Demotic is a very cursive script and reflects extensive differences in handwriting; these differences, in turn, reflect different types of texts (private letters, economic and legal documents, administrative documents, religious, literary and scientific texts, etc.), different proveniences of texts (especially noticeable are differences between texts from the Fayum and area around Cairo and those from the Thebaid), and different dates of texts (Demotic was used for a thousand years from the 7th century B.C. until the 3rd century of our era [occasional graffiti occur even later]). Thus, the Dictionary must show actual orthography for words cited. Originally we had intended to make hand copies of every example of every word cited in the Dictionary (there are approximately 10-15 words per page and there will be about 1000 pages). These would then have had to be manually inserted on the printed copy of the manuscript. However, the use of an Apple Scanner has allowed us to replace hand copies with scans, which can be inserted directly into the Microsoft Word document. This new procedure allows the entire manuscript (both text and graphics) to be included in the same document (a document which can be circulated electronically as well as in printed fashion) and it avoids the time and possible errors involved in manually attaching all the hand copies to the printed document. The final version of the Dictionary will be printed on tabloid paper on the 1200dpi Laser printer in the Publications Office and it will be printed at approximately 90%, in order to produce a volume approximately the same size as Erichsen’s Demotisches Glossar, to which it is intended to be a supplement.


  • 2019: Janet H. Johnson and Brian P. Muhs. "The Chicago Demotic Dictionary." In Discovery New Pasts: The OI at 100, edited by Theo van den Hour, pp. 201–5. Chicago: Oriental Institute, 2019.
  • 2016: Janet H. Johnson. "The Chicago Demotic Dictionary: Its History and Its Future." Oriental Institute News & Notes 216 (2013): 3–8.
  • 2015: Richard Spiegelberg. Wilhelm Spiegelberg: A Life in Egyptology.
  • 2011: Janet H. Johnson. "The Chicago Demotic Dictionary." Oriental Institute News & Notes 208 (2011): 6–8.
  • 2000: Janet H. Johnson. Thus Wrote 'Onchsheshonqy: An Introductory Grammar of Demotic. Third Edition. Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 45. Chicago: Oriental Institute, 2000.
  • 1999: Janet H. Johnson. "The Chicago Demotic Dictionary Project." In Texcorpus und Wörterbuch: Aspekte zur ägyptischen Lexikographie, edited by Stefan Grunert and Ingelore Hafemann, pp. 243–57. Probleme der Ägyptologie 14. Leiden: Brill, 1999.
  • 1994: Janet H. Johnson. "Computers, Graphics, and Papyrology." In Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Papyrologists, pp. 618–20. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum, 1993.
  • 1987: Robert K. Ritner. "The Chicago Demotic Dictionary Project: A Status Report." In Aspects of Demotic Lexicography: Acts of the Second International Congress for Demotic Studies, Leiden, 19–21 September 1984, edited by Sven P. Vleeming, 145–49. Studia Demotica 1. Leuven: Peeters, 1987.
  • 1978: Janet H. Johnson. "The Chicago Demotic Dictionary Project." Enchoria 8, Sonderband (1978): 11–14.

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