Glyphs and Grammars

Part I: Resources for beginners


Compiled for the Egyptologists' Electronic Forum (EEF) and the Ancient Egyptian Language list (AEL).
Version 22 (November 7, 2010)

Contents:
I) Reading Hieroglyphs
II) Middle Egyptian Grammars
III) Middle Egyptian Dictionaries
IV) On-line Resources

Please send your reviews of the listed books to A. K. Eyma. As you will see, I've no info on some books, so your help is much appreciated. The order is more or less one of preference. Reviewers are listed at end of page.
For language stages other than MEg, there will be a seperate FAQ.


(I) Reading Hieroglyphs

Books for learning some of the basics of the script, as preparation for tackling a 'real' grammar, or if you only want to learn to read cartouches and standard formulae on pieces in museums.

In English

1) Mark Collier and Bill Manley - How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs. A Step-by-Step Guide to Teach Yourself (British Museum Press, London, 1998; ca. GBP9.99) (also Univerity of California Press, ISBN 0-520-21597-4; 192 pp)(Note there's a Revised edition since 2003)
The most recommended starters book, excellent as preparation to (and parallel with) one of the modern grammars mentionned below. With practical examples from the monuments.
A site by Mike Dyall-Smith with corrections and discussions concerning this book is located at the AEL website.

2) Karl-Theodore Zauzich - Hieroglyphs Without Mystery; An Introduction To Ancient Egyptian Writing (University of Texas Press, 1992; ISBN 0-292-79804-0)
Translation of "Hieroglyphen ohne Geheimnis" (Philipp von Zabern, Main, 1980). Quite nice, be it basic in nature. In the first part a basic introduction to the writing system (sign types etc) and some elementary grammar; in the second part exercises in the form of inscriptions on actual objects (which make the reader familiar with some common formulae and vocabulary); in the back a short list of royal and divine names and a shortened sign list. Not for in-depth students, very nice for 'casual' students (visitors to museums, tourists, kids).
The book seems to have appeared in the UK as: "Discovering Egyptian hieroglyphs. A practical guide" (London, 1992. 121 pp.)

3) W.V. Davies - Egyptian Hieroglyphs (British Museum, 1987; ca. GBP6.99)
Nice book on the history of the decipherment, origins and concepts of the script, but very, very brief. It is not a real introduction but a very general treatment of the hieroglyphic writing system, comparable to the topic "Hieroglyps" in some general encyclopedia (just better, of course). Too brief for in-depth study, but very good for very basic insights in the essentials.

4) Richard H. Wilkinson - Reading Egyptian Art: A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Egyptian Painting and Sculpture (T&H, 1992; London, 1994; 224 pp.; ISBN 0-500-27751-6; ca. GBP9.95)
Wonderful compendium of about 100 common signs with short well illustrated essays on their use in Egyptian art.

5) Maria Carmela Betrò - "Hieroglyphics: The writings of Ancient Egypt" (Abbeville 1996; ca. GBP19.95)
Translation of "Geroglifici", see the Italian original below.

6) Hilary Wilson - Understanding Hieroglyphs. A complete introductory guide (O'Mara 1993; London, 1995. 192 pp.; Passport books 1996; ca. GBP9.95)
In a narrative and easy style leads you through various aspects of Egyptian life. It gives tables of various phrases attached to the theme (titles, parts of names, etc.) - the best thing in the book. But there are no transliterations anywhere, and not everyone will like the hand-style of hieroglyphs. Translations from monuments can be followed only if you previously know some Egyptian. It looks like a hieroglyph help guide for a visitor to the museum. Culturologically informative (nice maps of Egypt, hand-redrawn monuments), but miles from Collier-Manley in seriously introducing the script.

7) Barbara Watterson - Introducing Egyptian Hieroglyphs (Scottish Academic Press; Edinburgh, 1993 reissue; 159 pp.)
Not all will like her hand-drawn hieroglyphs, but it does give a good basic knowledge of the hieroglyphic writing system, common hieroglyphs, some basic vocabulary and grammar; it also has exercises for practice.
From the same author: "More About Egyptian Hieroglyphs", Scottish Academic Press, 1985.

8) Thomas F. Mudloff and Ronald E. Fellows - Hieroglyphs for Travelers (AIA, 1999; ISBN 0-939968-02-9).
A field guide for travelers aimed at learning to translate the names, certain sign groups and funerary formulas.

9) Daniel Kolos and Hany Assaad - The Name of the Dead. Hieroglyphic Inscriptions of the Treasures of Tutankhamun Translated (Benben Publications, Mississauga, 1979)
As the title indicates, the book translates the inscriptions of the items of the traveling Tutankhamun exhibition in 1979-81.

10) Christian Jacq - Fascinating Hieroglyphics: Discovering, Decoding & Understanding the Ancient Art (Sterling 1997; New York, 1999. 224 pp.; ca. GBP9.99)
See French original below.

