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Translating Hieroglyphics
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 6:57 pm    Post subject: Translating Hieroglyphics Reply with quote

Is there anyway I can learn how to properly translate hieroglyphics on the internet? I'm a teenager that's very interested in the ancient Egyptians, but because I'm only in high school there is nowhere I can learn about them properly.

I've been on the other topics and I'm amazed by how much you guys know and how well some of you can translate. Have you all done courses on ancient Egypt or something?
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think many people (not me, sadly) here have done courses on how to read/translate hieroglyphs, some have studied/are studying Egyptology.

I do know of a site that can start you off. Not sure how accurate it is but it looks pretty legit to me: http://hieroglyphs.net/
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Daughter_Of_SETI
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello there.

Some of the members here have possibly taken courses in hieroglyphs or had some formal training (not me, however), but I have come across some interesting sites that can help with learning glyphs.

Arrow Hieroglyphics tutor is a good place to start. It teaches you the basics in trial and error type game.
Arrow Hieroglyphs Net has a dictionary of common Egyptian words as well as a daily quiz to practice your translating skills on.
Arrow Here's another site for a beginners look at Hieroglyphs.

You could always check out internet groups that learn hieroglyphs together, like GlyphStudy, where they go through the book Middle Egyptian by James Allen, or GlyphDoctors, which have hieroglyph courses available once you get the chance to study them more seriously. People here at Egyptian Dreams are always willing to help you out too.

Hope that helps. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, I'll try out those websites. It's probably going to be wayyy to complicated but I can try to learn a little
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Thanks, I'll try out those websites. It's probably going to be wayyy to complicated but I can try to learn a little

You're welcome! Very Happy Let us know if there's anyway we can help.
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those are great web resources Daughter_Of_SETI found for you, Mr. Guest. You can rely on her judgement.

I'm one of the old farts on the board and so I'm the kind of guy who still prefers the old-fashioned way: digging into books. With that in mind I thought I'd provide some links to books I've found helpful in the course of my own studies. Most of these are widely available and would be invaluable complements to your web resources:

One of my all-time favorites remains How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs, by Mark Collier and Bill Manley

Another excellent resource for beginners is Hieroglyphs without Mystery, by Karl-Theodor Zauzich. It's more basic than Collier's book and is very simple and has fun exercises.

A more recently published book that's worth trying is Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs: A Practical Guide, by Janice Kamrin. It's a very enjoyable and well-organized book.

When you feel comfortable with the basics and think you're ready to move on, you should perhaps try James Allen's Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs. This is not for beginners but is a natural progression after you've successfully worked through all of the exercises in a book like Collier's or Zauzich's or Kamrin's. Daughter_Of_SETI mentioned this one. I've never tried the GlyphDoctors program but have heard good things about it, and the fact that they use Allen's book makes it only better (I didn't know that was their course text, Daughter_Of_SETI).

And if you're truly serious about learning hieroglyphs, you will eventually require the seminal grammar of ancient Egyptian by Sir Alan Gardiner, called Egyptian Grammar: Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs. This is the source to which Egyptologists turn when they have a nagging question about some bit of syntax or grammar. It's not for beginners and can be quite tedious, but it remains the "bible" of ancient Egyptian hieroglyph studies.

Finally, it's always of great help to have a dictionary. I would recommend Raymond Faulkner's Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian.

Good luck with your studies! And as Daughter_Of_SETI mentioned, we here at Egyptian Dreams always enjoy helping folks with hieroglyphs. Smile
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Daughter_Of_SETI
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmt_sesh wrote:
I've never tried the GlyphDoctors program but have heard good things about it, and the fact that they use Allen's book makes it only better (I didn't know that was their course text, Daughter_Of_SETI).

No, it isn't GlyphDoctors that use Allen's book, it's GlyphStudy. GlyphStudy is a Yahoo group that progress through the book together. It sounds like a good way to learn, but I've never had the time to give it a go myself, so I don't know how helpful the people are there. As for GlyphDoctors (the one you mentioned, Kmt_sesh), I think they have different courses aimed at different areas of studying glyphs, so I reckon they'll use different books, depending on the area of study. I'm not certain, though. Confused
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Ajaya
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi All,

I am enrolled on Glyphdoctors hieroglyphs course and can confirm that the textbox used is:

James Allen's Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs.



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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ajaya wrote:
I am enrolled on Glyphdoctors hieroglyphs course and can confirm that the textbox used is:

James Allen's Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs.

Ahh, so both GlyphDoctors and GlyphStudy work through the same book, then. Very Happy Thanks for clearing that up, Ajaya.
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't really understand how it all works. I've read loads of stuff but I can't seem to get it. Like an example on one of the websites suggested is: "wbn ra m pt" but how do you learn what that means in english? Embarassed
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I don't really understand how it all works. I've read loads of stuff but I can't seem to get it. Like an example on one of the websites suggested is: "wbn ra m pt" but how do you learn what that means in english?

