Appendix:Egyptian Pronunciation
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Appendix:Egyptian Pronunciation

The historical pronunciation of Egyptian underwent numerous significant changes over the course of several millennia. The pronunciation of the earlier stages can be reconstructed on the basis of a variety of evidence, such as the pronunciation of Coptic (and comparison between its dialects), transcriptions and loanwords (both to and from other languages), changing orthographic usage and internal evidence, and, most controversially, comparative Afroasiatic evidence. Because the work of reconstructing earlier Egyptian phonology only began to gather steam recently, in the second half of the 20th century, and because some aspects of it remain under debate, Egyptologists traditionally use a conventional 'Egyptological pronunciation' that is not intended to reflect any actual historical pronunciation for the sake of convenience.

Wiktionary includes, if possible, both the reconstructed historical pronunciation (according to the prevailing scholarly view) and the modern conventional Egyptological pronunciation. Because of the long-term changes in the language's historical pronunciation, it is necessary to approach it from a diachronic perspective and select particular stages to include. Below, the changes in the pronunciation of the langauge over time are detailed, and the stages included by default are highlighted: Old Egyptian, c. 2500 B.C.E.; Middle Egyptian, c. 1700 B.C.E.; and Late Egyptian, c. 800 B.C.E.. Following this, explanations are given of the conventions used for representing Egyptian pronunciation at Wiktionary.

Sound changes

The large table in this section shows a possible sequence of sound changes leading from Old Egyptian to Coptic with example vocabulary items. The phonological values and history given here broadly follow the reconstruction paradigm of Fecht, Osing, Schenkel, and Loprieno, but draw from the other works given in the references to revise and clarify some details. Details are generally much less clear for earlier periods than for later periods. Highlighted rows indicate the forms typically given as reconstructions for each stage of the language in Wiktionary entries. When the Coptic dialects break apart, the vocabulary items follow the path of Bohairic Coptic.

The more speculative early phonological history proposed by some followers of the neuere Komparatistik school has largely been excluded, as it relies heavily on debated Afroasiatic correspondences and other uncertain evidence, and as it is far from clear whether such phonological changes, if they took place, happened within the historical period at all. The tendency to try to force Proto-Egyptian consonants into a 'neat' phonological system has especially been avoided where other evidence is lacking.

Symbols used:

  • > sound change
  • >! unexpected change
  • / in the following phonetic environment
  • _ stands for the position of the phoneme in the phonetic environment
  • / _ everywhere (in all phonetic environments)
  • # word boundary
  • + morpheme boundary
  • $ syllable boundary
  • V vowel
  • V? unstressed vowel
  • V? stressed vowel
  • C consonant
  • C? aspirated consonant
  • [...] any one of the enclosed phonemes
  • (...) encloses optional elements
  • ? null (e.g. phoneme deleted; not to be confused with ø)
  • A, B, F, L, M, Ssigla specifying a Coptic or pre-Coptic dialect in which the change occurred
consonants shortly before the historical period
labial dental palatal velar uvular pharyngeal glottal
nasal m n
plosive voiceless aspirable p~p? t~t? k~k?
ejective/glottalic t' c' k' q' (?)
voiced b
fricative voiceless f s ç ? ? h
voiced z ?
rhotic ? ?
approximant w l j

The aspirable and ejective series may alternatively be an aspirated and plain voiceless series, respectively; both interpretations are plausible and held by numerous scholars.

/k'/ ?g? and /q'/ ?q? are likely both actually velar ejectives, distinguished by some unknown feature, and both may be expressed as labiovelars in certain environments. The details remain unclear.

