Sunday, April 6, 2014

The "Egyptian" Counting Vocalizations in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, Part One: A Broad-based Cognate Comparison

In a previous post, I had originally posted this information along with the glyphs for the Egyptian Counting Section of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers or "Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar" (EAG).  However, I have split it off, because more information has surfaced since.  We will now discuss the names/vocalizations of the numerals in the EAG.  The first thing to note is that these numerals are simply not Egyptian at all, at least from the perspective of reconstructed/mechanical Egyptian or Coptic.  This has never been an impediment for us before, but is actually a help.  Because we know that conventional wisdom has never been sufficient when it comes to the things that Joseph Smith has been brought to light.  We should expect this to be the case, because the EAG and the Book of Abraham has thrown quite a number of curve-balls to the world since the beginning of the time that people have been aware of it.  It's not that these things are not Egyptian in the end.  We will eventually know HOW these things are Egyptian, and why Joseph Smith used the word Egyptian to describe them.

But for now, the first thing we need to do is to focus on the fact that we need to separate these things from the word Egyptian.  Doing this is not a statement that they are not Egyptian.  It is a statement that the word Egyptian can be an impediment to proper identification in modern technical terms.  We need to identify the language family these things belong to.  The language family that they belong to is just NOT Afro-Asiatic at all, which is the language family of both Semitic and Hamitic languages like Hebrew and Egyptian.  An explanation for how this is so is not necessary yet, because that is the whole point of research, but it is clear that a denial that this is ALSO some kind of Egyptian somehow is NOT productive.  I say it is a spirit of fear, not faith.  The spirit of Denialism is what has led everyone to doubt Joseph Smith.  Rather, we should take Joseph Smith at his word.

Now, here are the vocalizations/pronunciations for the numerals in the EAG:

1 = Eh
2 = Ni
3 = Ze
4 = Teh
5 = Veh
6 = Psi
7 = Psa
8 = A
9 = Na
10 = Ta

There will be multiple phases in our research on these numerals 

Now, keep in mind a few factors in this analysis of the vocalizations/phonetics for these numerals.   The Mechanical Egyptian language (Ancient Egyptian) was reconstructed Egyptolotically from Coptic and Hieroglyphic phonetics, that was initiated from study on the Rosetta stone.  These vocalizations do not match that language.  That much is obvious.  Rather than being able to nail down some specific ancient Egyptian language where these phonetics/vocalizations are attested, which is unrelated to the one reconstructed from the Rosetta Stone and Coptic and so forth, we have to cast a broader net than that.  There is no indication that the readings from the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar are related to the Mechanical Egyptian Language.  Therefore, without being able to nail it down to whether these numeral phonetics originate from Hamitic, Semitic, Indo-European, Sumerian, Hittite, or whatever, we will cast a broad net using broad sets of cognates, to demonstrate that there is indeed underlying patterns here, and Joseph Smith didn't just make these readings up.  We will follow this up in other posts, focusing in on a particular and specific language family and then focusing in on even more specific.

Number one as eh is interesting.  In Hebrew, echad (i.e. the cardinal number) is one.  Note that the name for the Japanese numeral one is very similar here.  It is ichi.  And in Sanskrit (Ancient Hindu) it is eka.  In Greek it is ena.  These are obviously all versions of the same prehistoric name for the numeral, spread across the world.  This sound in the EAG is obviously a shortened version of this shared name for the number one.  

The fact that other things are broken up in the EAG into abbreviation forms shows that this is something the Ancient System of Interpretation in Joseph Smith's Egyptian was full of.  Throughout Joseph Smith's Egyptian, we keep coming back to various types of abbreviation, from the packing in of characters/strokes into composites/monograms, to initialisms like this with the names of numbers.  Initialisms, being another type of abbreviation, in English occur in such things as "St." for Street and "Ct." for Court, in our naming systems for streets and roads and so forth.  Or "Mr." for Mister, "Sr." for Senior, and so forth.  However, there is also something else that may factor in.  It is possible that the names may have something to do with some kind of association with something like how Ugaritic character names were associated with Akkadian syllabograms, where they were intentionally lined up with the syllabograms that read as the first syllable of the Semitic names for the characters.  Something like this may have factored in to names for the numerals here:

Several of the Ugaritic documents in the cuneiform alphabet are school exercises, and one of them contains a peculiar abecedary (KTU 5.14): in this sequence of cuneiform alphabet letters, about two thirds of which have survived, the writer has added next to each cuneiform letter a cuneiform sign from the usual cuneiform syllabary. Thus, next to the letter for /b/ the syllabogram <be> is found, next to the letter for /g/ the syllabogram <ga> etc. It has been argued by Frank Cross and Thomas Lambdin that these correspondences are not haphazard. The two authors suggest that the vowels expressed in the syllabograms are the same vowels that occurred in the (first syllable of the) Semitic letter names: hence, <be> for /b/ because the letter name was bet, <ga> for /g/ because the letter name was gaml, and so on.  Overall, these vowel correspondences are indeed systematic enough to make coincidence unlikely, even if not every detail fits in exactly . . .  (

Next, the name for the number two, which is ni, is very interesting.  In Hebrew, it is shnayim or sheni.  Note the particle ni in the Hebrew words.  In Japanese, it is ni, which is identical to the EAG.  In Sanscrit it is dvi.  In Greek it is dio.  In German it is zwei.  In Ancient Egyptian (Egyptologically reconstructed), it is sin.way (sn.wy), where sin is the first particle, and way is the last particle that indicates masculinity.  As you can see, this is almost identical to Hebrew, and has the N just like the Hebrew.  The Coptic is snau, which again is practically identical to both the Ancient Egyptian and the Hebrew.

