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Encyclopedia > Egyptian hieroglyphs
Egyptian hieroglyphs
Type logography usable as an abjad
Languages Egyptian language
Time period 3200 BC – AD 400
Parent systems (Proto-writing)
Egyptian hieroglyphs
Child systems Hieratic
ISO 15924 Egyp
A section of the Papyrus of Ani showing cursive hieroglyphs.
A section of the Papyrus of Ani showing cursive hieroglyphs.

Egyptian hieroglyphs (often called hieroglyphics) was a writing system used by the ancient Egyptians that contained a combination of logographic and alphabetic elements. Cartouches were also used by the Egyptians. Egyptians used cursive hieroglyphs, not to be confused with hieratic, for religious literature on papyrus and wood. Egyptian hieroglyphs, which have their origins as logograms. ... The first five letters of the Phoenician abjad, from right to left An abjad, sometimes also called a consonantary or consonantal alphabet, is a type of writing system in which there is one symbol per consonantal phoneme. ... Spoken in: Ancient Egypt Language extinction: evolved into Demotic by 600 BC, into Coptic by AD 200, and was extinct by the 17th century Language family: Afro-Asiatic  Egyptian  Writing system: hieroglyphs, cursive hieroglyphs, hieratic, and demotic (later, occasionally Arabic script in government translations) Language codes ISO 639-1: none... Writing systems evolved in the Early Bronze Age (late 4th millennium BC) out of neolithic proto-writing. ... Development of hieratic script from hieroglyphs; after Champollion. ... ISO 15924, Codes for the representation of names of scripts, defines two sets of codes for a number of writing systems (scripts). ... The Unicode Standard, Version 5. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (592x695, 142 KB)Cursive hieroglyphs from the Papyrus of Ani, an example of the Egyptian Book of the Dead The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States and in those... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (592x695, 142 KB)Cursive hieroglyphs from the Papyrus of Ani, an example of the Egyptian Book of the Dead The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States and in those... The Papyrus of Ani is a papyrus from the 19th dynasty of the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt containing portions of the Book of Going Forth by Day, more commonly known as the Books of the Dead. ... Writing systems of the world today. ... Khafres Pyramid and the Great Sphinx of Giza, built about 2550 BC during the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom,[1] are enduring symbols of the civilization of ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization in Northeastern Africa concentrated along the middle to lower reaches of the Nile River... A Chinese logogram, which is also an ideogram. ... ABCs redirects here, for the Alien Big Cats, see British big cats. ... For other uses, see Cartouche (disambiguation). ... A section of the Papyrus of Ani showing cursive hieroglyphs. ... Development of hieratic script from hieroglyphs; after Champollion. ...

Contents

Etymology

The word hieroglyph comes from the Greek ἱερογλυφικά (hieroglyphiká); the adjective hieroglyphic, as well as related words such as ἱερόγλυφος (hieroglyphos 'one who writes hieroglyphs', from ἱερός (hierós 'sacred') and γλύφειν (glýphein 'to carve' or 'to write', see glyph). Hieroglyphs themselves were called τὰ ἱερογλυφικά (γράμματα) (tà hieroglyphiká (grámmata), 'engraved sacred characters') on monuments such as stelae, temples, and tombs. The word hieroglyph has come to be used for an individual hieroglyphic character. While "hieroglyphics" is commonly used, it is discouraged by Egyptologists. variant glyphs representing the character a (allographs of a) in the Zapfino typeface. ... Ancient Egyptian funerary stela A stela (or stele) is a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, erected for funerary or commemorative purposes, most usually decorated with the names and titles of the deceased inscribed, carved in relief or painted onto the slab. ... The Great Sphinx of Giza against Khafres Pyramid at the Giza pyramid complex. ...