The actual phonetic values of /z/ and /?/ are extremely unclear. Recent suggestions for the value of the former include /z, t?s, s', ?/, etc.; the latter, /?, r, l, ?/, etc.

front back
high i~i: u~u:
low a~a:
sound changes
language stage dating of change sound change "god"
"his hand"
"lotus flower"
Old Egyptian -------------------- ------------------------------------ 'na:ka? 'k'i:mit 'c'a:?at 'c'a:?atVf za'ça:çVn 'p?i:c'at zaç'?a:waw
prehistoric to Old Kingdom, c. 3300-2700 B.C.E.? k(?) > c(?) / environment unclear 'na:ca? 'k'i:mit 'c'a:?at 'c'a:?atVf za'ça:çVn 'p?i:c'at zaç'?a:waw
prehistoric to Old Kingdom V? > ? / posttonic _$ 'na:ca? 'k'i:mit 'c'a:?at 'c'a?tVf za'ça:çVn 'p?i:c'at zaç'?a:waw
3rd Dynasty onward ç > ? / environment unclear 'na:ca? 'k'i:mit 'c'a:?at 'c'a?tVf za'?a:?Vn 'p?i:c'at zaç'?a:waw
6th Dynasty z > s / _ 'na:ca? 'k'i:mit 'c'a:?at 'c'a?tVf sa'?a:?Vn 'p?i:c'at saç'?a:waw
late Old Kingdom onward ? > j / occasionally _$, especially _# 'na:ca? 'k'i:mit 'c'a:?at 'c'a?tVf sa'?a:?Vn 'p?i:c'at saç'?a:waw
late Old Kingdom onward, c. 2200 B.C.E. c(?) > t(?) / _(V)([w, j])# except #_
c(?) > t(?) / _(V)[b, h]
c(?) > t(?) / further unclear environments
'na:ta? 'k'i:mit 'c'a:?at 'c'a?tVf sa'?a:?Vn 'p?i:c'at saç'?a:waw
by Middle Egyptian j > w / unstressed u_# 'na:ta? 'k'i:mit 'c'a:?at 'c'a?tVf sa'?a:?Vn 'p?i:c'at saç'?a:waw
Middle Egyptian First Intermediate Period w > j / V?_V? except _V?[w, j] 'na:ta? 'k'i:mit 'c'a:?at 'c'a?tVf >! 'sa:?Vn 'p?i:c'at saç'?a:waw
early Middle Kingdom onward c' > t' / _(V)([w, j])# except #_
c' > t' / _(V)[b, h]
c' > t' / further unclear environments
'na:ta? 'k'i:mit 't'a:?at 't'a?tVf 'sa:?Vn 'p?i:t'at saç'?a:waw
Middle Kingdom onward ? > j / often _(V)?, ?(V)_
? > j / sometimes +_ in the same word as ?
'na:ta? 'k'i:mit 't'a:?at 't'a?tVf 'sa:?Vn 'p?i:t'at saç'?a:waw
Middle Kingdom ? > ? / _$ 'na:ta? 'k'i:mit 't'a:?at 't'a?tVf 'sa:?Vn 'p?i:t'at saç'?a:waw
Middle Kingdom n(V?)w > m / _ if n or ? is in the word 'na:ta? 'k'i:mit 't'a:?at 't'a?tVf 'sa:?Vn 'p?i:t'at saç'?a:waw
by the late Middle Kingdom c(?) > t(?) / _
c' > t' / _
'na:ta? 'k'i:mit 't'a:?at 't'a?tVf 'sa:?Vn 'p?i:t'at saç'?a:waw
by the New Kingdom, mid second millennium B.C.E. t(?) > ? / _$ except V?_[?, ?, h] 'na:ta? 'k'i:mi? 't'a:?a? 't'a?tVf 'sa:?Vn 'p?i:t'a? saç'?a:waw
by the New Kingdom ? > ? / frequently #_CVV? 'na:ta? 'k'i:mi? 't'a:?a? 't'a?tVf 'sa:?Vn 'p?i:t'a? saç'?a:waw
by the New Kingdom ? > ? / sporadic, in a few words
? > l / sporadic, in a few words
'na:ta? 'k'i:mi? 't'a:?a? 't'a?tVf 'sa:?Vn 'p?i:t'a? saç'?a:waw
late Middle Kingdom to early New Kingdom, by c. 1400 B.C.E. ? > j / _ 'na:ta? 'k'i:mi? 't'a:?a? 't'a?tVf 'sa:?Vn 'p?i:t'a? saç'ja:waw
late Middle Kingdom to early New Kingdom, by c. 1400 B.C.E. C[j, w] > [j, w]C / often V?_ except V?_V?[j, w] 'na:ta? 'k'i:mi? 't'a:?a? 't'a?tVf 'sa:?Vn 'p?i:t'a? saç'ja:waw
late Middle Kingdom to early New Kingdom, by c. 1400 B.C.E. waw > w / ['i:, 'u:]_#
waw > j / 'a:_#
[jaw, waj] > w / V?_#
[w, j]i[w, j] > j / ['a:, 'u:]_#
[w, j]i[w, j] > / 'i:_#
[w, j]u[w, j] > / V?_#
jaj > / V?_#
'na:ta? 'k'i:mi? 't'a:?a? 't'a?tVf 'sa:?Vn 'p?i:t'a? saç'ja:j
