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?



Check out this month's NG Kids magazine, on sale now, to find out more about the Ancient Egyptians! You'll get to meet the Egyptian gods and goddesses, discover some mysterious medcines and learn how to make a mummy!


Photos: Getty Images UK

Your Comments

saira
so amazing LOVE hieroglyphics!!
Tracey
So awsome
dude
Cool
Pikachu
Thanks.
Felicia
This has helped me IMMENSLY!!!Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
amanda
this is so coollllllllllllllllllllllll
Edward
thanks for the info!!!!
Edward
this website is great i learnt a lot about egypt !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Edward
this was a great lol!
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
Nice animalations!!!
Mason
Yo
Mason
Cool
miaw
cool great facts 111111
Boomba1235
What a fantastic news!!!!
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!!!!
crystal
LOVEEEEEET
mike
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cooldude
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Simar
Its so intresting
whatever
i love the hieroglyphs
harm2005
that is so weird all the alphabet isnt there crazy !!!!!!!!
1Chloe
Sweet
Eviea12345678910
Sweet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
101
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Ivan=============3
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shemanpotato
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Laura
That is amazing'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
sophiechloe5
the BEST IN THE WORLD
kamill101
radical thanks for informing me more about egypt.
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