In this question, the transliteration jdnw is given as the Middle Egyptian for the equivalent of "lieutenant". If I now want to render that in hieroglyphs, how would that work?
I could presumably 'spell' it out in uniliteral signs as reed/hand/wave/quail, with an appropriate determinant. I would assume that is 'possible', but not how a Middle Kingdom scribe would have done it.
I could look for the longest multi-lateral sign, which happens to be F21 (jdnw), and then add a uniliteral sign or two to complement the sound (to make sure it's not interpreted as the actual ear of ox), effectively spelling it jdnw d (n) plus a determinant
Assuming that there was no single multi-literal (as there happens to be in this example), I could go for the longest match; suppose there was a sign for jd, I could use that, and then repeat the process for the remaining nw until the word is completed; optionally supplementing the partial matches with uniliteral signs to again stress the phonological use over the literal one. Kind of spelling it jd j nw n.
I could try to look the word up in a dictionary and give up if I cannot find it.
I would think that (2) is the ideal case, but that (3) would be the most common fallback as there are more words than signs; (1) would be the last resort (probably for names or unknown/foreign words).
Is that how hieroglyph spelling works?
The background to my question is that I'm wondering about a transcription-to-hieroglyphs program (which might well use JSesh notation as an intermediate output format), and (2) could probably quite easily be implemented, given a list of signs with their transliterations.
When I look the word up in a dictionary (as idnw), there are two spellings given:
- F21 N35 Z7 W24 (jdnw n w nw), and
- F21 W24 N35 (jdnw nw n)
Here the second one is kind of what I'd expect, but the first one is a bit odd, in that the two uniliteral signs n and w are followed by a biliteral nw. But I assume these are attested spellings, so it would be a valid spelling?