late Middle Kingdom to early New Kingdom, by c. 1400 B.C.E. V? > ? / _[j, w]# 'na:ta? 'k'i:mi? 't'a:?a? 't'a?tVf 'sa:?Vn 'p?i:t'a? saç'ja:j
late Middle Kingdom to early New Kingdom, by c. 1400 B.C.E. [j, w] > ? / posttonic V?_$ except [j, w]V?_$
j > ? / sometimes V?C_
j > ? / V?_V?
j > ? / sometimes V?_$
w > ? / sometimes 'u_$
j > ? / pretonic _[V?, $]
w > ? / sometimes in pretonic _[V?, $]
j > ? / _V? in most verbs (by analogical leveling)
j > ? / in a few words _V?
j > ? / usually _'u
'na:ta? 'k'i:mi? 't'a:?a? 't'a?tVf 'sa:?Vn 'p?i:t'a? saç'?a:j
early New Kingdom 'i > 'e / _ 'na:ta? 'k'i:mi? 't'a:?a? 't'a?tVf 'sa:?Vn 'p?i:t'a? saç'?a:j
New Kingdom, by c. 1350 B.C.E. unstressed [a, i, u] > ? / _ except #[?, ?]_ and _?#
unstressed [a, i, u] > ? / ?_?#
unstressed [i, u] > a / #?_
unstressed i > ? / #?_
AFLMS unstressed a > ? / #?_[m, p(?), b, f, w]
unstressed u > ? / #?_
unstressed [a, i, u] > a / _?# except ?_
'na:ta? 'k'i:ma? 't'a:?a? 't'a?t?f 'sa:n 'p?i:t'a? s?ç'?a:j
Late Egyptian New Kingdom, by c. 1200 B.C.E. BFLMS 'i: > 'e: / _[?, j] 'na:ta? 'k'i:ma? 't'a:?a? 't'a?t?f 'sa:n 'p?i:t'a? s?ç'?a:j
F ? > a / sometimes
? > ? / _
'na:ta? 'k'i:ma? 't'a:?a? 't'a?t?f 'sa:n 'p?i:t'a? s?ç'?a:j
AL unstressed a > ? / sometimes #[?, ?]_ if the stressed vowel is 'i:~'e 'na:ta? 'k'i:ma? 't'a:?a? 't'a?t?f 'sa:n 'p?i:t'a? s?ç'?a:j
New Kingdom ? > ? / _ except #_ and V?_ 'na:ta 'k'i:ma 't'a:?a 't'a?t?f 'sa:n 'p?i:t'a s?'ça:j?
New Kingdom b > p / V?_# 'na:ta 'k'i:ma 't'a:?a 't'a?t?f 'sa:n 'p?i:t'a s?'ça:j?
New Kingdom b > ? / _ except B _# 'na:ta 'k'i:ma 't'a:?a 't'a?t?f 'sa:n 'p?i:t'a s?'ça:j?
late New Kingdom, c. 1200-1000 B.C.E. Canaanite shift: 'a: > 'o: / _ 'no:ta 'k'i:ma 't'o:?a 't'a?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t'a s?'ço:j?
late New Kingdom, after c. 1200 B.C.E. ? > ? / _#
unstressed a > ? / _#
'no:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'a?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t'? s?'ço:j
Third Intermediate Period, c. 1000-800 B.C.E. 'u: > 'e: / _ 'no:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'a?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t'? s?'ço:j
Third Intermediate Period, c. 1000-800 B.C.E. 'u > 'ø / _ 'no:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'a?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t'? s?'ço:j
Third Intermediate Period, c. 1000-800 B.C.E. A(L) 'o: > 'u: / _[?, ?]
A(L) 'e: > 'i: / _[?, ?]
AL 'a > 'o~'o: / _[?, ?]
'no:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'a?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t'? s?'ço:j
Third Intermediate Period, starting c. 1000 B.C.E. t' > t(?) / _ except _V?
t?' > t?(?) / _ except _V?
[k', q'] > k(?) / _ except _V?
'no:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'a?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? s?'ço:j
Third Intermediate Period onward 'o: > 'u: / [m, n]([h, ?])_ except B _w 'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'a?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? s?'ço:j
Third Intermediate Period to Late Period 'o: > 'u: / _[?, l] in Semitic loanwords
'e: > 'i: / sometimes _?
