Coptic language
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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 territory, typically subject to the same Politics, ...
of closely-related
dialect The term dialect (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 the power of th ...
s descended from the
Ancient Egyptian language 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 ...
and historically spoken by the
Copts The Copts ( cop, ⲛⲓⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ, translit=niremənkhēmi; ar, الْقِبْط, ) are an ethnoreligious group indigenous to North Africa who have primarily inhabited the area of modern Egypt and Sudan since antiquity. Most e ...

Copts
of
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identif ...

Egypt
. Coptic was supplanted by
Egyptian Arabic Egyptian Arabic, locally known as Colloquial Egyptian ( ar, العامية المصرية, ), or simply ''Masri'' (), is the spoken vernacular A vernacular or vernacular language refers to the language or dialect that is spoken by people tha ...
as the primary
spoken language A spoken language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system composed of glyp ...
of Egypt following the
Muslim conquest of Egypt The Muslim conquest of Egypt by the Arabs took place between 639 and 646 AD and was overseen by the Rashidun Caliphate The Rashidun Caliphate ( ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلرَّاشِدَةُ, ') was the first of the four major ca ...
, although it remains in use today as the
liturgical language A sacred language, holy language or liturgical language is any language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most lang ...
of the
Coptic Church 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 ...

Coptic Church
. Innovations 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, as well as the me ...
,
phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or constituent parts of signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound or sign system of any particular language vari ...

phonology
, and the influx of
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 A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) 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 (linguis ...
distinguish Coptic from earlier periods of the Egyptian language. It is written with the
Coptic alphabet The Coptic alphabet is the script used for writing the Coptic language. The repertoire of glyphs is based on the Greek alphabet The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late ninth or early eighth century BC. I ...

Coptic alphabet
, a modified form of 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 several additional letters borrowed from the Demotic Egyptian script. The major Coptic dialects are Sahidic, Bohairic, Akhmimic, Fayyumic, Lycopolitan, and Oxyrhynchite. Sahidic Coptic was spoken between the cities of
Asyut AsyutAlso spelled ''Assiout'' or ''Assiut''. ( ar, أسيوط ' , ''Siōwt'' ) is the capital of the modern Asyut Governorate in Egypt Egypt ( ; ar, مِصر ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanni ...
and
Oxyrhynchus Oxyrhynchus (; grc-gre, Ὀξύρρυγχος, Oxýrrhynchos, sharp-nosed; ancient Egyptian ''Pr-Medjed''; cop, or , ''Pemdje''; ar, البهنسا, ''Al-Bahnasa'') is a city in Middle Egypt located about 160 km south-southwest of Ca ...

Oxyrhynchus
and flourished as a
literary language A literary language is the form of a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system c ...
across Egypt in the period AD. Bohairic, the language of the
Nile Delta The Nile Delta ( ar, دلتا النيل, or simply , ) is the 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"), ...
, gained prominence in the 9th century and is the dialect used by the Coptic Church. Despite being closely related, Coptic dialects differ from one another in terms of their phonology,
morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronomy), study of the shape of astronomical objects such as nebulae, galaxies ...
, and
vocabulary A vocabulary is a set of familiar words 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), m ...
.


Name

The native Coptic name for the language is () in the Bohairic (Delta) dialect and () in the Sahidic (Valley) dialect. The particle prefix from the verb (, 'to speak') forms many abstract nouns in Coptic (not only those pertaining to "language"). The term meaning 'Egyptian', literally 'person of Egypt', is a compound of , which is the
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'' ...
of the Coptic noun /, 'man, human being', + the genitive preposition (, 'of') + the word for 'Egypt', (/; cf.
Kemet
Kemet
). Thus, the whole expression literally means 'language of the people of Egypt', or simply 'Egyptian language'. Another name by which the language has been called is () from the Copto-
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 ...
form (, 'Egyptian language'). The term (, 'Egyptian language') is also attested in Sahidic, but and are both Greek in origin. In the liturgy 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 القبطية ...

Coptic Orthodox Church
, the name is more officially (, 'the Egyptian language'), () being the Egyptian word for language.


Geographic distribution

Coptic is today spoken liturgically in the
Coptic Orthodox Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts The Copts ( cop, ⲛⲓⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ, translit=niremenkhemi; ar, الْقِبْط, ) are an ethnoreligious group indigenous to North Africa who primarily inhabit the area of modern Egypt. Mos ...

Coptic Orthodox
and
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 ...
(along with
Modern Standard Arabic Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) or Modern Written Arabic (shortened to MWA), terms used mostly by Western linguists, is the variety of standardized Standardization or standardisation is the process of implementing and developing technical standa ...
). The language is spoken only in Egypt and historically has had little influence outside of the territory, except for monasteries located in
Nubia Nubia () (Nobiin language, Nobiin: Nobīn, ) is a region along the Nile river encompassing the area between the Cataracts of the Nile, first cataract of the Nile (just south of Aswan in southern Egypt) and the confluence of the Blue Nile, Blue and ...

Nubia
. Coptic's most noticeable linguistic impact has been on the various dialects of
Egyptian Arabic Egyptian Arabic, locally known as Colloquial Egyptian ( ar, العامية المصرية, ), or simply ''Masri'' (), is the spoken vernacular A vernacular or vernacular language refers to the language or dialect that is spoken by people tha ...
, which is characterised by a Coptic
substratum 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 of linguistic analysis include ...
in
lexical
lexical
, morphological,
syntactical 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 order. The term ''syntax'' ...

syntactical
, and
phonological Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or constituent parts of signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound or sign system of any particular language vari ...

phonological
features.


