leo depuydt - conjunction, contiguity, contingency

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    On Relationships between EventsIn the Egyptian and Coptic Verbal Systems

    Leo Depuydt



  • Oxford University Press

    Oxford New York TorontoDelhi Bombay Calcutta Madras Karachi

    Kuala Lumpur Singapore Hong Kong TokyoNairobi Dar es Salaam Cape Town

    Melbourne Auckland

    and associated companies in

    Berlin Ibadan

    Copyright 1993 by Leo Depuydt

    Published by Oxford University Press, Inc.200 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016

    Oxford is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press, Inc.

    All rights reserved. No part of this publicationmay be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted,

    in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior

    permission of Oxford University Press.

    Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

    Depuydt, Leo.Conjunction, contiguity, contingency:

    on relationships between eventsin the Egyptian and Coptic verbal systems / Leo Depuydt.

    p. cm.Includes bibliographical references and index.

    ISBN 0-19-508092-01. Egyptian languageVerb. 2. Coptic languageVerb. I. Title.

    PJ1181.D46 1993 493Mdc20 92-29818

    9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

    Printed in the United States of Americaon acid-free paper

  • ForJudy Dorn

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  • Contents

    Preface: On Relationships between Events xi


    1. Introduction 42. The Conjunctive as "Con-joiner" 93. The Conjunctive Following Second Tenses 144. The Conjunctive Following the Negative Imperative

    ofgmj "find" and nau "see" 355. Coptic nci in the Conjunctive Chain 426. Negations in the Conjunctive Chain 45

    A. The Two Levels of the Conjunctive Chain 45B. Negation on the Level of the Compound Action 45C. Types of Negations 49D. A Comparison of Types I.c and Il.a 51E. A Comparison of Types I.d and Il.b 52F. A Comparison of Types I.d and Il.a 56G. Types of Negation: Examples 59

    7. Semantic Types of Conjunctive Chains 678. The Promissive Future and the Conjunctive in Coptic 75

    A. Introduction 75B. The Function of the Conjugation Base tare 76C. The Promissive Future and the Conjunctive:

    A Comparison of Their Functions 809. Translating the Conjunctive 94

    A. Omission of Elements 94B. An Etymological Translation 96

    10. Relationship of the Conjunctive with What Precedes 9811. Conjunction beyond the Conjunctive 103

    A. Equivalents of the Conjunctive in Egyptianand Other Languages 103

  • viii PREFACE

    B. The Middle Egyptian Predecessor of the Conjunctive 108C. A Con-joining Construction in Nominal Phrases 109

    12. Concluding Remarks 11313. A Bibliography of the Conjunctive 115


    1. Introduction: The Notion of "Contiguity" 1252. Contiguity in Sinuhe B 200 1293. Contrast!ve Emphasis and Contiguity 1404. Translating Contiguous Events 1425. Morphological and Syntactic Criteria 1456. Events Prone to Contracting a Relationship of Contiguity 152

    A. Transitions from Night to Day 153B. Transitions from Day to Night 160C. Another Transition from One Period

    of Time to Another 166D. Expressions Referring to the End Point of a Motion 167

    7. Expressions of Contiguity in the Story of Sinuhe 1788. chc.n sdm.n=f 1869. Excursus: jwj "come" and jry "bring" 18910. Simultaneity as an Expression of Contiguity 19211. An Expression of Contiguity Dating to the New Kingdom 197


    1. Sdm.fyr=f/!j.r=fsdm=f as Contingent Aorist 208A. From Egyptian hr to Coptic sa 208B. sdm. hr=f and jw=f sdm=f in Middle Egyptian 212C. Examples of sdm.fyr=f with Implied Conditions 214D. Contingent and General Aorist

    in the Papyrus Ebers 222E. Neutralization between sdm.fyr=f and jw=f sdm=f 224F. Condition and Result 225G. The Aorist after Middle Egyptian 227H. General and Specific Contingency 232

