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Ancient Egyptian LiteratureTheory and Practice$
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Roland Enmarch and Verena M. Lepper

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265420

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265420.001.0001

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Ancient Egyptian Literature

Ancient Egyptian Literature

Genre and Style

(p.211) 11 Ancient Egyptian Literature
Ancient Egyptian Literature

Verena M. Lepper

British Academy

This chapter discusses the genre and style of Ancient Egyptian literature. Through the application of lexicostatistics, it analyses a total of fifty texts. Having examined the vocabulary size of Middle Egyptian narratives, Late Egyptian narratives, speeches, and dialogues, the texts under investigation are grouped into genres such as ‘religious texts’, ‘artful prose’, ‘poetry’, ‘teachings’, and so on. On the basis of texts existing in several copies, it becomes apparent that a text maintains a constant vocabulary richness independent of its length. Each copy therefore facilitates the determination of the genre of a text. Furthermore, the language of a text (Middle or Late Egyptian) proves not to be decisive for the vocabulary richness of a text, but rather it is genre that is indicative. The chapter also investigates the question of the practical function of texts, which can best be detected during experimental reading.

Keywords:   lexicostatistics, genre, style, performance, practical function, vocabulary, Egyptian literature

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