The Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae on the Internet


The Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae is a publication platform made available on the Internet by the Project Structure and Transformation in the Vocabulary of the Egyptian Language (former Ancient Egyptian Dictionary Project) at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Within the Thesaurus, a digital corpus of Egyptian (including Demotic) texts have been released to the public for computer-assisted search. Lemmatization and morpho-syntactic annotation of the text material allow for specific research from lexical, philological, linguistic, and historico-cultural points of view. All texts come with running translations to assist particularly non-specialists and scholars of neighbouring disciplines in their work.
The digital text corpus, forming the substance of this information system, is the result of years of ongoing cooperation among several projects, and will continue developing on this basis. Contributions have been made by the Project Structure and Transformation in the Vocabulary of the Egyptian Language (former Ancient Egyptian Dictionary Project) at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Saxonian Academy of Sciences ans Humanities in Leipzi. The now finished projects Demotic Text Database Project of the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz (Wuerzburg branch), Book of the Dead Project of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts (Bonn) and « Digital Heka » has been involved from the very beginning. Since 2005, the Leuven Online Index of Ptolemaic and Roman Hieroglyphic Texts Project of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven has been involved. Since October 2012 texts of the Horus temple of the Edfu Project have been integrated. This cooperation was promoted by the Göttingen Academy of Sciences. The origin and concept of this Internet publication have largely been informed by this cooperation.
It is the purpose of the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae to make available, in the form of a virtual dictionary, a new and, within Egyptology novel, tool for lexicographic research into the Egyptian language. In this sense, the project closely follows both purpose and method of the comprehensive Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache, which Adolf Erman inaugurated at the Prussian Academy of Sciences in 1897, making it a success story. As a token of admiration for this outstanding researcher, not least in the field of Egyptian lexicography, the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae was first released for general use on 31 October 2004 – the 150th birth anniversary of Adolf Erman

Material: The Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae in its version of October 2014 comprises about 1,400,000 text words. The following groups of texts are included:

  • Texts from the Old Kingdom and the First Intermediate Period (tomb inscriptions, specifically those of more recent publications of tombs in Giza, Saqqara, Akhmim, and Deir el-Gebrawi; rock inscriptions; records, and notes)
  • Pyramid texts from the Old Kingdom
  • Texts of the archives from the Old Kingdom: The Abu Sir Papyri
  • Letters and Letters to the Dead from the Old Kingdom up to the Third Intermediate Period
  • Magical texts from the Middle Kingdom to the New Kingdom
  • Literary texts from the Middle Kingdom up to the Late Period (tales, dialogues, teachings, laments, prophecies, historical-biographical including royal memorial texts) texts)
  • Texts from the Amarna Period
  • The Book of the Dead in several manuscripts from the New Kingdom and the Late Period
  • Royal-rhetorical texts from the 19th Dynasty
  • Royal historical-biographical texts of the 25.Dynasty
  • Medical texts from the early 18.Dynasty
  • Religious texts from tombs of the 25./26.Dynasty
  • Books from the private cult of the dead / »mortuary liturgies »
  • Books of temple libraries from the ptolemaic and roman times »
  • Texts of temples from the ptolemaic and roman times
  • Demotic texts (a comprehensive selection of literary, religious and administrative texts)

Functions: In its current version, the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae allows to search for lemmata by transliteration, translation and bibliographic reference, also in a combined fashion and using regular expressions. For lemmata, citations (Belegstellen) may be consulted, wider co-texts of citations displayed, and the entire texts navigated. Starting from the display of citation co-texts, all other words are capable of being looked up in their specific contexts. Moreover, users may look into data pertaining to source, date, bibliography, object on which the text is written, etc. Against the background of the material’s spatial classification and provenance, all texts and objects are organized into a hierarchical tree structure, which permits to explore the context of a text (as, for instance, in the decoration of a monumental tomb).

Please note: Functionality was enhanced in the summer of 2008, with the ability to directly search for texts and word combinations being added in. Moreover, it has since been possible to generate indexes and word concordances from individual texts and selected parts of corpora, and to search for the most frequent word classes. A number of statistical functions allow to run collocation and key word analyses, search for the combined occurrence of two words, or calculate the frequency of specific words. We recommend to seek advise from help texts and/or the handbook (PDF).

