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Glyphs and Grammars Part I: Resources for beginners

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Glyphs and Grammars

Part I: Resources for beginners

 

Compiled for the Egyptologists' Electronic Forum (EEF)

Version 23 (July 21, 2020)

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 the end of the page.
For language stages other than Middle Egyptian, see Glyphs2.
Should you be using MacOS Safari and notice any font display problems, then this might be fixed by changing the Safari Preferences for Default Encoding to “Western (ISO Latin 1)”, from “Unicode (UTF-8)”.

 

(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 (original edition) is located at the archived http://www.rostau.org.uk/Collier/collier.ht m">AEL website.

2) Bill Manley - Egyptian Hieroglyphs for Complete Beginners (Thames & Hudson, London. 2012. $16.95; ISBN 978-0-500-29028-6)
Another excellent choice for beginners. Each chapter analyzes a stele or other monumental inscription.

3) Karl-Theodore Zauzich - Hieroglyphs Without Mystery; An Introduction To Ancient Egyptian Writing (University of Texas Press, 1992; ISBN 0-292-79804-0)
See the German original below.
The book seems to have appeared in the UK as: "Discovering Egyptian hieroglyphs. A practical guide" (London, 1992. 121 pp.)

4) 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.

5) 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.

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

7) 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 the book 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 handwritten style of the hieroglyphs. Translations from monuments can be followed only if you previously know some Egyptian. It looks like a inscriptions help guide for museum visitors. Culturologically informative (nice maps of Egypt, hand-redrawn monuments), but miles from Collier-Manley in seriously introducing the script.

8) 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.

9) 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.

10) 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.

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

12) Richard Bussmann - Complete Middle Egyptian: A New Method for Understanding Hieroglyphs. Reading Texts in Context. (Hodder & Stoughton, 2017, ISBN 9781473609792, £39.99)
The book is based on the discovery method and on contextual learning.

13) 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.)

14) 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).

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

16) Joseph and Lenore Scott - Egyptian Hieroglyphs For Everyone (Barnes and Noble, 1992)

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

18) Bridget McDermott - Decoding Egyptian Hieroglyphs: How to Read the Secret Language of the Pharaohs (Chronicle Books, 2001. ISBN 0-8118-3225-2)
A casual introduction to the basics of hieroglyphs, plus "phrase book", illustrated by many photographs of objects, but having a limited space per topic.

19) Nigel Strudwick - Hieroglyph Detective: How to Decode the Sacred Language of the Ancient Egyptians (Chronicle Books, 2010. Pb, 160 pp., ISBN 9780811869850. $16.95)
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.

20) Thomas Mudloff, Ronald Fellows - Hieroglyphs for Travelers (R.E. Fellows Publishing, 1999. ISBN 0-939968-02-9).
Helps tourists to read the most common texts on monuments.

21) Abd al-Halim Nur al-Di - The Ancient Egyptian Language. (Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria. 2007. EGP 75.00. IBSN 978-977-6163-60-7).
An Egyptian/Arabic perspective translated into English. A reasonable introduction to glyphs and grammar.

22) 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. The book is out-of-print, but can be downloaded for free at The Met.

 

In French

1) Christian Jacq - Le petit Champollion illustre (1994. 252 pp.; Mass Market Pocket, 2000; ISBN 978-2266067768)
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 (Le Grand du Mois, 1996. 304 pp. ISBN 978-2286303433)
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.)
Basic introduction (self study) to the script and to some Middle Egyptian.

4) Renaud de Spens - Leçons pour apprendre les hiéroglyphes égyptiens (Les Belles Lettres, 2nd edition 2020. Pb, 248 pp. ISBN 9782251450735. EUR 27.50)
Contains 19 lessons to learn how to decipher the most common Egyptian monuments, arranged by difficulty.

5) Mark Collier, Bill Manley - Décrypter les hiéroglyphes, La méthode (Éditions Flammarion, 2004)
French translation of the English book mentioned above.