11) Henry George Fischer - Ancient Egyptian Calligraphy. A Beginner's Guide to Writing Hieroglyphs (3rd. ed., The Metropolitan Museum)
Contains a list of many, but not all, hieroglyphs with graphical and textual explanations about how to draw the signs.

12) Samuel A.B. Mercer - The handbook of Egyptian hieroglyphs: a study of the ancient language (revised and expanded by Janice Kamrin, New York, 1998. 184 pp.)

13) Janice Kamrin, Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs - A Practical Guide; a step by step approach to leaning ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs (Abrams, 2004; ISBN 0-8109-4961-X).

14) Stephane Rossini - Egyptian Hieroglyphs: How to Read and Write Them (Dover Publications Inc, New York)

15) Joseph and Lenore Scott - Egyptian Hieroglyphs For Everyone (Barnes and Noble)

16) J. Malek - ABC of Egyptian Hieroglyphs (Ashmolean Museum, 1994; ca GBP4.95)

17) Bridget McDermott - "Decoding Egyptian Hieroglyphs: How to Read the Secret Language of the Pharaohs" (paperback US$18.95)
A casual introduction to the basics of hieroglyphs, plus "phrase book", illustrated by many photographs of objects, but having a limited space per topic.

18) Nigel Strudwick, Hieroglyph Detective: How to Decode the Sacred Language of the Ancient Egyptians. Chronicle Books, 2010. Pb, 160 pp., ISBN 9780811869850. $16.95. Info: URL
The aim of this book is to provide a practical, easy-to-follow guide to Egyptian hieroglyphs, giving readers sufficient grounding to enable them to decipher for themselves some inscriptions.

In French

1) Christian Jacq - Le petit Champollion illustre (1994. 252 pp.)
Jacq (well known ancient Egyptian story writer in France; holds a Phd from Sorbonne University) wrote a good introduction to hieroglyphs, easy and fun to read. A must for who looks for a general discourse on hieroglyphs and their culture.

2) Hilary Wilson - Lire et comprendre les hieroglyphes. La methode (1996. 304 pp.)
French translation of the English original above. What you find in the book is not what you expect from the title: this interresting book is about what is in a name, how king names are built, priests, civil servants, workers at Deir el-Medina, accounting, time recording - the hieroglyphs are just background information.

3) Jean-Pierre Guglielmi, L'Égyptien hiéroglyphique, Assimil, Chennevières-sur-Marne, 2010 (Collection Sans Peine). Pb., ISBN: 978-2700503739, price: EUR 23.90. Including 4 CDs: ISBN: 978-2700521108, price: EUR 72,90. Only CDs: ISBN: 978-2700530247, price: EUR 54.90. Info: URL, URL.
Basic introduction (self study) to the script and to some Middle Egyptian.

In German

1) Karl-Theodore Zauzich - Hieroglyphen ohne Geheimnis. Eine Einführung in die altägyptische Schrift für Museumsbesucher und Ägyptentouristen (8th ed., Mainz, 1992. 125 pp. ; Kulturgeschichte der Antiken Welt, 6)
See above, under English translation.

2) Hartwig Altenmüller, Einführung in die ägyptische Schrift, 2nd rev. ed., Buske Verlag, Hamburg, 2010. Pb., X, 195 pp., ills. ISBN: 978-3-87548-535-6, price: EUR 22.90
info, including sample pp. URL
"Allgemeinverständlich und zugleich wissenschaftlich fundiert vermittelt diese Einführung einen Überblick über die Geschichte und Systematik der altägyptischen Schrift. Im Mittelpunkt steht die Hieroglyphenschrift, deren Zeichen ausführlich erklärt und beschrieben werden. Darüber hinaus wird das von der Hieroglyphenschrift abgeleitete hieratische Schriftsystem vorgestellt. Lesestücke ermöglichen die Vertiefung der Schriftkenntnisse und regen an zum selbstständigen Lesen altägyptischer Inschriften."

3) Mark Collier, Bill Manley - Hieroglyphen. Entziffern, lesen, verstehen (Droemer Knaur, Muenchen, 2001. Hardcover, ca. 200 pp. ISBN: 3426664259, price: DEM 44.90)
Translation of the book under English (1), see above.

4) Hilary Wilson - Hieroglyphen lesen (Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Muenchen, 1999 (dtv 30732), pbk., DM 19.90; ISBN: 3-423-30732-3)
German translation of "Understanding Hieroglyphs", London, 1993, see above.

5) Christian Jacq - Die Welt der Hieroglyphen (Berlin, 1999. 272 pp.)
See French original above.

