rebus - pannous/hieros Wiki


inverse rebus principle

The Bronze Age had one very prominent wanderword for duck :

𓅭 بت bat “duck”

which happened to be associated with the word for bat.

𓂧 𓎼 𓇋 𓇋 𓏏 𓀃 𓅭 | a type of bird | dugyt ⋍ duck™ 𓅭
𓂧 𓎼 𓇋 𓇋 𓏏 𓅭 | bat (mammal) | 🦇 dracula?

This word 𓅭 بت bat “duck” was used as a rebus for 𓅭𓏏 बेटी beṭī “daughter”.

People seeing 𓅭 in languages where duck and daughter where phonetically similar immediately understood the association.

In languages where duck and daughter where not phonetically similar, readers of 𓅭 often followed two paths:

Reading 𓅭 with their phonetics of daughter, or adding a synonym for daughter with their phonetics of duck.

This, or the works of God, could be responsible for these excessive cross patterns which are surprisingly frequent in the early writing systems of Egyptian and Sumerian/Akkadian. Cuneiform is famous for repesenting languages of many dialects and families (see the Babel story of the Bible). However Egyptian often seems to be part of semantic clusters as well, be it through regnal correspondence, common origins or other strong cultural connections.