A thousand welcomes to my humble, little shop. How may I help you today?

Would you be interested in creating your name in hieroglyphs?

Would you like to know the meaning of common male or female names?

As you may know, we Egyptians do not write using a foreign concept called vowels. We only use consonants, because we already know how to pronounce our words. If you would like to write your name in hieroglyphs, download a cartouche and the necessary hieroglyphs. To download, right click on the mouse and choose "Save Image As." Save the image into your directory. Do not link back here. You will need software to place the hieroglyphs in the cartouche. Or you can simply save hieroglyphs onto your home page. Cartouches were reserved for royalty, and most of us are not royal, anyway! (Alas).

Single consonants and vowels Triliterals (three consonents) Cartouches
Biliterals (two consonants) Ideograms

Hieroglyphs - Medu Netjer

Some signs represent the object they picture, but many represent the sound. To help determine the meaning of a word represented by sounds, some words have determinatives after them. Determinative signs can be a man, woman, or other symbol.

Hieroglyphs are not automatically arranged in a line but are arranged in a way that fills the available space in a pleasing manner. Scribes grouped signs into rectangles. Top signs are read before lower signs. The most usual direction for the signs was from right to left, but they could sometimes be read from left to right, as in English. The direction of the signs is determined by which direction the people and animals are facing. People and animals look towards where the reader needs to start. If the people are looking towards the right, then read from right to left. The reader always sees the front part of a hieroglyph first.

Egyptians wrote words without using vowels. To be able to speak Egyptian, people have adopted the rule that if Egyptologists cannot guess at what the vowel was (using philological studies), then people add an "e." Thus, "snt" becomes "senet."


There are some excellant books on hieroglyphs. Here are the ones I used.

Collier, Mark, and Bill Manley. 1998. How to read Egyptian hieroglyphs: A step-by-step guide to teach yourself. Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Zauzich, Kar-Theodor. 1992. Hieroglyphs without mystery: An introduction to ancient Egyptian writing. Austin: Univeristy of Texas Press. (Translated and adapted for English-speaking readers by Ann Macy Roth.

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