The writing system

The writing system of LE is often a bit puzzling for the beginner. We have been taught, when working on Middle Egyptian texts, to consider very seriously all , in a word, and we are now confronted to such writtings as for the infinitive of sgb, "to shout" !

A few rules will help here :

Group writing

Group-writing is an important sub-system of Late Egyptian orthography. It was used when traditional orthography didn't exist or was forgotten. It's in particular true for foreign words, but also for new egyptian words. There are a number of theories on this system. They all make good points, but it's quite difficult to choose one. In fact, it's quite likely that the scribes used multiple systems, and not one coherent iso-9001 certified system.

In a number of cases, it seems that the system attempts to write syllables.

Cuneiform system

In this system, a group stands for a specific syllable, with a given vowel. would be read as Hu.

Devanagari system

Here, groups stand for Consonnant + a. When the vowel is not "a", it's indicated by the correspondant weak consonant ( or ).

consonantic system

In this system, the groups are considered as writing a single consonnant. In demotic, the uniliteral signs are often derived from group writing. For instance, the demotic for & and A come from and respectively.

In practice, the safer way to go is to transliterate only the consonnants.

Hannig's dictionnary has got a discution of these, and a list of groups, p. LI-LV.

List of values

(mainly compiled from Junge, Neveu, and Hoch's semitic words)

The following list is a pratical tools, for dictionary searching mainly, so I ommited the possible vowels, except when it was too important to bypass.

When a word starts with a vowel (from a western point of view), it's indicated by a prothetic yod. This use of the yod is similar to the use of aleph in semitic alphabets, and is the reason for the funny accent on the i.

The presence of a weak consonnant sign after the yod might be an indication for a specific vowel :