Influence on other languages

In addition to influencing the grammar, vocabulary and syntax of Egyptian Arabic, Coptic has lent to both
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, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
and
Modern Hebrew Modern Hebrew ( he, עברית חדשה, ''ʿivrít ḥadašá ', , ''Literal translation, lit.'' "Modern Hebrew" or "New Hebrew"), also known as Israeli Hebrew or Israeli, and generally referred to by speakers simply as Hebrew ( ), is the s ...
such words as: * ( ar, تمساح; he, תמסח), "crocodile"; (); this subsequently entered Turkish as . Coptic is grammatically masculine and hence would have been vocalised or (Sahidic: ; Bohairic: ). Hence it is unclear why the word should have entered Arabic with an initial ''t'', which would have required the word to be grammatically feminine (i.e. Sahidic: ; Bohairic: ). * , ar, طوبة, link=no, "brick"; Sahidic: , ; Bohairic , ; this subsequently entered
Catalan Catalan may refer to: Catalonia From, or related to Catalonia: * Catalan language, a Romance language * Catalans, an ethnic group formed by the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia * Països Catalans, territories where Catalan is spoken * Ca ...
and
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
(via
Andalusian Arabic Andalusian Arabic, also known as Andalusi Arabic, was a variety or varieties of Arabic spoken in Al-Andalus, the regions of the Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese and Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * frenc ...
) as and respectively, the latter of which was borrowed by
American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American English is the most influential form of ...
. * , ar, واحة, link=no, "oasis"; Sahidic: , ; Bohairic: , ; this subsequently entered Turkish as A few words of Coptic origin are found in 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, native to Greece, Cyprus, Albania, other parts of the Eastern Medite ...
; some of the words were later lent to various European languages — such as ''
barge A barge is a flat-bottomed boat Man piloting a jon boat on the Speed River within Idylwild Park">Speed_River.html" ;"title="jon boat on the Speed River">jon boat on the Speed River within Idylwild Park A flat-bottomed boat is a boat with a ...

barge
'', from Coptic (, "small boat"). However, most words of Egyptian origin that entered into Greek and subsequently into other European languages came directly from Ancient Egyptian, often Demotic. An example is the Greek (), which comes directly from Egyptian or Demotic . However, Coptic reborrowed some words of Ancient Egyptian origin into its lexicon, via Greek. For example, both Sahidic and Bohairic use the word , which was taken directly from Greek ("ebony"), originally from Egyptian . Many major cities' names in modern Egypt are Arabic adaptations of their former Coptic names: *
Tanta Tanta ( ar, طنطا ' , ) is a city in Egypt with the country's fifth largest populated area and 658,798 inhabitants as of 2018. Tanta is located between Cairo and Alexandria: north of Cairo and southeast of Alexandria. The capital of Gharbia G ...
– () *
Asyut AsyutAlso spelled ''Assiout'' or ''Assiut''. ( ar, أسيوط ' , ''Siōwt'' ) is the capital of the modern Asyut Governorate in Egypt Egypt ( ; ar, مِصر ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanni ...
– () *
Faiyum Faiyum ( ar, الفيوم ' , borrowed from cop,  ̀Ⲫⲓⲟⲙ or Ⲫⲓⲱⲙ ' from egy, pꜣ ym "the Sea, Lake") is a city in Middle Egypt. Located southwest of Cairo Cairo ( ; ar, القاهرة, al-Qāhirah, , Coptic: ...
– () *
Dumyat Dumyat or Dunmyat (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European la ...

Dumyat
– () *
Aswan Aswan (, also ; ar, أسوان, ʾAswān ; cop, Ⲥⲟⲩⲁⲛ, Souan ) is a city in the south of Egypt Egypt ( ; ar, مِصر ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanning the North Africa, northeast ...

Aswan
– () * Minya – () *
Damanhur Damanhur ( ar, دمنهور ', ; Egyptian language, Egyptian: ''Dmỉ-n-Ḥr.w''; cop, ⲡϯⲙⲓⲛ̀ϩⲱⲣ '; ; grc, Ἑρμοῦ πόλις μικρά ') is a city in Lower Egypt, and the capital of the Beheira Governorate. It is located ...
– () The Coptic name , (from Egyptian ), means "belonging to God" or "he of God". It was adapted into Arabic as , which remains a common name among Egyptian Copts to this day. It was also borrowed into Greek as the name (). That, in turn, is the source of the Russian name (), perhaps best known in the name of the mathematician
Pafnuty Chebyshev Pafnuty Lvovich Chebyshev ( rus, Пафну́тий Льво́вич Чебышёв, p=pɐfˈnutʲɪj ˈlʲvovʲɪtɕ tɕɪbɨˈʂof) ( – ) was a Russians, Russian mathematician and considered to be the founding father of Russian mathematics. ...
.


History

The
Egyptian language The Egyptian language or Ancient Egyptian ( egy, 𓂋𓏺𓈖 𓆎𓅓𓏏𓊖, , cop, ϯⲙⲉⲧⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ) is an Afroasiatic languages, Afro-Asiatic language which was spoken in ancient Egypt. Its attestation stretches over ...
may have the longest documented history of any language, from
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-Hamitic ...
that appeared just before 3200 BC to its final phases as Coptic in the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th to the late 15th centuries, similarly to the Post-classical, Post-classical period of global history. It began with the fall of the Western Roma ...
. Coptic belongs to the Later Egyptian phase, which started to be written in the
New Kingdom of Egypt 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 (South Korean band), The Boyz Albums and EPs * New (album), ''New'' (album), by Paul McCartne ...
. Later Egyptian represented colloquial speech of the later periods. It had analytic features like definite and
indefinite article Indefinite may refer to: * the opposite of definite in grammar ** indefinite article ** indefinite pronoun An indefinite pronoun is a pronoun In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the ...
s and
periphrastic In linguistics, periphrasis () is the usage of multiple separate words to carry the meaning of prefixes, suffixes or verbs, among other things, where either would be possible. It is a device where grammatical meaning is expressed by one or more f ...
verb conjugation. Coptic, therefore, is a reference to both the most recent stage of Egyptian after Demotic and the new writing system that was adapted 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
.


