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I learned to write hieroglyphs while researching White Powder of Gold to help it feel more authentic. Although the ShemsuHor language I invented is slightly different from Ancient Egyptian, it uses the same glyphs, which I love playing with.

If you would like to see your name written in hieroglyphs, write a review of White Powder of Gold on social media and post the link on my Facebook group page.

What are hieroglyphs?

Writing was a gift from the Ancient Egyptian deity, Tehuti, who devised hieroglyphs as a way to record the Divine Words of the Gods.

  • The word hieroglyph comes from Greek words meaning sacred image
  • The Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic alphabet has 32 signs representing a single sound such as b, t, r, a or sh) and these are known as a uniliteral signs.
  • Most English consonants have an equivalent hieroglyphic sound except for C, V and X, although we can approximate these.
  • Some hieroglyphs represent Ancient Egyptian sounds for which there is no equivalent in English – for example, there are four different types of H sound.


Where a string of consonants is difficult to pronounce, we can insert a soft ‘e’ sound to make things easier.

We can also pronounce ‘soft consonant’ sounds as vowels to approximate A, I and U.

This lack of vowels can lead to difficulties – some Egyptologists call the sun-god Ra, for example, while others call him Re, to rhyme with Ray. Similarly, the name of the God Imun is usually prounced as Amun or Amen.

This lack of vowels can also lead to a king’s name being written in different ways, such as Ramses, Rameses or Ramesses, depending on where you insert an ‘e’ to make pronunciation easier.

Uniliteral Hieroglyphs

There are 32 single sound hieroglyphs as follows:

Biliteral and triliteral hieroglyphs

Additional hieroglyphs represent more complex sounds, of which these are the ones I most commonly use: