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Ancient Hieroglyphics: The Decipherment, Dissemination, And Development Relating To Todays Modern English Language

1175 words - 5 pages

Today’s modern English language did not develop overnight, rather over hundreds and thousands of centuries. The main background that we develop our language from is Greek, however we also have to think about where the Greeks derived their language from. After a very long chain reaction going through multiple cultures, the language that we use to this day arose and can be traced back to its original roots.
The language of the early ancient Egyptians consisted of picture-like drawings that could be found on the walls of caves, pottery, and religious documents. This unique form of writing is known today as “hieroglyphs”, meaning “sacred writings”. Each letter of the Egyptian alphabet had its own symbol, therefore allowing the ancient Egyptians to spell out words using the pictures. Rather than the pictures standing for an individual letter, the pictures symbolized sounds within words. Hieroglyphics were usually written inside of caves, or on wood or a papyrus leaf. There are over 700 pictures representing words, and thousands of pictures representing individual sounds.
There were two other derivatives of the hieroglyphics, hieratic and demotic. The Hieratic script was used until the 26th dynasty, in which by then it was for religious purposes only (Ager, 1998). The Demotic branch of hieroglyphics was mainly used for recording information for documents. Of the two branches, demotic is the most popular, standing below hieroglyphics. Both of these two branches are differentiated forms of hieroglyphs, however they are not as well-known as hieroglyphs.
Hieroglyphs developed from illustrations that would be found on various objects in a society. Although the pictures changed a little, the Egyptians began to use this form of language and would draw a picture of what they were talking about. For instance, if one were to talk about a cow, then they would draw a picture of a cow. These illustrations were not masterpieces with the skill as they were similar to what we call “stick figures”, however the form of writing is a masterpiece within itself.
During the time when the ancient Egyptians were beginning to discover hieroglyphs was around the same time that the people of Mesopotamia were beginning to discover their own form of writing, cuneiform. Cuneiform translates to “wedge-shaped” and is a form a writing that is very similar to hieroglyphs as it is consisted of pictures. However, there are a few differences within the two different languages, and because of the small differences, it is believed that the Egyptians had little contact with the ancient Sumerians and adopted their language, but altered it to fit in with their own.
The unique writing of the ancient Egyptians was inconvenient to many Egyptians. Only priests or people of higher importance we able to learn how to read and write with hieroglyphics, meaning not everyone in Egypt would be able to read important documents. Many people of higher importance would often hire people who did know...

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