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We all speak Egyptian

29 September 2012

We all speak Egyptian, it seems, not the Arab variety introduced by a colonialist invaders around 1400 hundred years ago, but the real Egyptian language as spoken by pharaohs and their subjects. It was known to the Greeks as the language of demes, the common people, and this has given rise to the Demotic Dictionary – see http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2012/09/17/chicago-demotic-dictionary-r… … The language lives on in words we use today such as adobe, the Egyptian word for a brick, and ebony, an African wood, and even the name of Susan, the demotic word for a water lily. The dictionary will be used to translate hundreds of unpublished, and published, demotic texts – it is even found on the Rosetta Stone. Demotic evolved from hieroglyphic script which was cumbersome in comparison with the cursive text.

This development follows on from success in rebuilding an Assyrian dictionary (after 90 years of trying). They are now working on a Hittite dictionary – so we can expect some re-evaluation of texts and events.

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