Coptic language

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Coptic or Coptic Egyptian (Bohairic: ϯⲙⲉⲧⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ ti.met.rem.ən.khēmi and Sahidic: ⲧⲙⲛ̄ⲧⲣⲙ̄ⲛ̄ⲕⲏⲙⲉ t.mənt.rəm.ən.kēme) is the latest stage of the Egyptian language, a northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the 17th century. Egyptian began to be written in the Coptic alphabet, an adaptation of the Greek alphabet with the addition of six or seven signs from demotic to represent Egyptian sounds the Greek language did not have, in the first century AD.

Several distinct Coptic dialects are identified, the most prominent of which are Sahidic, originating in parts of Upper Egypt, and Bohairic, originally from the western Nile Delta in Lower Egypt.

Coptic and Demotic are grammatically closely related to Late Egyptian, which was written with Egyptian hieroglyphs. Coptic flourished as a literary language from the second to thirteenth centuries, and its Bohairic dialect continues to be the liturgical language of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. It was supplanted by Egyptian Arabic as a spoken language toward the early modern period, but language revitalization efforts have been underway since the 19th century.

The native Coptic name for the language is ϯⲙⲉⲧⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ /ti-met-rem-en-kʰeː-mi/ in the Bohairic (Delta) dialect, ⲧⲙⲛ̄ⲧⲣⲙ̄ⲛ̄ⲕⲏⲙⲉ /t-ment-rem-en-kiː-me/ in the Sahidic (Valley) dialect. The particle prefix me(n)t- from the verb ⲙⲟⲩϯ mouti ('to speak') forms all abstract nouns in Coptic (not only those pertaining to "language"). The term remenkhēmi/remenkēme meaning 'Egyptian', literally 'person of Egypt', is a compound of rem-, which is the construct state of the Coptic noun ⲣⲱⲙⲓ/ⲣⲱⲙⲉ, 'man, human being', + the genitive preposition (e)n- 'of' + the word for 'Egypt', ⲭⲏⲙⲓ/ⲕⲏⲙⲉ khēmi/kēme (cf. 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 ⲧⲙⲛ̄ⲧⲕⲩⲡⲧⲁⲓⲟⲛ /timentkuptaion/ from the Copto-Greek form ⲧⲙⲛ̄ⲧⲁⲓⲅⲩⲡⲧⲓⲟⲛ /timentaiguption/ ('Egyptian language'). The term logos ən aiguptios ('Egyptian language') is also attested in Sahidic, but logos and aiguptios are both Greek in origin. In the liturgy of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the name is more officially ϯⲁⲥⲡⲓ ⲛ̀ⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ ti aspi ən rem ən kēmi, 'the Egyptian language', aspi being the Egyptian word for language.

Coptic is today spoken liturgically in the Coptic Orthodox and Coptic Catholic Church (along with Modern Standard Arabic). The language is spoken only in Egypt and historically has had little influence outside of the territory, except for monasteries located in Nubia. Coptic's most noticeable linguistic impact has been on the various dialects of Egyptian Arabic, which is characterized by a Coptic substratum in lexical, morphological, syntactical, and phonological features.

This page was last edited on 17 April 2018, at 15:09.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahidic under CC BY-SA license.

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