History and evolution

Hieroglyphs emerged from the preliterate artistic traditions of Egypt. For example, symbols on Gerzean pottery from circa 4000 BC resemble hieroglyphic writing. For many years the earliest known hieroglyphic inscription was the Narmer Palette, found during excavations at Hierakonpolis (modern Kawm al-Ahmar) in the 1890s, which has been dated to circa 3200 BC. However, in 1998 a German archaeological team under Günter Dreyer excavating at Abydos (modern Umm el-Qa'ab) uncovered tomb U-j of a Predynastic ruler, and recovered three hundred clay labels inscribed with proto-hieroglyphs, dating to the Naqada IIIA period of the 33rd century BC.[1][2] The first full sentence written in hieroglyphs so far discovered was found on a seal impression found in the tomb of Seth-Peribsen at Umm el-Qa'ab, which dates from the Second Dynasty. In the era of the Old Kingdom, the Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom, about 800 hieroglyphs existed. By the Greco-Roman period, they numbered more than 5,000.[3] ... Reverse and Obverse Sides of Narmer Palette, this facsimile on display at the Royal Ontario Museum, in Toronto, Canada The Narmer Palette, also known as the Great Hierakonpolis Palette or the Palette of Narmer, is a significant Egyptian archeological find, dating from about the 31st century BC, containing some of... Nekhen (Greek: Hierakonpolis, Arabic: Kom El-Ahmar) was the religious capital of Upper Egypt at the end of the pre-dynastic era ( 3200- 3100 BC.) and probably also during the Early Dynastic Era ( 3100 - 2686 BC). ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... Abydos (Arabic: أبيدوس, Greek Αβυδος), one of the most ancient cities of Upper Egypt, is about 11 km (6 miles) west of the Nile at latitude 26° 10 N. The Egyptian name was Abdju (technically, 3bdw, hieroglyphs shown to the right), the hill of the symbol or reliquary, in which the sacred... General view of area, showing littering of pots Umm el-Qaab (sometimes Umm el Gaab, Arabic: ) is the necropolis of the Early Dynastic[1] kings at Abydos, in Egypt[2]. Its modern name means Mother of Pots, as the whole area is littered with the broken pot shards... The Predynastic Period of Egypt (prior to 3100 BC) is traditionally the period between the Early Neolithic and the beginning of the Pharaonic monarchy beginning with King Narmer. ... Naqada III is the last phase of the Naqadan period. ... Stelae from Abydos tomb Seth-Peribsen was a pharaoh during the Second dynasty of Egypt who ruled for seventeen years. ... General view of area, showing littering of pots Umm el-Qaab (sometimes Umm el Gaab, Arabic: ) is the necropolis of the Early Dynastic[1] kings at Abydos, in Egypt[2]. Its modern name means Mother of Pots, as the whole area is littered with the broken pot shards... Known rulers, in the History of Egypt, for the Second Dynasty. ... The Old Kingdom is the name commonly given to that period in the 3rd millennium BC when Egypt attained its first continuous peak of civilization in complexity and achievement – this was the first of three so-called Kingdom periods, which mark the high points of civilization in the lower Nile... The Middle Kingdom is: a old name for China a period in the History of Ancient Egypt, the Middle Kingdom of Egypt This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... The New Kingdom is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BCE and the 11th century BC, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt. ... The Greco-Roman period of history refers to the culture of the peoples who were incorporated into the Roman Republic and Roman Empire. ...


Hieroglyphs consist of three kinds of glyphs: phonetic glyphs, including single-consonant characters that functioned like an alphabet; logographs, representing morphemes; and determinatives, which narrowed down the meaning of a logographic or phonetic words. ABCs redirects here, for the Alien Big Cats, see British big cats. ... A Chinese logogram, which is also an ideogram. ... In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ...

Hieroglyphs on an Egyptian funerary stela
Hieroglyphs on an Egyptian funerary stela

As writing developed and became more widespread among the Egyptian people, simplified glyph forms developed, resulting in the hieratic (priestly) and demotic (popular) scripts. These variants were also more suited than hieroglyphs for use on papyrus. Hieroglyphic writing was not, however, eclipsed, but existed alongside the other forms, especially in monumental and other formal writing. The Rosetta Stone contains parallel texts in hieroglyphic and demotic writing. Ancient Egyptian funerary stela, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford Image by ChrisO File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Ancient Egyptian funerary stela, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford Image by ChrisO File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Development of hieratic script from hieroglyphs; after Champollion. ... Demotic script on a replica of the Rosetta stone. ... For other uses, see Papyrus (disambiguation). ... 141. ...


Hieroglyphs continued to be used under Persian rule (intermittent in the 6th and 5th centuries BC), and after Alexander's conquest of Egypt, during the ensuing Macedonian and Roman periods. It appears that the misleading quality of comments from Greek and Roman writers about hieroglyphs came about, at least in part, as a response to the changed political situation. Some believe that hieroglyphs may have functioned as a way to distinguish 'true Egyptians' from the foreign conquerors. Another reason may be the refusal to tackle a foreign culture on its own terms which characterized Greco-Roman approaches to Egyptian culture generally. Having learned that hieroglyphs were sacred writing, Greco-Roman authors imagined the complex but rational system as an allegorical, even magical, system transmitting secret, mystical knowledge. For the film of the same name, see Alexander the Great (1956 film). ... Ancient Rome was a civilization that grew from a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula circa the 9th century BC to a massive empire straddling the Mediterranean Sea. ...


