Transcriptions and Phonetics
American Egyptologists, the only exception being that the sign tradition-
ally transcribed as k is written q in this volume.
Whatever the exact sound of the in Old and Middle Egyptian (3400–
1600 b.c.e.), it was used where Semitic names contained r, l,oreven n.This
consonantal value was retained until the beginning of the New Kingdom.
In Late Egyptian (spoken, 1600–700 b.c.e.), it appears to have become an
aleph and later, like the Southern English r, it merely modified adjacent
vowels. The Egyptian corresponded to the Semitic aleph and yōd. Aleph
is found in many languages and in nearly all Afroasiatic ones. It is a glottal
stop beforevowels, as in the Cockney ‘‘bol’’ and ‘‘buə’’ (bottle and butter).
The Egyptian ayin, which occurs in most Semitic languages, is a voiced or
spoken aleph. The Egyptian form seems to have been associated with the
back vowels o and u.
In early Egyptian, the sign w, written as a quail chick, may have origi-
nally had purelyconsonantal value. In Late Egyptian, the stage of the Egyp-
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