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An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary : With an Index of English Words, King List, and Geographical List with Indexes, List of Hieroglyphic Characters, Coptic and Semitic Alphabets (Vol 1) Paperback – May 1, 1978
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When I decided to take up learning Egyptian hieroglyphics, I got rather frustrated with all the reviews about which book I should learn from. Everybody criticized Budge for being "outdated", but many didn't really elaborate on what they meant. The best argument they could provide, it seemed, was that he was made fun of in the movie Stargate. Really? This is a justified argument? Stargate is a science fiction movie. It also claimed that the Egyptian pyramids were built by worms from outer space (though technically, we didn't learn they were worms until the television series). Though I've heard an interesting and possibly plausible theory that the pyramids are older, I think most archaeologists would laugh at you if you proposed they were built by aliens, worms or otherwise.
I did find one review that made more sense that said that more has been learned about Egyptian hieroglyphics since Budge's time, and it seems now that modern linguists have different ideas about the spelling of the hieroglyphics. I checked out one book from the library and compared it to Budge. I've not gotten further than the alphabet, but even that has shown some differences. One symbol that Budge claims represents the letter u is now considered to represent the letter w. Another symbol that Budge claims represents the letter i is now considered to represent the letter y. However, they also claim that depending on the circumstances, these letters will sound like "u" or "i" (though they can also sound like "w" and "y"). It seems maybe Budge is guilty of spelling phonetically. As one reviewer said--the one I trusted more--Budge will teach you how to spell wrong, and that is why he discouraged beginners from learning from Budge.
So why did I buy this dictionary anyway?
1) I have not heard anyone say that Budge translated wrong--except the people, perhaps, who use Stargate as an example. If the only disagreement is that a symbol he said was the letter u is now the letter w...but he got the order of the symbols correct and the translation of the word they represent correct, that is really all I care about.
2) Budge is user-friendly. I checked some of the books that people recommended. I found many of them to be a little too technical and confusing for a beginner.
3) Budge is cheaper in price. Now, if you are going to buy volumes 1 & 2 at the same time, then you might consider buying one of the other more reputed sources...though, as I said, I didn't find some of them very user-friendly. However, these books can get expensive. One of the recommended books costs $400.00 when I checked.
4) Guess who has published the most? Budge. People complain about Budge being outdated, and yet none of the new people have bothered to produce as many published translations. And that might be why:
5) Budge is still used as a reference by many scholars, so he can't totally be a joke.
In the end, whether you should buy Budge depends on why you want to learn hieroglyphics. Are you planning to become an Egyptologist or linguist or take any job where you are going to be translating hieroglyphics? If the answer is yes, then it may be better if you learn from one of the reputed sources. Are you certain that you will keep with this or is it just a passing fancy? If you don't know whether you are going to keep at this, I would advise purchasing Budge. This dictionary has 580 pages in the first volume. It is cheaper than many of the reputed sources and should test how deep your interest is. If you do learn hieroglyphics, what sources are you going to rely on in finding translations? If you are going to rely on published books to provide you opportunities to translate...as I've said, it seems Budge is the major author out there. So learning Budge will help you to translate the major source of translations out there: Budge. Are you a person that can relearn something if you are taught old information? If yes, then it isn't a big deal if you learn from an outdated source.
As for the dictionary itself. It is reprinted, so you aren't getting an old copy if you buy it new. I like how Budge makes a list of commonly used hieroglyphics at the front. He divides them into categories so if you are searching for a symbol, it is easier to find it--providing if you know what it is. He draws the symbols as they appear on a papyrus. As for the dictionary part, he uses the Egyptian alphabet. He seems to lists words by the symbol they start out with. I don't know if this is a good source for learning grammar, and it is possible when I get to that I probably will invest in a reputed source. Right now, I'm not sure if this isn't a passing fancy myself, and I'm just concentrating on learning words.
I should have known this was a sub-standard edition when they couldn't even be bothered to include an actual cover.