By the 4th century, few Egyptians were capable of reading hieroglyphs, and the myth of allegorical hieroglyphs was ascendant. Monumental use of hieroglyphs ceased after the closing of all non-Christian temples in AD 391 by the Roman Emperor Theodosius I; the last known inscription is from Philae, known as the The Graffito of Esmet-Akhom, from AD 396.[4] As a means of recording the passage of time, the 4th century was that century which lasted from 301 to 400. ... An engraving depicting what Theodosius may have looked like, ca. ... Philae (or Pilak or Paaleq [Egyptian: remote place or the end or the angle island]; [Arabic: Anas el Wagud]) is an island in the Nile River and the previous site of an Ancient Egyptian temple complex in southern Egypt. ... The Egyptian hieroglyphic inscription known as The Graffito of Esmet-Akhom (or Philae 436) is the latest known inscription written in hieroplyphs. ...


Decipherment of hieroglyphic writing

In the 5th century appeared the Hieroglyphica of Horapollo, a spurious explanation of almost 200 glyphs. Authoritative yet largely false, the work was a lasting impediment to the decipherment of Egyptian writing. Whereas earlier scholarship emphasized Greek origin of the document, more recent work has recognized remnants of genuine knowledge, and casts it as an attempt by an Egyptian intellectual to rescue an unrecoverable past. The Hieroglyphica was a major influence on Renaissance symbolism, particularly the emblem book of Andrea Alciato, and including the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili of Francesco Colonna. Demotic script on a replica of the Rosetta Stone. ... Europe in 450 The 5th century is the period from 401 to 500 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian Era. ... Horapollo (from Horus Apollo, Ὡραπόλλων) is supposed author of a treatise on Egyptian hieroglyphs, extant in a Greek translation by one Philippus, titled Hieroglyphica, dating to about the 5th century. ... This article is about the European Renaissance of the 14th-17th centuries. ... Emblem books are a particular style of illustrated book developed in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, normally containing about one hundred picture/text combinations. ... Emblema CLXXXIX stating Mentem, non formam, plus pollere Andrea Alciato (1492-1550), was a jurist born in Alzano, near Milan, Italy on the 1492-01-12. ... It has been suggested that Poliphilo be merged into this article or section. ... Francesco Colonna (1433 (?) - 1527), was an Italian Dominican priest and monk who was credited by an acrostic in the text with the authorship of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. ...

Various modern scholars attempted to decipher the glyphs over the centuries, notably Johannes Goropius Becanus in the 16th century and Athanasius Kircher in the 17th, but all such attempts met with failure. The real breakthrough in decipherment began in the early 1800s by scholars as Silvestre de Sacy, Akerblad and Thomas Young. Finally, Jean-François Champollion made the complete decipherment. The discovery in 1799 of the Rosetta Stone by Napoleon's troops (during Napoleon's Egyptian invasion) provided the motivation to study the script, but the text on the stone was of almost no use in decipherment. The critical breakthrough in the nature of the script was made by Champollion by the 1820s: Download high resolution version (768x1024, 151 KB)The Rosetta Stone in British Museum, photo by User:Matijap File links The following pages link to this file: Rosetta Stone Categories: GFDL images ... Download high resolution version (768x1024, 151 KB)The Rosetta Stone in British Museum, photo by User:Matijap File links The following pages link to this file: Rosetta Stone Categories: GFDL images ... 141. ... The British Museum in London, England is a museum of human history and culture. ... Johannes Goropius Becanus (1519-1572), Dutch physician, linguist, and humanist. ... (15th century - 16th century - 17th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century was that century which lasted from 1501 to 1600. ... Athanasius Kircher ( ) (sometimes erroneously spelled Kirchner) was a 17th century German Jesuit scholar who published around 40 works, most notably in the fields of oriental studies, geology and medicine. ... Antoine Isaac, baron Silvestre de Sacy (September 21, 1758 - February 21, 1838), was a French orientalist. ... Johan David Ã…kerblad (1763–1819) was a Swedish diplomat and orientalist, a student of Sacy. ... Thomas Young, English scientist Thomas Young (June 13, 1773-May 10, 1829) was an English polymath, contributing to the scientific understanding of vision, light, solid mechanics, energy, physiology, and Egyptology. ... For the Champollion comet rendezvous spacecraft, see Champollion (spacecraft). ... 1799 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... 141. ... For other uses, see Napoleon (disambiguation). ... 1798 was a relatively quiet period in the French Revolutionary Wars. ...

It is a complex system, writing figurative, symbolic, and phonetic all at once, in the same text, the same phrase, I would almost say in the same word.[5]

This was a major triumph for the young discipline of Egyptology. The Great Sphinx of Giza against Khafres Pyramid at the Giza pyramid complex. ...


Hieroglyphs survive today in two forms: Directly, through half a dozen Demotic glyphs added to the Greek alphabet when writing Coptic; and indirectly, as the inspiration for the original alphabet that was ancestral to nearly every other alphabet ever used, including the Roman alphabet. The Coptic alphabet is an alphabet used for writing the Coptic language. ... The Middle Bronze Age alphabets are two similar but undeciphered scripts, dated to be from the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1500 BC), and believed to be ancestral to nearly all modern alphabets: the Proto-Sinaitic script discovered in the winter of 1904-1905 by William Flinders Petrie, and dated to...


