Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Dummies Guide to Reading Hieroglyphics

Ok this is my personal insight about learning glyphs, this is not addressed to those clever clogs who are linguists or even to these people that understand English grammar terminology and know about the past participle but to the rest of us that wouldn’t know a grammatically term if it slapped us in the face with a wet kipper.

You are not trying to learn Ancient Egyptian

You are not trying to learn 1000’s or even 100’s of signs

Even professors can't draw artistic glyphs

Most ancient Egyptian texts contain certain phrases and words that are repeated from tomb to tomb to tomb
What you are trying to learn is what certain stock phrases look like, and the transliteration. All transliteration is a way of writing glyphs using the alphabet with some dots and dashes, some people haven’t even got the dots and dashes and will use a standard QWERTY keyboard and it works.

So imagine going round an old graveyard and you don’t speak English but you have been told what the signs look like. So you look for
  • ·         REST IN PEACE
  • ·         BELOVED WIFE
  • ·         GODS LITTLE ANGEL
You find those and you can read them, not because you know English but because that is the kind of phrase you find in a graveyard. So learn these set phrases and you can read a tomb, stele etc. Of course there will be bits that aren’t set phrases but over 90% will be and you have to learn that RIP means Rest in Peace but that is it. On the course I was on we were taught grammar on the third day and it scared the life out of me but I found if I just ignored it and tried to do the exercise without thinking I got a pretty good result. So buy Collier and Manley, read the grammar bits, then forget them and do the exercises, you will be amazed how much you can do.

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