Egyptian to be essentially complete, and began focussing on Old Egyptian, but debate on Middle Egyptian grammar was revived by Hans Jakob Polotsky and his "standard theory" from 1944.

Literature

  • A. H. Gardiner: Egyptian Grammar, Oxford, 1927, 3rd ed. 1957.

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