6) Janice Kamrin - Hiéroglyphes de l’Egypte ancienne (Hermé, 2005. 254 pp. ISBN 978-2866654191)
French translation of the English book mentioned above.

 

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)
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).

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) (some sample pages at URL)
Solid introduction to the hieroglyphic script, with reading exercises.

3) Mark Collier, Bill Manley - Hieroglyphen. Entziffern, lesen, verstehen (Droemer Knaur, Muenchen, 2001. Hardcover, ca. 200 pp. ISBN: 3426664259, price: DEM 44.90)
For the English original, 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 the French original above.

6) Michael Höveler-Müller - Hieroglyphen lesen und schreiben. In 24 einfachen Schritten (C.H. Beck, 2014. Pb, 256 pp. ISBN 978-3-406-66674-2)

 

In Dutch

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

2) Huub Pragt - Hiërogliefen, het schrift ontcijferd (Nederlandsche Uitgeversmaatschappij BV, 2001; ISBN: 90 6110 180 8, 78 pags., A4+, geïllustreerd in zwart wit, Euro 15,95)
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. (See the 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 Betrò - 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 (Sas Effelle, Roma, 1987; 158 pp.)
At a quite elementary level.

3) Sergio Pernigotti - Leggere i gereoglifici (Graffis, 1988; reprinted: La Mandragora, 2002; 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 (Piemme, 1995; reprinted 1998 (hardcover); 287 pages; 16,90 Euros; ISBN 883846989X )
Italian translation of "Le petit Champollion illustré".

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

 

 

 

(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 listed below. By its size, exercises, Sign List and vocabulary lists still usefull.
A key to the first eight exercises can be found at the Griffith Institute website. A more complete set of Gardiner’s exercise keys may be found at the site of Mark-Jan Nederhof. Some hints and tips for working with this grammar also appeared on the http://www.rostau.org.uk/Gardiner/index.ht m">(archived) AEL website, 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)
A grammar that appeared Oct. '99, and has 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 important to know that a 3rd, thoroughly revised edition has appeared in 2014, reorganized and with a new analysis of the 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 (1st edition).

 

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 partial key to the exercises was provided by the book's author online, compiled by Mark-Jan Nederhof at URL.
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 (122 pages) 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 (1st edition, Uppsala University, 1988; 2nd edition, Uppsala University, 1995; ISBN 978-9150606607; ca. GBP29)
It explains brief how-to's of grammar like a short textbook. The pattern is:
theme -> brief description and sometimes exceptions -> usage -> some examples.
Good introduction, but it does not have any exercises. It may be somewhat hard for a beginner, because of its pocket-grammar style, but informative if you already know some Egyptian. It follows the 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; vol. I: XXXII, 581; vol. II: VII, 482 pp. softcover; ISBN 978-90-6258-224-2; € 120.00 excl. VAT/handling at NINO)
Translation of the simply excellent Dutch grammar mentioned below, but fully revised, updated, and enlarged (with a lot more pages).
It is a comprehensive teaching grammar. The same author has published a reference grammar:
J. F. Borghouts - Hierogram: A Reference Grammar of Middle Egyptian With Reading Texts (Brill Publishers, 2016. Hb, 750 pp. ISBN 978-9004117679)

8) Claude Obsomer, Sylvie Favre-Briant - Hieroglyphic Egyptian. A Practical Grammar of Middle Egyptian. (Safran Publishers, 2016. 384 pp. ISBN 978-2-87457-084-1. EUR 45.00)
This is the English version of the second edition of the Grammaire pratique du Moyen Egyptien, mentioned below.

9) Peter Beylage - Middle Egyptian (Eisenbraun, 2018. Hb, 864 pp. ISBN 978-1-57506-977-7. $89.95)

10) Gabor Toth - Introduction to Middle Egyptian Grammar through Ancient Writings (Linus Learning, 2013; 382 pp., ISBN 978-1-60797-353-9)
Teaches grammar to beginners based on inscriptions on artifacts from museums around the world.

