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Teach Yourself Hieroglyphics

First off, the language (either Egyptian or Mayan) is "hieroglyphs", not hieroglyphICS. But, that aside, this is a nifty little book that introduces the concept of Egyptian and Mayan writing with a smattering of grammar and exercises to work through.

I love the Teach Yourself books -- they cover just about everything you might want to know as a beginner, and the range of topics is staggering. About half of this book is for Egyptian hieroglyphs, the rest for Mayan. In both cases, the short chapters introduce simple concepts, one at a time, and are easy enough to work through.

This is one of the few books on hieroglyphs that describes the little signs instead of just assigning them a consonant or consonant combination. For example, the sign for pr is described as "floor plan", which it does look like -- a tiny square house. It's nice to be able to have a descriptive phrase for them instead of trying to remember each of the transliterations.

The concept of determinatives and suffixes and numbers are covered briefly. This book, in conjunction with Understanding Hieroglyphs, would give anyone a fighting chance to read at least a few cartouches and temple inscriptions. It isn't much of a reference book, however; despite its small size it is probably not a take-along book.

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