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speaking egyptian
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 12:18 pm 
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Hello everyone, im currently teaching myself to read and write hieroglyphics and im doing pretty well, but doesn anyone know how to speak egyptian and could help me? or do you know of a good site? thanks! :D


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 9:47 pm 
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I do not believe I am able to read that text. However, you should know that Existen's 1st district has changed it's language a bit. We've modernized it, you might say. So why not learn the new Khematic language.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 10:52 pm 
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Hey, Egyptiandiamond1. The basics of the sounds of ancient Egyptian are all there in the monoliterals, sometimes called the Egyptian "alphabet." Any text on the language will have a summary of this right from the start, but here's a refresher:

Image A glottal stop, which doesn't exist in most Western languages. Similar to how the Cockney Brits kind of "skip" over the two "t's" in the word "bottle" ("bo--le"). In the West it's usually just rendered as an "a".

Image The ayin, a sound common in Semitic tongues but absent in Western languages. I once had a teacher of Hebrew repeat it to me several times and still couldn't get it right myself! This sound, too, is usually rendered as an "a" in the West when speaking ancient Egyptian.

Image A single reed leaf, usually rendered as an "a" or an "i" sound, though it's not truly a vowel (linguists call it a "weak consonant").

Image A double reed leaf, generally pronounced as a "y" like in "belly" (a long "e" sound); it is sometimes written in English as an "i."

Image The quail chick, a weak-consonant "w" and often pronounced like the "u" in "June"; depending on the word it can be pronounced as a regular "w," though.

Image The 1st "h," pronounced like a regular "h" in English

Image The 2nd "h," a harsh or aspirated "h" that is noticeably pronounced.

Image The 3rd "h," a soft gutteral "kh" sound similar to the Scottish "loch"

Image The 4th "h," a harsher gutteral "kh" sound as in the German ach (by the way, most people, including Egyptologists trained in the West, don't often bother to differentiate the sounds between this "h" and the previous "h")

Image An "sh" sound as in "shoot."

Image A glyph that serves both as a "z" sound and a regular "s" sound; by the New Kingdom the change to the latter was common, though it could still serve as a "z."

Image A "dj" sound as in the name "Jed" or "Joan."

Image Similar to the "s/z" glyph above, this one can be a regular "t" sound or a "ch" sound as in "chair."

Image A "k" that is pronounced at the back of the throat (as opposed to a regular "k," which is pronounced more toward the front of the mouth); this one takes a bit of practice to get right and can almost sound like a soft click.

The others have sounds that are basically the same as their equivalents in English:

Image "p"

Image "m"

Image "r"

Image "g"

Image "b"

Image "f"

Image "n"

Image "s"

Image "k"

Image "t"

Image "d"

I grabbed all these little glyph-graphics, by the way, from a fun little site called Hieroglyphs (practical name for such a site :D ).

In your studies you will come across varients for these monoliterals, such as a royal crown for the "n" sound. You might also see a pair of ribs for the "m," and a little curly-cue for the "w" (this curly-cue is nothing more than the hieratic version of the quail chick).

Depending on how far into your studies you are, you will find that these monoliterals are rarely used by themselves in the construction of words (which is why they're not a "true" alphabet). They help the reader flesh out the pronunciations of the much more common biliterals and triliterals and are frequently used as phonetic complements. It takes plain old hard work to learn this stuff.

Bear in mind we're not 100% sure how the Egyptians spoke their language, especially considering they did not write with vowels (as was true for many ancient Semitic tongues, including Arabic and Hebrew and Aramaic). I think it was the Greeks who were the first to establish letter-forms for the full range of vowels. This is what tends to throw us with ancient Egyptian. It would be an oversimplification, though, to say we have no idea how to pronounce ancient Egyptian. Linguists have used the Coptic tongue to help us with sounds because Coptic is a true descendant of ancient Egyptian--strip away the layers of Greek and other foreign influences and one gets an idea of original pronunciations.

I hope this is of some help. I love ancient Egyptian myself, and though I am certainly no expert, being able to read hieroglyphic inscriptions opens a whole new world to you when you visit a museum and pour over the artifacts. :wink:


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 6:29 am 
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The Oriental Institute in Chicago is apparently going to offer a "distance learning course". The information is not on their website yet however.
But this would be a good way to further your education.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 8:24 am 
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thanks everyone :D


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 3:55 pm 
Prince/Princess
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That sounds like an interesting opportunity, Merytre-Hatshepsut. Gees, I know plenty of people from the OI and I haven't heard of this. :?

Pretty please, keep us posted!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 5:37 pm 
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is learning the egyptian language easy? i would love to learn it! maybe we should start a internet study group lol


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 7:38 pm 
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Is learning any foreign language really easy? Especially when it's one that hasn't been spoken in well over 1000 years? It's just something to which you have to apply yourself, and you have to take it seriously. It's not easy, but for the most part it's fun, and when you can start reading those inscriptions you see on artifacts at museums, a whole new world of understanding opens up to you. :D


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 8:07 pm 
Egyptian Architect
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awesome it sounds really exciting!! how would u go about learning to read and write a new language.. egyptian language? i am very interested in laerning it..?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 1:12 am 
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Ciao Egyptian Goddess! To begin the study of hieroglyphs I began to study on Collier & Manley's How to read hieroglyphs. I find it is written in a comprehensible way... Now I'm studying on J. P. Allen's Middle Egyptian... it's an interesting book! Unfortunately 'til now I didn't have had many time to restart with the study of this book, but I hope to restart it ASAP!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 4:14 am 
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cool thanks where would i get these books from? amazon? ive heard buying books from that site is really good.? Wow im excited about learning this!! maybe some kind people on this site can help me lol if i get stuck!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 11:49 am 
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I bought both of them in a bookshop, but I know it's possible to buy even from amazon.com, if you're lucky... :wink:


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 3:42 pm 
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I agree with Hatshepsut76...a very good way to start studying Egyptian hieroglyphs. I bought Collier's How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs at Borders when I was starting out and I've seen it in many other bookstores. Of the many books on hieroglyphs I own, Collier's is still my favorite. But another good one for starting out is Zauzich's Hieroglyphs Without Mystery, which I also found at Borders. They're both excellent for the purpose and both have good exercises, but Collier's is more thorough.

Allen's Middle Egyptian : An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs is a proper grammatical study of the language, and I don't recommend it for starters. Hatshepsut76 is right that it's a good one to follow up a beginner's study. A fairly new one out there is Janice Kamrin's Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs: A Practical Guide, which I bought awhile ago but have yet to tackle. I can't say with authority yet how good it is, but it appears to be along the line of Collier's book and would definitely be worth considering.

I could also mention Gardiner's seminal Egyptian Grammar, but I would recommend only if you're dead-on serious about learning the language because some of the newer books are much easier to use.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 2:06 am 
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thanks guys uve helped alot! i hope i end up suceeding in learning this! now i just need to find hte time to leanr it!!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 4:29 pm 
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Best of luck! :D


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