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EGYPT 511 A: Hieroglyphic Egyptian I

Meeting Time: 
TTh 10:30am - 12:20pm
* *
Joint Sections: 
Scott Noegel
Scott Noegel

Syllabus Description:

EGYPT 101/511: Introduction to Hieroglyphic Egyptian I 

Instructor: Prof. S. Noegel

Faculty URL:



Provides an introduction to hieroglyphic Egyptian as written during the Middle Kingdom (c. 2040-1782 BCE). Students will learn to read and write basic hieroglyphics. During the latter part of the course we will read a complete Egyptian text. No knowledge of Egypt or any other Near Eastern language is required.


No Class

November 26th (Thanksgiving)


Grading: Undergraduates

70% Daily assignments

25% Preparation of in-class readings

5% Improvement


Grading: Graduate Students

50% Daily assignments

10% Preparation of in-class readings

40% Writing or other project to be agreed upon by student and instructor (talk to me)


Required Texts

1. Gardiner, Sir Alan, Egyptian Grammar: Being an Introduction to the Study of 

Hieroglyphs (3rd. edition; Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1988).

2. Faulkner, Raymond O., A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian (Oxford: Ashmolean 

Museum, 1988).

3. Course packet of materials in pdf format, including a copy of the Tale of the 

Shipwrecked Sailor (Egyptian text). I will provide this electronically.


Course Schedule

Part One

Introduction to Hieroglyphic Egyptian, the Alphabet

General introduction to the hieroglyphic writing system, its phonetic alphabet, determinatives, and logograms. Focus on the pictographic and rebus writing nature of the system.

Read Gardiner, pp. 1-30.

Learn alphabet p. 27.

Do exercise I, pp. 29-30.


Part Two

Ideograms and Determinatives

We will acquire several logograms and determinatives and progress into a brief introduction into how these aspects of the writing system function in the language. An examination of brief hieroglyphic texts that incorporate the full range of the writing system.

Read Gardiner, pp. 30-36.

Study signs, p. 37.

Do exercise II, pp. 37-38. 


Part Three

Bi-literals (the sdm-n-f form)

An introduction to hieroglyphic signs that have bi-literal values and also the past tense verbal form and its usage. Several verbs are acquired that allow for a reading of a few brief Egyptian passages. 

Read Gardiner, pp. 38-43.

Acquire vocabulary.

Do exercise III, pp. 43-44. 


Part Four


Discussion of the use of pronouns and their syntax in the Egyptian sentence. Three types of pronouns are introduced (independent, suffix, and dependent).

Read Gardiner, pp. 44-48.

Do exercise IV, pp. 48-49.


Part Five

Aspects of the Hieroglyphic Language: the Future Tense

Introduction to the future tense of the Egyptian verb. Brief exploration of several Egyptian inscriptions that incorporate the vocabulary and syntax that we have learnt. We will highlight the important features of the inscriptions that suggest derivations in usage and syntax.

Read Gardiner, pp. 49-56.

Do exercise V, pp. 57-58.


Part Six

Plurals and Duals

Plural and dual markers are introduced. We continue with several reading exercises in class while commenting upon and repeating the most important syntactical features.

Read Gardiner, pp. 58-63.

Do exercise VI, pp. 63-64.


Parts Seven and Eight

The Syntax of Nouns and Pronouns: Negative Constructions

We will examine variant syntax of nouns and pronouns in negative constructions, and learn the keys to rapid reading of the tense of the Egyptian sentence based on variant syntax.

Read Gardiner, pp. 64-69, 71-85.

Do exercise VII, pp. 70-71, exercise VIII, pp. 84-85.


Part Nine

Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor

We begin the in-depth reading of the Middle Kingdom text of the Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor. As we proceed through the text, we will comment on various elements of a syntactical, lexical, and literary nature.

Catalog Description: 
Provides an introduction to hieroglyphic Egyptian as written during the Middle Kingdom (circa 2040-1782 BCE). Students learn to read and write basic hieroglyphics so they can read a complete Egyptian text. No prior knowledge required.
Last updated: 
June 28, 2020 - 9:21pm