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Upcoming Events

  • Sign, Speech, and Society in the Ancient Near East: 100 Years of Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Prague.
    Sign, Speech, and Society in the Ancient Near East: 100 Years of Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Prague.
    po 16. 9.
    Faculty of Arts
    16. 9. 2019 9:30 – 19. 9. 2019 16:00
    Faculty of Arts, nám. J. Palacha 2, Josefov, 116 38 Prague 1, Czech Republic
    16. 9. 2019 9:30 – 19. 9. 2019 16:00
    Faculty of Arts, nám. J. Palacha 2, Josefov, 116 38 Prague 1, Czech Republic
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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

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

12:00-14:00     Lunch

14:00-14:30     K. Sieckmeyer, Narrative Imagery and Drafted Wedges: Communication at the Dawn of Writing

14:30-15:00     Sh. Thavapalan, Crafting Speech Through Signs. The Semantics of Brick and Stone Markings in the Ancient Near East

15:00-15:30     Ch. Tsouparopoulou, Connecting East and West: Common Mitanni Cylinder Seals in the Aegean

15:30-16:00     Coffee break

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

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

10:30-11:00     Coffee break

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

12:00-14:00     Lunch

14:00-14:30     R. Bjørn, Balcanic and beyond – Semitic and the formation of Proto-Indo-European

14:30-15:00     J. Bičovský, Indoeuropean fricatives and sonority

15:00-15:30     Coffee break

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 

18:00               Reception

Wednesday, September 18

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 structure of the Old Assyrian letter address

10:00-10:30     L. Fijałkowska, Talking to each other through a legal text. The juridical language and its patterns in LBA

10:30-11:00     Coffee break

11:00-11:30     J. Mynářová, “Mein Herr und König, lass dir melden …”. On Middle Babylonian Royal Correspondence

11:30-12:00     J. Tavernier, NUNUZ and its usage in the Amarna archive

12:00-14:00     Lunch

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, Communicating with the Stranger in the Ancient Near East: Ashurbanipal and Gyges

15:30-16:00     Coffee break

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 in the Hebrew of Daniel: Language Contact and Language Ideology

Thursday, September 19

9:00-10:00       J. Gippert, Early pioneers – “Digital Humanities” in the 20th century (keynote lecture)

10:00-10:30     R. Pirngruber, Astronomical Diaries Digital

10:30-11:00     Coffee break

11:00-11:30     M. Groß, Prosobab: An online prosopography of Babylonian 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

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Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main




University of Michigan

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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

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Charles Univesity





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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 conference fee will be 90 EUR (60 EUR for students).

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

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Institute of Comparative Linguistics, Faculty of Arts, Charles University

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