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The ancient Egyptian number system was a base-10 system that used pictographs to indicate the number of ones, tens, hundreds, thousands and so on:

ones: vertical stroke

tens: shackle (looking like an upside-down "U")

hundreds: coil of rope

thousands: lotus plant

ten-thousands: raised finger

hundred-thousands: tadpole

For example, the number 453,219 would have been written with four tadpoles, five raised fingers, three lotus plants, two coils of rope, one shackle and nine vertical strokes, in that order.

Since numbers were almost always written this way, and not phonetically (the equivalent of our writing 453,219 rather than "four hundred fifty three thousand, two hundred nineteen"), scholars have had to reconstruct the sounds of the Egyptian numbers from their forms in Coptic, a late form of the language that was not written hieroglyphically. The numbers from one to ten are reconstructed as:

1: WA

2: snwj (mascunine)/snwt (feminine)

3: hmtw/hmtt

4: jfdw/jfdt

5: djw/djt

6: sjsw/sjst

7: sfxw/sfxt

8: xmnw/xmnt

9: psDw/psDt

10: mDw/mDt

(In these transliterations, as in hieroglyphic writing itself, vowels are not written. 'a' is a conventional symbol representing a voiced guttural sound similar to the French uvular 'r', 'x' is like the German 'ch' in "ach", and capital 'D' is probably a 'dy' sound like the beginning of British "dune.")

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Q: Describe the Egyptians numeration system

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