Ancient Egyptian For Beginners

Ancient Egyptian For Beginners

Course Description: The course will introduce to the following topics: The uniliteral signs: signs which stand for one phoneme. Learning of the substantives which are represented in the uniliteral signs. The biliteral signs: signs which stand for two phonemes. Learning of the substantives and verbs represented by the biliteral signs, inserting them into the personal dictionaries. The triliteral signs, the fundamental ideograms, and determinatives: signs which stand for three phonemes (roots), signs which stand for particularly important substantives, signs which help the reader recognizing the semantic area of a word. Learning of the relative substantives and verbs, inserting them in the dictionaries. The noun: substantive and the pronouns, personal and demonstrative, and the prepositions: the singular, the feminine, the plural, the dual. Categories of nouns: human beings, deities, animals and plants, body parts, realia. The verb: the prospective, the perfective, the stative. Categories of actions: link with the categories of nouns, attributing its verbs to each category. The verb: the imperfective, perfective, and prospective participle, together with the relative and the interrogative pronoun.

Objectives of the course are: 1) basic mastering of the Hieroglyphic writing with both active and passive competency (drawing and reading abilities), 2) basic mastering of the fundamentals of middle Egyptian grammar and lexicon, 3) ability to read and understand simple passages from ancient Egyptian literature.

Methods of the course are: stimulation of the student’s metalinguistic reasoning skills applied to language learning through 1) active use of the new language’s writing system, 2) reasoned grammar learning departing from the minimal fundamentals of morphology (morphs and their combinatorial laws), with constant application of the new grammatical rules and lexicon learned via formulation of new sentences in Egyptian by the student led by the teacher, 3) recognizing of the grammatical laws and lexicon learned in the samples from the original literature which are offered to the students in the final part of the course. In fact, my method starts with the two active skills (writing and speaking) and ends with the two passive ones (reading and listening).


Level: Beginners. The language of the course could be English, but, if there are people, who already studied Latin, and are interested in learning a new ancient language in Latin, I would be more than happy to teach in Latin.

Textbook: Instructor will provide materials. 

Sections capped at: 5 students. If the course is sold-out, please fill out this waiting-list form.

Mondays, Thursdays, 1:00-3:00pm


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Stefano Vittori

Stefano Vittori had his Bachelor Degree in “Lettere Classiche” at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” in 2011 with a thesis of Latin language and literature on the rendering of classic metrics in Italian language (supervisor prof. L. Gamberale). Subsequently, he had his Master’s Degree in Orientalistics at the University of Pisa in 2014 with a thesis of Egyptology on the “Dialogue between a Man and his Ba” (pBerlin 3024) (supervisor prof. M. Betrò). At the same University, he completed his Ph. D. summa cum laude and with rights of publication in 2018 with an Egyptology thesis about the orthographic variations in relationship with morphology occurring in the Pyramid Texts (supervisor prof. M. Betrò, prof. A. Loprieno, and prof. A. Stauder). During his Ph. D., he published for specialized journals both in the field of Egyptology and more generally in those of Linguistics (es. “Egitto e Vicino Oriente”, “Latinitas”). In Latin, on “Latinitas”, he wrote an article about the similarities between the ancient Egyptian Lamentation literature and the Roman Satire (“Latinitas” 2014). Since 2018, he has translated popular songs, mostly Disney’s, into Latin, to be sung by Luke Amadeus Ranieri on his channel ScorpioMartianus. Some of these pieces, like “In igni”, “Duce me”, or “Mundus pateat”, have reached a considerable audience. One of the last pieces, “the Wellerman’s song”, is in ancient Egyptian, and adapts the content of the middle Egyptian tale of “The Shipwrecked Sailor” (pLeningrad 1115) using the reconstructed vocalization based on Vergote’s, Osing’s, and Vycichls’s studies. On his own Youtube channel, he delves mainly with metrics, publishing recitations of both prose and poetry, and, since 2022, he began with Marina Garanin a cycle of lessons held in Latin about ancient Egyptian language and writing. Since 2021, he has taught ancient Egyptian language in the Athena Nova private school and Latin and Greek in the Italian public High School “A. Meucci” of Aprilia (Latium), where he developed a method strongly based on historical and comparative linguistics, which is focused on morphology and on etymology as a tool for memorizing lexicon, producing didactic materials of his own. His original poetic compositions have been published on the international review “Vox latina”. In 2022, he wrote a Latin tragedy in iambic trimeters and lyrical meters, “Medeae daemones”, which was awarded two prizes in the international contest “Thalia” (Vicenza, August 1st-7th, 2022).