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Ancient Egyptian Roots Of Our Language

We think of our language as being derived from Ancient Greek and Latin, but some of our oldest English words trace back to Ancient Egypt, the Afro-Asiatic language distinct from the contemporary Egyptian Arabic spoken today. These words entered our language through the various conquerors of Egypt beginning with Alexander the Great. Of course, we’d expect our word “pharaoh” to be derived from the Ancient Egyptian language, but there are many others as well.

For example, in THE DEADLIEST HATE, there is a modern English word that had its origin in the Ancient Egyptian language. Can you find it:

Phoebe gulped the tea as if she’d been wandering in the desert and then snatched a muffin with one hand and a fistful of almonds with the other. A second muffin later, lifting her chin, she cleared her throat. “I don’t know what came over me, Miriam,” she said, brushing away the trail of crumbs she’d left on the tablecloth. “I felt like I hadn’t eaten for days.”

Well, again not too surprising, the word “desert” is derived from the Ancient Egyptian word “dshrt”. Since the Egyptian written language did not use vowels, we can assume it was pronounced like our word for a dry, barren area of land. But the list of words also includes such common words as bee, top, net, (chewing) gum, ebony, oasis, and ammonia to name a few more.

The good news is you don’t have to read Ancient Egyptian to enjoy a Miriam bat Isaac mystery. All you have to do is enjoy lyrical language and riveting suspense. Just click here.


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