Pre-Islamic period

The earliest attempts to write the Egyptian language using the Greek alphabet are Greek transcriptions of Egyptian proper names, most of which date to the
Ptolemaic Kingdom The Ptolemaic Kingdom (; grc-koi, Πτολεμαϊκὴ βασιλεία, Ptolemaïkḕ basileía) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient w ...
. Scholars frequently refer to this phase as pre-Coptic. However, it is clear that by the
Late Period of ancient Egypt The Late Period of ancient Egypt refers to the last flowering of native Egyptian rulers after the Third Intermediate Period in the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt, 26th Saite Dynasty founded by Psamtik I, but includes the time of Achaemenid Empire, ...
, demotic scribes regularly employed a more phonetic orthography, a testament to the increasing cultural contact between
Egyptians Egyptians ( arz, المصريين, ; cop, ⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ, remenkhēmi) are an ethnic group of people originating from the country of Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinen ...
and
Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group and nation native to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea regions, namely Greece, Greek Cypriots, Cyprus, Greeks in Albania, Albania, Greeks in Italy, Ital ...

Greeks
even before
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus'') of the Ancient Greece, ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia (ancient kingdom) ...

Alexander the Great
's conquest of Egypt. Coptic itself, or Old Coptic, takes root in the first century. The transition from the older Egyptian scripts to the newly adapted Coptic alphabet was in part due to the decline of the traditional role played by the priestly class of
ancient Egyptian religion Ancient Egyptian religion was a complex system of polytheistic Polytheism is the worship of or belief in multiple deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject to the law ...
, who, unlike most ordinary Egyptians, were literate in the temple scriptoria. Old Coptic is represented mostly by non-Christian texts such as Egyptian pagan prayers and magical and astrological papyri. Many of them served as
glosses A gloss is a brief notation, especially a marginalia, marginal one or an interlinear gloss, interlinear one, of the meaning of a word or wording in a text. It may be in the language of the text or in the reader's language if that is different. A ...
to original
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 in which some characters are written joined together in a flowing manner, g ...
and demotic equivalents. The glosses may have been aimed at non-Egyptian speakers. Under late Roman rule,
Diocletian Diocletian (; la, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus; born Diocles; 22 December c. 244 – 3 December 311) was Roman emperor from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in Dalmatia (Roman province), Dalmatia, Diocletian rose through the ...
persecuted many Egyptian converts to the new
Christian faith Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of d ...

Christian faith
, which forced new converts to flee to the Egyptian deserts. In time, the growth of these communities generated the need to write Christian Greek instructions in the Egyptian language. The early Fathers of the
Coptic Church 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 ...

Coptic Church
, such as
Anthony the Great Anthony or Anthony the Great ( grc-gre, Ἀντώνιος ''Antṓnios''; ar, القديس أنطونيوس الكبير; la, Antonius; ; c. 12 January 251 – 17 January 356), was a Christian monk from Egypt, revered since his death as a s ...
,
Pachomius the Great Pachomius (; el, Παχώμιος ''Pakhomios''; ; c. 292 – 9 May 348 AD), also known as Saint Pachomius the Great, is generally recognized as the founder of Christian cenobitic ic icon An icon (from the Greek language, Greek 'image, ...
,
Macarius of Egypt Macarius of Egypt ( grc-gre, Ὅσιος Μακάριος ο Ἀιγύπτιος, ''Osios Makarios o Egyptios''; cop, ⲁⲃⲃⲁ ⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲓ; 300–391) was a Coptic Christians, Christian monasticism, monk and hermit. He is also known as ...
and
Athanasius of Alexandria
Athanasius of Alexandria
, who otherwise usually wrote in Greek, addressed some of their works to the Egyptian monks in Egyptian. The Egyptian language, now written in the Coptic alphabet, flourished in the second and third centuries. However, it was not until
Shenoute Shenoute of Atripe, also known as Shenoute the Great or Saint Shenoute the Archimandrite ( Coptic: ; (347-465 or 348-466) was the abbot of the White Monastery in Egypt Egypt ( ; ar, مِصر ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is ...
that Coptic became a fully standardised literary language based on the Sahidic dialect. Shenouda's native Egyptian tongue and knowledge of Greek and rhetoric gave him the necessary tools to elevate Coptic, in content and style, to a literary height nearly equal to the position of the Egyptian language in ancient Egypt.


Islamic period

The
Muslim conquest of Egypt The Muslim conquest of Egypt by the Arabs took place between 639 and 646 AD and was overseen by the Rashidun Caliphate The Rashidun Caliphate ( ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلرَّاشِدَةُ, ') was the first of the four major ca ...
by
Arabs The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233: , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, ISO 233: , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an ethnic group mainly inhabiting the Arab world. In modern usage the term refers ...

Arabs
came with the
spread of Islam The spread of Islam spans about 1,400 years. Muslim conquests following Muhammad Muhammad ibn AbdullahHe is referred to by many appellations, including Messenger of Allah, The Prophet Muhammad, Allah's Apostle, Last Prophet of Islam, and ot ...
in the seventh century. At the turn of the eighth century,
Caliph A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state An Islamic state is a form of government based on Islamic law. As a term, it has been used to describe various historical Polity, polities and theories of governance in the Islami ...
Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan ibn al-Hakam ( ar, عبد الملك ابن مروان ابن الحكم, ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Marwān ibn al-Ḥakam; July/August 644 or June/July 647 – 9 October 705) was the fifth Umayyad caliph, ruling from April 685 un ...
decreed that Arabic replace
Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Greek language, Greek spoken and written d ...
and Coptic as the sole administrative language. Literary Coptic gradually declined, and within a few hundred years, Egyptian bishop Severus Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ found it necessary to write his ''History of the Patriarchs'' in Arabic. However, ecclesiastically the language retained an important position, and many hagiography, hagiographic texts were also composed during this period. Until the 10th century, Coptic remained the spoken language of the native population outside the capital. As a written language, Coptic is thought to have completely given way to
Egyptian Arabic Egyptian Arabic, locally known as Colloquial Egyptian ( ar, العامية المصرية, ), or simply ''Masri'' (), is the spoken vernacular A vernacular or vernacular language refers to the language or dialect that is spoken by people tha ...
around the 13th century, though it seems to have survived as a spoken language until the 17th century and in some localities even longer.The language may have survived in isolated pockets in Upper Egypt 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), Passive speaker (language), passive speakers were recorded as late as the 1930s, and traces of traditional vernacular Coptic reported to exist in other places such as Abydos, Egypt, Abydos and 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).
In the early 20th century, patriotic Copts tried to revive the Coptic language, but they were unsuccessful. In the second half of the 20th century, Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria started a national Church-sponsored movement to Language revitalization, revive Coptic. Several works of grammar were published, including a more comprehensive dictionary than had been formerly available. The scholarly findings of the field of Egyptology and the inauguration of the Institute of Coptic Studies further contributed to the renaissance. Efforts at language revitalisation continue to be undertaken, both inside and Liberal Egyptian Party, outside the Church, and have attracted the interest of
Copts The Copts ( cop, ⲛⲓⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ, translit=niremənkhēmi; ar, الْقِبْط, ) are an ethnoreligious group indigenous to North Africa who have primarily inhabited the area of modern Egypt and Sudan since antiquity. Most e ...