Writing system

Visually hieroglyphs are all more or less figurative: they represent real or imaginary elements, sometimes stylized and simplified, but all generally perfectly recognizable in form. However, the same sign can, according to context, be interpreted in diverse ways: as a phonogram (phonetic reading), as a logogram, or as an ideogram (semagram; "determinative") (semantic reading). The determinative was not read as a phonetic constituent, but facilitated understanding by differentiating the word from its homophones. Phonetics (from the Greek word φωνή, phone meaning sound, voice) is the study of the sounds of human speech. ... Egyptian hieroglyphs, which have their origins as logograms. ... A Chinese character. ... In mesopotamian cuneiform texts (i. ... Semantics (Greek semantikos, giving signs, significant, symptomatic, from sema, sign) refers to the aspects of meaning that are expressed in a language, code, or other form of representation. ...


Phonetic reading

Hieroglyphs typical of the Graeco-Roman period
Hieroglyphs typical of the Graeco-Roman period

Most hieroglyphic signs are phonetic in nature, meaning the sign is read independent of its visual characteristics (according to the rebus principle where, for example, the picture of an eye could stand for the English words eye and I [the first person pronoun]). Phonograms are formed, whether with one consonant (signs called mono- or uniliteral) or by two consonants (biliteral signs) or by three (triliteral signs). The twenty-four uniliteral signs make up the so-called hieroglyphic alphabet. Since Egyptian hieroglyphic writing does not normally indicate vowels, in contrast, for example, to cuneiform, it could perhaps be argued that it is a variety of abjad. Image File history File linksMetadata Egypt_Hieroglyphe4. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Egypt_Hieroglyphe4. ... Rebus Principle (Linguistics) is using the existing symbols, such as pictograms, purely for their sounds regardless of their meaning, to represent new words. ... The Egyptian hieroglyphic script contained 24 uniliterals (symbols that stood for single consonants, much like English letters) which today we associate with the 26 glyphs listed below. ... Biliteral Egyptian hieroglyphs are symbols which represent a specific sequence of two consonants in the language. ... Triliteral Egyptian hieroglyphs are symbols which represent a specific sequence of three consonants in the language. ... Look up Cuneiform in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The first five letters of the Phoenician abjad, from right to left An abjad, sometimes also called a consonantary or consonantal alphabet, is a type of writing system in which there is one symbol per consonantal phoneme. ...


Thus, hieroglyphic writing representing a duck is read in Egyptian as , the consonants of the word for this animal. Nevertheless, it is also possible to use the hieroglyph of the duck without a link to the meaning in order to represent the phonemes , independent of any vowels which could accompany these consonants, and in this way write the words: , "son," or when complemented by other signs detailed further in the text, , "keep, watch"; and sȝṯ.w, "hard ground". For example: In human language, a phoneme is the theoretical representation of a sound. ...

– the character ;

– the same character used only in order to signify, according to the context, "duck" or, with the appropriate determinative, "son", two words having the same consonants; the meaning of the little vertical stroke will be explained further on:


– the character as used in the word sȝw, "keep, watch"


As in the Arabic script, not all vowels were written in Egyptian hieroglyphs; it is debatable whether vowels were written at all. Possibly, as with Arabic, the semivowels /w/ and /j/ (as in English W and Y) doubled as the vowels /u/ and /i/. Therefore, in modern transcriptions, an e is added between consonants to aid in their pronunciation. For example, nfr "good" is typically written nefer. This does not reflect Egyptian vowels, which are obscure, but is merely a modern convention. Likewise, the ȝ and ʾ are commonly transliterated as a, as in Ra. The Arabic alphabet is the script used for writing languages such as Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and others. ... For other uses, see Ra (disambiguation). ...


Hieroglyphs are written from right to left, from left to right, or from top to bottom, the usual direction being from right to left. The reader must consider the direction in which the asymmetrical hieroglyphs are turned in order to determine the proper reading order. For example, when human and animal hieroglyphs face to the right (i.e., they look right), they must be read from right to left, and vice versa, the idea being that the hieroglyphs face the beginning of the line.


Like many ancient writing systems, words are not separated by blanks or by punctuation marks. However, certain hieroglyphs appear particularly commonly at the end of words making it possible to readily distinguish words.


Uniliteral signs

The Egyptian hieroglyphic script contained 24 uniliterals (symbols that stood for single consonants, much like English letters). It would have been possible to write all Egyptian words in the manner of these signs, but the Egyptians never did so and never simplified their complex writing into a true alphabet.[6] The Egyptian hieroglyphic script contained 24 uniliterals (symbols that stood for single consonants, much like English letters) which today we associate with the 26 glyphs listed below. ...


