rmṯ

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Egyptian[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

 

Noun[edit]

r
T
A1

 mf

  1. human, human being, person
  2. someone, anyone
  3. (with following genitive) person in (someone’s) service, commissioner, agent (of someone)
  4. (with following genitive) member (of a group or organization)
  5. (in the plural) people, humans
  6. (in the plural) the people, the masses
  7. (in the plural, with following genitive) household; housemates or relatives (of someone)
  8. (in the plural, with following genitive) population, dwellers, inhabitants (of a particular place)
  9. (in the plural) Egyptians in contrast to Libyans, Nubians, Asiatics, etc.

Usage notes[edit]

In the Old Kingdom, this word was consistently masculine and usually distinct in its singular and plural forms. By the Middle Kingdom, its final consonant changed to t, with the consequence that the word changed genders to become feminine, and the singular was no longer typically distinguished in writing from its plural form. The written form from this time on occasionally included both the old and new consonants as rmṯt. Before the beginning of the New Kingdom, syllable-final t was lost throughout Egyptian, and in Late Egyptian the word returned to being masculine.[2]

For many years Egyptologists distinguished this word as a masculine noun in its sense of ‘person’, etc., from a supposedly separate feminine collective term rmṯt (people, humanity); it is now clear the two words are one and the same, with the different written forms resulting from attempts to render the changing pronunciation (and gender) of the word as the final consonant first became t and then was elided entirely.[2]

Inflection[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

In the Old Kingdom, singular and plural forms are usually distinct, but seemingly plural forms are occasionally used as singulars, with most examples of this phenomenon found in the Pyramid Texts:[2]

Inscriptions of the First Intermediate Period and Coffin Texts show a comprehensive collapse of the singular and plural written forms; from this point on they are no longer differentiated. By the start of the Middle Kingdom, the final consonant sound has changed from to t, and occasional writings reflecting this sound change begin to appear from the 12th Dynasty onward:[2]

By Late Egyptian, the final t is no longer pronounced in most circumstances; in situations where it is retained, such as when the word has an attached suffix pronoun, an additional t or tw is sometimes written at the end of the word to mark its retention.

Descendants[edit]

References[edit]

  • rmṯ (lemma ID 94530)”, in Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae[1], Corpus issue 17, Web app version 2.01, Tonio Sebastian Richter & Daniel A. Werning by order of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften and Hans-Werner Fischer-Elfert & Peter Dils by order of the Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig, 2004–15 December 2022
  • rmṯ.t (lemma ID 94550)”, in Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae[2], Corpus issue 17, Web app version 2.01, Tonio Sebastian Richter & Daniel A. Werning by order of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften and Hans-Werner Fischer-Elfert & Peter Dils by order of the Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig, 2004–15 December 2022
  • Erman, Adolf; Grapow, Hermann (1928) Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache[3], volume 2, Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, →ISBN, page 421.9–424.18
  • Faulkner, Raymond (1962) A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian, Oxford: Griffith Institute, →ISBN, page 149–150
  1. ^ Loprieno, Antonio (1995) Ancient Egyptian: A Linguistic Introduction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 36, 57
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Uljas, Sami (2022) “The Destruction of ‘Mankind’” in Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde, volume 149, issue 2, pages 274–280