Julianna Kitti Paksi

Diglossia and the Function of Linguistic Variety in the Ramesside Texts

The Egyptian literature abounds in linguistically heterogeneous texts. Numerous hymns, prayers, royal inscriptions, biographies and many administrative documents consist of separate registers and use different linguistic codes within the same body of text. In spite of the abundance of this kind of examples, there has never been a detailed study devoted to this phenomenon which would have aimed at finding an overarching explanation for the in-text alternations of the language.
Why (and how) do Late Egyptian forms suddenly appear where we would expect the continuation of the Middle Egyptian syntax? Can the intrusions of the vernacular into the classical language be explained with the actuality and perhaps also with the importance of that particular passage? Would sufficient data show genre-specific patterns and peculiarities? Is it at all possible to arrive at generalizations or do we have to stop at the point of describing the phenomenon?
In answering the above questions, my focus will lie on the 19th and 20th dynasty royal inscriptions whose detailed analysis, will allow us to better understand how diglossia functioned in practice in the last three centuries of the second millennium BC.

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