Many people are interested in
hieroglyphs, but comparatively few
of them take the time to study them in
any detail. There are two aspects to study,
the script and the language; few try the latter.

On this page you will find the full text of Egyptian Hieroglyphic Grammar by Professor Samuel Alfred B. Mercer. The book was first printed by the University of Toronto Press in 1926, and it is no longer under copyright. I have tried to reproduce it as accurately as possible, though a few changes had to be made because the web is such a different medium from print. For example, the size of the glyphs in relation to the text had to be changed to ensure that they would appear legibly on most monitors -- if I had kept the same size relationship, the text would have been fine but the glyphs would have shown up as just a bunch of squiggles.

The book is divided into chapters (In roman numerals, like XIV) and notes (The § symbol followed by an arabic numeral, like § 42). This is so one can refer to particular passages within a given chapter, for example Chapter XIII § 127 is the vocabulary section of chapter eight.

If you are interested mainly in the script, that is the actual pictures used for writing, then you should concentrate on Chapter I. Specifically, the table of glyphs contained in Chapter I § 7. This is a basic alphabet. If you just want to spell your name out in hieroglyphs or write English words in Egyptian signs, this is the most important note to study. There are 22 signs listed there, instead of 26 in our alphabet. Some of the glyphs represent sounds that we don't have in our language, and some of the signs in the list are interchangeable.

The alphabet in § 7 does not have glyphs for these English letters: C, J, L, V, X, or Z. For an L, see Chapter I § 10. For the other letters, you'll either have to make do without or use other glyphs that have a similar sound -- for example you could use an F for a V since the two sound alike.

If you want to actually learn the language behind the glyphs, then you'll need to read every chapter. Take your time, read slowly, and do the exercises. Also, read this essay which I have prepared. It covers some of the advantages and disadvantages of this particular text.

Lastly, you will need to load a special font to view the transliterations of the glyphs. I have the font available in Windows True Type and Macintosh Post Script varieties. I obtained these font files from The Centre for Computer-aided Egyptological Research. I do not have permission to redistribute the files -- I sent them an email asking for permission, but there was no response. Since the files are freely available on their site, I figure they won't mind if I make them available too. I would still like to get formal permission to distribute these fonts; if you are from CCER, please contact me.

Note: This is a long-term project that is far from done. Most of the book is not online yet. Please check back later.

And with no further adieu, let us go to the Table of Contents.

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