Copts
and linguists in and outside of Egypt. In 2016, a new proposal to revive Coptic was forwarded. In a 2016 survey in Turkey by KONDA Research and Consultancy, 0.01% of respondents claimed their native language to be Coptic (possibly confusing the words ''kıptice'' 'Coptic (language)' and ''kipçak'' 'Kipchak languages, Kipchak').


Writing system

Coptic uses a writing system almost wholly 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 the addition of a number of letters that have their origins in Demotic (Egyptian), Demotic Egyptian. This is comparable to the Latin-based Icelandic orthography, Icelandic alphabet, which includes the runic letter thorn (letter), thorn. There is some variation in the number and forms of these signs depending on the dialect. Some of the letters in the Coptic alphabet that are of Greek origin were normally reserved for Greek words. Old Coptic texts used several graphemes that were not retained in the literary Coptic orthography of later centuries. In Sahidic, syllable boundary may have been marked by a supralinear stroke ⟨◌̄⟩, or the stroke may have tied letters together in one word, since Coptic texts did not otherwise indicate word divisions. Some scribal traditions use a Diaeresis (diacritic), diaeresis over the letters and at the beginning of a word or to mark a diphthong. Bohairic uses a superposed point or small stroke known as (, “movement”). When ''djinkim'' is placed over a vowel it is pronounced independently, and when it is placed over a consonant a short precedes it.


Literature

The oldest Coptic writings date to the pre-Christian era (Old Coptic), though Coptic literature consists mostly of texts written by prominent saints of the Coptic Church such as Anthony the Great, Pachomius the Great and Shenoute. Shenoute helped fully standardise the Coptic language through his many sermons, treatises and homilies, which formed the basis of early Coptic literature.


Vocabulary

The core lexicon of Coptic is Egyptian language, Egyptian, most closely related to the preceding Demotic phase of the language. Up to 40% of the vocabulary of literary Coptic is drawn from
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 ...
, but borrowings are not always fully adapted to the Coptic phonological system and may have Semantics, semantic differences as well. There are instances of Coptic texts having passages that are almost entirely composed from Greek lexical roots. However, that is likely because the majority of Coptic religious texts are direct translations of Greek works. Words or concepts for which no adequate Egyptian translation existed were taken directly from Greek to avoid altering the meaning of the religious message. In addition, other Egyptian words that would have adequately translated the Greek equivalents were not used as they were perceived as having overt pagan associations. Old Coptic texts use many such words, phrases and epithets; for example, the word '(Who is) in (His) Mountain', is an epithet of Anubis. There are also traces of some archaic grammatical features, such as residues of the Demotic relative clause, lack of an indefinite article and possessive use of suffixes. Thus, the transition from the 'old' traditions to the new Christian religion also contributed to the adoption of Greek words into the Coptic religious lexicon. It is safe to assume that the everyday speech of the native population retained, to a greater extent, its indigenous Egyptian character, which is sometimes reflected in Coptic nonreligious documents such as letters and contracts.


Phonology

Coptic provides the clearest indication of Later Egyptian
phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or constituent parts of signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound or sign system of any particular language vari ...

phonology
from its writing system, which fully indicates vowel sounds and occasionally stress pattern. The phonological system of Later Egyptian is also better known than that of the Classical phase of the language because of a greater number of sources indicating Egyptian sounds, including Amarna letters, cuneiform letters containing transcriptions of Egyptian words and phrases, and Egyptian renderings of Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic names. Coptic sounds, in addition, are known from a variety of Coptic-Arabic papyri in which Arabic letters were used to transcribe Coptic and vice versa. They date to the medieval Islamic period, when Coptic was still spoken.


Vowels

There are some differences of opinion among Coptic language scholars on the correct phonetic interpretation of the writing system of Coptic. Differences centre on how to interpret the pairs of letters ε/η and ο/ω. In the Attic Greek, Attic dialect of Ancient Greek in the 5th century BC, the first member of each pair is a short closed vowel , and the second member is a long open vowel . In some interpretations of Coptic phonology, it is assumed that the length difference is primary, with ε/η and ο/ω is . Other scholars argue for a different analysis in which ε/η and ο/ω are interpreted as and . These two charts show the two theories of Coptic vowel phonology: Dialects vary in their realisation. The difference between [o] and [u] seems to be allophonic. Evidence is not sufficient to demonstrate that these are distinct vowels, and if they are, the difference has a very low functional load. For dialects that use orthographic <ει> for a single vowel, there appears to be no phonetic difference from <ι>. Double orthographic vowels are presumed here to be long, as that makes the morphology more straightforward. (Another common interpretation is that these represented glottal stop.) Akhmimic is conservative, close to what is reconstructed for Old Coptic. There is no length distinction in final stressed position, but only those vowels that occur long appear there: <(ε)ι, ε, α, ο~ω, ου>. In Sahidic, the letter ''ε'' was used for short before back fricatives, and also for unstressed schwa . It's possible there was also a distinction between short and , but if so the functional load was extremely low. Again, length is neutralised in final stressed position: <(ε)ι, η, ε, α, ο, ω~ου>. Bohairic did not have long vowels. was only written <ι>. As above, it's possible that /u/ and /o/ were distinct vowels rather than just allophones. In Late Coptic (that is, Late Bohairic), the vowels were reduced to those found in Egyptian Arabic, . <ω, ο> became /u/, <ε> became /a/, and <η> became either /i/ or /a/. It is difficult to explain <η>. However, it generally became /a/ in stressed monosyllables, /i/ in unstressed monosyllables, and in polysyllables, /a/ when followed by /i/, and /i/ when not. There were no doubled orthographic vowels in Mesokemic. Some representative correspondences with Sahidic are: It is not clear if these correspondences reflect distinct pronunciations in Mesokemic, or if they are an imitation of the long Greek vowels <η, ω>.


