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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1999-2000 Annual Report

Individual Scholarship


Janet H. Johnson

Janet H. Johnson attended the Seventh International Congress of Demotists held in Copenhagen in August 1999, the Eighth International Congress of Egyptologists held in Cairo in March-April 2000, and the annual meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt held in Berkeley in April 2000. She reported on the Demotic Dictionary Project at the two international meetings. In addition, she served as a "respondent" during the Plenary Session discussion of "Egyptian Language" at the Cairo meetings. While in Cairo she also, in her capacity as Chairman of the Committee for the Annual Egyptological Bibliography, gave a "Status Report on the Ancient Egyptian Bibliography (AEB)" and convened a meeting of the members of that Committee to discuss ongoing organizational and financial concerns of the AEB. Here at the Oriental Institute, she gave presentations on "Egyptian Language and Egyptian Hieroglyphs" and "Electronic Resources" at the Oriental Institute Workshop on Egyptian Hieroglyphs held 4 March 2000. She remained a member of the "Technology Oversight Committee" of the Division of the Humanities, which helps keep the Oriental Institute tuned in to what is going on technologically in the most closely related part of the University. She has had several articles appear this year, including "Ethnicity in Persian Period Egypt" in Gold of Praise: Studies on Ancient Egypt in Honor of Edward F. Wente, edited by Emily Teeter and John A. Larson, and "Speculations on Middle Kingdom Marriage" in the festschrift in honor of British Egyptologist Harry S. Smith.

Much of her time during the year was spent working on the Demotic Dictionary Project (see separate report) and on the Annotated Egyptian Readingbook Project, part of the Mellon Foundation grant to a consortium of Universities for Less Commonly Taught Languages. The Readingbook Project aims to produce an annotated, interactive readingbook for students of classical Middle Egyptian. A selection of texts representing the many genres of preserved Middle Egyptian materials is being entered into the computer together with grammatical and lexical analyses. Students will be able to select a text and work through it, sentence by sentence, practicing reading the hieroglyphs and transliterating and translating the text. A click of a button will bring help with reading signs, understanding grammar, or finding vocabulary. Extensive graphics will illustrate Egypt, the areas where individual texts were discovered, items mentioned in the texts, and, to the extent possible, the actual individuals mentioned in the texts being read. The readingbook is intended to serve as a classroom aid, but it should also be possible for individuals to use it as a stand-alone teaching aid in learning, or reviewing, Middle Egyptian. It may eventually be published as a CD-ROM, but it may also be delivered over the Internet using the World-Wide Web. Much time has been spent this year selecting texts and beginning the process of analyzing their grammar and vocabulary. Graduate student Randy Shonkwiler took our list of texts scheduled for inclusion and has begun the laborious job of tracking down legal ownership of materials in order to secure formal permissions for inclusion. Our computer programmer, Sandy Schloen, has developed an elegant interface for inputting data, including hieroglyphs, and graduate student Harold Hays has begun entering data using the interface. They are at the stage where they are finding a few flaws and working together to get everything as smooth and efficient as possible. Additional student participation in data entry will begin once Schloen and Hays have worked out the bugs in the program. Michael Berger, a graduate student here in the Oriental Institute and the Manager of the Language Faculty Resource Center on campus, will be assisting with input of related cultural materials. In addition, Oriental Institute graduate Terry Wilfong, who is now Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and his colleague, Janet Richards, will also be participating in this project, Wilfong helping with identification and analysis of texts to be included and Richards assisting especially with identification and incorporation of cultural materials.

Revised: July 30, 2007

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