Every language and culture has its own way of speaking of perception. This Ph.D. project concentrates on the syntax and semantics of perception verbs in Hieroglyphic Egyptian. The lexicalization patterns of verbs of the five sensory modalities of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste are being studied against the background of methods and theories coming from the field of Cognitive Linguistics and Lexical Semantics.


Since perceptive verbs often develop various meanings, specifically by transfield mappings towards concepts outside the perception domain, a special focus of research is paid to the various metaphorical meaning extensions of perceptive verbs into emotional and cognitive domains of thinking and knowledge. The data is taken from a wide branch of textual sources and combines different literary genres to gain a coherent overview of the semantics of perceptive verbs. Furthermore, the Egyptian language data is considered within broader cross-linguistic research.

Within the context of the work conducted by the graduate research group (C-1) Deixis and Frames of Reference, Elisabeth Steinbach-Eicke co-organized two transdisciplinary conferences dedicated to the topics of “Neuroscience and Ancient Languages” (2012) and “Iconicity. Perspectives of Semiotics and Linguistics” (2013). These conferences as well as the Topoi Reading Group “Issues in Cognitive Linguistics” (2013-2014) have been central for the further methodological development of the dissertation project. Additionally, she has been part of international workshops on sense perception outside the field of Ancient Studies and at the boundaries of academic research fields like Linguistics, Cultural Studies, Psychology or Anthropology, as for instance the “International Workshop: Exploring the Senses” (joint scientific conference of the Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics Nijmegen, Radboud University Nijmegen & University of Cologne: Institute for African Studies, 2015) or the “Perception Metaphor Workshop” (collaboration of the Centre for Language Studies of Radboud University Nijmegen & Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics Nijmegen, 2016).

This Ph.D. thesis is being written within the program “Ancient Languages and Texts” (ALT) of the Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies (BerGSAS).