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Question about Budge's dictionaries...

 
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Lost Pharaoh
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:50 pm    Post subject: Question about Budge's dictionaries... Reply with quote

Can someone explain me what exactly is the wrong in this dictionaries? Can I use it for translation of some text or not. I know that is outdated in part that is printed a hundred years ago and that he use old transliteration method, but how it is about his words and hieroglyphs. I know I am romantic when I see very old scanned pages and the style it is written, but I cannot accept that the this books are piece of crap as everyone says. I want to know what specific part is still good to use in the "path of hieroglyphs". Thank you for understanding.

I want good explanations.

P.S. I have a freedom to conclude that the Budge's dictionary have the biggest number of hieroglyphic words covered. Am I right?
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Question about Budge's dictionaries... Reply with quote

Lost Pharaoh wrote:
Can someone explain me what exactly is the wrong in this dictionaries? Can I use it for translation of some text or not. I know that is outdated in part that is printed a hundred years ago and that he use old transliteration method, but how it is about his words and hieroglyphs. I know I am romantic when I see very old scanned pages and the style it is written, but I cannot accept that the this books are piece of crap as everyone says. I want to know what specific part is still good to use in the "path of hieroglyphs". Thank you for understanding.

I want good explanations.

P.S. I have a freedom to conclude that the Budge's dictionary have the biggest number of hieroglyphic words covered. Am I right?


To answer your last question first, no, you are not right. The largest compendium of hieroglyphs is (and will continue to be, since it's an ongoing work) the Wörtberuch der Aegyptischen Sprache, which can be found in scholarly libraries for Egyptology. The full citation of this work is:

Erman, A. and H. Grapow. 1926-1982. Wörterbuch der Aegyptischen Sprache. (7 Vols.) Leipzig: J. C. Hinrich.

For those who cannot afford the entire Wörtberuch, which runs about $1500 - $2500 for all 7 volumes, the next best work is this one:

Hannig, R. 1995. Die Sprache der Pharaonen: Großes Handwörterbuch Ägyptisch-Deutsch (2800 - 950 v. Chr.). Kulturegeschichte der Antiken Welt 64. Mainz: von Zabern.

If you cannot read German, then you will have to rely - in English - for the far more limited work of Faulkner. However, even his works are far more reliable than Budge. See:

Faulkner, R. O. 1991 (1962). A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian. Oxford: Griffith Institute.

with its supplement:

Shennum, D. 1977. English-Egyptian Index of Faulkner's Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian. ARTANES [Aids and Research Tools in Ancient Near East Studies] I. Malibu: Undena Publications.

There are also dictionaries for ancient Egyptian to be found in other foreign languages, but realise that most Egyptologists are required to read French, German and English as part of their studies, so the German dictionaries are general considered the best of these.

As to what is wrong with Budge's dictionaries, there are many reasons. For one, just about all of Budge's works are outdated, and were outdated even during Budge's own lifetime, and never achieved success amongst scholars. However, this is my usual reply, when someone asks me "What is wrong with using Walis Budge's works?"

In the work, Who Was Who in Egyptology, Morris Bierbrier (ed), [Third Revised Edition] (EES: London, 1995) noted in its discussion of Budge's life and work:

In his text editions, Budge was too prolific for careful work, and many of them are inaccurate by modern standards; he persisted in the use of an old system of transcription, and did not utilize many of the grammatical discoveries of the Berlin School. [p. 72]

Further, in a review of Budge's life, Dennis Forbes of KMT: A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt, was more detailed, noting that:

After Howard Carter, Budge is, arguably, the Egyptologist best known to the English-speaking public. This is due in large part to the plethora of books by him which have, in recent years, been re-issued by Dover publishers, now that they are in the public domain. Regrettably, many lay individuals who are just discovering ancient Egypt as a topic of personal research and study turn to Budge's wide-ranging volumes -- chiefly because of their easy availability -- without realizing they were written, many of them, nearly a century ago and are very much out of date. This is because a great deal of the author's scholarship was flawed in its time, or today has been negated by new discoveries and a far-better understanding of the ancient Egyptian culture than was possessed by Budge during his heyday. In the world of modern scholarship, matriculating students and Ph.D's alike are particularly careful not to cite E.A. Wallis Budge as a source of authority for their own research or writings, unless it is a negative reference.
<...>
But Wallis Budge is to be most faulted for his extraordinarily prolific output of 140 separate books and editions (some of the latter running into several volumes), a great many, if not most, of which failed to achieve the highest critical standards of scholarship, as a result of too speedy publication and Budge's habit of disregarding the work and publications of his Egyptological contemporaries, many of whom were advancing understanding of the written language and cultural nuances of ancient Egypt somewhat beyond Budge's own.


Dennis Forbes. "Giants of Egyptology: E.A. Wallis Budge (1857-1943)," KMT: A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt, Vol. 8/2 (Summer 1997): 78-80.

When a modern scholar today refers to Budge's work, it is for his rendering of hieroglyphic texts in a printed format, in my experience (not his transcription NOR his translation). However, even these texts must be occasionally corrected against the actual texts in Egypt (where they still exist) and more updated information on Egyptian language. Budge's printed hieroglyphic texts are useful for many scholars as a starting point for additional and more extensive research, but are not relied upon totally.

