Ancient Egyptian Linguistic Heritage in Hebrew: New Evidence


  • Letizia Cerqueglini


Mots-clés :

Hebrew, Ancient Egyptian, Language Contact, Lexical Loans


The Ancient Egyptian lexical heritage detected in Hebrew so far consists of approximately one hundred nouns (units of measures, raw materials, natural elements, technical tools, ritual instruments and procedures, among others) and some twenty personal names of central biblical characters (especially related to Moses’s family and the Levites) have been identified. According to the linguistic research conducted until now, the contact of ancient Hebrew-speakers with Egypt was sustained and culturally meaningful. I discuss here the hypothesis of the presence of some further Ancient Egyptian loanwords in Hebrew (Egy. dp.t ‘ship’, ḥbš ‘person of eastern African origin’, pḥr ‘ampoule for medical ointment’, and ḥnwkk ‘dedication, gift’), a possible Egyptian influence in the Hebrew color term ḥūm, a case of semantically similar lexical pair (Hb: bʔr ‘to clarify’/ bʕr ‘glow’), whose phonological differences in Hebrew may be due to both regular development from the Afroasiatic lexical stock and contact with Ancient Egyptian, and a new interpretation of the word raʕūʕ ‘fresh, newborn’, in light of Ancient Egyptian data.




Comment citer

Cerqueglini, Letizia. 2022. « Ancient Egyptian Linguistic Heritage in Hebrew: New Evidence ». Bulletin De l’Académie Belge Pour l’Étude Des Langues Anciennes Et Orientales 1011 (février):325-33.



Langues sémitiques