Filozofická Fakulta

Sign, Speech, and Society in the Ancient Near East: 100 Years of Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Prague

Faculty of Arts, Charles University
September 16 - 19, 2019

Supported by KREASKREAS

Conference Program

Monday, 16 September
9:30-10:30 Registration (conference venue: Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Nám. J.
Palacha 2, room #300, 3rd floor)
10:30-11:00 Opening Address

chair: J. Mynářová
11:00-12:00 P. Michalowski, Writing Origins, Literacy, and the Materiality of
Communication in Mesopotamia and Beyond (keynote lecture)

chair: E. von Dassow
14:00-14:30 Sh. Thavapalan, Crafting Speech Through Signs. The Semantics of Brick and
Stone Markings in the Ancient Near East
14:30-15:00 K. Sieckmeyer, Narrative Imagery and Drafted Wedges: Communication at the
Dawn of Writing 
15:00-15:30 Ch. Tsouparopoulou, Connecting East and West: Common Mitanni Cylinder Seals in the Aegean

chair: P. Michalowski
16:00-16:30 E. von Dassow, Hurrian in the Mail
16:30-17:00 L. Wilhelmi, The Akkadian Grapholect of Hittite scribes at Ḫattuša/Boğazköy.
Considerations on the Socio-Linguistic Realities of Peripheral Akkadian “Dialects“

Tuesday, September 17
chair: R.I. Kim
9:00-10:00 C. Melchert, The Anatolian Subgroup of Indo-European in Light of the
“Minor” Languages (keynote lecture)
10:00-10:30 Z. Simon, Zur Datierung der Entstehung der hieroglyphen-luwischen Schrift

chair: P. Zemánek
11:00-11:30 M. Kilani, Loanwords of foreignisms? Developing a theoretical framework to
analyse words of foreign origin in Egyptian
11:30-12:00 H. Harel, Scenarios of verb borrowing from Semitic into Late Egyptian: A
sociolinguistic analysis based on the iClassifier database corpora

chair: I. Yakubovich
14:00-14:30 R. Bjørn, Balcanic and beyond – Semitic and the formation of Proto-Indo-
14:30-15:00 J. Bičovský, Indoeuropean fricatives and sonority

chair: C.H. Melchert
15:30-16:00 E. Rieken – I. Yakubovich, The Origin of Hittite Stem-forms
16:00-16:30 R. Lipp, Hittite katta, Cuneiform Luvian zanta and the conditions of the Luvo-
Lycian dorsal palatalization 

Wednesday, September 18
chair: Ch. Tsouparopoulou
9:00-9:30 A. Anderson, Talking Up and Down: How Social Hierarchy is Revealed in the
Old Assyrian Introductory Formula
9:30-10:00 M. Adelhofer, On the Old Assyrian Letter Heading: Playing with Social
Hierarchy for Rhetorical Effect
10:00-10:30 L. Fijałkowska, Talking to each other through a legal text. The juridical
language and its patterns in LBA

chair: M. Kilani
11:00-11:30 J. Mynářová, “Mein Herr und König, lass dir melden …”. On Middle
Babylonian Royal Letters
11:30-12:00 J. Tavernier, The egg of the feet? NUNUZ and its use in the Amarna Correspondence

chair: J. Tavernier
14:00-14:30 N. Highcock, What do you do for a living? The importance of professional identities when communicating with the gods 
14:30-15:00 N. Matuszewska, Divine message – omens for āšipu in The Diagnostic and Prognostic Handbook
15:00-15:30 M. Santini, Talking to the Stranger in the Ancient Near East: Success and
Failure of Gyges and Ashurbanipal

chair: Z. Simon
16:00-16:30 R. Oreshko, Ethnocultural Interaction and Language Contact in Early Lycia
16:30-17:00 B. Donnelly-Lewis, Conscious and Unconscious Aramaisms: Language Contact
and Language Ideology in the Hebrew of Daniel

Thursday, September 19
chair: L. Fijałkowska
9:00-10:00 J. Gippert, Early pioneers – “Digital Humanities” in the 20th century (keynote
10:00-10:30 R. Pirngruber, Astronomical Diaries Digital

chair: J. Gippert
11:00-11:30 M. Groß, Prosobab: An online prosopography of Babylonia in the Neo-
Babylonian and Persian periods
11:30-12:00 A. Anderson, The Case for 3D Cuneiform Tablets
12:00-12:30 P. Zemánek – J. Milička, Digitizing Cuneiform: Remarks on the ICK 4 Old
Assyrian Linguistic Corpus
12:30-13:00 Closing session

Charles Univesity

U.C. Berkeley

University of Toronto

University of West Bohemia

Universität Wien

The University of Łodź

Harvard University

Universität Wien

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

Brigham Young University


University of Cambridge

Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main


University of Michigan


The Institute of Comparative Linguistics of Charles University is pleased to announce an international conference on the occasion of three anniversaries in the history of Ancient Near Eastern studies in Prague:

- the centennial of the establishment of the Institute of Cuneiform Studies, the forerunner of today’s Institute of Comparative Linguistics;

- the 140th birthday of Bedřich Hrozný, decipherer of Hittite, founder of the Institute of Cuneiform Studies, and former rector of Charles University; and

- the 70th birthday of the late Petr Vavroušek, longtime director of the Institute of Cuneiform Studies.

​These three anniversaries are reflected in three main sessions of the conference, which will be organized around a general common theme:“Talking to One Another in the Ancient Near East.” We anticipate that most papers will touch upon several aspects of this phenomenon, but preference will be given to the following three topics:

1. Communication Patterns: Talking to Each Other
This session aims to discuss various aspects of communication patterns in the Ancient Near East (second half of the 4th to the 1st millennium BC), including day-to-day communication, diplomatic and administrative correspondence, technological transmission and other forms of information transfer. Papers dealing with the concept of “communication” from a metaphorical point of view, for instance the interdisciplinary communication implied in studies combining textual sources with archaeological evidence, are also welcome.

2. Ancient Near Eastern Languages: History and Contact
Special attention will be given to two closely intertwined topics: the evolution of Hittite, Luvian, and other Anatolian languages and the reconstruction of their earlier stages (including Proto-Indo-European); and the sociolinguistics of language contact in the Ancient Near East and neighboring areas. Papers exploring how the available linguistic evidence correlates with historical and sociocultural phenomena, such as the diffusion of cultural innovations (e.g. agriculture or metallurgy), trade, pre- and protohistoric migrations, (proto)state formation, early political expansions, etc., are particularly welcome.

3. Digitizing the Past: Digitization and Digital Humanities in Ancient Near Eastern Studies
This session will explore how the field of digital humanities has opened fresh new ways to explore and valorize the data provided by ancient sources (textual corpora, archaeological material, etc.) and to integrate then within a new constructive dialogue with our present and future. Papers discussing research projects in digitization of collections, digital paleography and epigraphy, digital and computational approaches, etc. are especially welcome.

The conference will run from the morning of Monday, 16 September until the afternoon of Thursday, 19 September 2019. All sessions will be held at the main building of the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, in the heart of historic Prague. Papers will be 25 minutes, plus 5 minutes for questions. The languages of the conference are English, German, and French.

The Organizing Committee invites proposals for papers and posters relating to any and all aspects of the above topics. Abstracts should be no longer than 1000 words in length and be submitted no later than 15 March 2019. We expect to send out notifications by the first week of April 2019, to allow all participants ample time for travel plans.

Please send abstracts and any questions to

2019_Sign-Speech_program_09-09_chairs.pdf337.4 KB


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