In Dutch

1) Mark Collier and Bill Manleyl. 2000. Hiërogliefen ontcijferen en lezen: een stap-voor-stap leerboek voor zelfstudie. (Amsterdam, 2000, Bulaaq. [Olaf Kaper, translator])
Translation of the book under English (1), see above.

2) Huub Pragt - Hiërogliefen, het schrift ontcijferd (2001; ISBN: 90 6110 180 8, 78 pags., A4+, geïllustreerd in zwart wit, Nederlandsche Uitgeversmaatschappij BV, Euro15,95.
Original work in Dutch, written by an Egyptologist, that in 8 chapters explains the principles of hieroglyphic writing, with examples and excercises in the form of texts from the RMO Leiden. (website of the author.)

3) Karl-Theodore Zauzich - Hiërogliefen Lezen: Een handleiding voor museumbezoekers en Egypte reizigers (Meulenhoff, 1982; 121pp; ISBN 90-290-9563-6)
Translation of "Hieroglyphen ohne Geheimnis", see above.

4) Maria Carmen Betrò - Hiërogliefen: De beeldtaal van het oude Egypte, met verklaring en achtergrond van meer dan 580 tekens (Tirion, 1999; 251 pp; ISBN 90-5121-8478)
Translation of "Geroglifici", see the Italian original below.

5) W. Davies - Egyptische Hiëroglyphen (Houten, 1990)
Translation of "Egyptian Hieroglyphs", see above.

In Italian

1) Maria Carmela Betro - Geroglifici: 580 segni per capire l'antico Egitto (3rd edition, 1998; publisher: Mondadori, Milano; 251 pp.; price: 45000 L; ISBN: 88-04-40389-6)
A very nice looking book, well illustrated, describes 580 of the glyphs of the Gardiner Sign List, speaking about the related ancient Egyptian life, flora, fauna and tools. After the glyph representation (and pictures with related Egyptian art examples), some hieratic and demotic handwritings are shown, from different periods.

2) A. Roccati - Elementi di lingua egizia (3rd. ed., Milano, 1985. 40 pp.)
Don't know whether this is about glyphs or grammar.

3) Christian Sturtewagen - Geroglifici svelati (publisher: Sas Effelle, Roma, 1987; 158 pp.)
At a quite elementary level.

3) Sergio Pernigotti - Leggere i gereoglifici (1a edition, 1995 - Publisher: Grafis Reprinted 2002 - Publisher: La Mandragora; 208 pages; 50 Euros; ISBN: 88-8081-018-9)
Its purpose is somewhat similar to Collier/Manley's "How to read Egyptian hieroglyphs".

4) Christian Jacq - Il segreto dei gereoglifici - Come entrare nel magico mondo degli antichi Egizi (1st edition, 1995 - reprinted 1998 (hardcover) - Publisher: Piemme; 287 pages; 16,90 Euros; ISBN: 883846989X )
Italian translation of "Le petit Champollion illustré"

5) Alberto Elli - Guida ai geroglifici (3rd edition, 1999 (paperback) - Publisher: A. Vallardi; 272 pages; 6,71 Euros; ISBN: 8882113833).
A very short grammar, with a section dedicated to some AE texts with translation.

In Spanish

1) I'm not aware of paper literature in Spanish, but on the ECD website there are several articles, on every level, for learning and searching, as for example:
ECD: Lengua y Escritura - URL
ECD: «Boletín ISIS» Sección Filología - URL (5 articles)
ECD: «Boletín ISIS» Sección Lingüística - URL (1 article)
ECD: «Revista SESHAT» Sección 'A través del jeroglífico' - URL
ECD: «Revista SESHAT» Sección 'A través del jeroglífico' - URL
ECD: «Revista SESHAT» Sección 'A través del jeroglífico' - URL
ECD: «Revista SESHAT» Sección 'Tras el Velo' - URL
ECD: «Revista SESHAT» Sección 'Tras el Velo' - URL
ECD: «Revista SESHAT» Sección 'Muy Original' - URL
ECD: «Revista SESHAT» Sección 'Muy Original' - URL



(II) Middle Egyptian Teaching Grammars

In principle, only grammars that have appeared after 1990 have been listed below. The theories of H.J. Polotsky (1965) had a major impact on how to look at the verbal system, and make all pre-Polotsky grammars outdated in regard to their treatment of the verbal system.

In English

1) Sir Alan Gardiner - Egyptian Grammar; Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs (Oxford University Press, 3rd revised edition 1957, reprint 1979; A&P reprint 1994; 646 pp.; ISBN 0-900416-35-1; ca. GBP26)
The classical grammar, complete, but in several respects outdated (notably on the verbal system; pre-Polotsky) and not really overly friendly for self-instruction, so best avoided or used only as companion to one of the modern grammars (no.s 2-7 below). By its size, exercises, Sign List and vocabulary lists still usefull.
A key to the first nine exercises can be found at the Griffith Institute website; another key can be found at the website of Mark-Jan Nederhof, having all exercises; there are also hints and tips for working with this grammar from the AEL, compiled by Michael Dyall-Smith.

