22 May 2006

Gender in Egyptian

Egyptian has just two genders: masculine and feminine. (no neuter)
How can you distinguish them?

- feminine words have the ending t (it is added to the root of the word)
- masculine words have no special ending (but some may add w or j to their root)
(some of the masculine words end with t, but it is just a part of their root - not an added ending)

Example:
(in personal nouns the gender is clearly marked by determinative)


nb

lord, ruler



nbt

mistress

21 May 2006

Egyptology Forums

Some of the most visited forums where you can discuss anything about ancient Egypt, ancient history, archaeology etc.:

Egyptian Dreams Discussion Board
http://forum.egyptiandreams.co.uk/

KingTutOne
http://www.kingtutone.com/board/

Archaeology Fieldwork
http://www.archaeologyfieldwork.com

The House of Netjer ("house of the god")
http://www.netjer.org/forums/ubbthreads.php

Egypt Travel Information Forums
http://ask-aladdin.com/forum/

Gods

Egyptian word for god is

nTr


Here are some of the most important
gods in Egyptian religion:
(you can see that they all have determinatives
- either their own or a common determinative for a god
(it's the one with Osiris and Geb):

Ast
goddess Isis


Gb
god Geb


Imn
god Amun


Wsir
god Osiris

20 May 2006

Egyptology blogs

If you're interested in the most recent news about ancient Egypt, you'll find everything on the Egyptology News weblog (http://touregypt.net/TEBlog/egyptologynews/) which is edited by archaeologist Andie Byrnes. There is a link on my sidebar too.

Another related site is Egyptology Blog - Egyptology news from around the world (http://www.egyptologyblog.co.uk/) written by Mark Morgan.

I also read Luxor News (http://touregypt.net/TEBlog/luxornews/?p=72) by Jane Akshar who is living in Egypt and talking about life and happenings in Luxor.

Read on the WEB - Interview with Zahi Hawass

Zahi Hawass’ Egypt (interview)
An exclusive guided tour of Egypt with the world’s foremost Egyptologist!

STOP 1: The Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx
STOP 2: Bahariyya Oasis
STOP 3: The Western Desert
STOP 4: Upper Egypt
STOP 5. The Valley of the Kings and its latest treasures
STOP 6: The Egyptian Museum

link:
http://www.egypttoday.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=6567

19 May 2006

Directions of writing

Hieroglyphic text could be written from both left to right and right to left (when it is in a horizontal line). From right to left was more common.

In a vertical line, it is always written from top to bottom.

If the signs are written one above the other in the same line, we first read the upper one.
See sxr "plan" .

When you see an ancient text, how can you know what is its orientation? There is a rule - every human and animal faces the beginning of the text.

More info and examples:

Learning Egyptian Hieroglyphs - Lesson 1
http://www.thekeep.org/~kunoichi/.../glyphs_1.html
(Also has other lessons about hieroglyphs)

Direction of Writing in Egyptian
http://www.jimloy.com/hiero/direct.htm

Direction of Writing
http://www.iut.univ-paris8.fr/~rosmord/Intro/node8.html

Write a word - plan


sxr - plan




s





x




r




- this is a determinative for abstract things which could not be depicted (determinatives are not transliterated)


As you see, some of the signs are combined for better use of space and estetic reasons.

17 May 2006

Biliterals (II)



sw




nw





ir





mr




di




Hm

Coptic




------------

True Type Coptic font
available for Windows:
ftp://ylcftp.uoregon.edu/fonts/coptic/coptic.zip

16 May 2006

Hieratic

Great site for learning hieratic:

Basic Lessons in Hieratic
http://home.prcn.org/sfryer/Hieratic/



More about hieratic:
http://www.crystalinks.com/hieratic.html
http://www.digitalegypt.ucl.ac.uk/writing/hieratic.html

Learn a sign - A2


A2
-determinative (it is not transliterated)
-signify an action: speaking, eating, drinking... or an emotion: think, feel, love...


* category A is called "Man and his occupations"

Gardiner's Sign List

In Sir Alan Gardiner's sign list every hieroglyph has its own code. For example, a duck sign is G39. The letter tells us which category does the hieroglyph belong to, and the number - its place in it.

For complete list of hieroglyphic signs see:

http://showcase.netins.net/web/ankh/gardiner.html
http://www.jimloy.com/hiero/gardner0.htm

History of the Language

Ancient Egyptian had several phases and (chronologically) they are:

- Old Egyptian (2600-2100) - the oldest form of the language.
This was the simplest writing.

- Middle Egyptian - developed during the Middle Kingdom.
It is called the classical form of the language.
In this blog, I use Middle Egyptian!

- Late Egyptian - spoken during the Late Kingdom.
At that time, Middle Egyptian was still used in writing.