'o: > 'u: / _j
'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'a?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? s?'çu:j
possibly after c. 800 B.C.E. F ? > l / in most cases; environment unclear 'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'a?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? s?'çu:j
Demotic c. 700-450 B.C.E. B 'a > 'o: / _w$ except sometimes _w#
B 'a > 'o: / _j$ except sometimes _j#, and except when followed by a suffix pronoun
B 'e > 'o: / _w$ except sometimes _w#
B 'e > 'e: / _j$ except sometimes _j#
'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? s?'çu:j
c. 700-450 B.C.E. BS 'a > 'o / _ except _[?, ?, ç, ?]
BS 'e > 'a / _ except _[h, ?, l, m, n, ?] and sometimes S _?#
BS 'ø > 'a / _ except _[?, ?]
'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? s?'çu:j
c. 700 B.C.E.-100 C.E. FM 'a > 'e / _[?, ?, ç, ?] 'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? s?'çu:j
c. 700 B.C.E.-100 C.E. BS 'e: > 'e / _?
B 'o: > 'o / _?
'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? s?'çu:j
c. 700 B.C.E.-100 C.E. FM 'ø > 'e: / _[?, ?] 'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? s?'çu:j
c. 700 B.C.E.-100 C.E. M 'o: > 'o / _ except _[?, ?] 'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? s?'çu:j
c. 700 B.C.E.-100 C.E. A 'ew > 'o~'o: / [m, n]([h, ?])_# 'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? s?'çu:j
c. 700 B.C.E.-100 C.E. F 'ø > 'e: / _j
F 'e > 'e: / _j
'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? s?'çu:j
c. 700 B.C.E.-100 C.E. ALMS 'e > ? / _[?, l, m, n, ?]C
ALMS 'e > [?, l, m, n, ?] / _[?, l, m, n, ?][V, #]
F 'e > 'e: or sometimes 'u: / _[?, l, m, n, ?]C
F 'e > 'e:[?, l, m, n, ?] or sometimes 'u:[?, l, m, n, ?] / _[?, l, m, n, ?][V, #]
'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? s?'çu:j
'ø > 'e / _ 'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? s?'çu:j
? > ? / often except #[?, ?]_ and _(?)# 'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? sçu:j
w? > u: / #_ 'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? sçu:j
C: > C / generally
C: > mC or nC / occasionally
'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? sçu:j
p > ? / _[t(?), t'] except #_
p > ? / occasionally [t(?), t']_
'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? sçu:j
B ? > ? / sporadic and irregular 'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? sçu:j
S f > ? / _u: 'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? sçu:j
n > m / _([h, ?])[p(?), m]
B n > m / _([h, ?])[?, b]
'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? sçu:j
S k > ? / m_#
S nk > ? / _#
'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? sçu:j
by c. 600 B.C.E. ? > k / sporadic, in a few words 'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? sçu:j
after c. 450 B.C.E. C(V?)? > ?(V?)C / V?_ 'nu:t? 'k'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? sçu:j
Late Period, after c. 400 B.C.E. q' > k?' / in Semitic loanwords
k' > k?' / in most cases; not fully predictable
k(?) > k?(?) / in half of cases; environment unclear
'nu:t? 'k?'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? sçu:j
