Animal metaphor in the Egyptian determinative system : three case studies
Many languages, both ancient and modern, make use of devices similar to determinatives in Egyptian by which the meaning of a word can be made more specific. But determinatives are especially rich in their capacity for expression, particularly regarding words for abstract concepts through their extensive use of visually-based metaphor. Egyptological research is only now beginning to explore the many levels at which the system functioned. My thesis centres around the metaphorical usages of three signs - the Seth animal, the panther, and the crocodile. The introduction lays out my aimes, methods, and textual sources. The first chapter sets my analysis against the backdrop of current research, beginning with a discussion of how determinatives have been treated in the past, comparing that with a survey of how modern linguistics has approached comparable systems in other languages, and finally laying out my own approach to the three signs under study. In the following three case study chapters, I first survey the evidence for how each animal was perceived in the 'real' world, before moving into a detailed analysis of their significance in the script, which is based on a contextually-grounded, diachronic study of the distribution patterns of each of the signs in five genres of text from the Old to the New Kingdom. In a final chapter, I compare my conclusions about the three determinatives, discussing their commonalities and singularities, and relaitng the results of the individual case studies to the workings of the system as a whole. My aim is not only to achieve a better understanding of the particular shades of meaning these three animal signs impart to each of the words they determine, thereby leading to a better understanding of these words, but also to examine the wider conceptual metaphors the three determinatives represent.