As for Budge's dictionaries, I would try to avoid his dictionary for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that many of the definitions he presents are just plain incorrect. Budge himself never adopted the system, fonts, or grammar of the Berlin School, of which the Wörterbuch is a product, and which has guided the translation of ancient Egyptian since the 1920's. Budge's works as to translation were considered out of date and unreliable by Egyptologists in his day, and haven't proved any more reliable since his demise.

Budge had a transcription and a hieroglyph rendering method that was unique to his books, such that translating his work can often be very difficult. Budge persisted in using the Theinhard glyph system (which was based upon Ptolemaic glyph signs, not the style used in Middle Egyptian, which is why Gardiner (1957) had his own fonts made). This made Budge's works outdated even at publication, in a somewhat unique style of transcription not used by most Egyptologists, and did not acknowledge nor use the grammatical discoveries of the Berlin School in ancient Egyptian.

The best most Egyptology students can say is that, in some cases, Budge rendered into glyphs certain inscriptions which are now difficult to read due to erasures over time, or have disappeared altogether. But anyone who relies upon Budge's renderings alone, when the original text is available, will note that in some cases he added glyphs that don't appear on the original. When today's scholars render a text, one sees numerous [...] or ///// to denote missing text, but may add replaced or anticipated translations in (parentheses which tell you they are added text). Budge did none of this, which is why his glyph renderings alone are the best thing about his works to Egyptologists today, IMO.

Due to his output, Budge had a rather sloppy way of not acknowledging new discoveries, or ignoring authors with whom he had disagreements. There is also a general overall lack of references in all of Budge's works, for the most part. While Budge's works may be entertaining at times, and state issues with a certainty that no scholar today could do, this deceives the reader into thinking that many issues he discussed were settled for all time, while nothing could be further from the truth.

So, I would advise that you not use Budge's dictionaries as a means of reference (you can get into terrible trouble with a translation doing this, I have found), and you should NEVER use his transliteration system (his "English" rendering of Egyptian words), and this is very poorly done in all of Budge's works.

However, Budge's texts which are glyphs alone can be used as a starting point for translation, but be aware of the caveat (supra) that he wasn't the best at doing exact renderings of even hieroglyph texts at times - either by adding ot omitting integral glyphs that are not in the original.

Obviously the best source for all glyph translation is the original text itself, but if you can't get to those (in museums or onsite, or are now lost), then any glyph rendering done by Egyptologists since say, 1960, will likely be up to modern Egyptology standards and usually can be relied upon for determining any translation work.

HTH.
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Lost Pharaoh
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your very detailed explanation about his work, and references you cited. I red your similar answers on another post, but you clear to me in the last few paragraphs what I need to know.
I am very sad about Budge's work, and what you tell me about his work. Sad
About German dictionary you mentioned first, I realy want to use it, but I have a problem because I don't understand German, so I cannot used it.
Idea, that cross my mind right now is that I can start translate in English, using German-English dictionary, so made it avalaible for people like me Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lost Pharaoh wrote:
Thank you for your very detailed explanation about his work, and references you cited. I red your similar answers on another post, but you clear to me in the last few paragraphs what I need to know.
I am very sad about Budge's work, and what you tell me about his work. Sad
About German dictionary you mentioned first, I realy want to use it, but I have a problem because I don't understand German, so I cannot used it.
Idea, that cross my mind right now is that I can start translate in English, using German-English dictionary, so made it avalaible for people like me Smile


Most Egyptologists, for whom German is not a first language, keep a Langenscheidts German dictionary nearby just for that reason. Smile

If you buy one, you should get the hardback version, which you can pick up new for as little at £10, as it has over 130,000 references, which makes it very comprehensive. The paperback as fewer than half of that. I do recommend the hardback.

HTH.
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Lost Pharaoh
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for suggestion, but for now I will use Faulkner's dictionary, it seams reliable to me, and it's words and trantlations are just like in German hieroglyphic dictionary you suggested me earlier. I hope it is good as German so I wouldn't learn wrong translations of hieroglypic words.
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dzama923
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, this is good to know concerning Budge's work. Right now I only have a copy of his Book of Dead of ancient Egypt. Would some of the messages of this book be skewed because of the translation?

I am with you on the translation of German to English I think I might try to do that in the future with someone who speaks German and who sees it as a worthwhile task.
No hope of the 7 volumes ever being translated to english?
I wouldn't mind the translating job. I am young I think it would be worth it.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Problem then would be copyright infringement. Any thoughts?
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 3:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dzama923 wrote:
Problem then would be copyright infringement. Any thoughts?


Any time you translate a foreign work into English, it is still the work of the original author: as a translator, you do get reference in the citation as well, such as when my supervisor, John Baines, translated Erik Hornung's German work, Der Eine und die Vielen: ägyptische Gottesvorstellungen (1971), as follows:

Hornung, E. 1982. Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt: The One and the Many. J. Baines, transl. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

You may become known as "the person who translated X", but you can never claim the work as totally your own.

Recall also that translation work is a matter of subjective interpretation. As such, there will also be other people who will quibble with your translation, not the least of which may be the original author.

HTH.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edmund Meltzer : Excursus to "RED FLAGS" - The Problem with Budge

Greetings, Lutz.
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