A determinative is in ancient writing systems ( hieroglyphic, cuneiform, and others) a silent additional or ideographic character (such as names of gods, cities, rivers ) is used to identify a concept class. It can also be used to distinguish homonyms. Determinative are in the cuneiform usually begin a word in hieroglyphics usually at the end of the word.

Determinative in the Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform

The Determinative face mostly, to which they relate, in some cases by the characters, and explain it thus, or change the meaning ( reading).

It involves characters such as 𒄑 (GIS presented? , Sumerian for wood), 𒆠 (ki, readjusted, sumerian of Agriculture ) or a name wedge, which is to clarify before people's names.

Determinative can be meaningful crucial, especially since a character can have multiple readings, for example, has the character 𒉺 the reading ugula ( overseer ) and, after the determinative 𒄑 (GIS, sumerian for wood), the reading ĝidru ( rod). 𒄑 𒉺 then so does GIS ĝidru ( wooden stick ) and non- GIS ugula (wood overseer ).

Determinative in the Egyptian writing

Determinative, modern and classifiers (Prof. Orly Goldwasser ) are written after the word in question and are primarily used to distinguish words with the same consonant inventory, as the hieroglyphic writing does not represent the vowels. Thus, there were many words of different importance, which were written the same, since they had the same consonant inventory. The determinative originally embodied as a unifying character pictorially the underlying phonograms. Only later did the Determinative should be connected to other general terms.

Thus most words called Determinative were added (also classifiers or ideographic characters), which explain the meaning closer. The hieroglyph "House " means the consonant inventory pr determinative without the word " house" (Egyptian pr ( w)), with two running legs as determinative, it means " go out " (Egyptian pr ( j)). Also, names have been determined, as are some pronouns. King or names of gods were highlighted through the cartridge, a loop around the word. Due to the position after the word in question, they also serve as a word separator. They have, for example, to see whether a thing such as wood, clay, fabric is, whether an action is good or evil, etc. A determinative is now, however, and even for multiple properties. The determinative for " woman " is, for example, behind:

  • Women's names,
  • Female occupations,
  • Female kinship terms, etc.

Example in terms of the consonant inventory ( wn: / w / / n / ) homophonic words with different classifiers:

In spoken language, these words were not homophonic; they differed in terms of their vocal stand.

In the hieratic writing system represents the Determinativsystem a non- extensible set of classes dar. In Hieroglyphic -Egyptian writer could create new Determinative who could understand the uninitiated reader, ideally, because of the imagery of the hieroglyphs. This possibility ( 3rd and 2nd century BC) was very rare in the classical period, often made in the Greco- Roman period, however, use.

Determinative in the Maya writing

The Maya writing knows only a few German characters as opposed to the Egyptian writing. The most important is the day sign cartouche. If another character combined with her, so it changes its reading and is a daily ritual character of the calendar again.

Radicals in the Chinese writing

In a broader sense, the Chinese radicals are to be regarded as determinative.