Lecture 5

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Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
Katja Goebs

LECTURE 5September 28 2009 5 Language and Script 51 AfroAsiatic Language Ancient Egyptians and its descendant Copticstill used today by Christian Egyptians in their church liturgy forms one of the branches of the AfroAsiatic also called HamitoSemitic in older works language familyEgyptians belong to the AfroAsiatic Language Family 52 Writing SystemEgyptian hieroglyphs appear almost simultaneously with twodimensional art around 3100 BCETheyre both Pictographs and Phonograms soundrecognizable on number of levelsIlliterate mass of Egyptiansappreciate on visual level Literate and eliteread as textsFrequently used as decorative elementsarchitecture furniture and minor arts such as amulets AnkhHistory of Decipherment since only elite able to read and write the languageafter various foreign dynastieswas finally forgottenHieroglyphs last used crudely in the temple of Isis at Philae in 394 CEEgyptians referred to them as divine speechlikely origin of Greek Hieroglyphicasacred carvings several thousand signs knownonly about 800 commonly used There are different types of PhonogramsUniliteral or alphabetic signs one consonant 1letterBiliteral signs two consonantsTriliteral Quadriliteral etc Phonograms represent consonant soundsEgyptian doesnt include vowelsIdeogramsLogogramsrepresent meaning ex an image of an eye means eye In general Egyptians use a combination of unilateral and one of the others and an ideogram as determinative to write a wordPhonograms sound signs signs derived from the rebus principle where a picture is used to represent the sound of a word ex our word belief written with a bee and leaf 53 ScriptsEvolution of the Language5 phasesbroadly correspond to standard historical divisions
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