Full Text

Egyptian scripts

Subject Linguistics

Place Northern Africa » Egypt

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631214816.1999.x


Three scripts were developed in Egyptian writing, known as hieroglyphic, hieratic and demotic. They represent successive stages of cursivization while being structurally identical. Although the pictorial appearance of the individual hieroglyphic signs of monumental inscriptions was highly stylized in the hieratic book script (mid second millennium bce ) and completely lost in the popular demotic script (seventh century bce ), these changes in the outer form of Egyptian writing ( table 1 ) did not result in any functional changes concerning the inner form of the writing system. The older hieroglyphic script continued to be used side by side with the two younger scripts until the end of Egypt's literary tradition. For example, two of the three text blocks on the famous Rosetta Stone dating from 196 bce are in Egyptian, one hieroglyphic and one demotic. Table 1 Three Egyptian scripts: hieroglyphic, hieratic and demotic (with years bce ) See also bilinguis ; demotic script ; egyptian writing system ; hieratic script ; hieroglyph . Reading Helck 1973. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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