Marianne Luban
re: Nephersôphris Akhenaten
Fri Jun 1, 2012 20:23

MG Original
“The fact that /p/ disappears in xpr.w from the name of Akhenaten in the Amarna Letters is not as embarassing as you suggest. This is probably the result of the /p/ or /b/ of the first part of the name in Assyro-Babylonian, Nap- / Nip- / Nib- which was assimilated with the /p/ of xpr.w, hence giving xuru instead of xupru”

ML response
"I don't find this linguistically possible. In Egyptian pronunciation, the labials tended to assimilate into the following consonant—not any preceding one. Since the letters coming out of Egypt were also in Akkadian cuneiform, the scribes there would also have had to transliterate the name of the pharaoh as it was vocalized—not as written in his cartouche in hieroglyphs. The foreign scribes had to follow this written transliteration or perhaps their perception of how an Egyptian envoy would have vocalized the prenomen of his king. Centuries later, the Egyptian historians who wrote with the Greek alphabet did the same thing. They could read hieroglyphs but only transliterated the names according to their current vocalization. A valuable clue from the New Kingdom comes from the Israel Stela of Merneptah. The entere passage mentioning the foreign places is very cleverly executed. Every phrase contains a rhyme or a pun. In this one, line 8...

8. XArw xprw m xArt n tA- mry "Khor is made a widow on account by Egypt"

I think it would have been spoken something like "khor khoro m khare n to-mare"
I believe it is quite obvious there was no spoken /p/ in “xprw”. If there had been, it would have spoiled the pun. The passage appears to agree with what is in the Akkadian letters where the fate of “xprw” is concerned."

MG response:

"But this is not the case of your mention from the Merenptah stela. It is surely a play with "sounds", but not with words. Moreover, xprw in this text is surely not the plural of xpr."

A play with sounds of the words, then--and evidently it does not matter that that xprw is not a noun in the phrase but a verbal form. Vocalized the same. Marc, you cannot ignore those Akkadian letters, at least, and their contemporary rendering of the "xprw" element. No "p" there and, as I said, your linguistic explanation for the phenomenon is not possible.

MG original
“ More surprising is the fall of the /r/ of nfr (when placed at the beginning of the name) as this /r/ reappears generally in Greek, cf. Nepherpres, Nephersuchos, Nepherôs, Nephercheres, Nephorsais (but Nephotes for Neferhotep).”

ML response
"Sorry, but I don't see how it's possible it can have appeared in Greek as it had fallen away in the singular "nfr" long before."

MG response
So this means that the final /r/ has not fallen away . . .

More likely the Greek writings do not contain merely "nfr", as you seem to concede below.

ML response (continue)
"How many of the above examples supplied by you really contain the element “nfrw”--in which the /r/ would not have been silent or fallen away?"

MG response
"I don't know! But if /r/ was written in Greek, it is logical to suppose that it was pronounced."

But not when the /r/ in "nfr" was final and not followed by something else! According to the Greeks, was the /r/ in "wsr" vocalized in the name "Ozymandias"? No! Again, "nfrw" would have been a different story and a better method would be to first analyze all those masculine names you supplied below and try to figure out who they might be and whether "nfrw" is there instead. One we have not touched on is "Skemiophris", obviously a metathesis of "Neferu-Sobek". See where the /b/ in Sobek elided into the /k/--because that is what happpened to /m/, /n/, /b/ and /p/ in Egyptian pronunciation--and more, as you can also see from "Skemiophris".

" It is methodolocally ungrounded to suppose that the Greek added a letter which was no more spelled. I do not say that the final /r/ was always pronounced, but I say that it was very often still pronounced."

That does not make sense, however. Not when it is final in a word.

" The case of the god's name Wnn-nfr is illuminating as it gave Greek Onnophris and is still surviving in the modern name (or christian name) Onofrio or d'Onofrio in Italian (and I think that an american actor is still named D'Onofrio). I cannot imagine that the /r/ in d'Onofrio was "re-created" in Greek and modern Italian and that Onnophris was pronounced Onnophis but written Onnophris. This is inconsistent."

It is not inconsistent because there are examples of the name being written as "wnn-nfri"--so apparently the writing
"wnn-nfr" is just a short version.

ML response (continue)
"Another example is from the epitome of Africanus for Dynasty V where he lists a “Nephercheres”. However, this transliteration actually represents the name “Neferirkare” and so it is easy to see how the /r/ was needed there."

MG response
"May be you're right concerning Nephercheres, but your argument is not valid for the other personnal names : Nepherpres, Nephersuchos, Nepherôs (Coptic Nafrho (S), Naberho (S), Nabraha (F)), Nephorsais (Coptic Nafrshai). It is clear that these Nfr- at the beginning of names have the same origin than that of Nfr-xpr.w-ra and that the /r/ was still pronounced."

No! Such names, as you know, usually contain the word "nfrw", meaning "beauties of such and such a god". Neferu-Pre, Neferu-Suchos, Neferu-Shai and, in Coptic, "nfr" never contain the final /r/ but is "nofe" or "nafe" so better check again on "Nafrho". I found yet another example in the Book of Sothis, "Nephecheres" for "Neferkare Amenemnesu" of the 21st Dynasty.

MG original
"I don’t think that the /p/ of xpr.w has disappeared in spelling during the new kingdom. In fact, xpr.w is only preserved for the names Napxururiya, Nipxururiya, Nibxururiya (all Akhenaten in my opinion) and xuriya (probably also Akhenaten). So it is hard to draw a rule from these examples which may concern if fact only one king. But I surely would appreciated greatly to read your arguments.”

Well, since the /p/ is never there--for you to dismiss that by saying "only in that part of the New Kingdom, the middle"--doesn't help you because for a long time after that there is no more king of Egypt with a prenomen containing "xprw".

"I have partly read your long discussion with Torry concerning Pip, Nip, Nib, Nim, Mim, Im, Nap etc.

I think that it is shaky grounded to suppose that Akkadian reflects more faithfully the ancient egyptian pronounciation than Egyptian itself."

Where do we get any hints of the pronunciation from Egyptian, itself? We only get them from transliteration into other graphic systems and the word plays in Egyptian texts when they deal with foreign toponyms which we already know how they were vocalized. And such hints were very many, as I know from studying them for a long time. I am not going to repeat my arguments with Tory--but anybody who believes an "i" can be a substitute for an "a" in Akkadian is working on a naive premise. "i" is not long in English and often not in French, either--but it is in Semitic languages--the same as in Italian. It amounts to "ee" and nothing else. Therefore, no scribe working with a graphic system designed for a Semitic tongue is going to confuse "ee" with "ah".

  • Nephersôphris AkhenatenAnonymous, Fri Jun 1 06:02
    Dear Marianne, MG original “Concerning the identity of Nephersôphris, it seems that Akhenaten fits better with the text of Suidas due to the ill reputation of that king. The other possible king would ... more
    • re: Nephersôphris Akhenaten — Marianne Luban, Fri Jun 1 20:23
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