  • Preface ix

    2. Sdm.k3=f/k3(=f) sdm=fas Contingent Future 234A. Sdm.k3=f/k3=f sdm=fin Conditional Sentences 234B. Examples of sdm.k3=f with Implied Conditions 237C. K3(=f) sdm=f in the Letters of the Kahun Archive 240D. Contrary-to-fact Conditions 241E. The Particle k3 242F. Neutralization between Contingent

    and General Future 243G. The Contingent Future in Coptic 244

    3. Sdm.jn=f as Contingent Past 2474. Conclusion 249

    A. The Contingent Tenses of Middle Egyptian 249B. Translating the Contingent Tenses 250C. The Conditionnel in French and Other Parallels

    to the Contingent Tenses outside Egyptian 251D. Contingency and Contrast 255

    INDEXES 257Index of Passages Cited 257

    1. Old Egyptian and Middle Egyptian 2572. Late Egyptian 2603. Demotic 2624. Coptic 262

    a. Bohairic 262b. Lycopolitan 262c. Middle Egyptian 262d. Sahidic 262

    Index of Authors Cited 266General Index 272

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  • PREFACEOn Relationships Between Events

    The modern scientific study of Egyptian originated in the1870s and 1880s in Berlin. While the recovery of the languagehad begun several decades earlier in 1822 with Champollion'sdecipherment of the hieroglyphic script, Egyptology had towait for Adolf Erman, the founder of what came to be knownas the Berlin School, to place the study of ancient Egyptian ona solid footing. Ever since, an incremental method has ensuredthe slow but steady progress of our insight into the structureof the language.

    The present volume examines relationships betweenevents and the ways in which these relationships are ex-pressed in the language by special verb forms and syntacticconstructions.

    The three abstract nouns featuring in the title of thisbook are not found in works on Egyptian or Coptic grammar.Since each denotes a phenomenon which, I believe, has nothitherto received attention, new phenomena have requirednew terms. Coining terms is to a certain extent arbitrary, andperhaps better alternatives could have been or will be suggest-ed. In the mean time, it may be noted that the first componentof each term, deriving from Latin cum "with," suitably reflectsthe fact that all three phenomena concern the grammatical

  • xii PREFACE

    expression of relationships that certain events entertain withother events.

    Egyptian and Coptic verb forms are usually thought ofand studied as expressions of single events, regardless of therelationship of these events with other events. Three facets ofverb forms as expressions of single events are tense, mood,and syntactic function.

    Tense specifies when an event occurs in relation to thetime of speaking/ An example is the Middle Egyptian futuretense jw =f r sdm "He will hear," which refers to events occur-ring after the time of speaking. Mood refers to attitudes of thespeaker toward the likelihood or desirability of an event. Anexample is the etymological descendant of jw=f r sdm, theCoptic future e=f-e-sotm, which roughly corresponds to English"He shall hear" or "May he hear." Yet a third feature of verbforms is syntactic function. According to the Standard Theory(see below), verb forms may be substantival, adjectival, oradverbial, that is, occupy the same position as substantives,adjectives, or adverbs in the sentence.

    But less study has been devoted to verb forms asexpressions of relationships between events. Perhaps the mostfamiliar such relationship is temporal. Events may be viewedas positioned on a time line on which they are either anteriorto, simultaneous with, or posterior to one another. Relation-ships of anteriority, simultaneity, and posteriority can be ex-pressed in Egyptian by what may be called relative tense.Relative tense is based on the following principle: When a verbform is subordinated in a dependent clause to a main sentence,the tense of that verb form is also subordinated to the tense ofthe main sentence.

    1 It might be argued, though, that also tense expresses relationships

    between events, namely a temporal relationship between a certain event andthe act of pronouncing or writing the statement in which the event isdescribed. For example, the past tense refers to an event that occurs beforethe event of speaking or writing.

  • On Relationships between Events xiii

    Relative tense in Egyptian differs from the way inwhich events are usually related to one another temporally inEnglish. For example, when the adverbial sdm.n=f, a pasttense, is subordinated to a main sentence in the present tense,it can be rendered as "when I have heard." But when the sameform is subordinated to a main sentence in the past tense, it isthe equivalent of "when I had heard." Or, English has twoforms where Egyptian has one. The English past perfect in"when he had heard" expresses both absolute past tense, thatis, past tense in relation to the time of speaking, and relativepast tense, that is, past tense in relation to the event ex-pressed by the main sentence.

    But English also has a verb form expressing relativetense, namely the gerund. In fact, the best literal Englishequivalent of the past adverbial sdm.n=f mentioned above is"he having heard," for two reasons. First, "he having heard"expresses relative tense in that it can be subordinated withoutchange in form, like its Egyptian counterpart, both to presentand past main sentences as an equivalent of either "when hehas heard" or "when he had heard." Second, "he having heard"expresses an unspecified circumstance, whereas standardtranslations of Egyptian adverbial clauses use conjunctionssuch as "while" and "because," adding to the translationnuances that are not in the original. Unfortunately, gerundialconstructions such as "he having