Compiled for the Egyptologists' Electronic Forum (EEF) and the Ancient Egyptian Language list (AEL).

Ancient Egyptian

In the first column you can find the ascii signs used on mailinglists for the transliteration of the hieroglyphic monoliteral signs. The chart follows the Manuel de Codage transliteration system, which is the standard; however, those who have 'moral' problems with using vowel signs to represent consonant signs, use the transliterations given between square brackets.
In the second column you'll find a description of the official transliteration code found in normally printed material.

[Note: some browsers may make a mess of these tables. I'll try to correct this one day.]

(in e-mail)     (in books)[name]  

A [or: 3]	double apostrophe	    {(Egyptian) vulture}        G1
i [or: j]	apostrophy-dotted-{i}	    {(flowering) reed(stalk)}   M17
		or: {j}    [yod]
a [or: ']	inverted apostrophe	    {(human fore)arm}	        D36  
w		{w}	[waw]		    {(quail) chick}             G43
b		{b}			    {(human) foot}	        D58
p		{p}			    {stool (of matting)}        Q3
f		{f}			    {horned viper}		I9
m		{m}		            {owl}		        G17
n		{n}			    {(rimple of) water}	        N35
r		{r}			    {(human) mouth}		D21
h		{h}			    {(reed) shelter}	        O4
H		dotted-{h}  [2nd h]	    {(twisted) wick}	        V28
x		contact-lens-{h} [3rd h]    {placenta [shaded-circle]}  Aa1
X		underscore-{h} [4th h]	    {animal's [cow] belly}	F32
z		{z}      		    {(door-)bolt}		O34
                or: {s} 
s		{s}               	    {folded cloth}	        S29
                or: {s}-grave 
S		hacek-{s}  [shin, esh]	    {pool}			N37
q		{q}             	    {hill-slope}	        N29
                or: dotted-{k} 
k               {k}                         {basket with handle}        V31
g		{g}			    {pot-stand}		        W11
t		{t}			    {(bread) loaf}	        X1
T		underscore-{t} [2nd t]	    {tether}		        V13
d		{d}			    {(human) hand}		D46
D		underscore-{d} [2nd d]	    {cobra}			I10

y               {y} or {jj} or {j}          {double reed}          twice M17 
                  (no concensus)            or {dual strokes}           Z4  

In paper sources, the aleph looks like 3, the ayin like . If you have the Transliteration font on your machine, then the 'alphabet' above (which is no alphabet) looks like this: A i a w b p f m n r h H x X z s S q k g t T d D y
The {j} for yod of course represents the original Germanic j (i.e. /y/), and not the Romanesque English j (i.e. /dzj/).

Like in paper sources, the root of a word and any grammatical endings are seperated by a dot {.}, and nouns and verbs are seperated from suffixes by two stripes {=}. (Unfortunately, in the US, modern writers tend to be sparce with dots and often use a dot instead of =. Another area in which no consensus exists.)

When quoting Egyptian words, underscores {_ _} are often used in email instead of quotation marks, so as to avoid collision with the ayin (_'_).

Example: _Xrd.w=sn_ = "their children", _.w_ being plural ending, _=sn_ suffix pronoun.

{@} is used for the sh(e)wa, while in paper sources an upside-down-{e} is employed
{:} is used to indicate a long vowel [{i:}, {e:}, {a:}, {u:}, {o:} ] like in paper sources.

Linguistic signs used in paper and email:
{/ /} indicates a phoneme, how something sounded versus how it was written,
{<} and {>} indicate that one word form derives from, resp. developped into, another word form, and
{*} indicates a hypothetical reconstruction.
Note that it will not be possible to use the international standard signs for phonemes, so an approximation in English will have to do.