Each uniliteral glyph once had a unique reading, but several of these fell together as Old Egyptian developed into Middle Egyptian. For example, the folded-cloth glyph seems to have been originally an /s/ and the door-bolt glyph a /θ/ sound, but these both came to be pronounced as /s/ as the /θ/ sound was lost. A few uniliterals first appear in Middle Egyptian texts. Old Egyptian is one diachronic part of Egyptian language and Egyptians spoke it from 2600 BC to 2000 BC (after Archaic Egyptian and before Middle Egyptian). ... Middle Egyptian is the typical form of the Egyptian spoken from 2000 BC to 1300 BC (after Old Egyptian and before Late Egyptian). ... The voiceless alveolar fricatives are consonantal sounds. ... The voiceless dental non-sibilant fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. ...


Besides the uniliteral glyphs, there are also the biliteral and triliteral signs, to represent a specific sequence of two or three consonants in the language. Biliteral Egyptian hieroglyphs are symbols which represent a specific sequence of two consonants in the language. ... Triliteral Egyptian hieroglyphs are symbols which represent a specific sequence of three consonants in the language. ...


Phonetic complements

Egyptian writing is often redundant: in fact, it happens very frequently that a word might follow several characters writing the same sounds, in order to guide the reader. For example, the word nfr, "beautiful, good, perfect", was written with a unique triliteral which was read as nfr :

However, it is considerably more common to add, to that triliteral, the uniliterals for f and r. The word can thus be written as nfr+f+r but one reads it merely as nfr. The two alphabetic characters are adding clarity to the spelling of the preceding triliteral hieroglyph.


Redundant characters accompanying biliteral or triliteral signs are called phonetic complements (or complementaries). They can be placed either: in front of the sign (rarely), after the sign (as a general rule), or they even frame it (appearing both before and after). Ancient Egyptian scribes consistently avoided leaving large areas of blank space in their writing, and might add additional phonetic complements or sometimes even invert the order of signs if this would result in a more aesthetically pleasing appearance (good scribes attended to the artistic [and even religious] aspects of the hieroglyphs, and would not simply view them as a communication tool). Various examples of the use of phonetic complements can be seen below: In languages written in cuneiform, a phonetic complement was a sign used to resolve ambiguities. ... The Parthenons facade showing an interpretation of golden rectangles in its proportions. ...

  —   mdw +d +w (the 2 complementaries are placed after the sign) → it reads mdw, meaning "tongue";


  —   +p +pr +r +j (the 4 complementaries frame the triliteral sign of the scarab/beetle) → it reads ḫpr.j, meaning the name "Khepri".

Notably, phonetic complements were also used to allow the reader to differentiate between signs which are homophones, or which don't always have a unique reading. For example, the symbol of "the seat" (or chair): A scarab or scarab beetle may refer to: A beetle which belong to the family Scarabaeidae, or A dung beetle, especially the Scarabaeus sacer worshipped by the ancient Egyptians (an amulet made by that people in the shape of the species is also called a scarab). ... Khepri as a scarab beetle, pushing the sun across the sky In Egyptian mythology, Khepri (also spelt Khepera, Kheper, Chepri, Khepra) is the name of a minor god. ... Homonyms (in Greek homoios = identical and onoma = name) are words which have the same form (orthographic/phonetic) but unrelated meaning. ...

  —   This can be read st, ws and tm, according to the word in which it is found. The presence of phonetic complements—and of the suitable determinative—allows the reader to know which reading to choose, of the 3 readings:
  • 1st Reading: st   —  

      —   st, written st+t ; the last character is the determinative of "the house" or that which is found there, meaning "seat, throne, place";

  —   st (written st+t ; the "egg" determinative is used for female personal names in some periods), meaning "Isis";
  • 2nd Reading: ws   —  

      —   wsjr (written ws+jr, with, as a phonetic complement, "the eye", which is read jr, following the determinative of "god"), meaning "Osiris";
  • 3rd Reading: tm   —  
      —   tm.t (written +tm+m+t, with the determinative of "the jackal"), meaning a kind of wild animal,
  —   tm (written +tm+t, with the determinative of the flying bird), meaning "to disappear".

Finally, it sometimes happens that the pronunciation of words might be changed because of their connection to Ancient Egyptian: in this case, it is not rare for writing to adopt a compromise in notation, the two readings being indicated jointly. For example, the adjective bnj, "sweet" became bnr. In Middle Egyptian, one can write: This article discusses the ancient goddess Isis. ... For other uses, see Osiris (disambiguation). ...


