Rethinking the Relationship between Egyptian and Semitic: The Morphological, Lexical, and Phonological Evidence

with Aren Wilson Wright

Although Egyptologists and Semitists alike agree that Egyptian and Semitic are genetically related based on morphological evidence, they have yet to establish systematic sound correspondences between the two language families.  The lack of sound correspondences, in turn, raises doubts about the relationship between Egyptian and Semitic and necessitates a renewed analysis of their shared features.  In this talk, I will review the morphological, lexical, and phonological evidence for a genetic relationship between Semitic and Egyptian by comparing Proto-Semitic and internally reconstructed Egyptian forms, a standard historical linguistic procedure that has helped established numerous language families, ranging from Indo-European to Uto-Aztecan.  Based on this comparison, I argue that there is insufficient evidence to support a genetic relationship between Egyptian and Semitic.  This is not to say that the two language families are not genetically related, only that it is impossible to detect a genetic relationship between them using current methodology.


Sponsored by: the Department of Linguistics

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Patton Hall (RLP), 4.716
305 23RD ST E, Austin, Texas 78712

Event Type

Academics, World & Culture


All Departments

Target Audience

Students, Staff, Faculty, Alumni


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