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Discovering Writing: Learning Egyptian Hieroglyphs - Lesson 3 (Part I)


Learning Egyptian Hieroglyphs - Lesson 3 (Part I)

by Caroline Seawright

 

Biliteral Signs


 

Combinations of two consonants (biliteral signs) are of great importance in Egyptian writing. Here are some signs with a as the second consonant:

 

 

`a `a

pa pa

cha cha

sa, sa (old) sa

ta ta

wa wa

ma ma

ha ha

sha sha

tha tha

ba ba

ha ha

sa sa

ka ka

dja dja

 

Phonetic Complements

 

The biliteral signs (and triliteral signs) are almost always accompanied by alphabetic signs that express part or the whole of their sound value.

 

This means that shaa is read as sha, not shaa. (shaa would be written as shaaa!) These alphabetic signs, used in that way, are called Phonetic Complements.

 

The way of combining these signs varies, but from our list above, these signs follow the pattern used by shaa:

 

wa, ma, ha, ka, tha and dja.

 

The others, apart from `a, have a pattern where the two consonants surround the biliteral (the first consonant before the biliteral, the second after), as in bbaa ba (not bbaa).

 

 

`auses this pattern: a`aa` is also used).

 

These patterns come through intuitive practise of Egyptian writing.

 

Although uncommon, there are some words with an absence of the phonetic complements, seen in such words as cha cha 'a thousand', sa stroke determinativeman determinative sa 'son', bakman determinative bak 'servant' and katman carrying basket determinativeSuffix pronouns Dependant pronouns Independent pronouns These will be explained further on and in another lesson. Suffix Pronouns Suffixes must follow a preceding word. Here are the ones we will be learning in this lesson:

(though kat 'work, construction'.

 

Personal Pronouns

 

Personal Pronouns appear in several different forms:

Suffix pronouns

Dependant pronouns

Independent pronouns

These will be explained further on and in another lesson.

 

Suffix Pronouns

Suffixes must follow a preceding word. Here are the ones we will be learning in this lesson:

 

Suffix

Hieroglyph

Sound

Meanings

Singular 1

man determinative

*y

1, me, my

also feminine

woman determinative

 

kings sometimes use

hawk determinative, king determinative, god determinative

 

Singular 2, masculine

k

*k

Thou, thee, thy

Singular 2, feminine

th

*tsh

Thou, thee, thy

later on, also

t

*t

 

Singular 3, masculine

f

*f

He, him, his, it, its

Singular 3, feminine

s

*s

She, her, hers, its

later on, also

s

*s

 

Plural 1

n three strokes determinative

*n

We, us, our

Plural 2

tshn three strokes determinative, tshn

*tshn

You, your

or

tshn three strokes determinative, tshn

*tn

 

Plural 3

sn three strokes determinative, sn; s, s three strokes determinative

*sn< /i>

They, them, their

or

sn three strokes determinative, sn; s three strokes determinative

*sn

 

Plural 3

w three strokes determinative

*w

They, them, their

later on

w three strokes determinative

*w

 

Dual 1

n two slash determinative1

*ny

We two, us two, our

Dual 2

thn two slash determinative1

*tshny

You two, your

Dual 3

sn two slash determinative1

*sny

They two, their

1 These became obsolete.

 

Chief Uses of Suffix Pronouns

 

As genitive after nouns, with the sense of our possessive adjectives.

  • Eg. pr stroke determinativef pr*f 'his house' ('house of him'/'a house of his'); nywt stroke determinativesn three strokes determinative nywt*sn 'their town' ('town of them')

     

    After prepositions.

     

  • Eg. n man determinative n*y 'to me'; hn`s hn`*s 'together with her'

    As nominative with the simple tenses of the verb.

  • Eg. djdk djd*k 'thou sayest'; ear determinativemntsh sdjm*m*tsh 'thou (fem) hast heard'

    'Myself', 'Thyself', Etc

    In Egyptian there are no special reflexive pronouns. This means that djdfnf djd*f n*f could mean 'he says to himself'.

     

    For emphatic 'myself', 'thyself', etc, we can use djs djs*, later on written as djs with the appended suffix.

     

    This is found:

     

    After nouns, as in sun determinative stroke determinativegod determinativedjsf R` djs*f 'Ra (in person) himself'

    To strengthen a suffix when used as a genitive, eg. rnman determinativedjsman determinative rn*y djs*y 'my own name'

    Adverbially, with the meaning 'by ones own effort', eg. sncross determinative legs determinativenkqrtwood determinative three stroke determinativedjs three stroke determinativesn three stroke determinative sn n*k qrwt djs*sn 'the bolts open to thee by themselves'

    In later times, 'myself', 'thyself', etc, are regularly paraphrased by h` flesh determinativeIII determinativeman determinative h`w*y or h` flesh determinativeIII determinativek h`w*k (literally 'my (thy) members').

     

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