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

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

13) 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.

14) James P. Allen - The Ancient Egyptian Language: An Historical Study (Cambridge University Press, 2013. Pb, 266 pp. ISBN 9781107664678. GBP 19.99).
What has just been said about Loprieno's book also applies to this volume, with the same set-up, and equally specialistic.

15) Grammars NOT fitting the 'after 1990' criterium, but mentioned here as they are still in print or are available 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)(online at URL)
-- Günther Röder - Short Egyptian grammar (1920). Translated from the German by Samuel Mercer (online 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. Clear 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) Jean-Cluade Goyon - Grammaire de l'égyptien hiéroglyphique. Du Moyen Empire au début du Nouvel Empire (Ëdition ACV Lyon, 2007, 311 pp., ISBN 978-2913033108)

6) Jean-Pierre Guglielmi - L'égyptien hiéroglyphique (Assimil, 2010. ISBN 9782700505917)
"Un livre de 101 leçons en 864 pages (..) destinée aux autodidactes." Available with 4 CDs.

7) Daniel Benoit - Cours progressif d’égyptien classique hiéroglyphique (Association Thot, 2 volumes) (info)

8) Some older (pre-Polotsky) grammars NOT fitting the 'after 1990' criterium, but mentioned here as they are still in print or available online:
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 (translated by B. van de Walle and J. Vergote)(1944, many reprints)
J. Lesquier - Grammaire égyptienne d'après la troisième édition de la grammaire d'Adolf Erman (1914) (available online at URL)

 

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.
Note there is this complement:
Roberto A. Díaz Hernández - Münchner Übungsheft für die Tübinger Einführung (Verlag-PB, 2019. 256 pp. ISBN 9783944207131)(available in print but also for free in Open Access)

2) Erhart Graefe - Mitteläyptische Grammatik für Anfänger (Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, 1994; 5th rev. edition 1997; 259 pp.; ISBN 3-447-03903-5)
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) Claudia Maderna-Sieben - Mittelägyptische Grammatik für Anfänger. Ein ausführliches Kompendium für den Unterricht. (LIT Verlag, 2016. 304 pp. ISBN 978-3-643-13187-4. EUR 34.90)

4) Boyo G. Ockinga - Mittelägyptische Grundgrammatik (Philipp von Zabern, 1998, 181 pp.; 2nd revised edition, 2015)
Revised edition of H. Brunner's 'Abriss der mittelägyptischen Grammatik'. See comments with the English translation above.

5) Claudia Maderna-Sieben - Mittelägyptische Grammatik für Anfänger. Ein ausführliches Kompendium für den Unterricht. (LIT Verlag, 2016. 304 pp. ISBN 978-3-643-13187-4. EUR 34.90)

6) Daniel A. Werning - Digitale Einführung in die hieroglyphisch-ägyptische Schrift und Sprache (Berlin: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 2018)(available for free in Open Access)
Digital, partially revised Wiki version of the peer reviewed Open Access PDF publication Daniel A. Werning. 2015. _Einführung in die hieroglyphisch-ägyptische Schrift und Sprache. Propädeutikum mit Zeichen- und Vokabellektionen, Übungen und Übungshinweisen_, 3. verb. Ausg., Berlin: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, DOI http://doi.org/10.20386/HUB-42129. Includes Moodle quizzes to selected exercises. Invites feedback on individual paragraphs.

 

 

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 (ACCO, 2005; 141 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) Carlos Gracia Zamacona - Manual de Egipcio Medio (Ediciones Clásicas, 2013. 234 pp. ISBN 84-7882-737-4. EUR 20; 2nd revised and updated edition, Archaeopress, 2017. ISBN 978 1 78491 761 6)

3) Wolfang Schenkel, Gramática de egipcio clásico (ECU, 2015. 406 pp. ISBN 9788416312405. EUR 16)
Spanish translation of the Tübinger Einführung in die klassisch-ägyptische Sprache, mentioned above.