Next, we have the number three, which is ze in the EAG.  In Chinese, it is san or saam.  In Japanese, it is san.  In Hebrew it is shlosha or shalosh.  This would seem to be a shortening of these s-forms of words for three.  While the Ancient Egyptian (reconstructed) is khamtaw (khmt.w, masc. form), where the first particle without the masculine ending is khamt, the Coptic retained the S form, as somnt.

Next, for the number four in the EAG, we have teh.  It is interesting that in Greek, the word for four is tessera.  This is where we get the word tesseract, the name of a hypercube.  In Sanskrit, it is cater.  In Latin, it is quattuor.  In Spanish, it is cuatro.  The point is, some of these forms start with te and end in r, or have a tr in the middle of the word.  This word in the EAG is a shortening of these cognate forms that have a T in them.  The Ancient Egyptian (reconstructed) is ifd.w (yafdaw) where the W at the end once again is the masculine particle, while the ifd/yafd particle at the beginning is the actual numerical particle.  The Coptic is ftooe, retaining a T form.  Again, we see the D/T in the forms of the word.

Next, for the number five, we have veh.  In German, five is funf.  In Greek, five is pente.   In Sanskrit, it is panca.  In Chinese, it is wu.  In Japanese, it is go.  In Latin, it is quinque.  In Spanish it is cinco.  Now, in English, the word for war  is guerra.  The word for the name William is Guillermo, and so forth.  Some of these forms of words have an interchangeability between the sounds of p and f and w and g for the consonant.  F and P are very close to the sound of V.  In Hebrew, W is interchangeable with V.  In English, W is a “double U.”  The letter U is a form of the letter V.  The point is, veh is a one-syllable shortening of these f, p, or v or w forms of the words for five in these various cognates.  In other words, veh fits snugly within the family of cognates.

Next, for the number six, we have psi.  In Hebrew, it is shisha or shesh.  In Greek it is eksi.  In Sanskrit, it is sas.  In Latin, it is sex.  In Spanish it is seis.  So this is a contraction of these si or se cognate forms into one syllable.  In some of the cognates below, we will see that sometimes, various consonants are interchangeable, such as in the cases of K, G or P.  In the Greek, we have a K, and in the EAG, we have a P.  Clearly, these are interchanged in this case.  Another example of this in the EAG is the word Zeptah, which is the name in the “Chaldee” for Egyptus.  Aegyptus is the Greek form of the word.  The Ancient Egyptian form of this word is is Ha-ka-ptah (House, or spirit of the god Ptah.) This is related to the root KPT in Semitic, meaning hidden, or forbidden, as the Book of Abraham says, for the meaning of the name Egyptus.  Again, my point is here, Z is interchanged for K, and so forth.  In the case of this numeral, K is interchanged for P in some cognates.  And in Latin, the K/X sound is transposed with the S.  Once again, it fits within the family of cognates well.

Next, for seven, we have psa.  In Sanskrit it is sapta.  In Latin it is septem.  In Spanish it is siete.  In Hebrew it is sheva or shiva.  In Japanese, it is shichi.  In Greek, it is efta.  As you can see with these cognates, there is a P, which in some versions is interchangeable with a F or V.  Most of them start with an S or SH sound.  Some have a T sound after the F or V or P sound.  In the EAG, the P and the S is transposed.  But still, it is once again consistent in reducing the essentials of these cognates down to one syllable.  It is consistent with the number six in the EAG, in that it starts with a PS where there is an S sound.

Next, in the EAG, for the number eight, we have the a.  In German it is acht.  In Sanskrit it is asta.  For Greek it is okto.  In Latin it is okto.  In Spanish it is ocho.  In Japanese, it is hachi.  In Mandarin Chinese, it is ba.  In Cantonese (a Chinese dialect), it is baat.  You get the point.  Again, the CH/K sound is transformed in some cognates to b, and there is a T that follows.  In many cognates, it starts out with an ah or o sound.  And in this case, it once again reduces all this to the a sound in one syllable.

Next, in the EAG, for the number nine, we have na.  In Sanskrit, this is nava.  In Greek, it is enia.  In German, it is neun.  For Latin, it is novum.  In Hindi, it is nau.  Once again, it fits within the family of cognates well as the first syllable.

Next, for the number ten in the EAG, we have ta.  In Greek, it is deka.  In Spanish, it is diez.  In Sanskrit, it is dasa.  In Hebrew it is assarah or eser.  In Arabic, it is ashra.  In Latin it is decem.  In German, it is zehn.  As you can see, some of these cognates start out with a D/T sound and have an S/K/CH sound in the middle.  Some have an R or an M/N at the end.  The point is, this once again reduces these forms down into one syllable, formed by the T/Da sound at the first of the word.

All of these numbers are very consistent in reducing these cross-familial types and forms down to one syllable, and they are all very consistent with these cognate forms in having some precedent for their sounds in those single syllables across the family of cognates.  Joseph Smith simply did not make this up, as is clear from the cross-cognate study, that all the names of numerals fit well within a broad set of cognates.  But to narrow it down further, we have to know more about the specific system, and why they are how they are.  A broad cross-cognate study is only the first piece of our study.  In the next post we will narrow things down even further.