Maxim Kupreyev

Maxim Kupreyev
Maxim Kupreyev | Freie Universitaet Berlin

Global Humanities Junior Fellow at The Chinese University of Hong Kong

October 2015 - February 2016

The patterns of cultural dynamics through the glass of language evolution: the case of Egyptian-Coptic

The research project is focused on exploring the problems of cultural dynamics in Ancient Egypt through a prism of a language. It is concentrated on two major areas:

  1. concept of time and its expression in ancient and modern languages;
  2. application of modern character encoding methods to Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.

The project is building on a recently published paper “Questions of time in Late Egyptian. A missing category?” (Kupreyev : 2014), which uncovered a surprising inconsistency of the interrogative patterns in Late Egyptian: questions about time are completely missing in analyzed sources. Mr Kupreyev’s hypothesis is that asking about time in the Ancient Egyptian culture belonged to the domain of prophesies, rather than the real-life situations. In Hong Kong the linguistic evidence about the fact that the language evolution mirrors the cultural development of the Ancient Egyptian society will be summarized.
Having worked for a number of years in the IT industry, Mr Kupreyev is applying computational methods to linguistic research. The substantial difficulty of the hieroglyphic languages, like Chinese or Ancient Egyptian is to adopt the alphabet-based input methods to the needs of hieroglyphics. The phonetic method, which is already used in Egyptian, requires the knowledge of pronunciation. An alternative is the root shapes input method, implemented in Chinese, but not yet in Egyptology. Its most popular version is Cangjie, used widely in Hong Kong.

After finishing his studies as graduate translator of English and German in Minsk (Belarus), Maxim Kupreyev has obtained the Magister degree in Egyptology and English philology at Freie Universitaet Berlin in 2009. His PhD project, focused on the development of the demonstrative pronouns in Egyptian-Coptic, brought him in 2011 to Ain-Shams University (Cairo, Egypt) and in 2012-2013 to Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA) as a visiting research fellow. Since March 2015 he has been employed as a research associate (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) by the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, working on “Thesaurus Lingua Aegyptia” – an online dictionary of Egyptian-Coptic language.