Stage Linguistique wrote:
> In most cases Egyptian determinatives do function as
> you say, i.e. in a way much similar to Chinese
> radicals. However, in some cases, they do add some
> more information than 'broad semantic class' of the
> word. B. Menu gives two examples:
> 1/ the difference between the homophones "sick" and
> "sickness" is marked through the use of a different
> determinative

I don't know which words you are referring to (I guess several Egyptian
words could be translated "sick" or "sickness").

> 2/ also the difference between "day" (a duration of 24
> hrs) and "day" (a given day, a date) is marked through
> the use of a different determinative

Here too I don't know what words you are referring to exactly, but seems to
me that a word meaning "day" in the sense of "elapsed time" and a word
meaning "day" in the sense of a "date" should both be *nouns*, so I fail to
see your point about the determinatives marking different grammatical

> To get back to the original comparison between Chinese
> and Egyptian -- my manual says "chaque mot s'inscrit
> dans un carré imaginaire". Thus each square contains
> phonetic signs and a determinative. Each square is
> hence analysable and can be broken down into small,
> stand-alone units.

Are you sure that book says *this* about Egyptian writing!? If it really
does, I suggest you to throw it the garbage basket!

Not even Christian Jacq's books say such... such... what you call it in
French?... such bêtises!

> A Hànzì, although analysable,
> cannot be broken down into stand-alone units (your
> 'blocks'),

(Never talked about "blocks". Perhaps you mean "components".)

> and especially not stand-alone units that
> have a phonetic value.

Sorry, you're better reviewing also your Chinese.

Most hanzi (around the 90% of them, according to some statistics) are
composed of a "signific" (or "radical") which conveys a broad meaning and of
a "phonetic" which conveys the approximate sound.

These two components normally also occur as *independent* hanzi having
approximately the same meaning or sound they have in composition. Of course,
there are cases of signs which fell out of use as independent hanzi but
survived as components of other hanzis. But that is absolutely *not* the