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Egyptian Hieroglyphic Grammar: A Handbook for Beginners

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Written and spoken for about 4,000 years, Egyptian is no longer a living language (Arabic is the major language of modern Egypt); however, ancient Egyptian is still studied by Egyptologists, historians, archaeologists, and students interested in the age-old civilization along the Nile.
Typically, students of ancient Egyptian begin with Middle, or Classical, Egyptian, which was written in hieroglyphic script. Middle Egyptian is especially important because it is the language in which many important literary works were written. Moreover, when it was no longer spoken, Middle Egyptian continued to be taught in temples and schools as a vehicle of literary and liturgical expression.
This compact handbook, by a noted German Egyptologist, was specially designed for beginning students who wish to acquire enough basic knowledge to enable them to read the easier hieroglyphic texts. Toward that end, the author begins with a general discussion of Middle Egyptian and its script, followed by concise, accessible lessons in phonology, formation and usage of nouns and other parts of speech, and syntax. With careful study, the student should be able, even after the first lesson, to translate simple sentences independently. A list of hieroglyphs, a vocabulary section, and reading exercises complete this handy manual that offers students quick and easy access to the language and culture of ancient Egypt.

ISBN-13: 9780486425092

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: Dover Publications

Publication Date: 12-30-2002

Pages: 160

Product Dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

Series: Egypt Series

Read an Excerpt

Egyptian Hieroglyphic Grammar

A Handbook for Beginners

By Günther Roeder

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2002 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-14633-1


When Erman wrote his Egyptian Grammar in 1894, he was confronted with the task of handling for the first time in a scientific manner the hieroglyphics and the Egyptian language. He presented his subject in such a manner, however, that even a beginner could study it. In the later editions, with each of which there is associated an advance in the knowledge and dissemination of more correct conceptions of the Egyptian, Erman's work became broader and deeper, so that it now contains not only the foundations but also practically all the essential details of our grammatical knowledge. Hence, it has naturally become harder for the beginner to understand. Furthermore, since the reading exercises have in part been omitted, the beginner is obliged, even during the first year, to procure in addition to the Grammar a Chrestomathy and a Glossary as well. These cost all together Mk. 43.80.

This state of affairs has induced me to compile this little book for all those who wish to occupy themselves with Egyptian for a few semesters only; or who wish to overcome the first difficulties quickly and begin as soon as possible the reading of the easier texts. Such introductions are found in abundance in other sciences, and have proved of great benefit. It is meant not only to convey the rudiments in a practical manner, in the cheapest possible form, for the benefit of those interested, at the university or in wider circles, but also to place at their disposal for the first year material of the easiest kind, with all the necessary apparatus for reading, writing, and translating. It is hoped that my work will be judged in the light of these circumstances, especially in view of its inexpensiveness.

My presentation of the grammar is based upon Erman's "Grammar", Sethe's "Verbum", and the articles of various authors appearing in the technical journals. In the composition of the individual sections, I have been guided by my own experience in teaching. For the arrangement of other parts of my book, I have had no suitable model. The practical grammars in foreign languages, published in England (Budge, Murray) and in Italy (Farina), have their own peculiarities, to which I am indebted for occasional suggestions. In accordance with the modern method of teaching, employed in all languages, I have considered it my task to bring before the pupil from the very first hieroglyphic examples of the rules. He should thus be able, even after the first lesson, to translate simple sentences independently.

I shall be thankful for any suggested improvements, which are the result of practice; for even the smallest suggestion arising from experience can become of value to the future student. Only do not ask for scientific perfection; that would be impossible under the existing conditions. I am perfectly conscious of the fact that occasionally I have where unavoidable somewhat simplified complicated points of grammar, the double forms of the tense sm. f for example, or entirely omitted them. But this book is written for beginners.

The omission of references in the reading exercises is intentional, for the beginner does not need to see the complete texts from which the extracts were taken, and the Egyptologist knows them anyway.

Breslau, Christmas 1912.

Günther Roeder.


Excerpted from Egyptian Hieroglyphic Grammar by Günther Roeder. Copyright © 2002 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
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Table of Contents


Chronological Table §§ 1—6,
Nature of the Language and of its Script §§ 7—9,
Script §§ 10—19,
Preliminary Survey §§ 20—28,
Phonology §§ 29—34,
Noun §§ 35—48,
General §§ 35—41. Adjective §§ 42—45. Numerals §§ 46—48.,
Pronoun §§ 49—59,
Particles §§ 60—70,
Preposition sand Conjunctions §§ 60—64. Adverbs and Particles §§ 65—70.,
Verb §§71—130,
Stem §§ 71—79. Conditional forms §§ 80—82. Suffix conjugation §§ 83—96. Predicate §§,
97—98. Imperative §§ 99—103. Infinitive §§ 104—111. Participles §§ 112—117. Relative,
forms §§ 118—120. Auxiliary Verb §§ 121—130.,
Syntax (The Sentence) §§ 131—141,
Order of Words and Emphasis in Principal Sentences §§ 131—133. Special Kinds of,
Sentences §§ 134—141.,
List of Hieroglyphs,
Notes on the Reading Exercises,
Reading Exercises,