Kw-logo-smaller

Egypt - Hieroglyphics: First Alphabet

Part of the hieroglyphic alphabet.
Hieroglyphics

What Are Hieroglyphics?

English has 26 characters (called letters) that are made up into words and then into sentences. Ancient Egyptians had more than 2,000 characters, which they called hieroglyphics. Each hieroglyphic is a common object - a reed, an eagle, a basket, water, etc. that represents a letter of their alphabet. Hieroglyphics were the earliest form of writing in Egypt and were basically only used in formal settings. Hieratic was the script used for day-to-day writing.

How Do You Write With Hieroglyphics?

Hieroglyphics were written in rows or columns without spaces and can be read from left to right or from right to left. The symbols (human and animals) always face towards the beginning of the line so you know which direction to start reading. Besides changing direction, hieroglyphics rarely used vowels, although they were spoken. In English, words are often abbreviated by leaving out the vowels - bldg = building, ltd = limited and cm = centimeter. The only time hieroglyphics use vowels is when a word begins with one or if it might be confusing without them.

Where Were Hieroglyphics Used?

You can see hieroglyphics on ancient tombs, pyramid walls, pottery and ceramics. Scribes also used hieroglyphics on papyrus to record the history of Egypt. Hieroglyphics were extremely hard to learn. Only scribes learned to write them and they trained for years, starting school when they were boys. Girls were not allowed to go to school so they couldn't become scribes. Scribes were special royal servants. They didn't have to go into the military or pay taxes. They were also well-respected and had their pictures painted on the walls of houses and monuments.

The Rosetta Stone

Hieroglyphics were a mystery until the Rosetta Stone was uncovered. The three foot tall and two foot wide stone was discovered near the Rosetta mouth of the Nile in 1799. Three different types of script are written on the stone: hieroglyphics, Egyptian Demontic and Greek. It took many years for the stone to be properly deciphered with several linguist scholars working on the task including French-born Sylvestre de Sacy, Englishman Thomas Young and French scholar, Jean Francios Champollion. It was Champollion that finally pieced everything together in 1822. When the British defeated the French in the Battle of the Nile, they claimed the Rosetta Stone and sent it to the British Museum where it still remains to this day.

Related Stories:
>
>

readers voted!

Comments

babytanya123

babytanya123 wrote:

amazing
commented: Wed Mar 05, 2014

alexiarina123

alexiarina123 wrote:

we started learning more about this in school
commented: Sat Feb 22, 2014

alexiarina123

alexiarina123 wrote:

this so cool :D
commented: Sat Feb 22, 2014

there are 63 more comments

Please login or register to add comments

share with your friends


Twitter Facebook Myspace Digg


like this article?
get more just like it in your email

F1141930076953

Have You Ever Seen the Rosetta Stone?

  • Yes, I've been to the British Museum to see it.
  • I've only seen pictures.
  • No, who cares about an old piece of rock?
  • No, but I'd really like to see it some day.

related stories

Egyptians came up with the first method of making paper. They used the stem from a water plant, c...
Egypt has a 3000 year-old history. That's a long list of pharaohs. Read about some of the more in...
Mummies have been found all over the world but Ancient Egyptians' bodies have been preserved the ...

latest videos

Random in the forums

Animal4ever
4 :)
reply 1 minute
Everlost
Everlost posted in Say Anything:
i dont see a picture so ill say 5 to be nice just incase my computer is buggy
reply 22 minutes
Everlost
Everlost posted in General:
-Insert Clever Post Here-
reply 26 minutes
caitlinkay
9
reply about 1 hour
caitlinkay
caitlinkay posted in General:
La la la la la la la la la! I'm weird!  :p
reply about 1 hour

play online games

Candy-100

A great online version of the famous Candy Crush. This is the best game launched...

1515_gl_kidzworld_100x100_jpg_fz

Intriguing planets, weird and wonderful characters; challenge friends and find a...

100x100_ra_logo_girl

Uncle George has left you his farm, but unfortunately it’s in pretty bad shape. ...

_thumb_100x100

Shoot blobs with different properies to merge yellow blobs. Your blobs can be re...

_thumb_100x100

We have all played the famous game Sudoku, now play it online with this Classic ...