Late Period, after c. 400 B.C.E. q' > k' / _ 'nu:t? 'k?'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? sçu:j
Late Period, c. 400-300 B.C.E. ç > x / _ 'nu:t? 'k?'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? sxu:j
Late Period, c. 400-300 B.C.E. BFLMS ? > ç / in most cases; environment unclear
? > x / otherwise
'nu:t? 'k?'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f 'so:n 'p?i:t? sxu:j
Late Period to Ptolemaic Period? s > ? / _ in the same word as ?
B s > ? / _ in the same word as ç
s > ? / often if t' or t(?) follow somewhere in the same word
s > ? / often _k?' and _k?(?)
> ? / _
'nu:t? 'k?'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f '?o:n 'p?i:t? sxu:j
Late Period to Ptolemaic Period, c. 450 B.C.E.-100 C.E. B ? > ? / #_a (unstressed)
AS ? > ? / sporadic, in a few words
'nu:t? 'k?'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f '?o:n 'p?i:t? sxu:j
by the 1st century C.E. S h > ? / C?_ 'nu:t? 'k?'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f '?o:n 'p?i:t? sxu:j
Ptolemaic Period, c. 100-1 B.C.E. AFLMS C? > C / _ 'nu:t? 'k?'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f '?o:n 'p?i:t? sxu:j
by c. 50 B.C.E. 'i: > 'e: / [m, n]([h, ?])_ except _[m, n] 'nu:t? 'k?'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f '?o:n 'p?i:t? sxu:j
by c. 1 C.E. S ? > ? / ?_# 'nu:t? 'k?'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f '?o:n 'p?i:t? sxu:j
Roman Period, by c. 100 C.E. ? > h / _ 'nu:t? 'k?'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f '?o:n 'p?i:t? sxu:j
Roman Period, after c. 100 C.E. B h > ? / sometimes C?_ 'nu:t? 'k?'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f '?o:n 'p?i:t? sxu:j
Coptic early Roman Period (Demotic to Old Coptic) ? > ? / #_ and V?_
? > ? / otherwise
'nu:t? 'k?'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f '?o:n 'p?i:t? sxu:j
Roman Period, c. 200 C.E. FLMS x > h / _ 'nu:t? 'k?'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f '?o:n 'p?i:t? sxu:j
Roman Period, early Coptic BFLMS ç > ? / _
B k?' > t' / _
B k?(?) > t(?) / _
'nu:t? 't'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f '?o:n 'p?i:t? sxu:j
by c. 900 C.E. 'e: > 'i: / often in Greek loanwords 'nu:t? 't'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f '?o:n 'p?i:t? sxu:j
by c. 900 C.E. 'e: > 'i: / sometimes if followed by a syllable without i: or ?# 'nu:t? 't'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f '?o:n 'p?i:t? sxu:j
by c. 900 C.E. ['e:, 'e] > 'a / _ 'nu:t? 't'i:m? 't'o: 't'o?t?f '?o:n 'p?i:t? sxu:j
c. 1300-1400 C.E. B p > b / _ except _#
B [t', t] > d / _ except _#
B [t', t] > d / _ except _#
B [k', k] > g / _ except _#
'nu:d? 'di:m? 'do: 'do?d?f '?o:n 'p?i:d? sxu:j
c. 1300-1400 C.E. B C? > C / _ 'nu:d? 'di:m? 'do: 'do?d?f '?o:n 'pi:d? sxu:j
c. 1400 C.E. B p > b / _
B g > k / _
B ? > w / _
B t > ? / _
B d > ? / _
'nu:d? '?i:m? 'do: 'do?d?f '?o:n 'bi:d? sxu:j
1858-c. 1940 C.E. BCoptic pronunciation reform (introduction of artificial spelling pronunciation based on modern Greek) 'nuti 'dimi 'tori 'totef '?o?en 'fiti sxuj
language stage dating of change sound change "god"
"his hand"





