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Learning Egyptian Hieroglyphs - Lesson 3 (Part III)

by Caroline Seawright


I'm going to go through the book, "Egyptian Grammar" by A.H. Gardiner, and try to learn Middle Egyptian hieroglyphs. In this column, I will attempt to share what I learn as I go along!

Meaning of the ear determinativemf sdjm*f Form

Details of this topic will be discussed later, but it should be noted that the ear determinativemf sdjm*f form excludes the meaning of hardly any English tense or mood (see the previous lesson, Dependence, Tense and Mood.) Because it is a past tense, it is replaced by another form, the ear determinativemnf sdjm*n*f form, which will be described later.

At the moment, render the ear determinativemf sdjm*f form as the English present tense.

Here are three common uses of the form:

  1. It is often used without any introductory particle in rendering the equivalent of and English clause of purpose:
    habwalking determinativekscribe determinativeman determinativedjdfskhrbook determinativek hab*k ssh, djd*f skhr*k 'Thou sendest the scribe that he may say thy plan'
  2. It may be used to express a wish:
    habwalking determinativekscribe determinativeman determinative hab*k ssh 'Mayest thou send the scribe/Send thou the scribe'
  3. Preceeded by the particle ykhbook determinative ykh the fundamental meaning of which seems to be 'then' or 'therefore', it expresses a consequence:
    ykhbook determinativedjdsrofficial determinativeman determinative ykh djd sr 'Then the official will say...'
    ykhbook determinativedjdknbird determinative stroke determinativek ykh djd*k n sa*k 'Then shalt thou say to thy son...'


maeye determinativeaa maa see
djaaboat determinative dja cross, ferry across
rshnose determinativeman eating determinative rsh rejoice, be glad
habwalking determinative hab send
bird determinative stroke determinativeman determinative sa son
bird determinative twoman determinative sat daughter
yt horned snake determinativeman determinative (var t horned snake determinativeman determinative) yt1 father
bakman determinative bak man-servant
baktwoman determinative bakt maid-servant
waat road determinative (var road determinative t stroke determinative) wat road, way, side
khaahall determinative kha office, hall
ka determinative tman carrying basket determinative kat construction, work, device
that stroke determinativeman determinative thaty vizier
`a phallus determinativedonkey determinative `a donkey, ass
sshttaabook determinative sshta secret
ytrwwater determinative ytrw river
mshcrocodile determinative msh crocodile
r stroke determinative r mouth, utterance
head determinative stroke determinative hr face, sight
head determinative stroke determinative hr upon, concerning, because of; before suffixes written head determinative r
m m in, with (of instrument), from as; before suffixes ym
1 The f in this word has been shown to be a determinative with some symbolic meaning, so it is not written or said as if it were an alphabetic sign.


Try to translate the following in hieroglyphs, with transliteration sounds:

  1. The crocodile is in the river
  2. The moon rejoices when the sun is in his horizon
  3. Then (ykh) shall thy name be heard by the vizier
  4. This scribe is in his office by day (and) by night
  5. The donkey goes down to the city upon another road
  6. The scribe sends this boat that we may cross in it
  7. He rejoices because of thy utterance
  8. This land is in joy when thou art in the sky
  9. He fares down to this city, his daughter with him

<< Lesson 3 (Part II) || Lesson 4 (Part I) >>

© Caroline 'Kunoichi' Seawright 2001 - present

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