Demotic - used Greek letters in writing.
There were some additional signs for the sounds
that weren't present in Greek.





Coptic - the last phase.
Still used in Coptic (Egyptian Christian) church.





Hieratic was cursive hieroglyphic script.
It was present throughout Old, Middle and Late Kingdom.
Hieratic was written with reed brush and ink on papyrus.

15 May 2006

Write a word - scribe


sS
scribe






sS is another biliteral.



is a determinative - it tells you it's a person (a man).

Biliterals

Biliterals are glyphs with 2 consonants.
Some of them are:



sA




pr




nb





Aw




kA


(just as the alphabet, you should learn them by heart)

Champollion and the Decipherment

Links to see:

Hieroglyphics and Their Decipherment
http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/Hieroglyphics.htm
(hieroglyhics is actually a wrong name for the egyptian signs - that is an adjective (as in "hieroglyphic text") -the signs are called hieroglyphs

The Decipherment of Hieroglyphs
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/egyptians/decipherment_01.shtml

Books and articles
http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/hieroglyphs/2.html

The Decipherment of Egyptian Hieroglyphic Text
http://www2.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/hieroglyphics.htm

Hieroglyph Story
http://www.wordinfo.info/words/index/info/view_unit/2884/?letter=H&spage=3



Jean Francois
Champollion -
Biography



Giants of Egyptology - Jean Francois Champollion
http://www.egyptology.com/kmt/winter95_96/giants.html

The Father of Egyptology
http://touregypt.net/featurestories/champollion.htm

14 May 2006

Some common words


im
there



xt
thing



rn
name



Hna
and, together with



Dd
say, speak



bw
place

13 May 2006

Important notes

What is important for you to know about hieroglyphic writing is that it does not show vowels, so we can only see the consonants written (something like a skeleton of a word).

In the next post, I will show you some of the words that are written only with basic alphabetic signs. Egyptian language also uses bilateral and trilateral signs, which I will mention later on.

As I cannot use hieroglyphic font on this blog you will see MdC format letters used for transliteration (in my tables they are in the last column). MdC is the abbreviation of Manuel de Codage, which is a convention that Egyptologists use to present transliteration with roman/latin letters.

See more on MdC: http://www.catchpenny.org/codage/

If you need transliteration font (second column in the table) you can download it from here: http://213.132.220.88/ccer/apps/glyph_i.zip
(unzip it and put the font file in the following folder: C:\WINDOWS\Fonts)

I will introduce you to some of the programs I use to type hieroglyphs soon.

The Alphabet - part 5

The Alphabet - part 4

12 May 2006

The Alphabet - part 3



The Alphabet - part 2

The Alphabet - part 1


Books

Books about Egyptian for beginners:



"Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs" by James P. Allen - Great to start with! (at amazon.com)



"Egyptian Grammar: Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs" by Sir Alan Gardiner - More serious, but a beginner would also get by. (at amazon.com)



"How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Teach yourself" by Mark Collier and Bill Manley (at amazon.com)

Discussion Lists - Must be a member!

Use of computers and internet helped studding everything and therefore languages like ancient Egyptian. Discussion list or mailing list is a community that assembles scholars but also everyone else interested in the subject. They are useful in your learning as you can read other people's opinions (in our case many professionals, like Egyptologists, historians and archaeologists) and participate in discussion yourself.

One extremely important is GlyphStudy - Middle Egyptian Study group that has been created especially for learning Egyptian hieroglyphs. It goes through the book "Middle Egyptian" by James Allen and it is now begging the 13th chapter.
Sign up ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GlyphStudy) and hurry up before they complete it!

You should also be a member of the ones below. They are dealing with ancient Egyptian language and culture.

www.rostau.org.uk/Aegyptian-L/
AEL - Ancient Egyptian Language Email List

http://showcase.netins.net/web/ankh/eefmain.html
EEF - The Egyptologists' Electronic Forum

11 May 2006

What is Ancient Egyptian?

If you are looking for some info about ancient Egyptian language or its script, try here:

www.iut.univ-paris8.fr/~rosmord/Intro/Intro.html
"A Short Introduction to Hieroglyphs" by Serge Rosmorduc

www.ancient-egypt.org/index.html
Ancient Egypt - Language - Part of this site is dedicated to Middle Egyptian grammar, writing, signlist and titulary.

www.jimloy.com/egypt/egypt.htm
Jim Loy's Egyptology Page has a nice introduction for beginners and also contains basic grammar, hieroglyphic dictionary, his translations of some inscriptions etc.

www.eyelid.co.uk/hiero1.htm
Mark Millmore's introduction and alphabet.

See also:

www.greatscott.com/hiero/index.html
www.virtual-egypt.com/newhtml/hieroglyphics/

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