Consonants

As with the vowels, there are differences of opinion over the correct interpretation of the Coptic consonant letters, particular the letters and . is transcribed as in many older Coptic sources and as or . notes that the current conventional pronunciations are different from the probable ancient pronunciations: Sahidic was probably pronounced and was probably pronounced . suggests that was pronounced . Beside being found in Greek loanwords, the letters were used in native words for a sequence of plus , as in = "the-way" (f.sg.) and = "the-snake" (m.sg). The letters did not have this use in Bohairic, which used them for single sounds. It is possible that in addition there was a glottal stop, , that was not consistently written. Coptic does not seem to have had a glottal stop at the beginning of orthographically vowel-initial words. It is possible that vowels written double were an attempt to indicate glottal stop, rather than a long vowel, in the middle of a word. However, there is little evidence for this (e.g., Arabic words with short vowels and glottal stop are not written with double vowels in Coptic, and Coptic words with double orthographic vowels are transcribed with long vowels rather than hamza in Arabic.) In Late Coptic (ca. 14th century), Bohairic sounds that did not occur in Egyptian Arabic were lost. A possible shift from a tenuis-aspirate distinction to voiced-tenuis is only attested from the alveolars, the only place that Arabic has such a contrast. Earlier phases of Egyptian may have contrasted voiceless and voiced bilabial plosives, but the distinction seems to have been lost. Late Egyptian, Demotic and Coptic all interchangeably use their respective graphemes to indicate either sound; for example, Coptic for 'iron' appears alternately as , and . That probably reflects dialect variation. Both letters were interchanged with and to indicate , and was also used in many texts to indicate the bilabial approximant . Coptology, Coptologists believe that Coptic was articulated as a voiced bilabial fricative . In the present-day Coptic Church services, this letter is realised as , but it is almost certainly a result of the Coptic pronunciation reform, pronunciation reforms instituted in the 19th century. Whereas Old Egyptian contrasts and , the two sounds appear to be in free variation in Coptic, as they were since the Middle Egyptian period. However, they are contrasted only in Greek loans; for example, native Coptic (''anzēb'') and (''ansēbə'') 'school' are homophonous. Other consonants that sometimes appear to be either in free variation or to have different distributions across dialects are and , and (especially in the Fayyumic dialect, a feature of earlier Egyptian) and and , with the voiceless stop consonants being more common in Coptic words and the voiced ones in Greek borrowings. Apart from the liquid consonants, this pattern may indicate a sound change in Later Egyptian, leading to a neutralisation of voiced alveolar and velar plosives. When the voiced plosives are realised, it is usually the result of Consonant voicing and devoicing, consonant voicing in proximity to . Though there is no clear evidence that Coptic had a glottal stop, different orthographic means have been posited for indicating one by those who believe that it did: with word-initially, with word-finally in monosyllabic words in northern dialects and in monosyllabic words in Akhmimic and Assiutic, by reduplication of a vowel's grapheme but mostly unwritten. A few early manuscripts have a letter or ''ç'' where Sahidic and Bohairic have ''š''. and Akhmimic has ''x''. This sound seems to have been lost early on.


Grammar

Coptic is Agglutinative language, agglutinative with subject–verb–object word order but can be verb–subject–object with the correct preposition in front of the subject. Number, gender, tense, and mood are indicated by prefixes that come from Late Egyptian. The earlier phases of Egyptian did this through suffixation. Some vestiges of the suffix inflection survive in Coptic, mainly to indicate inalienable possession and in some verbs. Compare the Middle Egyptian form ''*satāpafa'' 'he chooses' (written ''stp.f'' in hieroglyphs) to Coptic (Sahidic) ''f.sotp'' 'he chooses'.


Nouns

All Coptic nouns carry grammatical gender, either masculine or feminine, usually marked through a prefixed definite article as in the Romance languages. Masculine nouns are marked with the article and feminine nouns with the article in the Sahidic dialect and and in the Bohairic dialect. Bohairic: – 'the man' / – 'the hand' Sahidic: – 'the man' / – 'the hand' The definite and indefinite articles also indicate Grammatical number, number; however, only definite articles mark gender. Coptic has a number of broken plurals, a vestige of Older Egyptian, but in the majority of cases, the article marks number. Generally, nouns inflection, inflected for plurality end in , but there are some irregularities. The dual was another feature of earlier Egyptian that survives in Coptic in only few words, such as (''snau'') 'two'. Words of Greek origin keep their original grammatical gender, except for neuter nouns, which become masculine in Coptic.


Pronouns

Coptic pronouns are of two kinds, dependent and independent. Independent pronouns are used when the pronoun is acting as the subject of a sentence, as the object of a verb, or with a preposition. Dependent pronouns are a series of prefixes and suffixes that can attach to verbs and other nouns. Coptic verbs can therefore be said to inflect for the person, number and gender of the subject and the object: a pronominal prefix marks the subject, and a pronominal suffix marks the object, e.g. "I I'have'it the ball." When (as in this case) the subject is a pronoun, it normally is not also expressed independently, unless for emphasis. As in other Afroasiatic languages, gender of pronouns differ only in the second and third person singular. The following table shows the pronouns of the Sahidian dialect:


Adjectives

Most Coptic adjectives are actually nouns that have the attributive particle ''n'' to make them adjectival. In all stages of Egyptian, this morpheme is also used to express the Genitive case, genitive; for example, the Bohairic word for 'Egyptian', , is a combination of the nominal prefix ''rem-'' (the reduced form of ''rōmi'' 'man'), followed by the genitive morpheme ''ən'' ('of') and finally the word for Egypt, ''kʰēmi''.