2) James P. Allen - Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs (Cambridge University Press, 1999; 528 pp; ca. GBP19.95 p/b)
A grammar that appeared Oct. '99, and has already been used with much success in university level instruction at Yale University. Employs the "Not-So-Standard Theory" (post-Polotsky) model of the Egyptian verbal system.
It is written for non-specialists, including people who are not familiar with grammatical terms, so ideal for self-study. It's simply great!
On the website of Mark-Jan Nederhof you will find some clarifications to the exercises.

3) James E. Hoch - Middle Egyptian Grammar (SSEA Publication XV, Benben Publications, Mississauga, 1997; 307 pp; ca GBP34)
A grammar currently used in university level instruction at the Univeristy of Toronto and some other institutes. Employs the "Standard Theory" (Polotsky) model of the Egyptian verbal system, with some innovations.
A key to Hoch's exercises can be found at this website.
From the same author: James E. Hoch - "Middle Egyptian Grammar Sign List (Benben, 1998; ca. GBP15)

4) Leo Depuydt - Fundamentals of Egyptian Grammar, Part 1: Elements (Frog Publishing, 1999; ISBN: 0-9674751-0-4; 906 pp.; ca. $57.62)
Textbook grammar and systematic analysis of ancient Egyptian, appearing Januari 2000, for teaching, self-teaching, reference. As this part 1, it is not yet a complete grammar, and not everyone will like its very structured setup. A review of the book may be found at Mark-Jan Nederhof's website.

5) Boyo G. Ockinga - A Concise Grammar of Middle Egyptian. An Outline of Middle Egyptian Grammar by Hellmut Brunner revised (Mainz, Philip Von Zabern, 1998). (2nd Edition, 2005)
A revision of Brunner's "An Outline of Middle Egyptian Grammar" (1979), which was very concise (122pp) and not meant for self-instruction (although IMHO because of its table-like setup, a nice have next to the more extensive grammars). This revision is still rather concise (177 pages), which might be a problem for self-study, but it has a good set of exercises. A key to Ockinga's exercises can be found on the page of Mark-Jan Nederhoff.

6) Gertie Englund - Middle Egyptian: An Introduction, 2nd Edition, (Uppsala, 1995; ISBN 91-506-0660-3 [or: 91-506-1114-3?]; ca. GBP29)(it may pay to shop around for it, as prices range from $20 to $80!)
It explains brief how-to's of grammar like a short textbook. The pattern is:
theme -> brief description and sometimes exceptions -> usage -> some examples.
It does not have any exercises. Good; may be somewhat hard for a beginner, because of its pocket-grammar style, but informative if you already know some Egyptian. It follows Polotskian Standard Theory model (at least in the 1st edition of 1988, don't know about the 2nd).

7) J.F. Borghouts -- Egyptian. An Introduction to the writing and language of the Middle Kingdom. Volume I: Grammar, Syntax and Indexes; Volume II: Sign lists, Exercises and Reading Texts (NINO, Leiden: 2010). ISBN: 978-90-6258-224-2 (I: XXXII, 581; II: VII, 482 pp. softcover). € 120.00 excl. VAT/handling at NINO.
Translation of the excellent Dutch grammar (1) below, but fully revised, updated, and enlarged (with a lot more pages).
It is a comprehensive teaching grammar. The same author is working on a reference grammar, which has not yet appeared:
J. F. Borghouts, Hierogram: A Reference Grammar of Middle Egyptian With Reading Texts (Handbook of Oriental Studies / Handbuch Der Orientalistik), Brill Publishers, ca. 2012.

8) H. Smith - Middle Egyptian. Introduction to the Ancient Egyptian Language and Script (London 1994)

9) J.B. Callender. Middle Egyptian. Undena Publications, Malibu, 1975.

10) Antonio Loprieno - Ancient Egyptian: A Linguistic Introduction (CUP 1995; 322pp; ISBN 0-521-44849-2)
Listed here as it comes up often and is often mistaken for a grammar. It is NOT a teaching grammar and NOT suited for beginners. It is a though read, as it basically is written for linguists. It is very thorough though, covering also other stages of the Egyptian language plus vocalisation. So much material can hardly be found anywhere else in a single (not expensive) volume, so any more advanced student seriously studying the language should try to read it through. Essentials are not emphasized, but it is comprehensive and has very good indexes.

