[b-hebrew] Re: PS /g/

MarianneLuban at aol.com MarianneLuban at aol.com
Wed Nov 17 14:02:02 EST 2004

In a message dated 11/17/2004 1:28:20 AM Pacific Standard Time, 
yitzhaksapir at gmail.com writes:

> Furthermore, it seems the Egyptian phoneme you describe had the
> phonetic value /c/.  In Phonologies of Asia and Africa, ch. 22, 
> Antonio Loprieno writes on this: "Egyptian /c/, which is the
> palatal phoneme usually transcribed t_ by Egyptologists, [...]
> can be used to shed some light on the value of the phoneme /s/
> (samekh), which must originally have been an affricate [ts] in
> Semitic."

Well, Loprieno is a respected philologist, but I don't know about this.  As I 
said /T/, not /t/ --later became interchangeable in "Egyptian" writing "by a 
false archaism", according to Gardiner.  But I don't see /T/ being used for 
"ts" in the orthography, the transliteration of Semitic terms.  For that two 
other signs are employed, Gardiner's G47 (wild duck) and I10 (snake).  Ever since 
Budge's old dictionary, G47 is classified with /T/ [T13--"tethering 
rope"]--as though they represented the same sound.  But the Egyptians did not have 
glyphs representing the same sound, only inventing a few to represent the same 
sound when the original was too difficult to draw and also did not always fit 
into a spacial context.  For example, an owl was the sign for "m", but an owl is 
time-consuming to depict and, as "m" was employed a lot, another sign that 
consists of three joined lines was contrived to take its place whenever one was 
in a hurry or an owl could not fit into the space--Egyptians liked their 
writing to look nice and "balanced"on the monuments.  But G47 (also not easy to 
draw) and T13 always co-existed, and it is now clear that G47 was a bi-literal 
sign, that is representing both a consonant and a vowel--which is not true of 
/T/.  G47 was either "zi" or "tzi".  Some people glibly say the Egyptians wrote 
only with consonants, but that is only true of the basic sign few signs.  When 
one has got a graphic system consisting of some 700 hieroglyphs, one cannot 
only write with consonants as most of the signs were syllabic, that is "ba, sa", 
etc.  So Egyptian is different, being neither strictly an alphabet nor a 
syllabary--but a combo of both.  Anyway, in the writing of Semitic words, /T/ 
represents samekh, NOT tzade--so that certainly must be taken into consideration.  
I, personally, cannot see "ts" becoming a "t" by any archaism, false or 
otherwise, but I can certainly see that happening to "th".

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