Verbs


Verbal grade system

Coptic, like Ancient Egyptian and Semitic languages, has root-and-pattern or templatic morphology, and the basic meaning of a verb is contained in a root and various derived forms of root are obtained by varying the vowel pattern. For example, the root for 'build' is ''kt''. It has four derived forms: (the absolute state grade); ket- (the nominal state grade), kot= (the pronominal state grade), and (the stative grade). (The nominal state grade is also called the construct state in some grammars of Coptic.) The absolute, nominal, and pronominal state grades are used in different syntactic contexts. The absolute state grade of a transitive verb is used before a direct object with the accusative preposition , and the nominal state grade is used before a direct object with no case-marking. The pronominal state grade is used before a pronominal direct object enclitic. In addition, many verbs also have a neutral state grade, used to express a state resulting from the action of the verb. Compare the following forms: Absolute state grade – ''Aijimi əmpaiōt'' Nominal state grade – ''Aijem paiōt'' Pronominal state grade – ''Aijəntf'' For most transitive verbs, both absolute and nominal state grade verbs are available for non-pronominal objects. However, there is one important restriction, known as ''Jernstedt's rule'' (or the ''Stern-Jernstedt rule'') (Jernstedt 1927): present-tense sentences cannot be used in the nominal state grade. Thus sentences in the present tense always show a pattern like the first example above (absolute state), never the second pattern (nominal state). In general, the four grades of Coptic verb are not predictable from the root, and are listed in the lexicon for each verb. The following chart shows some typical patterns of correspondence: It is hazardous to make firm generalisations about the relationships between these grade forms, but the nominal state is usually shorter than the corresponding absolute and neutral forms. Absolute and neutral state forms are usually bisyllabic or contain a long vowel; the corresponding nominal state forms are monosyllabic or have short vowels.


Tense/aspect/mood inflection

Coptic has a very large number of distinct tense-aspect-mood categories, expressed by particles which are either before the verb or before the subject. The future I is a preverbal particle and follows the subject: - ''Pecoeis nakrine ənnelaos'' In contrast, the perfective is a pre-subject particle: - ''A tefsōne de ol ənnefkēs'' There is some variation in the labels for the tense/aspect/mood categories. The chart below shows the labels from , , . (Where they agree, only one label is shown.) Each form lists the morphology found with a nonpronominal subject (Marked with an underscore in Coptic) and a third person singular masculine pronominal subject ('he'): An approximate range of use for most of the tense/aspect/mood categories is shown in the following table:


Second tenses

An unusual feature of Coptic is the extensive use of a set of "second tenses", which are required in certain syntactic contexts. "Second tenses" are also called "relative tenses" in some work.


Prepositions

Coptic has prepositions, rather than postpositions: – Pronominal objects of prepositions are indicated with enclitic pronouns: – – Many prepositions have different forms before the enclitic pronouns. Compare – –


Syntax


Sentential syntax

Coptic typically shows subject–verb–object (SVO) word order, as in the following examples:; . – – – The verbs in these sentences are in the , which requires that its direct object be introduced with the preposition . This preposition functions like accusative case. There is also an alternative of the verb in which the direct object of the verb follows with no preposition: –


Dialects

File:Coptic and Arabic inscriptions in an Old Cairo church.jpg, 300px, Coptic and Arabic inscriptions in an Old Cairo church There is little written evidence of
dialect The term dialect (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 the power of th ...
al differences in the pre-Coptic phases of the Egyptian language due to the centralised nature of the political and cultural institutions of ancient Egyptian society. However, literary Old and Middle (Classical) Egyptian represent the spoken dialect of Lower Egypt around the city of Memphis, Egypt, Memphis, the capital of Egypt in the Old Kingdom of Egypt, Old Kingdom. Later Egyptian is more representative of the dialects spoken in Upper Egypt, especially around the area of Thebes, Egypt, Thebes as it became the cultural and religious center of the New Kingdom. Coptic more obviously displays a number of regional dialects that were in use from the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in northern Egypt, south into
Nubia Nubia () (Nobiin language, Nobiin: Nobīn, ) is a region along the Nile river encompassing the area between the Cataracts of the Nile, first cataract of the Nile (just south of Aswan in southern Egypt) and the confluence of the Blue Nile, Blue and ...

Nubia
, and in the western oases. However, while many of these dialects reflect actual regional linguistic (namely
phonological Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or constituent parts of signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound or sign system of any particular language vari ...

phonological
and some lexical) variation, they mostly reflect localised Orthography, orthographic traditions with very little syntax, grammatical differences.


Upper Egypt


Sahidic

Sahidic (also known as Thebaic) is the dialect in which most known Coptic texts are written, and was the leading dialect in the pre-Islamic period. It is thought to have originally been a regional dialect from the area around Hermopolis ( cop, Ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛⲉⲓⲛ, translit=Shmounein). Around 300 it began to be written in literary form, including translations of major portions of the Bible (see Coptic versions of the Bible). By the 6th century, a standardised spelling had been attained throughout Egypt. Almost all native authors wrote in this dialect of Coptic. Sahidic was, beginning in the 9th century, challenged by Bohairic, but is attested as late as the 14th. While texts in other Coptic dialects are primarily translations of Greek literary and religious texts, Sahidic is the only dialect with a considerable body of original literature and non-literary texts. Because Sahidic shares most of its features with other dialects of Coptic with few peculiarities specific to itself, and has an extensive corpus of known texts, it is generally the dialect studied by learners of Coptic, particularly by scholars outside of the Coptic Church.


Akhmimic

Akhmimic was the dialect of the area around the town of Akhmim ( grc, Πανὸς πόλις, translit=Panopolis). It flourished during the fourth and fifth centuries, after which no writings are attested. Akhmimic is phonologically the most archaic of the Coptic dialects. One characteristic feature is the retention of the phoneme , which is realised as in most other dialects. Similarly, it uses an exceptionally conservative writing system strikingly similar to Old Coptic.


Lycopolitan

Lycopolitan (also known as Subakhmimic and Assiutic) is a dialect closely related to Akhmimic in terms of when and where it was attested, but manuscripts written in Lycopolitan tend to be from the area of
Asyut AsyutAlso spelled ''Assiout'' or ''Assiut''. ( ar, أسيوط ' , ''Siōwt'' ) is the capital of the modern Asyut Governorate in Egypt Egypt ( ; ar, مِصر ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanni ...
. The main differences between the two dialects seem to be graphic in nature. The Lycopolitan variety was used extensively for translations of Gnostic and Manichaean works, including the texts of the Nag Hammadi library.


Lower Egypt


Bohairic

The Bohairic (also known as Memphitic) dialect originated in the western
Nile Delta The Nile Delta ( ar, دلتا النيل, or simply , ) is the 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 earliest Bohairic manuscripts date to the 4th century, but most texts come from the 9th century and later; this may be due to poor preservation conditions for texts in the humid regions of northern Egypt. It shows several conservative features in lexicon and
phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or constituent parts of signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound or sign system of any particular language vari ...

phonology
not found in other dialects. Bohairic is the dialect used today as the liturgical language of the Coptic Orthodox Church, replacing Sahidic some time in the eleventh century. In contemporary liturgical use, there are two traditions of pronunciation, arising from successive reforms in the 19th and 20th centuries (see Coptic pronunciation reform). Modern revitalisation efforts are based on this dialect.


Fayyumic

Fayyumic (also written as Faiyumic; in older works it is often called Bashmuric) was spoken primarily in the
Faiyum Faiyum ( ar, الفيوم ' , borrowed from cop,  ̀Ⲫⲓⲟⲙ or Ⲫⲓⲱⲙ ' from egy, pꜣ ym "the Sea, Lake") is a city in Middle Egypt. Located southwest of Cairo Cairo ( ; ar, القاهرة, al-Qāhirah, , Coptic: ...
west of the Nile Valley. It is attested from the 3rd to the 10th centuries. It is most notable for writing (which corresponds to ), where other dialects generally use (probably corresponding to a Flap consonant, flap ). In earlier stages of Egyptian, the Liquid consonant, liquids were not distinguished in writing until the New Kingdom, when Late Egyptian became the administrative language. Late Egyptian orthography utilised a grapheme that combined the graphemes for and in order to express . Demotic for its part indicated using a diacritic variety of .


Oxyrhynchite

Oxyrhynchite (also known as Mesokemic or [confusingly] Middle Egyptian) is the dialect of
Oxyrhynchus Oxyrhynchus (; grc-gre, Ὀξύρρυγχος, Oxýrrhynchos, sharp-nosed; ancient Egyptian ''Pr-Medjed''; cop, or , ''Pemdje''; ar, البهنسا, ''Al-Bahnasa'') is a city in Middle Egypt located about 160 km south-southwest of Ca ...

Oxyrhynchus
and surrounding areas. It shows similarities with Fayyumic and is attested in manuscripts from the fourth and fifth centuries.


See also

* British Library Coptic Language Collection *
Coptic alphabet The Coptic alphabet is the script used for writing the Coptic language. The repertoire of glyphs is based on the Greek alphabet The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late ninth or early eighth century BC. I ...

Coptic alphabet
*
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 القبطية ...

Coptic Orthodox Church
*
Egyptian language The Egyptian language or Ancient Egyptian ( egy, 𓂋𓏺𓈖 𓆎𓅓𓏏𓊖, , cop, ϯⲙⲉⲧⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ) is an Afroasiatic languages, Afro-Asiatic language which was spoken in ancient Egypt. Its attestation stretches over ...
*
Egyptian Arabic Egyptian Arabic, locally known as Colloquial Egyptian ( ar, العامية المصرية, ), or simply ''Masri'' (), is the spoken vernacular A vernacular or vernacular language refers to the language or dialect that is spoken by people tha ...
* Nag Hammadi library * List of Coptic place names * Rosetta Stone


References


Further reading


General studies

* * Emmel, Stephen. 1992. "Languages (Coptic)". In ''The Anchor Bible Dictionary'', edited by David Noel Freedman. Vol. 4 of 6 vols. New York: Doubleday. 180–188. * * Gignac, Francis Thomas. 1991. "Old Coptic". In ''The Coptic Encyclopedia'', edited by Aziz Suryal Atiya. Vol. 8 of 8 vols. New York and Toronto: Macmillan Publishing Company and Collier Macmillan Canada. 169–188. * Rodolphe Kasser, Kasser, Radolphe. 1991. "Dialects". In ''The Coptic Encyclopedia'', edited by Aziz Suryal Atiya. Vol. 8 of 8 vols. New York and Toronto: Macmillan Publishing Company and Collier Macmillan Canada. 87–96. * Wolfgang Kosack. Lehrbuch des Koptischen.Teil I:Koptische Grammatik.Teil II:Koptische Lesestücke, Graz 1974. * Loprieno, Antonio. 1995. ''Ancient Egyptian: A Linguistic Introduction''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. * Hans Jakob Polotsky, Polotsky, Hans Jakob. 1971. "Coptic". In ''Afroasiatic: A Survey'', edited by Carleton Taylor Hodge. (Jana Linguarum: Series Practica; 163). 's Gravenhage and Paris: Mouton. 67–79.


Grammars and grammatical studies

* Marius Chaîne, Chaîne, Marius. 1933. ''Éléments de grammaire dialectale copte: bohairique, sahidique, achmimique, fayoumique''. Paris: Paul Geuthner. * Eberle, Andrea, & Regine Schulz. 2004. ''Koptisch – Ein Leitfaden durch das Saïdische''. LINCOM Languages of the World/Materials 07. Munich: LINCOM Europa. * Jernstedt, Peter V. 1927. Das koptische Präsens und die Anknüpfungsarten des näheren Objekts. 'Comptes rendus de l'Academice des Sciences de l'Union République Soviétique Socialistes. 2, 69–74. * * Layton, Bentley. 2000. ''A Coptic Grammar (Sahidic Dialect): With a Chrestomathy and Glossary''. (Porta linguarum orientalium; N.S., 20). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. * Layton, Bentley. 2007. ''Coptic in 20 Lessons: Introduction to Sahidic Coptic with Exercises and Vocabularies''. Peeters Publishers, . * Mallon, Alexis. 1956. ''Grammaire copte: bibliographie, chrestomathie et vocabulaire''. 4th edition. Beyrouth. * Mattar, Nabil. 1990. ''A Study in Bohairic Coptic''. Pasadena: Hope Publishing House. * * Hans Jakob Polotsky, Polotsky, Hans Jakob. 1987. ''Grundlagen des koptischen Satzbaus''. American Studies in Papyrology 28. Decatur, Ga.: Scholars Press. * * * Shisha-Halevy, Ariel. 1988. ''Coptic Grammatical Chrestomathy: a course for academic and private study''. Orientalia lovaniensia analecta 30. Leuven: Peeters. * Shisha-Halevy, Ariel. 1986. ''Coptic Grammatical Categories: Structural Studies in the Syntax of Shenoutean Sahidic''. Analecta Orientalia 53. Roma: Pontificium Institutum Biblicum. . * Shisha-Halevy, Ariel. 2007. ''Topics in Coptic Syntax: Structural Studies in the Bohairic Dialect''. Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 160. Leuven – Paris – Dudley, MA: Peeters. . * Henry Tattam, Tattam, Henry
''A compendious grammar of the Egyptian language as contained in the Coptic, Sahidic, and Bashmuric Dialects'' (London 1863)
* Till, Walter C. 1994. ''Koptische Dialektgrammatik''. Berlin: Walter De Gruyter. * Vergote, Jozef. 1973–1983. ''Grammaire copte''. Leuven: Peeters. * Younan, Sameh. 2005. ''So, you want to learn Coptic? A guide to Bohairic Grammar''. Sydney: St.Mary, St.Bakhomious and St.Shenouda Coptic Orthodox Church.


Dictionaries

* Jaroslav Černý (Egyptologist), Černý, Jaroslav. 1976. ''Coptic Etymological Dictionary''. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. * Walter Ewing Crum, Crum, Walter Ewing. 1939
Coptic Dictionary''
Oxford: Clarendon Press. Reprinted by Sandpiper Books Ltd, London & Powells Books, Chicago, 2000. * Wolfgang Kosack: ''Koptisches Handlexikon des Bohairischen.'' Koptisch – Deutsch – Arabisch. Verlag Christoph Brunner, Basel 2013, . * Vycichl, Werner. 1983. ''Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue copte''. Leuven: Éditions Peeters. * Westendorf, Wolfhart. 1965/1977. ''Koptisches Handwörterbuch''. Heidelberg: Carl Winter.


Phonology

* * Depuydt, Leo. 1993. "On Coptic Sounds," ''Orientalia'' 62 (new series): 338–75. *Greenberg, Joseph H (originally published 1962). "The interpretation of the Coptic vowel system," ''On Language: Selected Writings of Joseph H. Greenberg'', eds., K Denning & S Kemmer. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990: 428–38. * Grossman, Eitan and Martin Haspelmath. 2015. "The Leipzig-Jerusalem Transliteration of Coptic," ''Egyptian-Coptic Linguistics in Typological Perspective'', eds., Eitan Grossman, Martin Haspelmath & Tonio Sebastian Richter. Berlin/Munich/Boston: Walter de Gruyter. 145–56. *Isḥāḳ, Emile Māher. 1975. "The phonetics and phonology of the Boḥairic dialect of Coptic and the Survival of Coptic Word in the Colloquial and Classical Arabic of Egypt and of Coptic Grammatical Constructions in Colloquial Egyptian Arabic". University of Oxford. 32-671. * Loprieno, Antonio. 1997. "Egyptian and Coptic Phonology," ''Phonologies of Asia and Africa (Including the Caucasus)'', vol. 1, ed., Alan S. Kaye. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns. 431–60. *


Bibliographies

* Kammerer, Winifred (compiler), ''A Coptic Bibliography'', Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1950. (Reprint New York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1969) * Wolfgang Kosack: ''Der koptische Heiligenkalender. Deutsch – Koptisch – Arabisch nach den besten Quellen neu bearbeitet und vollständig herausgegeben mit Index Sanctorum koptischer Heiliger, Index der Namen auf Koptisch, Koptische Patriarchenliste, Geografische Liste''. Christoph Brunner, Berlin 2012, . * Wolfgang Kosack: ''Schenute von Atripe De judicio finale.'' Papyruskodex 63000.IV im Museo Egizio di Torino. Einleitung, Textbearbeitung und Übersetzung herausgegeben von Wolfgang Kosack. Christoph Brunner, Berlin 2013, . * Wolfgang Kosack: ''Basilios "De archangelo Michael": sahidice Pseudo – Euhodios "De resurrectione": sahidice Pseudo – Euhodios "De dormitione Mariae virginis": sahidice & bohairice : < Papyruskodex Turin, Mus. Egizio Cat. 63000 XI. > nebst Varianten und Fragmente. In Parallelzeilen ediert, kommentiert und übersetzt von Wolfgang Kosack.'' Christoph Brunner, Berlin 2014. . * Wolfgang Kosack: ''Novum Testamentum Coptice. Neues Testament, Bohairisch, ediert von Wolfgang Kosack. Novum Testamentum, Bohairice, curavit Wolfgang Kosack. / Wolfgang Kosack.'' neue Ausgabe, Christoph Brunner, Basel 2014. .


External links


By Alin Suciu, a blog on Coptic literature and manuscripts

France-copte.net
By Mikhail David, French coptic site.
Copticsounds – a resource for the study of Coptic phonology


Coptic languag
internet links
an
bibliography

Coptica.ch
Online library of Coptic texts at University of Geneva (site text in French)

includes the new Coptic range


A comprehensive Coptic language resource
(Remenkimi)
Internet Archive

Coptic block in the Unicode 4.1 standard
* Heike Behlmer




Ifao N Copte
– A professional Coptic font for researchers.
a set of Coptic fonts

GNU FreeFont
FreeSerif face includes a Coptic range. {{Authority control Coptic language, Roman Egypt Byzantine Egypt Coptic Orthodox Church Medieval languages Languages of Egypt Christian liturgical languages Greek alphabet Languages of Africa Egyptian languages Afroasiatic languages, Afro-Asiatic Languages Languages attested from the 2nd century Languages extinct in the 17th century