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A few years after the Rosetta Stone was brought to London, a young polymath named Thomas Young (1773-1829) took up the challenge. He knew that the liturgical language of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt was the modern successor to the ancient Egyptian language and therefore any understanding of Egyptian would be made through Coptic. He also determined correctly that some signs in the hieroglyphic script were phonetic (alphabetic), while others were idiomatic (non-alphabetic). With this knowledge, in 1814, Young was able to decipher the cartouches (names of kings written inside of circle) of King Ptolemy and Queen Bernike and was partially able to make a list of alphabetic signs, but was unable to translate the entire stone. <ref> Reid, p. 41</ref>
While Young was laboring away in England, across the channel in France an equally impressive polyglot named Jean-Francois Champollion (1790-1832) worked equally as furiously to decipher the enigmatic script. Using his background in the Semitic languages of Arabic and Hebrew, Champollion was able to complete a useable translation of the Rosetta Stone’s hieroglyphic lines in 1814. Although there were later found to be problems with some of Champollion’s translations and his theories on Egyptian grammar, his work provided the basis for the modern Egyptological understanding of the ancient Egyptian language and writing. <ref> Griffith, F. “The Decipherment of the Hieroglyphs.” <i>Journal of Egyptian Archaeology.
”</i> 37 (1951) pg. 41</ref>
===After the Rosetta Stone===