 

 

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 (Hoepli, Milano, 2nd edition, 1925, reprinted 1992; 213 pages; 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 (Cisalpino, Varese, 2nd edition, 1963, reprinted 1989; 127 pp.; ISBN 88-205-0457-X)(available as a free download (PDF))
It is the reproduction of hand-written notes (the writing is clearly readable). Not revised? (then outdated / pre-Polotsky).

 

 

In Polish

1) Albertyna Szczudlowska-Dembska, Klasyczny jezyk egipski (Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Akademickie Dialog, 2004. 378 pp. ISBN 8388938703)

 

(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))(online, in separate pdf-files, at URL and URL)
The monumental classic (the 'WB').
[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.

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. The next best thing after the monumental WB. 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 ancient Egyptian 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).
The same writer has published:
Rainer Hannig, Petra Vomberg - Wortschatz der Pharaonen in Sachgruppen (Mainz, 1999. 1029 pp.)(= Hannig-Lexica, 2))
RainerHannig - 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)
Rainer Hannig - 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. EUR 75.80).
Rainer Hannig - 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. EUR 154)

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 Marc Line's Hieroglyphic Index to Faulkner's Dictionary 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) Dimitri Meeks - 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' http://recherche.univ-montp3.fr/egyptologie/utl/Dictionnaires_et_lexiques.pd f">Dictionnaires et lexiques de l'égyptien. Bibliographie critique (2007) (PDF, 16 pp., archived)

6) 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 Ancient Egyptian.

9) Bill Petty - English to Middle Egyptian Dictionary: A Reverse Hieroglyphic Vocabulary (Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016. Pb, 302 pp. ISBN-13: 978-1508700036)
Comparable to Shennum above.

10) Two titles mentioned here only because they are available online:
Adolf Erman - Ägyptisches Glossar. Die häufigeren Worte der ägyptischen Sprache (Berlin, 1904. 160 pp.)(online at URL)
Adolf Erman and H. Grapow - Ägyptisches Handwörterbuch (Berlin, 1921. 242 pp., reprint 1995) (online at URL).

No, do NOT buy the outdated dictionary of Budge!

 

(IV) On-line Resources

1) mailinglists
-- There was a mailing list fully dedicated to the ancient Egyptian language: The Ancient Egyptian Language list AEL, moderated by Mark Wilson. Now it is alas defunct, but on its archived website you can still 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).
-- For beginners, there is GlyphStudy, a free, student run study group, that offfers 'study sections' that work through various middle Egyptian textbooks.
-- Advanced language questions (academic level) can be put on the EEF forum.

2) transliteration
-- There are transliteration charts on the EEF website for Hieroglyphs and Coptic (use in email, etc).
-- Wikipedia's Transliteration Chart
-- "Manuel de Codage" (MdC) (a standard system for the computer-encoding of Egyptian transliteration and hieroglyphic texts; also used in email); see also Wikipedia

3) transliteration fonts
-- Umschrift_TTn Font (Umsch.ttf) (encoded by Prof. Dr. Friedrich Junge; with the 'non-traditional' transliteration signs)(italic and bold)(with keyboard layout)
-- HGNTransliteration Font (HGNTransliteration-Unicode.ttf) (Unicode font created by Boris Jegorovic)
-- Trlit_CG Times Italic Font (cgt.ttf), idem (Windows and Mac)
-- MDC Transliteration Font (MDCTranslitLC.ttf) (Windows) (lowercase, bold, and uppercase)
-- BBAW Schoell Font (BBAW-Schoell-regular.ttf)
-- Rosette Unicode Font (Rosette.ttf), idem
-- CCER Transliteration Italic Font (GLYPH_I.ttf, Transliteration.ttf) (Windows)(the oldest font in town)
The above (older) fonts were specially created for ancient Egyptian, based on MdC, but some modern general fonts for Unicode contain most or all of the special transliteration signs needed (see: Daniel A. Werning, Egyptological Transliteration in Unicode), notably:
-- New Athena Unicode Font (newathu.ttf) (bold, italic)
-- Junicode

