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Abydonian language

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The language once spoken in Abydos was a form of Ancient Egyptian, changed through time since its isolation from the form once spoken on Earth, as one can read in the Stargate movie production notes: Not only did the filmmakers create another world for STARGATE, but the language of that world as well. To accomplish this, they called on the expertise of Stuart Tyson Smith, Ph.D., a research associate at the Institute of Archaeology at the Fowler Museum of Cultural History. Smith was asked to reconstruct what ancient Egyptian might have sounded like if it had developed over thousands of years.

These changes were the reason to Dr. Daniel Jackson not understanding immediately the language, even being a high expert in Ancient Egyptian and in known related languages.

One of these changes is the loss of the difference between the sounds t and t (similar to English ch), both merged to t, as Daniel discovers when pointing to the figures representing gods in the walls of the site of the Cartouche of Nagada, pronouncing the Ancient Egyptian neter “god”, being corrected by Sha’uri to the Abydionian naturu. A symmetrical change occurred in d (English j, dj), that merged with d, as Sha’uri shows by pronouncing the Ancient Egyptian nedet “slave” as Abydonian neda. As Daniel explains to O'Neil in the following scenes, vowel changes had also occured.

Note that it is possible to hear the sound d in the Abydonian language, especially when it is spoken by Ra, maybe representing an older dialect of this language, closer to the Terran Ancient Egyptian form, preserved by him due to his great age and old knowledge.

SentencesEdit

These sentences are extracted from the original movie, with the help of the movie transcript. One should be careful about them, because mishearings may have occured while extracting.

bani we "how sweet!", "how pleasant!"

miratutu "you both will love each other!", where mira- translates "will love, will want", and -tutu is the dual second person.

nati na maryunak we "that you didn't want me", that can be analised as nati "that", na "don't", maryu- "want(ed)", -na- negative infix, -k "you" (singular) and we "me".

yanak Kasuf “I am Kasuf”.

yimyu ma’e naturuti “take a look at your gods”, that can be analised as yimyu “to give”, ma’e “to look”, naturu “god(s)”, the suffix –t “your” (plural) and a possible dative –i “to” (as seen in Arabic). So, litterally “give looking to your god(s)”.

yishsi khipr ’ay “what happened here?”

yishsi khipr Daniel “what happened with Daniel?”

VocabularyEdit

The words below are shown first in the Abydonian form, and then, in the Ancient Egyptian form that may have originated them. Note that the Ancient Egyptian language used to write only consonants, dropping vowels.

They are extracted from the speeches of the original movie. The position is given in hours, minutes and seconds, in relation to the extended version of the movie.

Again, mishearings may have occurred.

'ay: ʕ3 “here” [01:26:25]

bani: poss. bnr “sweet, pleasant” (here we can see the loss of final –r, as in nafi “good”, one of the possible rules learned by Jackson) [00:48:43]

baya: bj3 “mineral, metal” [01:30:37]

bayaka: b3k “work” [00:57:18, 01:41:57]

gas: gzj, gzt “speed, run” [01:24:45]

haibe: ḥbbt “water” [01:40:21]

harm: ḥr m “why” [01:26:29, 01:30:47]

-i: dative (Arabic –i) [01:45:15]

khipr: ḫpr “to happen” (here the –r has not been lost, maybe because it is not after a vowel) [01:26:24]

ma’e: m33 “to look” [01:45:14]

maryu "wanted, loved" [01:42:49], mira "will want, will love" [00:59:31], Ancient Egyptian mrj "want, love"

nafe: nf “wrong” [00:50:59]

nafi: nfr “good, beautiful, well” (note the loss of final –r) [01:09:36]

naney, -nan: nn “not” [01:23:02, 01:26:59]

nate: ntr "god" [01:09:31], naturu: ntrw “gods” [01:09:32, 01:45:15]

neda “slave”: ndt “serf” [01:09:18]

sabat: sbt “laugh, laughter, mirth” [01:41:54]

sek: sʕq “cause to enter, send in” [01:49:26]

sibuy “gate”: sb3 “door” [01:30:24], sibuyau "gates": sb3w "doors" [00:53:26]

Sibuy sibe "Stargate": sb3.sb3 "star-door" [01:30:24]

sipru: zpr “to arrive, come, reach” [00:48:55]

sheshe’tayu “(sand)storm”: h3h3tj “storm” [00:52:45]

-t: t “your” [01:45:15]

tiw: tjw “yes” [01:09:21]

we “me”: wj “I, me, my” [01:21:49, 01:42:50]

wu: wʕ “one (1)” [01:31:38]

yanak: jnk “I am” [00:47:28]

yimyu: jmj “to give” [01:45:14]

yishsi: jšst, jšzt “what?” [01:26:24, 01:54:36]

yuyu: jj “to come” [00:50:27]

Sound changesEdit

The table lists the changes that had led the Ancient Egyptian to the Abydonian Egyptian. These changes are extracted from the words above, by comparision of stages.

Ancient Egyptian

Abydonian

p

p

b

b

f

f

m

m

w

w

t

t (but lost in final position)

d

?

n

n

r

r (but lost in final position)

s

s

z

s

t

t

d

d

š

sh

h

sh

y

?

k

k

g

g

kh (sounding [x] or [χ])

3

‘, y or nothing

q

k

h

ʕ

‘ or nothing

h

?

j

y

When Jackson learned those changes in relation with Ancient Egyptian, and the vowels that should fill the words, he was finally able to speak and understand the Abydonian language.

See also

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