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Hebrew Studies 41 (2000) 237 Reviews EGYPTIAN PROPER NAMES AND LOANWORDS IN NORTHWEST SEMITIC. By Yoshiyuki Muchiki. SBLDS 153. pp. xxv + 357. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1999. Cloth, $48.00. This book is the publication of Muchiki's dissertation, completed at the University of Liverpool in 1990 under K. A. Kitchen and A. R. Millard. Its purpose is to establish the phonetic correspondences between NorthWest Semitic languages and ancient Egyptian. Previous studies in this field have often focused on this problem by looking at Egyptian representations of Semitic words. The correspondences have been assumed to be reversible , but this is not always the case. Muchiki notes, for example, that Egyptian scribes used l to represent Semitic 0, but Semitic scribes did not use 0 for Egyptian I.. This study, therefore, attempts to catalogue Egyptian proper names and loanwords that appear in North-West Semitic, in order to establish the phonological correspondences from that side. Muchiki suggests that the results of this study will provide useful information in four areas of interest to philologists. The first three results are standard: (1) revealing diachronic changes in the Egyptian sound values over time, (2) isolating phonetic values in Semitic, and (3) increasing our knowledge of the meaning of certain Semitic words. The fourth goal is more ambitious. He suggests that Aramaic, Hebrew, and Ugaritic might shed light on the vocalization of Egyptian words through the matres leetionis in Aramaic and Hebrew and the three 'alephs in Ugaritic. Muchiki sets out his method in the first chapter, where he discusses the guidelines followed in isolating loanwords and proper names. His two primary criteria include the lack of a Semitic etymology and the presence of a good Egyptian derivation. After identifying the words, he categorizes them into three groups: possible, probable, and certain. It is only this last category , those words that have defmitely been identified as Egyptian, that are used for the analysis of phonetic correspondences. He also includes a fourth category, which comprises possible Egyptian loanwords suggested by other scholars but rejected by him. The inclusion of this last group makes the book a fairly complete catalogue of Egyptian loanwords. The following chapters focus on individual North-West Semitic languages : Phoenician and Punic, Aramaic, Hebrew (both biblical texts and inscriptions), and Ugaritic. Muchiki also has a chapter on the El-Amarna tablets. Each chapter includes an inventory of Egyptian words, divided into the categories of personal names, divine names, geographical names, and loanwords. This is followed by an analysis of the phonetic correspon- Hebrew Studies 41 (2000) 238 Reviews dences. The chapters on Aramaic. Hebrew. and Ugaritic also include short sections that discuss the light each of these languages sheds on the vocalization of Egyptian. Muchiki is fairly conseIVative in his evaluation of possible Egyptian loanwords. In the section on Egyptian personal names found in Hebrew. out of seventy possible words he classifies only twenty-four as "certain." The percentage is slightly higher for the section on Egyptian loanwords in Hebrew. where twenty-five of the sixty words are considered "certain." As expected. many of these are the names of trade and luxury goods. such as fabrics. precious stones. and exotic animals. Words adopted directly from Egyptian. such as proper nouns and titles (Nile. pharaoh). and of measurement (bin. ephah) are common as well. Most of Muchiki's identifications seem sound. and the entries for possible Egyptian words usually include a short section discussing why he accepts or rejects the identification. In a few instances. however. being even more conseIVative in the classification of some words as "certain" would have been preferable. The Hebrew word nlCM. for instance. is identified with Egyptian (n)s-n(y).t ("She who belongs to Neith"). Other scholars have put forth different identifications. and Muchiki admits that the other identifications are equally possible. Another case is the Hebrew llM'lJ. which he sees as coming from Egyptian m(r)y-(mn ("Beloved of Amun"). Given the number of Hebrew personal names beginning with the element '0 ("who"). Muchiki's suggestion is far from definite. In cases such as these where more than one plausible alternative exists. it would be safer not to classify those words as "certain...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1681
Print ISSN
0146-4094
Pages
pp. 237-239
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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