A probabilistic model of Ancient Egyptian writing

Mark-Jan Nederhof, University of St Andrews, United Kingdom
Fahrurrozi Rahman, University of St Andrews, United Kingdom


This article offers a formalization of how signs form words in Ancient Egyptian writing, for either hieroglyphic or hieratic texts.  The formalization is in terms of a sequence of sign functions, which concurrently produce a sequence of signs and a sequence of phonemes. By involving a class of probabilistic automata, we can define the most likely sequence of sign functions that relates a given sequence of signs to a given sequence of phonemes. Experiments with two texts are discussed.


Ancient Egyptian; writing systems; language models

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15398/jlm.v5i1.150

ISSN of the paper edition: 2299-856X