Hieroglyphs tutorial; The basics - part two

Books on Hieroglyphs

Nouns

All nouns are male or female in gender. Male nouns don´t have any specific suffixes to indicate their gender, while female words almost always end with a "t". When the word is transliterated, this "t" is separated from the rest of the word (the word stem) to indicate that it is not just a phonetic component but a mark of gender. It is also important to note that the "t" is written before the determinative sign.

s
s

man
st
st

woman

There was no specific word for "the" or "a" in Egyptian. So, the word "bAk" could be translated as the "servant" or "a servant".

Male and female versions of the word servant

Plural Nouns

The Egyptians employed a number of methods to indicate that a word was plural. The most common is the plural determinative (three strokes). However, it is also common to find the determinative or logogram repeated three times. The single consonant sounds "w" and "u" also indicate that a noun is plural in hieroglyphs (while in english "boy" becomes "boys", in hieroglyphs "sn" becomes "sn-w"). However, the sign is often omitted to save space. When you transliterate, the letter "w" or "u" should also be separated from the word stem.

some plural nouns

Duality

The Ancient Egyptians were fascinated by the concept of duality. In hieroglyphs, this concept is indicated by the use of a double logogram or determinative, and by the addition of the single consonant sign for the sound "y" ("wy" for a male noun and "ty" for a female noun). Again, these sounds are separated from the word stem. This form was common with items which tended to come in pairs (arms, legs etc) but was also used frequently with the words "sn" (brother) and "snt" (sister).

duality

Prepositions

Like English, Egyptian hieroglyphs often employed prepositions (words placed before the noun which link it to a verb or another noun). They were commonly used to indicate location (ie "in" or "under"), time ("during" or "after"), direction (ie "towards") and accompaniement (ie "with"). Some of the most common examples are listed below.

G17; owl
m

in, with, from, as
N35a; a bale of flax
n

for, to(wards)(people)
 D21; mouth
r

at, to(wards)(place)

in
in

by
Hn'
Hn´

with

Adjectives

The Egyptians also used adjectives to describe nouns. Unlike English, the adjective follows the noun it described, and it agrees with the noun (ie an adjective for a female noun also has the ending "t", and adjectives for plural nouns are plural).

bin
bin - evil

s bin
s bin

("a" or "the") evil man
s bint
s bint

("a" or "the") evil woman

This

The word this also acts like an adjective and so it follows the noun and agrees with it in gender and number.

pn
pn

this (masc)
tn
tn

this (fem)

nb: "every" or "lord"

The word "nb" can act like an adjective (following and agreeing with the noun). In this case, it is translated as "all", "every" or "any". However, if the word "nb" appears before the noun, it has a completely different meaning, and is translated as "lord" or "master".

V30; basket
nb

all, every, any
or lord, master

ndjs nb
ndjs nb

every individual
nb AbDu
nb AbDw

Lord of Abydos (AbDw)

Hieroglyphs tutorial part one

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