Understanding Hieroglyphic Inscriptions is a self-study course designed to help the student acquire a basic understanding the Hieroglyphic Inscriptions likely to be encountered on a visit to Egypt. There is a "rule of thumb" which states that in most endeavors 20% of the effort produces 80% of the results. From this we would expect that about 20% of hieroglyphic characters are used to produce 80% of the total hieroglyphic inscriptions and you should need to learn only about 20% of the total possible vocabulary to be able to read 80% of all texts. We do not seek to be able to understand every possible Hieroglyphic text. Our focus is on the monumental inscriptions, a rather small subset of the entire literature. The goal will be to learn, or become familiar with, about 200 hieroglyphic signs and 400 words ... the signs and words you are most likely to find on the walls of temples, on stela and in tombs. We will, in general, learn them in the order of their frequency of use. That is, the signs and words you are most likely to encounter will be learned before those that are used less often. In addition, this course covers just enough grammar to give the student a good understanding of the meaning of the texts, without being concerned too much with an exact translation. A number of shortcuts and approximations are made in translations, without sacrificing essential meaning. The book includes a comprehensive sign list, a 1,500 word dictionary, answers to exercises and translation notes and shortcuts.
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Bill Petty, PhD, is a graduate of West Point and the University of Illinois. He is an avocational Egyptologist who has published numerous articles on ancient Egypt. He has also developed and taught beginning courses in Understanding Hieroglyphic Inscriptions. Dr. Petty has published several books on hieroglyphs including a sign list, a dictionary, and a glyphary (TM). He is the co-author of "The Names of the Kings".
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