Hieroglyphics uncovered

Although hieroglyphics are Egyptian, the word hieroglyphics is Greek. 'Hiero' means 'holy' and 'glyphics' means 'marks' or 'writings' - so the word means 'holy writings'. The Egyptians believed there was great power in a name. If someone's name was remembered then he or she would survive in the afterlife. That's why pharaohs' names were written in hieroglyphics in their tombs!




What do the pictures mean?


Most of the pictures can stand for the object they represent, but usually they stand for sounds. In Egyptian, the owl stands for the sound 'm'. The Egyptian symbol for a mouth can mean mouth but it's usually read as the sound 'r'. You can't exactly match our alphabet to hieroglyphics, because they are two very different languages, but historians have come up with a simplified translation of our letters and Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Hieroglyphics can be pictures of living creatures, objects used in daily life or symbols. Some are easy to identify, some confusing and some impossible! If you look at the alphabet chart, you can easily spot the foot, the hand, the lion and the owl, but why are there two different kinds of snakes? 

From A to Sh, the hieroglyphic symbols are:



A an Egyptian vulture
B a foot
C a basket with handle
D a hand
E a reed
F a horned viper (an Egyptian snake)
G a jar-stand
H a reed shelter
I a reed
J a cobra
K the basket with the handle again (because hard 'C' is like 'K')
L a lion
M an owl
N a zigzag symbol for water
O a lasso
P a square stool
Q a symbol for the slope of a hill
R a mouth
S a piece of linen folded over
T a bun
U a quail chick (which stands for the sound 'U')
V a horned viper
W a quail chick
X a basket and folded linen
Y two reeds 
Z a door bolt
CH a hobble
KH a ball of string
SH the rectangle (which is the symbol for land)

Why don't you use the hieroglyphic chart above to see if you can write your own name?

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Photos: Getty Images UK

Your Comments

Naomi
briilliant for homework
Ellie
Si cool! This helps me with my homework
hemlock17
I know all of them by heart
Oscar
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Godess Nihursaga
Additional info : Egyptian writing The ancient Egyptians believed that writing was invented by the god Thoth and called their hieroglyphic script "mdwt ntr" (god's words). The word hieroglyph comes from the Greek hieros (sacred) plus glypho (inscriptions) and was first used by Clement of Alexandria. The earliest known examples of writing in Egypt have been dated to 3,400 BC. The latest dated inscription in hieroglyphs was made on the gate post of a temple at Philae in 396 AD. The hieroglyphic
kevin2129
Awesome!!!!!!
egyptgirl
thank u so much for this info
Gingersplash
Very cool, I wrote my name in hieroglyphs. I can write some hieroglyphs, but I forget some letters. This page is very helpful. Thanks, National Geographic!
Eleanor
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hemlock17
amazing
Manofmystery
Thanks really helped I can confuse everyone now!!!!
benoit
What is my name in Egypt sinbols Thank you
Smartypants
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Adely
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MadamCury123
I wrote a ton of stuff with hieroglyphs! It's SO fun! I learned so much about Egypt!
arnav
thanks this is going to be helpfull alot at school
cook
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saira
so amazing LOVE hieroglyphics!!
Tracey
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dude
Cool
Pikachu
Thanks.
Felicia
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amanda
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Edward
thanks for the info!!!!
Edward
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Edward
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Miss_Tomboy11
I needed to help my brother with writing them, and this really helped!
BIRDY
That was a little helpful thank you for the pictures I didn't like the descriptions. THANKS!!!!!!!!!!
Bobby
nice
T
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Mason
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Mason
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Boomba1235
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awesomenwss
so awesome!!! i am gonna write in hieroglyphics with my friends! its gonna be MINDBLOWING when we pass notes and the teacher cant read it!!!!
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whatever
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harm2005
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101
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kamill101
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