  —   bnrj (written b+n+r+i, with determinative)

which is fully read as bnr, the j not being pronounced but retained in order to keep a written connection with the ancient word (in the same fashion as the English language words through, knife, or victuals, which are no longer pronounced the way they are written.) The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ...


Semantic reading

Besides a phonetic interpretation, characters can also be read for their meaning: in this instance logograms are being spoken (or ideograms) and semagrams (the latter are also called determinatives). [7] Egyptian hieroglyphs, which have their origins as logograms. ... A Chinese character. ...


Logograms

A hieroglyph used as a logogram defines the object of which it is an image. Logograms are therefore the most frequently used common nouns; they are always accompanied by a mute vertical stroke indicating their status as a logogram (the usage of a vertical stroke is further explained below); in theory, all hieroglyphs would have the ability to be used as logograms. Logograms can be accompanied by phonetic complements. Here are some examples: Egyptian hieroglyphs, which have their origins as logograms. ...


  •   —   , meaning "sun";

  •   —   pr, meaning "house";

  •   —   swt (sw+t), meaning "reed";

  •   —   ḏw, meaning "mountain".

In some cases, the semantic connection is indirect (metonymic or metaphoric): In rhetoric and cognitive linguistics, metonymy (in Greek μετά (meta) = after/later and όνομα (onoma) = name) (pronounced //) is the use of a single characteristic to identify a more complex entity. ... This article is about metaphor in literature and rhetoric. ...

  •   —   nṯr, meaning "god"; the character in fact represents a temple flag (standard);
  •   —   , meaning "bâ" (soul); the character is the traditional representation of a "bâ" (a bird with a human head);
  •   —   dšr, meaning "flamingo"; the corresponding phonogram means "red" and the bird is associated by metonymy with this colour.

Those are just a few examples from the nearly 5000 hieroglyphic symbols. In rhetoric, metonymy is the substitution of one word for another word with which it is associated. ...


Determinatives

Determinatives or semagrams (semantic symbols specifying meaning) are placed at the end of a word. These mute characters serve to clarify what the word is about, as homophonic glyphs are common. If a similar procedure existed in English, words with the same spelling would be followed by an indicator which would not be read but which would fine-tune the meaning: "retort [chemistry]" and "retort [rhetoric]" would thus be distinguished. In mesopotamian cuneiform texts (i. ... In music, the word texture is often used in a rather vague way in reference to the overall sound of a piece of music. ...

A number of determinatives exist: divinities, humans, parts of the human body, animals, plants, etc. Certain determinatives possess a literal meaning and a figurative meaning. For example, a roll of papyrus,
  is used to define "books" but also abstract ideas. The determinative of the plural is a shortcut to signal three occurrences of the word, that is to say, its plural (since the Egyptian language was familiar with a dual, sometimes indicated by two strokes). This special character is explained below.

Here are several examples of the use of determinatives borrowed from the book, Je lis les hiéroglyphes ("I am reading hieroglyphics") by Jean Capart, which illustrate their importance: Look up literal, literally in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Figurative art describes artworks - particularly paintings - which are clearly derived from real object sources, but are not necessarily representational. ... Look up plural in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

  •   —   nfrw (w and the three strokes are the marks of the plural: [literally] "the beautiful young people", that is to say, the young military recruits. The word has a young-person determinative symbol:
      —   which is the determinative indicating babies and children;
  •   —   nfr.t (.t is here the suffix which forms the feminine): meaning "the nubile young woman", with
    as the determinative indicating a woman;
  •   —   nfrw (the tripling of the character serving to express the plural, flexional ending w) : meaning "foundations (of a house)", with the house as a determinative,
    ;

  •   —   nfr : meaning "clothing" with
      as the determinative for lengths of cloth;

  •   —   nfr : meaning "wine" or "beer"; with a jug
      as the determinative.

All these words have a meliorative connotation: "good, beautiful, perfect." A recent dictionary, the Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian by Raymond A. Faulkner, gives some twenty words which are read nfr or which are formed from this word.


Additional signs

Cartouche

Rarely, the names of gods are placed within a cartouche; the two last names of the sitting king are always placed within a cartouche: For other uses, see Cartouche (disambiguation). ...



jmn-rˁ, "Amon-Rê " ;





qrwjwȝpdrȝ.t, "Cleopatra."


Filling stroke

A filling stroke is used in order to end a quadrant which would be incomplete without it.


Signs joined together

Some signs are the contraction of several others. These signs have, however, a function and existence of their own: for example, a forearm where the hand holds a scepter is used as a determinative for words meaning "to direct, to drive" and their derivatives.


Doubling

The doubling of a sign indicates its dual; the tripling of a sign indicates its plural.