11) Grammars not fitting the 'after 1990' criterium, but still in print or digitised:
-- S. Mercer, Egyptian Hieroglyphic Grammar (1926, Ares reprint; ca. GBP13)
-- Adolf Erman, Egyptian Grammar. With Table of Signs, Bibliography, Exercises for Reading and Glossary, London / Edinburgh, 1894. XIV, 201, 70* pp. (pp. 177-201 [part of the table of signs, bibliography], 1*-16* [some reading exercises] are missing). English translation by James H. Breasted of Adolf Erman, Ägyptische Grammatik, Berlin, 1894. - pdf-file (B/W: 6.2 MB) - online at URL
-- A. de Buck, Egyptian Reading Book, vol. I: Exercises and Middle Egyptian Texts, Leyden, 1948 - online in zipped pdf-file (25 MB) at URL

No, do NOT buy Budge's grammar - it's obsolete.

In French

1) Pierre Grandet and Bernard Mathieu - Cours d'egyptien hieroglyphique (2 vols. 1990, Kheops Press, Paris; second revised edition 1997, 845 pp.)
The most up-to-date teaching grammar in French. Clair and practical of style, without much theory. With exercises, vocabulary and sign list.

2) Michel Malaise and Jean Winand - Grammaire raisonnee de l'egyptien classique" (Centre informatique de philosophie et lettres, Liege, 1999 ; Aegyptiaca Leodiensia, 6; 866 pp.)
Please note this is a reference grammar and NOT a teaching grammar for beginners. As such it has no exercices nor progression in difficulty, and is very expensive. But very up-to-date and complete, with numerous examples. It's easy to find information in it; in some cases, the author propose a clear recapitulation of the difficult points. References are given in the end of each chapter to relevant articles and books (unfortunately not given separatly for each point).

3) Bernadette Menu - Petite Grammaire de l'egyptien hieroglyphique a l'usage des débutants (Geuthner, 1991; revised edition: Paris, 1993. 202 pp.)
Forms a set with two other books of the same author: "Exercices corriges de la 'Petite grammaire de l'egyptien hieroglyphique a l'usage des debutants' " (Geuthner, 1993; 150 pp) and "Petite Lexique de l'Egyptien hieroglyphique a l'usage des debutants" (Geuthner, 1997).
As indicated by the title, it is aimed at beginners only; fairly simple and also not very up-to-date as it is based on Gardiner.

4) Claude Obsomer, Egyptien hiéroglyphique. Grammaire pratique du moyen égyptien. Editions Safran, 2009
Consisting of a grammar book, an excercise booklet, and a DVD. Information at URL, URL, and URL
The DVD contains 800 hieroglyphs, 10,000 photographs, 2,300 words and 200 pages of exercises. In terms of content, it addresses the grammar, vocabulary, writing and translation of texts of the classical Egyptian language. For each hieroglyph an animation is shown, illustrating how to easily reproduce it.

5) Some older (pre-Polotsky) grammars still in print but not fitting the 'after 1990' criterium:
G. Lefebvre - Grammaire de l'Égyptien Classique (El Cairo 1955; 2nd ed. IFAOC reprint 1990; 471 pp.; ca. GBP39)
P. Du Bourguet - Grammaire Égyptienne: Moyen Empire Pharaonique (Peeters, Lovaina, 1980; ca. GBP28).
A. De Buck - Grammaire Elementaire du Moyen Égyptien (Brill, Leiden, 1982; 218 pp.; ca. GBP56)

In German

1) Wolfgang Schenkel - Tübinger Einführung in die klassisch-ägyptische Sprache und Schrift (1992, 2nd edition, 302 pp.; revised edition: Tübingen, 1997, 368 pp.)
The 1992 ed. has discussions of Polotsky's theories, the 1997 ed. is the first grammar of the post-Standard Theory. No sign list or exercises.

2) Erhart Graefe - Mittelägyptische Grammatik für Anfänger (Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, 1994)(5th rev. edition 1997)(259 pp.; ISBN 3-447-03903-5; DM70)
With exercises and sign list; with discussions about Polotsky's theories.
On the website of Mark-Jan Nederhof you will find some clarifications to the exercises.

3) Boyo G. Ockinga - Mittelägyptische Grundgrammatik (Mainz, 1998, 180 pp.)
Revised edition of H. Brunner "Abriss der mittelägyptischen Grammatik". See English translation above.

In Dutch

1) J.F. Borghouts - Een inleiding in de taal en schrift van het Middenrijk (2 vols) (EOL/Peeters, Leiden/Leuven, 1993; ISBN 90-72690-07-9/90-6831-470-X; MVEOL 30)
Very extensive teaching grammar; vol. 1 has grammar and syntax (376 pp), vol. 2 has sign list and exercises (319 pp). Very thorough I think, although I suspect it could be rather difficult for those not having much experience with linguistic terminology (it's no "easy read"). But very systematic, and IMO very easy to find things in.
2) L.M.J. Zonhoven - Middel-Egyptische grammatica. Een practische inleiding in de Egyptische taal van het hieroglyphenschrift. (Leiden, 1992; 363 pp)
With ca. 200 pp. grammar, rest is exercises, sign lists etc. From the description by the author I deduce it is aimed at beginners, more or less as a preparation to Gardiner.
3) Harco Willems, Inleiding tot het Middelegyptisch. Published by, and available with, ACCO. 137 pp.; ISBN 978 90 334 6357 0; EUR 8.65.
Published as a course book, containing 12 lessons plus exercises. Incorporates Polotsky's theories.

