Middle East Studies

Department of Egyptology and Assyriology Workshop – Rethinking the Origins: the Departure of Ancient Egyptian as a Branch from the Afroasiatic Family?

Friday, April 13 –
Sunday, April 15, 2018

Friday, April 13, 5:30 – Sunday, April 15, 5:00 p.m.

Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, RI Hall 108, 60 George Street, Providence, RI 02912

If you would like to attend this event, we would appreciate it if you registered for the workshop by sending an email with your name and dietary restrictions to egyptology@brown.edu by April 10, 2018 at the latest.

Rethinking the Origins: the Departure of Ancient Egyptian as a Branch from the Afroasiatic Family is a workshop that seeks to gather world-leading experts on the Ancient Egyptian, Semitic and other Afroasiatic languages, as well as historical linguists in order to discuss an issue that has never been properly addressed in such an interdisciplinary environment: the real position of ancient Egyptian in the Afroasiatic language family. The workshop aims to explore language-specific questions from a phonological, lexical, and morpho-syntactic point of view in order to engage scholars in a linguistic debate on the origins of the earliest codified languages of Africa and the Near East. The main research question concerns the necessity for a new internal classification of the Afroasiatic languages with respect to the position of ancient Egyptian inside this family. In fact, could Pre-Egyptian be the sister, rather than a daughter, of the Proto-Afroasiatic language? 

Partner Events

Friday April 13, 2018

  • 5:30pm-6:00pm: Welcome and introduction by Dr. James Allen (Brown University)
  • 6:00pm-7:00pm: Keynote lecture Proto-Semitic and Egyptian by Dr. John Huehnergard (University of Texas at Austin)

Saturday April 14, 2018

  • 8:30am-9:00am: Registration
  • 9:00am-11:30am: Session 1: Phonology
    • Dr. Antonio Loprieno (University of Basel) How Many Afroasiatic Origins for Ancient Egyptian?
    • Dr. Aren Wilson-Wright (University of Zurich)  Rethinking the Relationship between Egyptian and Semitic: the Phonological Evidence
    • Dr. Christopher Ehret (University of California, Los Angeles)  Revisiting Afroasiatic Subclassification
  • 11:30am-1:30pm: Lunch break
  • 1:30pm-3:10pm: Session 2: Lexicon
    • Dr. Jean Winand (University of Liège) Understanding the Egyptian Lexicon with(out) Comparison       
    • Dr. Zygmunt Frajzyngier (University of Colorado) Functions Encoded in the Grammatical System and Related Lexicon in Consideration of Genetic Relationshi
  • 3:10pm-5:00pm: Buffet reception (open to all registered attendees) 


Sunday April 15, 2018

  • 9:00am-11:30am: Session 1: Morphosyntax
    • Dr. Andréas Stauder (École Pratique des Hautes Études) Earlier Egyptian Morphology in Afroasiatic Perspective
    • Dr. Vit Bubenik (Memorial University of Newfoundland)  Reconstructing Proto-Semitic Nominal and Verbal Systems in the Context of Afroasiatic Languages
    • Dr. Lameen Souag (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)  Restructured or Archaic? The Hunt for Shared Morphological Innovation
  • 11:30am-1:30pm: Lunch break
  • 1:30pm-4:00pm: Session 2: Where do we go from here?
    • Dr. Chelsea Sanker (Brown University) Shared Innovations and Independent Developments: Issues in Placing Egyptian               Dr. Elsa Oréal (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) What Is a Family? The Case of Ancient Egyptian and Its Sister Languages
    • Dr. Gonzalo Rubio (Pennsylvania State University)  A Tree in the Family Oasis: Phenotype, Genotype and the Limits of Reverse Engineering
  • 4:00pm-5:00pm: Concluding remarks by Dr. Leo Depuydt (Brown University) and goodbye