Egyptian Hieroglyphs

Egyptian Hieroglyphs

Egyptian Hieroglyphs

The Ancient Egyptians used glyph-like images of everyday things to create a written language. Their system was phonetic – based on the spoken word for a glyph. Writings were deciphered by reading an object’s sound aloud, like an ancient picture puzzle.

Simple sounds were represented by an alphabet of 25 characters, additional hieroglyphs represented more complex sounds. Other characters had no sound, but implied meaning to writings. All together there were over 2,000 hieroglyphs.


  1. Writing was invented when pictures were first used to write sounds in ancient Mesopotamia
  2. Hieroglyphic images spread to Egypt. The Egyptians took it to a new level by turning it into a written language.
  3. Hieroglyphs can represent sounds, things and ideas associated with the object represented.
  4. The hieroglyphs of the alphabet were the simplest sounds in Egyptian hieroglyphic writing.
  5. Biliterals

    Some phonetic hieroglyphs represented more complex sounds, acting as combinations of simpler sounds.
  6. Determinative characters act to clarify meanings by adding context to phonetic characters.
  7. Modern writing is written left to right. Hieroglyphic writing could be written either direction.
  8. Bibliography

    Links, books and magazines for further learning.