Searching for hieroglyphic spellings of words of the word list: Since March 2009, it has been possible to search for hieroglyphic spellings in the word list that have to date been entered into the database in the framework of the project. step by step.

Searching for hieroglyphic spellings of words of the text corpus: Since 2011, it has been possible to search for hieroglyphic spellings of words in some texts of the text corpus, such as in texts of tombs of the western cemeteries in the Giza necropolis, the texts from the Amarna period, Books from the private cult of the dead, Books of the temple libraries from the ptol./roman times, Religious texts from the tombs of the 25./26.Dynasties, the Royal historical-biographical texts of the 25.Dynasty and the texts of the Edfu Temple.

Integrating the Digitized Slip Archive: Starting from the lemma list of the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae, users may move to navigate within the Digitized Slip Archive and, in doing so, access reference material for lexemes that are not yet included in the corpus digitized to date. In addition, the Digitized Slip Archive provides extensive information on hieroglyphic spellings of the words. Navigating within the Digitized Slip Archivefrom the context of the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae does not require Java applets.

Future prospects: The publication of the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae on the Internet is designed to be dynamic. At regular intervals, but at least once a year, an update is planned to be released, with the new version to grow in both digital text volume and its search and navigational capabilities.

Terms of Use: Using the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae requires simple « Registration » Use is free of charge. To use the Thesaurus, you are required to abide by, and expressly acknowledge and agree to, all applicable « Copyright Regulations » For notes on « Citing » from the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae please see the « Help Documentation ».

Technical Prerequisites: Technical prerequisites for consulting the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae are deliberately kept at a minimum. The programme may be used with any Internet browser. No additional installation on your desktop is needed. No applets are sent. However, session administration of the TLA requires your browser to accept cookies. Use of JavaScript is kept to limits so as not to affect the publication’s functionality.

Authorship: The editors who entered the individual texts into the digital corpus are identified by notes on authorship, as a text or citation (Belegstelle) is displayed. The editing of the lemma list has been in the hands of Ingelore Hafemann und Simon Schweitzer. Marianne Eaton-Krauss translated the meanings of the Egyptian lemmata into English. Jana Szeponik translated the Help Texts into English, which may be displayed using an english browser only. The Demotic lemma list has been taken care of by Günter Vittmann. The web design of this Internet presentation was created by Anika Strobach. The database and its web application have been programmed by Stephan Seidlmayer.

Acknowledgements: The lemma list of the Egyptian vocabulary is based on a copy of a lemma list compiled by Horst Beinlich (the Beinlich Wordlist) on the basis of the Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache. Both this lemma list and the lemma list of the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae have since been largely developed independently from each other. Jochen Hallof made available for incorporation into the lemma list in the framework of the Ancient Egyptian Dictionary project a comprehensive list of Egyptian personal names, which he compiled on the basis of the Slip Archive of the Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache. The Edfu Project made lemmata of the Edfu texts for incorporation into the lemma list available. The integration of the whole text data of the Edfu Project have been made possible by the promotion of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences. The material of the Demotic lemma list is built on and was made available by Friedhelm Hoffmann at the start of the Demotic Database project of the Academy of Mainz. With texts being entered, this list of Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae has developed in its own right and differs now from the Demotische Wortliste online of Friedhelm Hoffmann. We wish to express our gratitude to all of our colleagues who have contributed to our project by making available these valuable aids.

Contact: If you have queries or suggestions relating to specific passages in a text, please do not hesitate to contact the editors of these texts shown in the note of authorship. For all queries, advice and comments pertaining to general aspects and features of this publication, please email or mail to the Project Structure and Transformation in the Vocabulary of the Egyptian Language (former Altägyptisches Wörterbuch), Jägerstrasse 22/23, D-10 117 Berlin. All incoming suggestions will be considered. Please understand that the editors will not be able to reply to all incoming mail or email.
Should you be interested in being kept abreast of developments pertaining to the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae, please subscribe to the mailinglist. Subscribers will be updated on the project on an irregular basis. By way of this mailing list, you will not receive messages from other TLA users, nor will you be able to send your own messages through the list.

(Text by the organizers)

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