Learning a new or rather old, dead language can be rather fulfilling. It almost takes you back to when you were a kid, watching Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider movies. One such ancient but appreciated language is the Egyptian Hieroglyphs. They are much like an art form. This was a way of communicating for ancient Egyptians. Instead of typical letters used in modern languages, like English, they used symbols. Hieroglyphs, or shortened version glyphs, were useful because they could depict the meaning of more than one meaning. If you are interested in understanding this ancient language, then continue reading as we explore how to read this language. Free online plagiarism checker with percentage is a great tool to check your essays, research papers and other writing assignments.
1. Egyptian Alphabet
The first thing you want to do is get a copy of the Egyptian hieroglyphic alphabet. Remember these are images and not letters; this chart is easily retrievable from the internet. You can print a hard copy, but keep it handy as you are doing your studies.
Next, you learn the pronunciation of the hieroglyphs, which can be very difficult. Ensure that the chart that you previously sourced also has the pronunciations included. On some sites, they might have a separate chart. Download it as well. This will make the task easier. Keep in mind that though they might be translated into English, the sounds for some of those words, won’t keep the related English sounds. Egyptologists made a guess, from Coptic, as to how the words would sound because Hieroglyphs is a dead language.
After this, you will have to get an understanding of what are an ideogram and a phonogram. These are types of Egyptian hieroglyphics. The former depicts the object, and the latter represented the sounds. Vowels were not used back then, so there will only be consonant sounds.
At this stage, you should start learning how to structure sentences using the ideograms or phonograms. This language is different from the English language in that there will be no silent letters; if you recall, hieroglyphs correspond to sounds. Therefore every sound of the word must correctly relate to a glyph. What adds to the difficulty of translating or using the language is that the English language has silent letters or vowels, while glyph does not. So if no vowels are used, you will have a hard time guessing or forming an accurate translation. Thankfully there are determinatives. These can be used to assisting in conveying the meaning of the word.
2. Reading Hieroglyphs
At this stage, one of the first things you have to grasp is in which direction the hieroglyphs should be read. Unlike English, this language can be read in any direction and check the text on plagiarism. Therefore, you must locate a glyph that has a head. Whichever direction that glyph is facing, read from that direction. However, if you notice that they are in a vertical column, then you read from top to bottom. At times, glyphs are grouped according to heights, which add to the difficulty of both translating them and knowing which direction to read from.
Understanding the nouns in this language is the next phase. There are masculine and feminine nouns as well as singular, plural, or dual nouns; these are classified as gender and quantity nouns respectively. Usually when you see a bread loaf glyph, it means that the word is feminine; otherwise it is masculine. To identify a plural noun then you have to look for a rope curl glyph or a quail chick glyph. On the other hand, a dual glyph will have two backward slashes. If you see more than one of the same glyph together, this also depicts the quantity.
Next, you must learn about suffix pronouns. As you might already know, a pronoun can be used instead of a noun. Therefore, you will use ‘he, she, me, or I’ instead of a person’s name. In Egyptian Hieroglyphics, you will notice that these types of pronouns are combined with prepositions, verbs, or nouns. A reed leaf glyph can be symbolic for ‘my, me, and I’; so too a person hieroglyph. A basket with a handle glyph is a ‘you and your.’ A horned viper glyph means ‘he, his, it, and it.’
Prepositions are words such as ‘near, under, or on top.’ However, one of the most common symbols used is the owl glyph which can translate to ‘in, for, during, from, with, or through.’ Then there is the mouth hieroglyph, which can mean ‘concerning, against, and in order to.’
3. Learning Hieroglyphics
You will need a lot of help to understand this complex language. One of the best ways to do so is by purchasing a book on Egyptian hieroglyphics. Mark Collier and Bill Manley has a great book in this area. It is called ‘How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs’ and can be found at many online bookstores.
You can also conduct an online search at Amazon, eBay, Barnes and Noble, iTunes etc. There will be plenty of options. Choose the perfect one for you.
Ensure that you do your due diligence by reading the reviews on a number of sources, to get an accurate depiction of the content and ease of the information in the text. Goodreads is also a great source for book reviews. You will also want to ensure that there is a return policy at the store of purchase.
Further to that option, you can download an eBook on your electronic device. There are also Egyptian apps online. A popular one is called Egyptian Hieroglyphs. That company also developed another application which transforms your keyboard into having Egyptian characters. You will certainly grasp the language quicker. Note that some of these applications might not be free of cost and it will be necessary to pay a subscription cost.
Another great resource is the Royal Ontario Museum’s website. They provide clear and specific guidelines that teach you how to do things like writing your name in hieroglyphs. It provides a more uncomplicated approach. If you can visit the museum, you will find it worthwhile, viewing their extensive collection of Egyptian pieces. This is a great experience, seeing actually carvings of the symbols in stone.