In Spanish

1) Francisco J. Martin Valentin - Gramatica Egypicia. Iniciacion a la lengua egipcia clasica escrita en sistema jeorglifico (Madrid, 1999. 267 pp.)

2) Some links and Spanish articles on-line on the Egiptologia Cientifica y Divulgativa" (ECD) website.

In Italian

A real "big" modern grammar is still missing in Italian. Some oldies:

1) Giulio Farina - Grammatica della lingua Egiziona Antica in Caratteri Geroglifici (2nd edition, 1925, reprinted 1992; publisher: Hoepli, Milano; book series: Reprint antichi manuali Hoepli; 213 pages; price: 14000 L.; ISBN: 88-203-2005-3)
This reprint is still for sale, apparantly not revised? (then outdated / pre-Polotsky)

2) Sergio Donadoni - Appunti di Grammatica Egizia. Con un elenco di segni e di parole (2nd edition, 1963, reprinted 1989; publisher: Cisalpino, Varese; book series: Testi e documenti per lo studio dell'antichità; 127 pp.; price: 42000 L.; ISBN: 88-205-0457-X)
It is the reproduction of hand-written notes (the writing is clearly readable). Not revised? (then outdated / pre-Polotsky)



(III) Middle Egyptian Dictionaries

1) Adolf Erman, Hermann Grapow, Wörterbuch der aegyptischen Sprache, vols. I-V, Akademie-Verlag, Berlin, 1971 (reprinted from Leipzig, 1926-1931); 583 pp.; 506 pp.; 489 pp.; 569 pp.; 639 pp. Vol. VI. Deutsch-aegyptisches Wörterverzeichnis, Akademie-Verlag, Berlin, 1950, 256 pp. Vol. VII. Rückläufiges Wörterverzeichnis, Akademie Verlag, Berlin, 1971. 132 pp. (Index vol., compiled by W. F. Reineke)
The monumental classic. It is online, in seperate pdf-files, all in all: 75.6 MB, at URL
[Wondering about copyrights, I contacted the staff of the Altägyptisches Wörterbuch and they said that they have no problems with these Wb scans. They will, however, in time put a digital version of the Wörterbuch on the WWW themselves that will allow, for example, to click directly on the references ("Belegstellen") on every page to navigate from there through the sheets ("Zettel") of their archive. So this will be a functionally superior version to the mere image-digitalisation of the pages on this Russian site. See next point. AKE]

2) Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae (TLA)
A terrific website resource at URL The "Wörterbuch der aegyptischen Sprache" of Erman and Grapow has now been digitized. The references ("Belegstellen") point to the relevant slips of the Digitalisierte Zettelarchiv (DZA). The search functions of the slip archive are completely integrated in the TLA interface. The lemma list will also show the hieroglyphic form of each word. This online resource has recently been updated (temple inscriptions of the Greco-Roman period are now part of the text database due to the cooperation with the University of Leuven) and the database now consists of more than 440,000 words of all stages of the language. Registration is required for using the TLA. German info: URL

