Hieroglyph Tutor


Welcome to U.C. Berkeley's Interactive Website for learning Middle Egyptian hieroglyphs!

This site was created especially for students taking Beginning Middle Egyptian (Egyptian 100A) at U.C. Berkeley, but anyone wishing to learn the basics of the ancient Egyptian writing system will also find it useful.

The Ancient Language

Egypt's pictorial writing system first appeared just before 3000 BCE, with the ancient language itself continuing to be spoken for another four millennia.  During this vast amount of time, changes naturally occurred, leading scholars to divide the language into various phases. The most highly inflected, but also perhaps the most elegant, is Middle Egyptian. It continued to be used for monumental inscriptions long after it ceased to be the spoken idiom of the people.  Even the wall reliefs of the last ancient temples, built during the Ptolemaic and Roman Eras and still standing today, utilize a form of Middle Egyptian.

Most students begin their studies of Egyptian with this "classical" phase of the language.  It offers a wealth of interesting literature, ranging from stories and myths to eyewitness accounts of important events, opening up a world of the past and letting us learn about the ancient people in their own words. It's also especially rewarding to visit a museum with an Egyptian collection and be able to read the inscriptions on the ancient artifacts. After mastering the principles of Middle Egyptian, you will have a good foundation for further study of the other phases of the language, including the earlier Old Egyptian, and Middle Egyptian's successors: Late Egyptian, Demotic, and Coptic. This last phase still lives on today in the liturgy of the Coptic Church.

Features of this Website

On these pages, you will find tools for learning to read, write, and transliterate hieroglyphs, as well as drills for acquiring basic vocabulary.
The first section consists of exercises for learning the alphabetic (uni-literal) hieroglyphs. If you have never studied Middle Egyptian before, we suggest that you begin with the first section and work through the lessons consecutively.

If you wish to go directly to the page for a particular hieroglyph, vocabulary lesson, or quiz, check the Site Map for the appropriate link.

In order to see the transliteration font properly displayed on these pages, be sure to download the Transliteration Font on your computer, if you do not already have it: We hope that you will enjoy using this website and will find learning Middle Egyptian to be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience!