HOME

TheInfoList




The Egyptian language or Ancient Egyptian ( egy, 𓂋𓏺𓈖 𓆎𓅓𓏏𓊖, , cop, ϯⲙⲉⲧⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ) is an
Afro-Asiatic language Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed lang ...

Afro-Asiatic language
which was spoken in
ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

ancient Egypt
. Its attestation stretches over an extraordinarily long time, from the
Old Egyptian The Egyptian language or Ancient Egyptian ( egy, 𓂋𓏺𓈖 𓆎𓅓𓏏𓊖, , cop, ϯⲙⲉⲧⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ) is an Afro-Asiatic language Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamiti ...
stage (mid-4th millennium BC,
Old Kingdom of Egypt In ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile, Nile River, situated in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization ...
). Its earliest known complete written sentence has been dated to about 2690 BC, which makes it one of the oldest recorded languages known, along with . Its
classical Classical may refer to: European antiquity *Classical antiquity, a period of history from roughly the 7th or 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century C.E. centered on the Mediterranean Sea *Classical architecture, architecture derived from Greek and ...
form is known as
Middle Egyptian The Egyptian language (Egyptian: ''r n km.t'', , Coptic language, Coptic: ) is an Afroasiatic languages, Afro-Asiatic language which was spoken in ancient Egypt. Its attestation stretches over an extraordinarily long time, from the Old Egyptian ...
, the
vernacular A vernacular or vernacular language refers to the language or dialect that is spoken by people that are inhabiting a particular country or region. The vernacular is typically the native language, normally Spoken language, spoken informally rath ...
of the
Middle Kingdom of Egypt The Middle Kingdom of Egypt (also known as The Period of Reunification) is the period in the history of ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a of , concentrated along the lower reaches of the , situated in the place that is now the count ...
which remained the literary language of Egypt until the Roman period. The spoken language had evolved into Demotic by the time of
Classical Antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, ...
, and finally into
Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the 17th century * Coptic alphabet, th ...
by the time of
Christianisation Christianization (American and British English spelling differences#-ise.2C -ize .28-isation.2C -ization.29, or Christianisation) was the Conversion to Christianity, conversion of societies to Christianity beginning in late antiquity in the Rom ...
. Spoken Coptic was almost extinct by the 17th century, but it remains in use as the liturgical language of the
Coptic Orthodox Church The Coptic Orthodox Church ( cop, Ϯⲉⲕ̀ⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ⲛ̀ⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ ⲛ̀ⲟⲣⲑⲟⲇⲟⲝⲟⲥ, translit=Ti.eklyseya en.remenkimi en.orthodoxos, lit=the Egyptian Orthodox Church; ar, الكنيسة القبطي ...

Coptic Orthodox Church
.The language may have survived in isolated pockets in
Upper Egypt Upper Egypt ( ar, صعيد مصر ', shortened to , , locally: ; ) is the southern portion of Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries lo ...
as late as the 19th century, according to James Edward Quibell, "When did Coptic become extinct?" in ''Zeitschrift für ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde'', 39 (1901), p. 87. In the village of Pi-Solsel (Az-Zayniyyah or El Zenya north of
Luxor Luxor (; ar, الأقصر ', , Upper Egyptian pronunciation: ; Sahidic ''Pape'', ) is a city in Upper (southern) Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bord ...

Luxor
), passive speakers were recorded as late as the 1930s, and traces of traditional vernacular Coptic reported to exist in other places such as Abydos and
Dendera Dendera ( ar, دَنْدَرة ''Dandarah''; grc, Τεντυρις or Τεντυρα; Bohairic cop, ⲛⲓⲧⲉⲛⲧⲱⲣⲓ, translit=Nitentōri; Sahidic cop, ⲛⲓⲧⲛⲧⲱⲣⲉ, translit=Nitntōre), also spelled ''Denderah'', ancient ...

Dendera
, see Werner Vycichl
''Pi-Solsel, ein Dorf mit koptischer Überlieferung''
in: ''Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo'', (MDAIK) vol. 6, 1936, pp. 169–175 (in German).


Classification

The Egyptian language belongs to the
Afroasiatic language family Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family of about 300 languages that are spoken predominantly in the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and parts of the Sahel. ...

Afroasiatic language family
. Among the typological features of Egyptian that are typically Afroasiatic are its fusional morphology,
nonconcatenative morphology Image:Nonconcatenative-muslim-derivation.png, Diagram of one version of the derivation of the Arabic word ''muslim'' in autosegmental phonology, with root consonants associating (shown by dotted grey lines). Nonconcatenative morphology, also calle ...
, a series of
emphatic consonant In Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family currently present in West Asia, North and East Africa, and Malta. Semitic may also refer to: Religions * Abrahamic ...
s, a three-vowel system , nominal feminine suffix *''-at'', nominal ''m-'', adjectival *''-ī'' and characteristic personal verbal affixes. Of the other Afroasiatic branches, linguists have variously suggested that the Egyptian language shares its greatest affinities with
Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifically Morocco ) , ...

Berber
and
Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family currently present in West Asia, North and East Africa, and Malta. Semitic may also refer to: Religions * Abrahamic religions ** ...

Semitic
languages, particularly
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
. In Egyptian, the
Proto-Afroasiatic Proto–Afroasiatic, sometimes referred to as Proto-Afrasian, is the reconstructed proto-language from which all modern Afroasiatic languages are descended. Though estimations vary widely, it is believed by scholars to have been spoken as a singl ...
voiced consonants developed into pharyngeal : Egyptian ''ꜥr.t'' 'portal', Semitic ''dalt'' 'door'. Afroasiatic merged with Egyptian , , , and in the dialect on which the written language was based, but it was preserved in other Egyptian varieties. Original palatalise to in some environments and are preserved as in others. The Egyptian language has many biradical and perhaps monoradical roots, in contrast to the Semitic preference for triradical roots. Egyptian is probably more conservative, and Semitic likely underwent later regularizations converting roots into the triradical pattern. Although Egyptian is the oldest Afroasiatic language documented in written form, its morphological repertoire is very different from that of the rest of the
Afroasiatic Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed lang ...

Afroasiatic
languages in general, and
Semitic languages The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family A language is a structured system of communication u ...

Semitic languages
in particular. There are multiple possibilities: Egyptian had already undergone radical changes from Proto-Afroasiatic before it was recorded; the Afroasiatic family has so far been studied with an excessively Semito-centric approach; or, as G. W. Tsereteli suggests, Afroasiatic is an allogenetic rather than a genetic group of languages.


History

The Egyptian language is conventionally grouped into six major
chronological Chronology (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republi ...
divisions: *Archaic Egyptian (before 2600 BC), the
reconstructed language Linguistic reconstruction is the practice of establishing the features of an unattested ancestor language of one or more given languages. There are two kinds of reconstruction: * Internal reconstruction Internal reconstruction is a method of rec ...
of the , *Old Egyptian (c. 2600 – 2000 BC), the language of the
Old Kingdom In ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associate ...
, *Middle Egyptian (c. 2000 – 1350 BC), the language of the Middle Kingdom to early
New Kingdom New is an adjective referring to something recently made, discovered, or created. New or NEW may refer to: Music * New, singer of K-pop group The Boyz Boyz or The Boyz may refer to: Music Bands *The Boyz (German band), a German boy band of th ...
and continuing on as a
literary language A literary language is the form (register) of a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the ...
into the 4th century, *
Late Egyptian Late Egyptian is the stage of the Egyptian language The Egyptian language or Ancient Egyptian ( egy, 𓂋𓏺𓈖 𓆎𓅓𓏏𓊖, , cop, ϯⲙⲉⲧⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ) is an Afro-Asiatic language Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), als ...
(c. 1350 – 700 BC),
Amarna period The Amarna Period was an era of History of Ancient Egypt, Egyptian history during the later half of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt, Eighteenth Dynasty when the royal residence of the pharaoh and his queen was shifted to Akhetaten ('Horizon of the A ...
to
Third Intermediate Period The Third Intermediate Period of ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a of , concentrated along the lower reaches of the , situated in the place that is now the country . Ancient Egyptian civilization followed and coalesced around 3100 ...
, * (c. 700 BC – AD 400), the vernacular of the Late Period, Ptolemaic and early
Roman Egypt , conventional_long_name = Roman Egypt , common_name = Egypt , subdivision = Roman province, Province , nation = the Roman Empire , era = Late antiquity , capital = Alexandria , title_leader = Praefectus Augustalis , image_ ...

Roman Egypt
, *
Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the 17th century * Coptic alphabet, th ...
(after c. 200 AD), the vernacular at the time of
Christianisation Christianization (American and British English spelling differences#-ise.2C -ize .28-isation.2C -ization.29, or Christianisation) was the Conversion to Christianity, conversion of societies to Christianity beginning in late antiquity in the Rom ...

Christianisation
, and liturgical language of Egyptian Christianity. Old, Middle, and Late Egyptian were all written using both the
hieroglyphic Egyptian hieroglyphs () were the formal writing system used in Ancient Egypt, used for writing the Egyptian language. Hieroglyphs combined logographic, syllabary, syllabic and alphabetic elements, with a total of some 1,000 distinct characters.Th ...
and
hieratic Hieratic (; grc, ἱερατικά, hieratiká, priestly) is the name given to a cursive Cursive (also known as script, among other names) is any style of penmanship Penmanship is the technique of writing Writing is a medium of hu ...
scripts. Demotic is the name of the script derived from hieratic beginning in the 7th century BC. The
Coptic alphabet The Coptic alphabet is the script used for writing the . The repertoire of s is based on the augmented by letters borrowed from the Egyptian and is the first alphabetic script used for the . There are several Coptic alphabets, as the Coptic w ...

Coptic alphabet
was derived from the
Greek alphabet The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late ninth or early eighth century BC. It is derived from the earlier Phoenician alphabet, and was the first alphabetic script in history to have distinct letters for vowels ...

Greek alphabet
, with adaptations for Egyptian phonology. It was first developed in the Ptolemaic period, and gradually replaced the Demotic script in about the 4th to 5th centuries of the Christian era.


Old Egyptian

The term "Archaic Egyptian" is sometimes reserved for the earliest use of hieroglyphs, from the late fourth through the early third millennia BC. At the earliest stage, around 3300 BC, hieroglyphs were not a fully developed
writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communic ...
, being at a transitional stage of
proto-writing Proto-writing consists of visible marks Communication, communicating limited information. Such systems emerged from earlier traditions of symbol systems in the early Neolithic, as early as the 7th millennium BC in Ancient China, China. They used ...
; over the time leading up to the 27th century BC, grammatical features such as
nisba The Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontin ...
formation can be seen to occur. Old Egyptian is dated from the oldest known complete sentence, including a
finite verb Traditionally, a finite verb A verb () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (lin ...
, which has been found. Discovered in the tomb of
Seth-Peribsen Seth-Peribsen (also known as Ash-Peribsen, Peribsen and Perabsen) is the serekh name of an early Egyptian monarch (pharaoh Pharaoh (, ; cop, ''Pǝrro'') is the common title now used for the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster ...
(dated c. 2690 BC), the seal impression reads: : Extensive texts appear from about 2600 BC. The
Pyramid Texts The Pyramid Texts are the oldest ancient Egyptian funerary texts, dating to the late Old Kingdom of Egypt, Old Kingdom. They are the earliest known corpus of ancient Egyptian religious texts. Written in Old Egyptian, the pyramid texts were carved ...
are the largest body of literature written in this phase of the language. One of its distinguishing characteristics is the tripling of
ideogram upright=1, Ideograms in the Church of the Visitation, Jerusalem. Five of the symbols are pictograms augmented with red bars representing the idea of "no" or "not allowed". The symbol at bottom left is a pictogram conveying the meaning of "silenc ...

ideogram
s, phonograms, and
determinative A determinative, also known as a taxogram or semagram, is an ideogram upright=1, Ideograms in the Church of the Visitation, Jerusalem. Five of the symbols are pictograms augmented with red bars representing the idea of "no" or "not allowed". T ...
s to indicate the plural. Overall, it does not differ significantly from Middle Egyptian, the classical stage of the language, though it is based on a different dialect. In the period of the 3rd dynasty (c. 2650 – c. 2575 BC), many of the principles of hieroglyphic writing were regularized. From that time on, until the script was supplanted by an early version of Coptic (about the third and fourth centuries), the system remained virtually unchanged. Even the number of signs used remained constant at about 700 for more than 2000 years.


Middle Egyptian

Middle Egyptian was spoken for about 700 years, beginning around 2000 BC. As the classical variant of Egyptian, Middle Egyptian is the best-documented variety of the language, and has attracted the most attention by far from
Egyptology Egyptology (from ''Egypt'' and Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...
. Whilst most Middle Egyptian is seen written on monuments by hieroglyphs, it was also written using a cursive variant, and the related
hieratic Hieratic (; grc, ἱερατικά, hieratiká, priestly) is the name given to a cursive Cursive (also known as script, among other names) is any style of penmanship Penmanship is the technique of writing Writing is a medium of hu ...
. Middle Egyptian first became available to modern scholarship with the decipherment of hieroglyphs in the early 19th century. The first grammar of Middle Egyptian was published by
Adolf Erman Johann Peter Adolf Erman (; 31 October 185426 June 1937) was a renowned German Egyptologist Egyptology (from ''Egypt'' and Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα ...

Adolf Erman
in 1894, surpassed in 1927 by
Alan Gardiner Sir Alan Henderson Gardiner (29 March 1879, in Eltham, London, Eltham – 19 December 1963, in Oxford) was an English Egyptologist, linguist, philologist, and independent scholar. He is regarded as one of the premier Egyptologists of the early and ...
's work. Middle Egyptian has been well-understood since then, although certain points of the
verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being (''be'', ''exist'', ''stand''). In the usual description of E ...
al inflection remained open to revision until the mid-20th century, notably due to the contributions of
Hans Jakob Polotsky Hans Jakob Polotsky ( he, הנס יעקב פולוצקי; also Hans Jacob Polotsky, Hans Jakob Polotzky; 13 September 1905 – 10 August 1991) was an Israeli orientalist, linguist, and professor of Semitic languages and Egyptology at the Hebrew U ...
. The Middle Egyptian stage is taken to have ended around the 14th century BC, giving rise to
Late Egyptian Late Egyptian is the stage of the Egyptian language The Egyptian language or Ancient Egyptian ( egy, 𓂋𓏺𓈖 𓆎𓅓𓏏𓊖, , cop, ϯⲙⲉⲧⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ) is an Afro-Asiatic language Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), als ...
. This transition was taking place in the later period of the
Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt The Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt (notated Dynasty XVIII, alternatively 18th Dynasty or Dynasty 18) is classified as the first dynasty of the New Kingdom of Egypt New is an adjective referring to something recently made, discovered, or created. Ne ...
(known as the
Amarna Period The Amarna Period was an era of History of Ancient Egypt, Egyptian history during the later half of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt, Eighteenth Dynasty when the royal residence of the pharaoh and his queen was shifted to Akhetaten ('Horizon of the A ...
). Middle Egyptian was retained as a literary
standard language A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety In sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural Norm (sociology ...
, and in this usage survived until the Christianisation of
Roman Egypt , conventional_long_name = Roman Egypt , common_name = Egypt , subdivision = Roman province, Province , nation = the Roman Empire , era = Late antiquity , capital = Alexandria , title_leader = Praefectus Augustalis , image_ ...

Roman Egypt
in the 4th century.


Late Egyptian

Late Egyptian Late Egyptian is the stage of the Egyptian language The Egyptian language or Ancient Egyptian ( egy, 𓂋𓏺𓈖 𓆎𓅓𓏏𓊖, , cop, ϯⲙⲉⲧⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ) is an Afro-Asiatic language Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), als ...
, appearing around 1350 BC, is represented by a large body of religious and secular
literature Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entitie ...
, comprising such examples as the ''
Story of Wenamun The Story of Wenamun (alternately known as the Report of Wenamun, The Misadventures of Wenamun, Voyage of Unamūn, or nformallyas just Wenamun) is a literary Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a medium of human c ...
'', the love poems of the Chester–Beatty I papyrus, and the '' Instruction of Any''.
Instructions Instruction or instructions may refer to: Computing * Instruction, one operation of a processor within a computer architecture instruction set * Computer program, a collection of instructions Music * Instruction (band), a 2002 rock band from New Y ...
became a popular literary genre of the New Kingdom, which took the form of advice on proper behavior. Late Egyptian was also the language of New Kingdom administration. The Hebrew Bible contains some words, terms and names that are thought by scholars to be Egyptian in origin. An example of this is
Zaphnath-Paaneah Zaphnath-Paaneah ( hbo, צָפְנַת פַּעְנֵחַ , grc, label=Septuagint, LXX, Ψονθομφανήχ ) is the name given by Pharaohs in the Bible#In the Book of Genesis, Pharaoh to Joseph (son of Jacob), Joseph in the Book of Genesis, ...
, the Egyptian name given to
Joseph Joseph is a common masculine given name, derived from the Hebrew Yosef (יוֹסֵף). The form "Joseph" is used mostly in English, French and partially German-speaking (alongside "Josef") countries. This spelling is also found as a variant in th ...
.


Demotic and Coptic

Demotic is the name given to the Egyptian script used to write both the Egyptian vernacular of the Late Period from the eight century BC as well as texts in archaic forms of the language. It was written in a script derived from a northern variety of
hieratic Hieratic (; grc, ἱερατικά, hieratiká, priestly) is the name given to a cursive Cursive (also known as script, among other names) is any style of penmanship Penmanship is the technique of writing Writing is a medium of hu ...
writing. The last evidence of archaic Egyptian in Demotic is a graffito written in 452 BC, but Demotic was used to write vernacular before and in parallel with the Coptic script throughout the early
Ptolemaic Kingdom The Ptolemaic Kingdom (; grc-koi, Πτολεμαϊκὴ βασιλεία, Ptolemaïkḕ basileía) was an Ancient Greece, Ancient Greek state based in Egypt during the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic Period. It was founded in 305 BC by Ptolemy ...
until it was supplanted by the
Coptic alphabet The Coptic alphabet is the script used for writing the . The repertoire of s is based on the augmented by letters borrowed from the Egyptian and is the first alphabetic script used for the . There are several Coptic alphabets, as the Coptic w ...

Coptic alphabet
entirely.
Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the 17th century * Coptic alphabet, th ...
is the name given to the late Egyptian vernacular when it was written in a Greek-based alphabet, the Coptic alphabet; it flourished from the time of Early Christianity (c. 31/33–324) but first appeared during the
Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period spans the period of History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31  ...
. It survived into the medieval period. By the 16th century Coptic was dwindling rapidly due to the persecution of Coptic Christians under the
Mamluks Mamluk ( ar, مملوك, mamlūk (singular), , ''mamālīk'' (plural), translated as "one who is owned", meaning "History of slavery in the Muslim world, slave", also Arabic transliteration, transliterated as ''Mameluke'', ''mamluq'', ''mamluke ...
. It probably survived in the Egyptian countryside as a spoken language for several centuries after that. Coptic survives as the liturgical language of the
Coptic Orthodox Church The Coptic Orthodox Church ( cop, Ϯⲉⲕ̀ⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ⲛ̀ⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ ⲛ̀ⲟⲣⲑⲟⲇⲟⲝⲟⲥ, translit=Ti.eklyseya en.remenkimi en.orthodoxos, lit=the Egyptian Orthodox Church; ar, الكنيسة القبطي ...

Coptic Orthodox Church
and the
Coptic Catholic Church The Coptic Catholic Church ( ar, الكنيسة القبطية الكاثوليكية; la, Ecclesia Catholica Coptorum) is an Eastern Catholic particular church in full communion Full communion is a communion or relationship of full underst ...
.


Dialects

Most hieroglyphic Egyptian texts are written in a literary prestige register rather than the
vernacular A vernacular or vernacular language refers to the language or dialect that is spoken by people that are inhabiting a particular country or region. The vernacular is typically the native language, normally Spoken language, spoken informally rath ...
speech variety of their author. As a result, dialectical differences are not apparent in written Egyptian until the adoption of the
Coptic alphabet The Coptic alphabet is the script used for writing the . The repertoire of s is based on the augmented by letters borrowed from the Egyptian and is the first alphabetic script used for the . There are several Coptic alphabets, as the Coptic w ...

Coptic alphabet
. Nevertheless, it is clear that these differences existed before the Coptic period. In one Late Egyptian letter (dated c. 1200 BC), a scribe jokes that his colleague's writing is incoherent like “the speech of a
Delta Delta commonly refers to: * Delta (letter) (Δ or δ), a letter of the Greek alphabet * River delta, a landform at the mouth of a river * D (NATO phonetic alphabet: "Delta"), the fourth letter of the modern English alphabet * Delta Air Lines, an Ame ...
man with a man of
Elephantine Elephantine ( ; ; arz, جزيرة الفنتين, Gazīrat il-Fantīn; el, Ἐλεφαντίνη ''Elephantíne''; ''(Ə)iêw'') is an island on the Nile, forming part of the city of Aswan in Upper Egypt. The archaeological sites on the isl ...
.” Recently, some evidence of internal dialects has been found in pairs of similar words in Egyptian that, based on similarities with later dialects of Coptic, may be derived from northern and southern dialects of Egyptian. Written Coptic has five major dialects, which differ mainly in graphic conventions, most notably the southern Saidic dialect, the main classical dialect, and the northern Bohairic dialect, currently used in Coptic Church services.


Writing systems

Most surviving texts in the Egyptian language are written on stone in
hieroglyphs A hieroglyph (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million ...
. The native name for Egyptian hieroglyphic writing is ' ("writing of the gods' words"). In antiquity, most texts were written on perishable
papyrus Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick paper that was used in ancient times as a writing surface. It was made from the pith of the papyrus plant, ''Cyperus papyrus'', a wetland sedge. ''Papyrus'' (plural: ''papyri'') can also refer to a do ...

papyrus
in hieratic and (later) demotic. There was also a form of
cursive hieroglyphs A section of the Papyrus of Ani showing cursive hieroglyphs. Cursive hieroglyphs, or hieroglyphic book hand, are a form of Egyptian hieroglyphs Egyptian hieroglyphs () were the formal writing system A writing system is a method of visually ...
, used for religious documents on papyrus, such as the ''
Book of the Dead The ''Book of the Dead'' is an ancient Egyptian funerary text The literature that makes up the ancient Egyptian funerary texts is a collection of religious documents that were used in ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization o ...
'' of the
Twentieth Dynasty#REDIRECT Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt 20 (twenty; Roman numeral XX) is the natural number In mathematics, the natural numbers are those used for counting (as in "there are ''six'' coins on the table") and total order, ordering (as in "this is ...
; it was simpler to write than the hieroglyphs in stone inscriptions, but it was not as cursive as hieratic and lacked the wide use of . Additionally, there was a variety of stone-cut hieratic, known as "lapidary hieratic". In the language's final stage of development, the
Coptic alphabet The Coptic alphabet is the script used for writing the . The repertoire of s is based on the augmented by letters borrowed from the Egyptian and is the first alphabetic script used for the . There are several Coptic alphabets, as the Coptic w ...

Coptic alphabet
replaced the older writing system. Hieroglyphs are employed in two ways in Egyptian texts: as
ideogram upright=1, Ideograms in the Church of the Visitation, Jerusalem. Five of the symbols are pictograms augmented with red bars representing the idea of "no" or "not allowed". The symbol at bottom left is a pictogram conveying the meaning of "silenc ...

ideogram
s to represent the idea depicted by the pictures and, more commonly, as phonograms to represent their
phonetic Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) an ...

phonetic
value. As the phonetic realisation of Egyptian cannot be known with certainty, Egyptologists use a system of
transliteration Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system, based on a repertoire of specific elements or symbols, or that repertoire * Script (styles of h ...
to denote each sound that could be represented by a uniliteral hieroglyph.


Phonology

While the consonantal phonology of the Egyptian language may be reconstructed, the exact
phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of lang ...

phonetics
are unknown, and there are varying opinions on how to classify the individual phonemes. In addition, because Egyptian is recorded over a full 2000 years, the Archaic and Late stages being separated by the amount of time that separates
Old Latin Old Latin, also known as Early Latin or Archaic Latin ( la, prīsca Latīnitās, lit=the Latinity of the ancients) was the in the period before 75 BC, i.e. before the age of . According to most current theories, it is descended from a common ; ...
from , significant phonetic changes must have occurred during that lengthy time frame. Phonologically, Egyptian contrasted labial, alveolar, palatal, velar, uvular, pharyngeal, and glottal consonants. Egyptian also contrasted voiceless and emphatic consonants, as with other Afroasiatic languages, but exactly how the emphatic consonants were realised is unknown. Early research had assumed that the opposition in stops was one of voicing, but it is now thought to be either one of tenuis and
emphatic consonant In Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family currently present in West Asia, North and East Africa, and Malta. Semitic may also refer to: Religions * Abrahamic ...
s, as in many Semitic languages, or one of aspirated and
ejective consonant In phonetics, ejective consonants are usually voiceless consonants that are pronounced with a Airstream mechanism#Glottalic initiation, glottalic egressive airstream. In the phonology of a particular language, ejectives may contrast with Aspirated ...
s, as in many
Cushitic languages The Cushitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family A language is a structured system of communication ...

Cushitic languages
. Since vowels were not written until Coptic, reconstructions of the Egyptian vowel system are much more uncertain and rely mainly on evidence from Coptic and records of Egyptian words, especially proper nouns, in other languages/writing systems. Also, scribal errors provide evidence of changes in pronunciation over time. The actual pronunciations reconstructed by such means are used only by a few specialists in the language. For all other purposes, the Egyptological pronunciation is used, but it often bears little resemblance to what is known of how Egyptian was pronounced.


Consonants

The following consonants are reconstructed for Archaic (before 2600 BC) and Old Egyptian (2686–2181 BC), with IPA equivalents in square brackets if they differ from the usual transcription scheme: *Possibly unvoiced
ejectives In phonetics, ejective consonants are usually voiceless consonants that are pronounced with a Airstream mechanism#Glottalic initiation, glottalic egressive airstream. In the phonology of a particular language, ejectives may contrast with Aspirated ...
.
has no independent representation in the hieroglyphic orthography, and it is frequently written as if it were or . That is probably because the standard for written Egyptian is based on a dialect in which had merged with other sonorants. Also, the rare cases of occurring are not represented. The phoneme is written as in initial position ( = 'father') and immediately after a stressed vowel ( = 'bad') and as word-medially immediately before a stressed vowel ( = 'you will appear') and are unmarked word-finally ( = 'father'). In Middle Egyptian (2055–1650 BC), a number of consonantal shifts take place. By the beginning of the Middle Kingdom period, and had merged, and the graphemes and are used interchangeably. In addition, had become word-initially in an unstressed syllable ( > "colour") and after a stressed vowel ( > ' he godApis'). In Late Egyptian (1069–700 BC), the phonemes ''d ḏ g'' gradually merge with their counterparts ''t ṯ k'' ( > Akkadian transcription ''ti-ba-an'' 'dbn-weight'). Also, ''ṯ ḏ'' often become , but they are retained in many
lexeme A lexeme () is a unit of lexical meaning that underlies a set of words that are related through inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeol ...
s; ''ꜣ'' becomes ; and become at the end of a stressed syllable and eventually null word-finally: > Akkadian transcription -''pi-ta'' 'bow'. More changes occur in the 1st millennium BC and the first centuries AD, leading to Coptic (1st–17th centuries AD). In Sahidic ''ẖ ḫ ḥ'' had merged into ''š'' (most often from ''ḫ'') and (most often ''ẖ ḥ''). Bohairic and Akhmimic are more conservative and have a velar fricative ( in Bohairic, in Akhmimic). Pharyngeal ''*ꜥ'' had merged into glottal after it had affected the quality of the surrounding vowels. is not indicated orthographically unless it follows a stressed vowel; then, it is marked by doubling the vowel letter (except in Bohairic): Akhmimic , Sahidic and Lycopolitan ''šoʔp'', Bohairic ''šoʔp'' 'to be' < ''ḫpr.w'' * 'has become'.There is evidence of Bohairic having a phonemic glottal stop: . The phoneme was probably pronounced as a fricative , becoming after a stressed vowel in syllables that had been closed in earlier Egyptian (compare < 'gold' and < * 'horn'). The phonemes occur only in
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
loanwords, with rare exceptions triggered by a nearby : < ''ꜥ.t n.t sbꜣ.w'' 'school'. Earlier ''*d ḏ g q'' are preserved as ejective ''t' c' k' k'' before vowels in Coptic. Although the same graphemes are used for the pulmonic stops (), the existence of the former may be inferred because the stops are allophonically aspirated before stressed vowels and
sonorant In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical pro ...
consonants. In Bohairic, the allophones are written with the special graphemes , but other dialects did not mark aspiration: Sahidic , Bohairic 'the sun'.In other dialects, the graphemes are used only for clusters of a stop followed by and were not used for aspirates: see . Thus, Bohairic does not mark aspiration for reflexes of older ''*d ḏ g q'': Sahidic and Bohairic 'horn'. Also, the definite article is unaspirated when the next word begins with a glottal stop: Bohairic 'the account'. The consonant system of Coptic is as follows: *Various orthographic representations; see above.


Vowels

Here is the vowel system reconstructed for earlier Egyptian: Vowels are always short in unstressed syllables ( = 'first') and long in open stressed syllables ( = 'man'), but they can be either short or long in closed stressed syllables ( = 'we', = 'to stay'). In the Late
New Kingdom New is an adjective referring to something recently made, discovered, or created. New or NEW may refer to: Music * New, singer of K-pop group The Boyz Boyz or The Boyz may refer to: Music Bands *The Boyz (German band), a German boy band of th ...
, after
Ramses II Ramesses II ( egy, wikt:rꜥ-ms-sw, rꜥ-ms-sw meaning "Ra is the one who bore him", ''Rīʿa-məsī-sū'', ; ) was the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful ...

Ramses II
, around 1200 BC, changes to (like the
Canaanite shift In historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change over time. Principal concerns of historical linguistics include: # to describe and account for observed changes i ...
), '(the god) Horus' > (Akkadian transcription: -ḫuru). , therefore, changes to : 'tree' > (Akkadian transcription: -sini). In the Early New Kingdom, short stressed changes to : "
Menes Menes (fl. c. 3200–3000 BC; ; egy, mnj, probably pronounced *; grc, Μήνης) was a pharaoh of the Early Dynastic Period of ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along ...

Menes
" > (Akkadian transcription: ma-né-e). Later, probably 1000–800 BC, a short stressed changes to : "
Tanis Tanis; egy, ḏꜥn.t ; ar, صان الحجر, Ṣān al-Ḥaǧar; ; cop, ϫⲁⲛⲓ or or is the Greek name for ancient Egyptian ''ḏꜥn.t'', an important archaeological site in the north-eastern Nile Delta The Nile Delta ( ar, د ...
" was borrowed into Hebrew as *ṣuʕn but would become transcribed as during the
Neo-Assyrian Empire The Neo-Assyrian Empire (Assyrian cuneiform Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disam ...

Neo-Assyrian Empire
. Unstressed vowels, especially after a stress, become : 'good' > (Akkadian transcription -na-a-pa). changes to next to and : 'soldier' > (earlier Akkadian transcription: ú-i-ú, later: ú-e-eḫ). In Sahidic and Bohairic Coptic, Late Egyptian stressed becomes and becomes , but are unchanged in the other dialects: 'brother' > Sahaidic and Bohairic , Akhminic, Lycopolitan and Fayyumic ; 'name' > > Sahaidic and Bohairic , Akhminic, Lycopolitan and Fayyumic . However, Sahaidic and Bohairic preserve , and Fayyumic renders it as in the presence of guttural fricatives: 'ten thousand' > Sahaidic, Akhmimic and Lycopolitan , Bohairic , Fayyumic . In Akhmimic and Lycopolitan, becomes before etymological : 'river' > > Sahaidic , Bohairic , Akhminic , Fayyumic . Similarly, the diphthongs , , which normally have reflexes , in Sahidic and are preserved in other dialects, are in Bohairic (in non-final position) and respectively: "to me, to them" Sahidic , Akhminic and Lycopolitan , Fayyumic , Bohairic . Sahidic and Bohairic preserve before (etymological or from lenited or tonic-syllable coda ),: Sahidic and Bohairic 'to you (fem.)' < < . may also have different reflexes before
sonorant In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical pro ...
s, near
sibilant In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of s, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical properties of speech. Th ...
s and in diphthongs. Old surfaces as after nasals and occasionally other consonants: 'god' > has acquired phonemic status, as is evidenced by minimal pairs like 'to approach' < ẖnn vs. 'inside' < ẖnw. An etymological > often surfaces as next to and after etymological pharyngeals: < 'street' (Semitic loan). Most Coptic dialects have two phonemic vowels in unstressed position. Unstressed vowels generally became , written as or null ( in Bohairic and Fayyumic word-finally), but pretonic unstressed /a/ occurs as a reflex of earlier unstressed near an etymological pharyngeal, velar or sonorant ('to become many' < ꜥšꜣ ) or an unstressed . Pretonic is underlyingly : Sahidic 'ibis' < h(j)bj.w . Thus, the following is the Sahidic vowel system c. AD 400:


Phonotactics

Earlier Egyptian has the syllable structure CV(:)(C) in which V is long in open stressed syllables and short elsewhere. In addition, CV:C or CVCC can occur in word-final, stressed position. However, CV:C occurs only in the infinitive of biconsonantal verbal roots, CVCC only in some plurals. In later Egyptian, stressed CV:C, CVCC, and CV become much more common because of the loss of final dentals and glides.


Stress

Earlier Egyptian stresses one of the last two syllables. According to some scholars, that is a development from a stage in Proto-Egyptian in which the third-last syllable could be stressed, which was lost as open posttonic syllables lost their vowels: > 'transformation'.


Egyptological pronunciation

As a convention, Egyptologists make use of an "Egyptological pronunciation" in English: the consonants are given fixed values, and vowels are inserted according to essentially arbitrary rules. Two of these consonants known as alef and ayin are generally pronounced as the vowel . Yodh is pronounced , ''w'' . Between other consonants, is then inserted. Thus, for example, the Egyptian name Ramesses is most accurately transliterated as ''Rꜥ-ms-sw'' and transcribed as "Rɑmɛssu"; it means " has Fashioned (literally, 'Borne') Him". In transcription, , , and all represent consonants; for example, the name
Tutankhamun Tutankhamun (, egy, wikt:twt-ꜥnḫ-jmn, twt-ꜥnḫ-jmn ''Təwātə-ʿānəḫ-amānə'', ; Egyptological pronunciation ''Tūt-anḫ-āmen'', ;  1341 1323 BC), commonly referred to as King Tut, was an ancient Egyptian phara ...

Tutankhamun
(1341–1323 BC) was written in Egyptian as ''twt-ꜥnḫ-ı͗mn''. Experts have assigned generic sounds to these values as a matter of convenience, which is an artificial pronunciation and should not be mistaken for how Egyptian was ever pronounced at any time. For example, the name ''twt-ꜥnḫ-ı͗mn'' is conventionally pronounced in English, but, in his lifetime, it was likely to be pronounced something like *, transliterable as ''təwā́təʾ-ʿā́nəkh-ʾamā́nəʾ''.


Morphology

Egyptian is fairly typical for an Afroasiatic language in that at the heart of its vocabulary is most commonly a root of three consonants, but there are sometimes only two consonants in the root: rꜥ(w) "sun" (the is thought to have been something like a voiced pharyngeal fricative). Larger roots are also common and can have up to five consonants: ''sḫdḫd'' "be upside-down". Vowels and other consonants are added to the root to derive different meanings, as Arabic, Hebrew, and other Afroasiatic languages still do. However, because vowels and sometimes glides are not written in any Egyptian script except Coptic, it can be difficult to reconstruct the actual forms of words. Thus, orthographic "to choose", for example, can represent the
stative According to some linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic anal ...
(whose endings can be left unexpressed), the
imperfective The imperfective ( abbreviated or more ambiguously ) is a grammatical aspect Aspect is a grammatical category A grammatical category or grammatical feature is a property of items within the grammar In linguistics, the grammar (from Ancient ...
forms or even a
verbal noun A verbal noun or gerundial noun is a verb form that functions as a noun. An example of a verbal noun in English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in ...
("a choosing").


Nouns

Egyptian
noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many l ...

noun
s can be masculine or feminine (the latter is indicated, as with other Afroasiatic languages, by adding a ''-t'') and singular or plural (''-w / -wt''), or dual (''-wy / -ty'').
Article Article often refers to: * Article (grammar) An article is any member of a class of dedicated words that are used with noun phrases to mark the identifiability of the referents of the noun phrases. The category of articles constitutes a part of ...
s, both definite and indefinite, do not occur until Late Egyptian but are used widely thereafter.


Pronouns

Egyptian has three different types of
personal pronoun Personal pronouns are pronoun In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas ...
s: suffix,
enclitic In morphology and syntax In linguistics, syntax () is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of Sentence (linguistics), sentences (sentence structure) in a given Natural language, language, usually including word ...
(called "dependent" by Egyptologists) and independent pronouns. There are also a number of verbal endings added to the
infinitive Infinitive (abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase; for exa ...
to form the stative and are regarded by some linguists as a "fourth" set of personal pronouns. They bear close resemblance to their Semitic counterparts. The three main sets of personal pronouns are as follows: Demonstrative pronouns have separate masculine and feminine singular forms and common plural forms for both genders: Finally are interrogative pronouns. They bear a close resemblance to their Semitic and
Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifically Morocco ) , ...
counterparts:


Verbs

Egyptian verbs have finite and non-finite forms. Finite verbs convey
person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is ...
, tense/
aspect Aspect or Aspects may refer to: Entertainment * ''Aspect magazine ASPECT Volume 9: Performance ''ASPECT'' was a biannual DVD The DVD (common abbreviation for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital optical disc data stor ...
, mood and
voice The human voice consists of sound Voice production, made by a human being using the vocal tract, including Speech, talking, singing, Laughter, laughing, crying, screaming, shouting, humming or yelling. The human voice frequency is specifically a ...
. Each is indicated by a set of
affix In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the met ...
al morphemes attached to the verb: the basic conjugation is ''sḏm.f'' "he hears". Non-finite verbs occur without a subject and are the infinitive, the
participle In linguistics, a participle () (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through t ...
s and the negative infinitive, which '' Egyptian Grammar: Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs'' calls "negatival complement". There are two main tenses/aspects in Egyptian:
past The past is the set of all Spacetime#Basic concepts, events that occurred before a given point in time. The past is contrasted with and defined by the present and the future. The concept of the past is derived from the linear fashion in which h ...
and temporally-unmarked
imperfective The imperfective ( abbreviated or more ambiguously ) is a grammatical aspect Aspect is a grammatical category A grammatical category or grammatical feature is a property of items within the grammar In linguistics, the grammar (from Ancient ...
and
aorist Aorist (; abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase; for exam ...
forms. The latter are determined from their
syntactic In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the ...

syntactic
context.


Adjectives

Adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
s agree in
gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between femininity Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women A woman is ...
and number with the nouns they modify: ''s nfr'' "(the) good man" and ''st nfrt'' "(the) good woman". Attributive adjectives in phrases are after the nouns they modify: "(the) great god" (''nṯr ꜥꜣ''). However, when they are used independently as a
predicate Predicate or predication may refer to: Computer science *Syntactic predicate (in parser technology) guidelines the parser process Linguistics *Predicate (grammar), a grammatical component of a sentence Philosophy and logic * Predication (philo ...
in an
adjectival phraseAn adjective phrase (or adjectival phrase) is a phrase the Head (linguistics), head of which is an adjective, almost any grammar or syntax textbook or dictionary of linguistics terminology defines the adjective phrase in a similar way, e.g. Kesner Bl ...
, as "(the) god (is) great" (''ꜥꜣ nṯr'') (literally, "great (is the) god"), adjectives precede the nouns they modify.


Prepositions

While Afroasiatic, Egyptian makes use of
preposition Prepositions and postpositions, together called adpositions (or broadly, in English, simply prepositions), are a used to express spatial or temporal relations (''in'', ''under'', ''towards'', ''before'') or mark various (''of'', ''for''). A pre ...
s, more common in English and other
Indo-European languages The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, based on speech and gesture (spoken language), Signed language, sign, or o ...
.


Adverbs

Adverbs, in Egyptian, are at the end of a sentence: in ''zı͗.n nṯr ı͗m'' "the god went there", "there" (''ı͗m'') is the adverb. Here are some other common Egyptian adverbs:


Syntax

Old Egyptian, Classical Egyptian, and Middle Egyptian have verb-subject-object as the basic
word order In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languag ...
. However, that changed in the later stages of the language, including Late Egyptian, Demotic and Coptic. The equivalent to "the man opens the door" would be a sentence that would correspond, in the language's earlier stages, to "opens the man the door" (''wn s ꜥꜣ''). The so-called
construct state In Afro-Asiatic languages, the first noun in a genitive phrase of a possessed noun followed by a possessor noun often takes on a special morphology (linguistics), morphological form, which is termed the construct state (Latin ''status constructus'' ...
combines two or more nouns to express the
genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, a ...
, as in Semitic and
Berber languages The Berber languages, also known as the Amazigh languages (Berber name: , ; Neo-Tifinagh: ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ, Tuareg Tifinagh: ⵜⵎⵣⵗⵜ, , ), are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. They comprise a group of closely related l ...

Berber languages
. The early stages of Egyptian have no articles, but the later forms use ''pꜣ'', ''tꜣ'' and ''nꜣ''. As with other Afroasiatic languages, Egyptian uses two grammatical genders: masculine and feminine. It also uses three grammatical numbers: singular, dual and plural. However, later Egyptian has a tendency to lose the dual as a productive form.


Legacy

The Egyptian language survived into the early modern period in the form of the
Coptic language Coptic (Bohairic Coptic: , ) is a family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social te ...
. Coptic survived past the 16th century only as an isolated vernacular. However, in antiquity, Egyptian exerted some influence on
Classical Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient Greek, ancient , ''Hellēnikḗ'') is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European family of languages, nati ...
, so that a number of Egyptian loanwords into Greek survive into modern usage. Examples include ''
ebony Ebony is a dense black/brown hardwood is a popular hardwood Hardwood is wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the Plant stem, stems and roots of trees and other woody plants. It is an organic materiala natura ...
'' (Egyptian 𓍁𓈖𓏭𓆱 ''hbny'', via Greek and then Latin), ''
ivory Ivory is a hard, white material from the tusk Tusks are elongated, continuously growing front teeth A tooth (plural teeth) is a hard, calcification, calcified structure found in the jaws (or mouths) of many vertebrates and used to Mastica ...
'' (Egyptian ''ꜣbw'', literally "ivory, elephant"), '':wikt:natron, natron'' (via Greek), '':wikt:lily, lily'' (Coptic ''hlēri'', via Greek), '':wikt:ibis, ibis'' (Egyptian ''hbj'', via Greek), '':wikt:oasis, oasis'' (Demotic ''wḥj'', via Greek), perhaps '':wikt:barge, barge'' (Greek Wikt:βᾶρις, βᾶρις ''baris'' "Egyptian boat" from Coptic ⲃⲁⲁⲣⲉ ''baʔrə'' "small boat" from Egyptian Wikt:bꜣjr, bꜣjr ), and possibly '':wikt:cat, cat''; and of course a number of terms and proper names directly associated with Ancient Egypt, such as '':wikt:pharaoh, pharaoh'' (Egyptian 𓉐𓉻 ''pr-ꜥꜣ'', literally "great house", transmitted via Hebrew and Greek). The Name of Egypt, name ''Egypt'' itself is etymologically identical to that of the ''Copts'', ultimately from the
Late Egyptian Late Egyptian is the stage of the Egyptian language The Egyptian language or Ancient Egyptian ( egy, 𓂋𓏺𓈖 𓆎𓅓𓏏𓊖, , cop, ϯⲙⲉⲧⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ) is an Afro-Asiatic language Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), als ...
name of Memphis (Egypt), Memphis, ''Hikuptah'', a continuation of Middle Egyptian ' "temple of the Egyptian soul, ka (soul) of Ptah".


See also

*''Altägyptisches Wörterbuch'' *Ancient Egyptian literature *
Coptic language Coptic (Bohairic Coptic: , ) is a family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social te ...
*Demotic Egyptian *Egyptian Arabic *Egyptian hieroglyphs *Egyptian numerals *Hieratic *Transliteration of Ancient Egyptian


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * *


Literature


Overviews

* Allen, James P., ''The Ancient Egyptian Language: An Historical Study'', Cambridge University Press, 2013. (hardback), (paperback). * Loprieno, Antonio,
Ancient Egyptian: A Linguistic Introduction
', Cambridge University Press, 1995. (hardback), (paperback). * Peust, Carsten, ''Egyptian phonology: An Introduction to the Phonology of a Dead Language'', Peust & Gutschmidt, 1999.
PDF online
. * Vergote, Jozef, "Problèmes de la «Nominalbildung» en égyptien", ''Chronique d'Égypte'' 51 (1976), pp. 261–285. * Vycichl, Werner, ''La Vocalisation de la Langue Égyptienne'', IFAO, Cairo, 1990. .


Grammars

* James P. Allen, Allen, James P., ''Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs'', first edition, Cambridge University Press, 1999. (hardback) (paperback). *Joris Borghouts, Borghouts, Joris F., ''Egyptian: An Introduction to the Writing and Language of the Middle Kingdom'', two vols., Peeters, 2010. (paperback). * Collier, Mark, and Manley, Bill, ''How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Teach Yourself'', British Museum Press () and University of California Press (), both 1998. * Alan Gardiner, Gardiner, Sir Alan H., '' Egyptian Grammar: Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs'', Griffith Institute, Oxford, 3rd ed. 1957. . * Hoch, James E., ''Middle Egyptian Grammar'', Benben Publications, Mississauga, 1997. . * Selden, Daniel L., ''Hieroglyphic Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Literature of the Middle Kingdom'', University of California Press, 2013. (hardback).


Dictionaries

* Adolf Erman, Erman, Adolf and Hermann Grapow, Grapow, Hermann, ''Das Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache'', Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH, Berlin, 1992. (paperback), (reference vols. 1–5). * Raymond O. Faulkner, Faulkner, Raymond O., ''A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian'', Griffith Institute, Oxford, 1962. (hardback). * Leonard H. Lesko, Lesko, Leonard H., ''A Dictionary of Late Egyptian'', 2nd ed., 2 vols., B. C. Scribe Publications, Providence, Rhode Island, Providence, 2002 et 2004. (vol.1), (vol. 2). * Shennum, David, ''English-Egyptian Index of Faulkner's Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian'', Undena Publications, 1977. . * Bonnamy, Yvonne and Sadek, Ashraf-Alexandre, ''Dictionnaire des hiéroglyphes: Hiéroglyphes-Français'', Actes Sud, Arles, 2010. . * Werner Vycichl, Vycichl, Werner, ''Dictionnaire Étymologique de la Langue Copte'', Peeters, Leuven, 1984. . * :fr:Christian de Vartavan, de Vartavan, Christian, ''Vocalised Dictionary of Ancient Egyptian'', SAIS, London, 2016. . [Free PDF download: https://www.academia.edu/24283355/Vocalised_Dictionary_of_Ancient_Egyptian]


Online dictionaries


''The Beinlich Wordlist''
an online searchable dictionary of ancient Egyptian words (translations are in German).
''Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae''
an online service available from October 2004 which is associated with various German Egyptological projects, including the monumenta
Altägyptisches Wörterbuch
of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Berlin, Germany).
Mark Vygus Dictionary 2018
a searchable dictionary of ancient Egyptian words, arranged by glyph. Important Note: The old grammars and dictionaries of E. A. Wallis Budge have long been considered obsolete by Egyptologists, even though these books are still available for purchase. More book information is available a
Glyphs and Grammars


External links


Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae: Dictionary of the Egyptian languageThe Egyptian connection: Egyptian and the Semitic languages
by Helmut Satzinger
Ancient Egyptian in the wiki ''Glossing Ancient Languages''
(recommendations for the Interlinear gloss, Interlinear Morphemic Glossing of Ancient Egyptian texts) {{DEFAULTSORT:Egyptian Language Ancient Egyptian language, Languages attested from the 27th century BC Extinct languages of Africa