3) Rainer Hannig - Grosses Handwörterbuch Ägyptisch-Deutsch. Die Sprache der Pharaonen, 2800 - 960 v. Chr. (Philipp von Zabern, 1995; 2nd edition 1997, 1473 pp.; ISBN 3-805-31771-9; GBP 59.50)
Not cheap, but a terrific have (if you can read German). The next best thing after the monumental WB (the 'Wörterbuch der Ägyptische Sprache'(1926-1953) of Erman-Grapow). More than 1400 pp, including some great appendices. This 'HWB' covers the language from the Old Kingdom to 500 BC, so you can use it on Late-Period and Ramesside texts.
There are however also two serious shortcomings to this dictionary. Firstly it does not give AE text references ("Belegstellen"), like Faulkner or the WB do. Secondly, the author does not mention the modern bibliographical sources on which he draws. In the first place his source is of course the WB; but he includes many new words, meanings and translations that are not in the WB but were borrowed from the work since done by others, without those authors being credited (not even in a footnote). A noteworthy example of this is his borrowing from Meeks' ALEX (see point 5 below).
In 2006, a reprint appeared, namely the 4th revised edition, with some 4000 new entries and many other revisions, plus (new!) a short reference grammar of Middle Egyptian.
Rainer Hannig, Die Sprache der Pharaonen. Großes Handwörterbuch Ägyptisch-Deutsch (2800 bis 950 v. Chr.), 4th rev. ed., Zabern Verlag, Mainz, 2006 (= Hannig-Lexica, 1). Hardcover, XLIV, 1474 pp., 21 maps. ISBN: 3-8053-1771-9, price: EUR 65.50 (info).
The same writer has published:
Hannig, Rainer und Petra Vomberg, Wortschatz der Pharaonen in Sachgruppen (Mainz, 1999. 1029 pp.)(= Hannig-Lexica, 2)
Hannig, Rainer, Die Sprache der Pharaonen. Grosses Handwoerterbuch Deutsch - Aegyptisch (2800 - 950 v.Chr.) (Verlag Philipp von Zabern, Mainz, 2000 (Hannig-Lexica; 3). XXII, 1753 pp. ISBN: 3-8053-2609-2, price: DEM 148)
Hannig, Rainer, Ägyptisches Wörterbuch, vol. I. Altes Reich und Erste Zwischenzeit, Verlag Philipp von Zabern, Mainz, 2003 (= Hannig-Lexica, vol. 4). Hardcover, CV, 1681 pp. ISBN: 3-8053-3088-X, price: EUR 75.80 (info).
Hannig, Rainer, Ägyptisches Wörterbuch, vol. II: Mittleres Reich und zweite Zwischenzeit, Zabern Verlag, Mainz, 2006 (= Hannig-Lexica, 5). Hardcover, 2 vols.: LI, pp. 1-1616; pp. 1617-3274. ISBN: 3-8053-3690-X, price: EUR 154 (info}

4) R.O. Faulkner - A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian' (Oxford University Press, 1962, reprint 1996; 343 pp; ISBN 0-900416-32-7)
A classic with hand-written hieroglyphs, good and not expensive, so usually the first buy for a novice. You cannot do without it - but Faulkner covers only Middle Egyptian.
There is a Hieroglyphic Index to Faulkner's Dictionary available, made by Marc Line, to help you find signs. 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.

5) Meeks, Dimitri - Annee lexicographique, Egypte ancienne (3 vol.; 1980-1982; now reprinted by Librairie Cybele; Vol 1 (xxiii+ 457 p.) = ISBN 2-9512092-1-5; Vol 2 (xv+ 450 p.) = ISBN 2-9512092-2-3; Vol 3 (xiv+351 p.) = ISBN 2-9512092-3-1)
For a full description of this important work for the professional and of the online project connected to it, see FAQ2.
Also see Meeks' Dictionnaires et lexiques de l'égyptien. Bibliographie critique (2007) (PDF, 16 pp.)

6) Adolf Erman and H. Grapow - Ägyptisches Handwörterbuch (Berlin, 1921. 242pp., reprint 1995) - mentioned here only because it is available online (pdf-file, 12 MB) at URL and URL

7) Bernadette Menu - Petit lexique de l'egyptien hieroglyphique a l'usage des debutants (Paris, 1989;
311 pp.)
See under grammars.

8) David Shennum - English-Egyptian Index of Faulkner's Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian (Undena Publications, Malibu, 1977; 178 pp; ISBN 0-89003-054-5)
No must, but a nice have if you want to translate from English into Egyptian.

9) Adolf Erman, Ägyptisches Glossar. Die häufigeren Worte der ägyptischen Sprache, Berlin, 1904 (Porta linguarum Orientalium, vol. 20). - viii, 160 pp. - mentioned here only because it is available online as pdf-file (7.8 MB) at URL

10) The Beinlich Wordlist is a search engine for Ancient Egyptian, created by Nigel Strudwick.

11) Dr.Thomas Schrader's Woerterbuch Project (WBP), Version-3.11. Freeware for Windows PC; Library (Basic: 700, Extended: 11850 words); Crossword Puzzle; Time Calculator.

No, do NOT buy the outdated dictionary of Budge!