Example: Afroasiatic _*lib_ "heart" > Ancient Egyptian _jb_ (*/yib/)

A sign key is available on the AEL website, made by Marc Line to function as index to Faulkner's dictionary. The key gives an indication of which part(s) of the dictionary to search in order to find a word beginning with a certain glyph. For instance, if we have what we suspect to be a word beginning with M4 (palm branch with notch), the key tells us that we should begin our search in the r, H and s sections of the dictionary, as that is where we can find words beginning with M4


There are many different Coptic transliteration fonts for use in e-mail or font programs around, most of them not very intuitively or satisfactory (cf. EEF thread, June '98). We'll settle for this set on AEL/EEF:

ascii_____transliteration____ Coptic name
(e-mail)  (books)

a	   {a}                alpha
b	   {b}                bida
g	   {g}                gamma
d	   {d}                dalda
e	   {e}                ei
z	   {z}                zita
E	   roofed-{e}         eta 
T	   {th}               thita 
i	   {i}                iauda
k	   {k}                kappa
l	   {l}                laula
m	   {m}                mi
n	   {n}                ni 
X	   {ks}               ksi 
o	   {o}                o 
p          {p}                pi
r	   {r}                ro
s	   {s}                sima 
t	   {t}                tau
u	   {u}                ue 
P	   {ph}               phi 
K	   {kh}               khi
%          {ps}               psi  
O	   roofed-{o}         au

S	   hacek-{s}          shai
f	   {f}                fai 
H	   {x}                [khori] (Akhmimic)
x	   {x}                khai (Bohairic)
h	   {h}                hori
j	   {j}                tjantja
c	   {c}                kyima
+	   {ti}               ti 

^	Supralinear Stroke (use before affected letter)
'	Supralinear Dot (use before affected letter)
"	Dierisis (use before affected letter)
alpha to au of course derive from the Greek alpha to omega (see below), and shai to ti are added signs from Demotic.

Hebrew and Greek

Occassionally these pass by, and for them a fairly standard email/Ascii transcription code exists on the Net (oh miracle!).
For Greek, the non-obvious ones are fairly intuitive, often based on form-resemblance (e.g. theta - q (Q), eta - h (H), chi - x, psi - y, omega - w) or sound-resemblance (digamma - v, ksi - c, phi - f). Note that the Greek and Coptic transcription codes are not fully matching (eta, theta, ksi, phi, chi, psi, omega), partly because in the Greek transliteration, capital codes are used for capital Greek letters.

   Hebrew                      Greek

Ascii_____name             Ascii______name   

)         aleph              a        alpha  
b         beth               b        beta
g         gimel              g        gamma  
d         daleth             d        delta
h         he                 e        epsilon  
w         waw                v        digamma 
z         zayin              z        zeta 
x         heth               h        eta
+         tet                q        theta  
y         yod                i        iota 
k         kaph               k        kappa  
l         lamed              l        lamda
m         mem                m        mu 
n         nun                n        nu 
s         samekh             c        ksi
(         ayin               o        omicron
p         pe                 p        pi 
c         tsade                       [san]
q         qof                         [qoppa]
r         resh               r        rho      
&         sin                s        sigma 
$         shin          
#         sin/shin 
t         taw                t        tau 
                             u        upsilon  
                             f        phi 
                             x        chi 
                             y        psi   
                             w        omega

                             j        final sigma 
                             |        iota subscript

                             +        diaeresis
.         dagesh 
                             )        smooth breathing
                             (        rough breathing
:         shewa       
a         patah  
f         qamets
i         hireq  
e         segol 
"         tsereh 
o         holam 
u         qibbuts
U         shureq 

Nothing much to do with Egyptology, but for the fun of it:
The table is spaced in this way to show the correspondence in form between the signs of the Phoenician and the Greek alphabet. Normally also the names of the signs match, except for the sibilants, which did some odd pairwise exchanging:
Greek           Phoenician
zeta   form of: zayin
       name of: tsade
san    form of: tsade        
       name of: zayin

ksi    form of: samekh
       name of: shin
sigma  form of: shin
       name of: samekh
The san appeared only in some local Greek alphabets, and was dropped out of use by Classical times. Also the qoppa was obsolete by then, and so was the digamma. These three signs remained in use to indicate numerals: alpha to epsilon for 1 to 5, digamma for 6, zeta to pi for 7 to 80, qoppa for 90, rho to omega for 100 to 800, and san for 900 [so out of order and now called sanpi or sampi]. Later other signs came in use for 6, 90, and 900.
The added Greek signs phi, chi, psi did get a name in the style of the two-letter sign ksi [< shin].
The remaining, pure Greek, names are: di-gamma, e-psilon, o-micron, o-mega, u-psilon
Digamma was so called because it looks like two capital gammas interwined, but the sign derives in form from waw.

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