You could check out Wikipedia as that will give you a good idea of how they work. Basically each glyph represents a letter or letters.

You get many glyphs that represent a single letter, such as the owl glyph (G17), that represents the letter 'M.'

Also there are glyphs that represent two letters, such as the three fox skins (?) (F31), that represents letters 'MS.'

Other glyphs represent three letters, such as the offering table glyph (R4), which represents letters 'HTP.'

Lastly, you have glyphs that are used as symbols at the end of a word to give you an idea of what was being talked about, like the captive glyph (A13), which would likely tell you that the thing being referred to was a captive.

All these different types of glyphs spell out words in the ancient Egyptian language, and would be used in the same sentence, and so the first thing to learn would be which ones are which. This website is a great beginning to learning the differences in the hieroglyphs.
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daughter_Of_SETI wrote:
Quote:
Ahh, so both GlyphDoctors and GlyphStudy work through the same book, then.


geek Maybe I'd better take a course in reading comprehension instead of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Sorry about that. Hey, at least the two are close...and it turns out GlyphDoctors does use Allen's book. I still wouldn't recommend that one for beginners but it's an important book for learning hieroglyphs.

Guest wrote:
Quote:
I don't really understand how it all works. I've read loads of stuff but I can't seem to get it. Like an example on one of the websites suggested is: "wbn ra m pt" but how do you learn what that means in english?


That's an easy one. It simply says: "The sun rises in the sky" (wbn = to rise, r' = [the] sun, m = in, pt = [the] sky). It follows the basic syntax of ancient Egyptian: verb + noun + prepositional phrase (with its object).

Guest, hieroglyphs represent a fully developed language with its own syntax, grammar, and vocabulary. Therefore, learning ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs is the same as learning any foreign language, ancient or modern. It's trickier than usual for several reasons: 1) No one has spoken it in many centuries and so it can never be fully understood anymore (many finer points are still hotly debated); 2) For us Westerners the comfortable alphabet is absent and is replaced by a phonetic ideogramic structure (which people speaking modern Semitic languages would find more familiar, or even the Chinese); and 3) The grammatical structure and syntax are very different from most Western languages that we speak.

Don't let anyone try to fool you into thinking it's easy. Studying hieroglyphs is not. But it is fun, and as long as you keep at it and continue to push yourself, it opens a whole new world for you. Just imagine how much more meaningful museum artifacts will be to you when you can actually start reading their inscriptions!

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ellie-asthenia
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is "guest" I just made an account on here.

Thanks for all the help.
So basically, there are certain codes you need to remember?
for example if you wanted to spell "above" you wouldn't just use the A,B O, V, E glyphs? Because on a site I'm looking at it says the glyphs "Hry" make up above, which is apparently this:.
That's the thing I don't understand, why is 'hry' used, and how do you know to use those specific glyphs? Is it just something you learn in time? I hope I'm making sense and not annoying people with all my questions, you see I'm trying to really start learning, because I'm young, if I can learn as much as possible now, it will be easier for me in the future.
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ellie-asthenia wrote:
This is "guest" I just made an account on here.

Welcome to the forum, ellie-asthenia. Thanks for joining us here! Very Happy

ellie-asthenia wrote:
So basically, there are certain codes you need to remember?
for example if you wanted to spell "above" you wouldn't just use the A,B O, V, E glyphs? Because on a site I'm looking at it says the glyphs "Hry" make up above, which is apparently this:.
That's the thing I don't understand, why is 'hry' used, and how do you know to use those specific glyphs?

The English word 'above' in the ancient Egyptian language is pronounced 'hry' (linguists may add an 'e' or an 'o' inbetween the h and r to make it easier to say, though), that's why the hieroglyphs are spelling out hry. The head glyph in your picture sounds out 'hr,' the mouth glyph beneath the head is another 'r' which is just used to emphasise the r in the hr head glyph. The two strokes sound out the 'y' at the end. I'm not sure if the last glyph is spelling out the word further or is a determinative (picture used at the end of a word to further explain its meaning), but Kmt_sesh probably has a much better idea.

ellie-asthenia wrote:
I hope I'm making sense and not annoying people with all my questions, you see I'm trying to really start learning, because I'm young, if I can learn as much as possible now, it will be easier for me in the future.

You're not annoying anyone with your questions. Hieroglyphs are difficult to learn regardless of your age, but as Kmt_sesh says, it's a very rewarding challenge. I don't mind helping you any way I can.
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The English word 'above' in the ancient Egyptian language is pronounced 'hry' (linguists may add an 'e' or an 'o' inbetween the h and r to make it easier to say, though), that's why the hieroglyphs are spelling out hry


so I take it the hard part is remembering how to write the egyptian version of a word e.g remembering 'above' is 'hry'. that's the bit I'm gonna struggle with
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