(IV) On-line Resources

1) mailinglists
There is a mailinglist dedicated to the Egyptian language: AEL. On its website and in its archives you will find introductions to hieroglyphs and grammar, and plenty of exercises. For example, look for the section "Learning Resources" (information for beginners including transliterations, exercises and book reviews).
2) transliteration
-- There are transliteration charts on the EEF website for Hieroglyphs and Coptic.
-- There is a transliteration font (Windows) for Egyptian at the CCER website (also a font for the MAC).
-- The website Computer&Technik Göttingen carries some Truetype fonts.
-- The Yamada Language Center has some Hieroglyphic fonts (Macintosh).
-- Dr Berlin has an archive of Coptic fonts (Windows).
-- More fonts may be found at URL.
-- The Manuel de Codage (transcription codes for email) is at the website of the CCER, and is mirrored at the Thotweb website.
-- Comments about classroom pronunciation may be found at Friesian.
3) lists of hieroglyphs
-- Gardiner's Sign List
-- Gardiner's Sign-list (other site)
-- Hieroglyphica (CCER), a hieroglyphic library of more than 6900 signs, at the CCER website.
-- The (French) website of Raymond Monfort classifies 6742 hieroglyphic characters by theme and lists 468 phonograms.
-- The Aegyptus Font has an Extended List as well.
4) hieroglyphic software
-- The website of the CCER carries demos for WinGlyph and Macscribe, the professional (not free) hieroglyphic software.
-- Juan de la Torre's Spanish software Amanuense 3.0, a (not free) hieroglyphic editor.
-- Hierotex at the website of Serge Rosmorduc.
-- Serge Rosmorduc's JSesh, a free hieroglyphic text editor that regularly gets updated.
-- The website Computer&Technik Göttingen carries extras for WinGlyph and HieroTeX.
-- Glyphotext, a hieroglyphic text editor for Windows; you can download a 30-day trial version.
-- A hieroglyphic editor HieroWord that includes Faulkner's dictionary.
-- Apparantly there is a hieroglyphic font available, called HGP2.00 (Windows 98) (or URL).
-- There's a free web-based hieroglyph writing program (that recognizes Manuel de Codage coding) called Hierowriter.
-- Michel Mudde's AEL Viewer lets you view Manuel de Codage files in hieroglyphic. Zipped.
-- Günther Lapp's VisualGlyph, a hieroglyphic text processing program that can be used for producing any other style of text.
-- A shareware hieroglyphic text editor: Perfect Glyph / Vector Office 2008
--
Project Rosette has all kind of hieroglyphic applications, among which a Gardiner Sign List, a text editor, dictionary, etc.
5) flash cards and writing aids
-- Lucas Venter's "GlyphTutor for Windows" tests the user on his / her knowledge of Middle Egyptian biconsonantal and triconsonantal hieroglyphic signs. Approximately 120 signs are covered, including all the signs in Collier & Manley.
-- A similar program exists for Macintosh, available from the FTP site of CCER: Mike Dyall-Smith's "Scribe of KMT"; it's a hypercard stack designed to teach newcomers Egyptian elements of hieroglyphic signs and values. The program runs with Hypercard 2.2 or later, but with a few problems it also runs with version 2.
-- Michele Moglia has designed us a flashcard application for Linux, called HieroFlashCard.
-- The website of Luca Brigatti has a set of computerized hieroglyphic flashcards.
-- If your hieroglyphic handwriting is as terrible as mine, perhaps the website of Jenny Carrington could help you to draw glyphs in a more esthetic way. She gives (from her own experience) the order and direction of the strokes, concentrating on the more difficult, often used signs. Just practice a bit; e.g. fill a whole page with the same figure until you do not have to think about where you are putting the lines, and those pesky birds (etc) should flow more naturally off the end of the pen.
-- See also online: Henry G. Fischer, Ancient Egyptian Calligraphy. A Beginner's Guide to Writing Hieroglyphs, 4th edition, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1999 - pdf-file (10.7 MB) - URL. "If my use of the term 'calligraphy' may seem pretentious, it nonetheless states my aim, which is to encourage a better standard in writing Egyptian hieroglyphs."
6) general websites
-- The website of Serge Rosmorduc is dedicated to all kind of facets of the Egyptian language and script.
-- Also the website of Stephen Fryer is dedicated to all kind of facets of the Egyptian language (e.g., a Little Egyptian Reading Book and Basic Lessons in Hieratic).
-- The website of Jacques Kinnaer has an interactive book on AE language and writing (intro to hieroglyphs and writing, the royal titulary, etc.).
-- Tim Spalding's "Hieroglyphs!" is a web directory and guide to Egyptian Hieroglyphs on the web. The site includes links to introductions to the subject, web translators, fonts and self-teaching exercises.
-- Paul Sciortino' Hieroglyphs.net collects material about the language and literature of ancient Egypt.
-- There is an introduction to reading hieroglyphs at the website of Egyptologica Vlaanderen VZW.
-- Rennes Egypto: The website of Rennes Egyptologie is specialised in the Middle Egyptian language, and papers on that topic are available in PDF.
7) For online dictionaries and grammars, see the relevant sections above.




Thanks go to Michael Tilgner, Branimir Cucek, Fabio Vassallo, Agustín Barahona, Gérard G. Passera, and Serge Rosmorduc! Also thanks to Stephen Fryer, Michael Schreiber, et.al. for any reviews on AEL.
Please send any additions to A. K. Eyma.

Go to EEF index page (EEF is the moderated email discussion list dedicated to Egyptology; owner: A. K. Eyma)
Go to AEL index page (AEL is the moderated email discussion list dedicated to the Ancient Egyptian language; owner: M. Wilson)