The chart below shows the way in which Egyptian consonants are represented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) in Wiktionary entries. Most of the diachronic changes in the chart reflect the sound changes given above; some, however, merely represent changes in orthographical conventions.

Transliteration IPA
Old Egyptian
c. 2500 B.C.E.
Middle Egyptian
c. 1700 B.C.E.
Late Egyptian
c. 800 B.C.E.
Egyptological pronunciation
c. 2000 C.E.
? /?/ /?/ /?/, /j/, ?, (/?/, /l/) /?/
j /j/ /j/ /?/, /j/, ? /i/
y /j/ + /j/ /j/ /i:/
? /?/ /?/ /?/ /?:/
w /w/ /w/ /w/, /?/, ? /u:/, /w/
b /b/ /b/ /?/, /p/ /b/
p /p/ /p/ /p/ /p/
f /f/ /f/ /f/ /f/
m /m/ /m/ /m/, /n/ /m/
n /n/ /n/ /n/, /l/ /n/
r /?/, /l/ /?/, /l/, /?/, /j/ /?/, /l/, /?/, /j/, ? /r/
h /h/ /h/ /h/ /h/
? /?/ /?/ /?/ /?/
? /?/ /?/ /?/ /x/
? /ç/ /ç/ /ç/ /ç/
z /z/ /s/ /s/ /z/
s /s/ /s/ /s/ /s/
? /?/ /?/ /?/ /?/
q /q'/ /q'/ /q'/ /k/
k /k/ /k/ /k/ /k/
g /k'/ /k'/ /k'/ /?/
t /t/ /t/, /t/, /?/ /t/, /t/, /?/, ? /t/
? /c/ /t/, /t/, /?/ /t/, /t/, /?/, ? /t/
d /t'/ /t'/, /t'/ /t'/, /t'/ /d/
? /c'/ /t'/, /t'/ /t'/, /t'/ /d/

