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Determinative Signs In Egyptian

© Copyright 1997, Jim Loy

The above list is from Gardiner's Egyptian Grammar, with minor changes. These are many of the most popular determinative signs (signs which gave a clue to the meaning of the word). A determinative (usually just one of them but sometimes two or three) appears at the end of the word. The beginning of the word is made up of phonetic signs (alphabetic signs or signs specifying two or more sounds).

A few of the most common words are written with only alphabetic signs, without determinatives.

Other common words are abbreviated, and written mostly without phonetic signs. A popular form of abbreviation is the ideogram (shown at the left), a determinative with a vertical stroke to show that the determinative is the word (feminine ideograms also have the feminine -t ending). Some of these are not obvious. For example, the one which means "son", for which the sign represents the sound, not the object. In other words, the words for "duck" and "son" sound the same.


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