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  • noun A semantic symbol (picture or glyph) associated with a concept.


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  • The sequence of phonograms is usually followed by a semagram, called in the Egyptological custom "determinative," which classifies a word according to its semantic sphere: for example, a sitting man * expresses the lexical realm of "man, mankind" . . .

    —Antonio Loprieno, 1995, Ancient Egyptian: A linguistic introduction, Cambridge

    * At this point and scattered in the rest of the sentence after I have truncated it are actual hieroglyphics in the text. I am familiar with reading hieroglyphics; I am now ecstatic in owning a book that requires learning the Coptic alphabet to understand it properly. I have simple tastes.

    March 29, 2009