Grammatical signs

  • The vertical stroke, indicating the sign is an ideogram;
  • The two strokes of the "dual" and the three strokes of the "plural";
  • The direct notation of flexional endings, for example:

Spelling

The idea of standardized orthography—"correct" spelling—in Egyptian is much looser than in modern languages. In fact, one or several variants exist for almost every word. One finds: The orthography of a language specifies the correct way of using a specific writing system to write the language. ...

  • Redundancies;
  • Omission of graphemes, which are ignored whether they are intentional or not;
  • Substitutions of one grapheme for another, such that it is impossible to distinguish a "mistake" from an "alternate spelling";
  • Errors of omission in the drawing of signs, much more problematic when the writing is cursive: hieratic writing, but especially demotic, where the schematization of the signs is extreme.

However, many of these apparent spelling errors are more of an issue of chronology. Spelling and standards varied over time, so the given writing of a word during the Old Kingdom might be considerably different during the New Kingdom. Furthermore, the Egyptians were perfectly content to include older orthography ("historical spelling") alongside newer practices, as if it were acceptable in English to use the spelling of a given word from 1600 in a text written today. Most often ancient spelling errors are more of an issue of modern misunderstandings of the specific context of a given text. Today, hieroglyphicists make use of a number of catologuing systems (notably the Manuel de Codage and Gardiner's Sign List) in order to clarify the presence of determinatives, ideograms and other ambiguous signs in transliteration. A grapheme designates the atomic unit in written language. ... The Manuel de Codage is a standard system for the computer-encoding of Egyptian transliteration and hieroglyphic texts. ... It has been suggested that List of hieroglyphs/german-Gardiner-list-translated be merged into this article or section. ...


Simple examples

Ptolemy in hieroglyphs
Image:Hiero_Ca1.png


Image:Hiero_Ca2.png

The glyphs in this cartouche are transliterated as: cleopatra ruled seneca for 10 years before she ruled Egypt. ... It has been suggested that Hieroglyph (French Wiki article) be merged into this article or section. ... copied from http://fi. ... copied from http://fi. ... For other uses, see Cartouche (disambiguation). ...

p
t
o l
m
i i s

Ptolmiis

though ii is considered a single letter and transliterated i or y.


Another way in which hieroglyphs work is illustrated by the two Egyptian words pronounced pr (usually vocalised as per). One word is 'house', and its hieroglyphic representation is straightforward:


Here the 'house' hieroglyph works as an logogram: it represents the word with a single sign. The vertical stroke below the hieroglyph is a common way of indicating that a glyph is working as a logogram. Egyptian hieroglyphs, which have their origins as logograms. ...


Another word pr is the verb 'to go out, leave'. When this word is written, the 'house' hieroglyph is used as a phonetic symbol:


Here the 'house' glyph stands for the consonants pr. The 'mouth' glyph below it is a phonetic complement: it is read as r, reinforcing the phonetic reading of pr. The third hieroglyph is a determinative: it is an ideogram for verbs of motion that gives the reader an idea of the meaning of the word. A Chinese character. ...


See also

The writing systems of ancient Egypt include: Egyptian hieroglyphs Cursive hieroglphs Hieratic Demotic the Coptic alphabet Other texts discovered in Egypt and dating to the period before Islam include those written in: the Greek alphabet the Latin alphabet the Cuneiform script the Old Persian cuneiform script Tifinagh the South Arabian... A section of the Papyrus of Ani showing cursive hieroglyphs. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Gardiners Sign List. ... Development of hieratic script from hieroglyphs; after Champollion. ... Demotic (from δημοτικά dimotika popular) refers to both the ancient Egyptian script derived from northern forms of hieratic used in the Delta, as well as the stage of the Egyptian language following Late Egyptian and preceding Coptic. ... It has been suggested that List of hieroglyphs/german-Gardiner-list-translated be merged into this article or section. ... The Manuel de Codage is a standard system for the computer-encoding of Egyptian transliteration and hieroglyphic texts. ... The system of Egyptian numerals was a numeral system used in ancient Egypt. ... In the field of Egyptology, transliteration is the process of converting (or mapping) texts written in the Egyptian language to alphabetic symbols representing uniliteral hieroglyphs or their hieratic and demotic counterparts. ... Spoken in: Ancient Egypt Language extinction: evolved into Demotic by 600 BC, into Coptic by AD 200, and was extinct by the 17th century Language family: Afro-Asiatic  Egyptian  Writing system: hieroglyphs, cursive hieroglyphs, hieratic, and demotic (later, occasionally Arabic script in government translations) Language codes ISO 639-1: none... The language of the Egyptian hieroglyphs and their modern descendant, the Coptic language is classifed under this category. ... The Coptic language is a direct descendant of the ancient Egyptian language which was once written in Egyptian hieroglyphic, hieratic, and demotic scripts. ... Technical note: Due to technical limitations, some web browsers may not display some special characters in this article. ... Drawing of the hieroglyphic seal found in the Troy VIIb layer. ... Cretan hieroglyphs are found on artifacts of Bronze Age Minoan Crete (early to mid 2nd millennium BC, MM I to MM III, overlapping with Linear A from MM IIA at the earliest). ... The Byblos syllabary is known from nine inscriptions found in Byblos, conventionally dated to betwenn the 18th and 15th centuries BC. The script is a syllabary of modified Egyptian hieroglyphs. ... The Middle Bronze Age alphabets are two similar but undeciphered scripts, dated to be from the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1500 BC), and believed to be ancestral to nearly all modern alphabets: the Proto-Sinaitic script discovered in the winter of 1904-1905 by William Flinders Petrie, and dated to... Maya glyphs in stucco at the Museo de sitio in Palenque, Mexico The Maya script, commonly known as Maya hieroglyphs, was the writing system of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization of Mesoamerica, presently the only deciphered script of the Mesoamerican writing systems. ...

