What are Hieroglyphs?

Great for kids!

Hieroglyphs are a type of picture writing.    A picture of a duck can mean “duck,” or it could also mean “son.” To make clear its meaning, other pictures or signs were added. For example, if the picture was meant to depict a duck, a bird hieroglyph was added to the duck hieroglyph. A Quicker form of writing for everyday use, known as hieratic, evolved in the Old Kingdom.

Hieratic writing consisted of cursive hieroglyphs. The abbreviated pictures or groups of strokes and dots looked very different from the original hieroglyphs. By the seventh century BC. a third form of writing came into everyday use. It was a shortened version of hieratic known as demotic.

Since all forms of Egyptian did hot have signs to designate vowels, scholars have not determined with certainty what the written language of the ancient Egyptian sounded like when spoken – but we know quite a lot.