4) lists of hieroglyphs
-- Middle Egyptian Set (Canonical Gardiner set of 1072 glyphs)
From Gardiner's Grammar: URL
From Wikipedia: URL, URL, URL
From Pierre Besson's Hiero site: URL
-- Extended Set (approx. 7100 glyphs)
URL (PDF of sign list; origin unclear)
URL (French site, author unknown; with all kind of thematic search functions for 6742 hieroglyphs)
URL (Rhio Barnhart's Extended Sign List, 7059 Hieroglyphs, based on the Aegyptus font)

5) hieroglyphs and encoding
-- Aegyptus Font (Aegyptus.otf) (Windows and Mac) (Unicode font encoding some 7100 Egyptian Hieroglyphs, designed by George Douros); idem (with PDF-file); cp. URL
-- Google Noto Sans Egyptian Hieroglyphs Font
-- Proposals to encode Egyptian Hieroglyphs in Unicode - URL; URL; URL
-- Le Codage des Textes Hieroglyphiques, Ch. 3

6) hieroglyphic software
-- The original professional hieroglyphic text editor software was CCER's WinGlyph and Macscribe, now obsolete.
-- Serge Rosmorduc's JSesh, a free hieroglyphic text editor that regularly gets updated, has become the most used professional software.
-- Günther Lapp's VisualGlyph, a hieroglyphic text processing program that can be used for producing any 'other' style of text.
-- Juan de la Torre's Spanish software Amanuense 3.0, a (not free) hieroglyphic editor.
-- Glyphotext, a multifunction editor for Egyptian hieroglyphs.
-- A free hieroglyphic editor HieroWords that includes Faulkner's dictionary.
-- There are a few free web-based hieroglyph writing programs (that recognizes Manuel de Codage coding as input) called Hierowriter, WikiHiero, Glyphomat, and Lexilogos' Clavier Égyptien.
-- Hieroglyphica, a text editor with ca. 4600 signs.
-- Hieroglyphs Pro, a smartphone-based dictionary for iPhone (internal 22,000 word dictionary; bidirection translation; graphic and MdC sign entry).
-- Plan Zero's Hieroglyphic flashcards, online/digital flashcards to learn signs (via 'peek').
-- Two different Anki flashcards sets of ancient Egyptian words based an Allen's grammar: URL (made by Kaan Eraslan) and URL (made by Christian Casey).
-- Anki flashcard set based on the pdf dictionary once compiled by Mark Vygus, made by Christian Casey.

7) writing aids
-- Henry G. Fischer - Ancient Egyptian Calligraphy. A Beginner's Guide to Writing Hieroglyphs (4th edition, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1999; available online at URL)
Fisher notes: "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."
-- Claude Obsomer - How to draw hieroglyphs (online at URL)
A complement to Obsomer's 'Hieroglyphic Egyptian. A Practical Grammar of Middle Egyptian' (2015), with animations for 200 signs.
-- Jenny Carrington - A Guide to Writing Egyptian Hieroglyphs (online at URL)
An artist's personal ideas of hieroglyphic stroke order.

8) online dictionaries
-- For the WB and TLA, see Section III above.
-- VÉgA/Vocabulaire de l'Égyptien Ancien: a major online digital dictionary project at URL
-- The Beinlich Wordlist, created by Nigel Strudwick: URL
-- Paul Dickson's Dictionary of Middle Egyptian: URL
-- Project Rosette's Dictionnaire: URL

9) general websites
-- Hieroglyphs Step by Step, website of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, with online grammar lessons, exercises/quizzes, a searchable dctionary, and real artefacts to practice on.
-- 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 French website of Project Rosette has many resources, including a Catalogue des hiéroglyphes and a Dictionnaire.
-- The Language Gulper website has a concise linguistic guide to ancient Egyptian.

 

 

 


Thanks go to Michael Tilgner, Ira Rampil, Branimir Cucek, Fabio Vassallo, 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)


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