, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 135-157

Ancient Egyptian verbal reduplication: typology, diachrony, and the morphology–syntax interface

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Abstract

We explore the diachronic development of verbal reduplication in Ancient Egyptian (Afro-Asiatic) by systematically comparing reduplicative stem formations in Old Egyptian (2500–2000 BC) and in Coptic Egyptian (3rd–12th c. AD). Old Egyptian is a language with a rich inventory of reduplication patterns, which have been reduced in the course of almost four thousand years of uninterrupted language history. Coptic retains only a limited number of reduplicative stem formations, frequently with concomitant loss of the simple stem. We show that the decreasing productivity of verbal reduplication in the language correlates with broad morphological and syntactic changes in the verbal domain.