Egyptological pronunciation

The conventional modern Egyptological pronunciation does not reflect any actual historical pronunciation, but is directly derived from the written representation of Egyptian by a series of arbitrary conventions.

The consonants of Egyptian are given the values listed in the table above under 'Egyptological pronunciation'; as shown, some of them are pronounced as vowels, following abandoned 19th-century ideas about the historical Egyptian pronunciation. ?w? is generally rendered /u:/, but root-initially (and exceptionally elsewhere) many Egyptologists instead pronounce it as /w/. Some speakers add a glottal stop in various places, such as before pronominal suffixes and between identical vowels.

An epenthetic vowel /?/ is inserted as needed to break up consonant clusters, so that no more than one consonant in a row starts or ends each word, and no more than two consonants appear sequentially within a word. The causative prefix s- and all -w suffixes (and, optionally, the feminine suffix -t) are ignored when determining where to insert /?/ in the rest of the word. Words consisting of only a single consonant have /?/ added before them if the consonant is a sonorant; otherwise, /?/ is added after them. An /?/ can also be added to separate two identical consonants. In words containing a reduplication, the two reduplicated parts are pronounced identically and no /?/ intervenes between them.

Exceptions to these conventions are rare; a significant one is that ?n? is pronounced /?:nx/ instead of the expected /?:n?x/.


  • Loprieno, Antonio (1995) Ancient Egyptian: A Linguistic Introduction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ->ISBN
  • Loprieno, Antonio (2001) "From Ancient Egyptian to Coptic" in Haspelmath, Martin et al. (eds.), Language Typology and Language Universals
  • Peust, Carsten (1999) Egyptian Phonology: An Introduction to the Phonology of a Dead Language[1], Göttingen: Peust und Gutschmidt Verlag GbR
  • Allen, James P. (2013) The Ancient Egyptian Language: An Historical Study, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Takács, Gábor (2015) "Questions of Egyptian Historical Phonology and Afro-Asiatic" (review of Allen 2013)
  • Gensler, Orin D. (2014) "A typological look at Egyptian *d > ?" in Grossman, Eitan; Haspelmath, Martin; and Richter, Tonio Sebastian (eds.), Egyptian-Coptic Linguistics in Typological Perspective
  • Hoch, James E. (1994) Semitic Words in Egyptian Texts of the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period, Princeton: Princeton University Press, ->ISBN
  • Kasser, Rodolophe (1991) , "Dialect P (or Proto-Theban)", in Atiya, Aziz Suryal, editor, The Coptic Encyclopedia, volume 8, New York: Macmillan, ->ISBN
  • Kasser, Rodolophe (1991) , "?Ayin", in Atiya, Aziz Suryal, editor, The Coptic Encyclopedia, volume 8, New York: Macmillan, ->ISBN
  • Kasser, Rodolophe (1991) , "Protodialect", in Atiya, Aziz Suryal, editor, The Coptic Encyclopedia, volume 8, New York: Macmillan, ->ISBN
  • Satzinger, Helmut (2017) "Dialectical Variation of the Egyptian-Coptic Language in the Course of Its Four Millennia of Attested History" in Journal of the Canadian Society for Coptic Studies 9
  • Satzinger, Helmut (1990) "On the Prehistory of the Coptic Dialects" in Acts of the Third International Congress of Coptic Studies, Warsaw
  • Satzinger, Helmut (2010) "Scratchy Sounds Getting Smooth: the Egyptian Velar Fricatives and Their Palatalization" in CAMSEMUD 2007: Proceedings of the 13th Italian Meeting of Afro-Asiatic Linguistics
  • Callender, John Bryan (1987) "Plural Formation in Egyptian" in Journal of Near Eastern Studies 46 no. 1

Works not yet consulted that need to be eventually:

  • Schenkel, Wolfgang (1990) Einführung in die altägyptische Sprachwissenschaft
  • Osing, Jürgen (1976) Die Nominalbildung des Ägyptischen
  • Schenkel, Wolfgang (1983) Zur Rekonstruktion der deverbalen Nominalbildung des Aegyptischen, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz
  • Schenkel, Wolfgang (2009) "Zur Silbenstruktur des Ägyptischen" in Lingua Aegyptia vol. 17
  • Hintze, Fritz (1980) "Zur Koptischen Phonologie" in Enchoria: Zeitschrift für Demotistik und Koptologie
  • Takács, Gábor (1999) Etymological Dictionary of Egyptian, volume 1, Leiden: Brill, ->ISBN
  • Zeidler, Jürgen (1995) "Die Entwicklung der Vortonsilben-Vokale im Neuägyptischen" in Per aspera ad astra: Festschrift Wolfgang Schenkel zum 59. Geburtstag
  • Vycichl, Werner (1990) La vocalisation de la langue égyptienne

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