Notes and references

  1. ^ The origins of writing, Discovery Channel (1998-12-15)
  2. ^ Richard Mattessich (Jun 2002) The oldest writings, and inventory tags of Egypt, The Accounting Historians Journal.
  3. ^ Antonio Loprieno, Ancient Egyptian; A Linguistic Introduction, Cambridge University Press, 1995 p.12
  4. ^ The latest presently known hieroglyphic inscription date: Birthday of Osiris, year 110 [of Diocletian], dated to August 24, 396
  5. ^ Jean-François Champollion,Letter to M. Dacier, September 27, 1822
  6. ^ Gardiner, Sir Alan H. (1973). Egyptian Grammar. The Griffith Institute. ISBN 0-900416-35-1. 
  7. ^ Antonio Loprieno, Ancient Egyptian, A Linguistic Introduction, Cambridge University Press (1995), p. 13

Discovery Channel is a cable and satellite TV channel founded by John Hendricks which is distributed by Discovery Communications. ... is the 236th day of the year (237th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Events Emperor An succeeds Emperor Xiaowu as ruler of the Chinese Jin Dynasty Augustine appointed bishop of Hippo in North Africa End of the Visigoth invasion in Greece. ... For the Champollion comet rendezvous spacecraft, see Champollion (spacecraft). ... André Dacier André Dacier (6 April 1651-18 September 1722), was a French classical scholar. ... is the 270th day of the year (271st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1822 (MDCCCXXII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ...

Further reading

  • Allen, James P. (1999). Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521774837. 
  • Collier, Mark & Bill Manley (1998). How to read Egyptian hieroglyphs: a step-by-step guide to teach yourself. British Museum Press. ISBN 0-7141-1910-5. 
  • Faulkner, Raymond O. (1962). Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian. The Griffith Institute. ISBN 0-900416-32-7. 
  • Gardiner, Sir Alan H. (1973). Egyptian Grammar: Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs. The Griffith Institute. ISBN 0-900416-35-1. 
  • Kamrin, Janice (2004). Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs; A Practical Guide. Harry N. Abrams, Inc. ISBN 0-8109-4961-X. 
  • McDonald, Angela. Write Your Own Egyptian Hieroglyphs. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007 (paperback, ISBN 0520252357).

Dr Raymond Oliver Faulkner, FSA, (26 December 1894 —- 3 March 1982) was an English Egyptologist and philologist of the ancient Egyptian language. ... Harry N. Abrams, Inc. ...

External links

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  Results from FactBites:
 
Egyptian hieroglyph - Biocrawler (0 words)
Hieroglyphs consist of three kinds of characters: phonetic characters, including single-consonant characters, like an alphabet, but also many representing two or three consonants, logographs, representing a word, and determinatives, which indicate the semantic category of a spelled-out word without indicating its precise meaning.
Hieroglyphs continued to be used under Persian rule (intermittent in the 6th and 5th centuries BC), after Alexander's conquest of Egypt, and during the ensuing Macedonian and Roman periods.
Monumental use of hieroglyphs ceased after the closing of all non-Christian temples in 391 AD by the Roman Emperor Theodosius I; the last known inscription is from a temple far to the south not too long after 391.
Kids.Net.Au - Encyclopedia > Egyptian hieroglyph (0 words)
Hieroglyphs, developed approximately 6000 years ago, is a system of writing used by the ancient Egyptians.
As writing became more widespread among the Egyptian people, the common people, who could not be bothered to draw a lion in all detail every time they wanted to write the letter L, simplified the letter forms, producing hieratic and demotic.
Use of hieroglyphics, especially fluent use, appears to have been a way to distinguish 'true Egyptians' from the foreign conquerors (and their local lackeys), as a kind of test of commitment, etc. This aspect may account for misleading quality of many surviving comments from Greek, Roman, and early Christian writers about hieroglyphics.
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