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1. an Afro-Asiatic language, written in the Greek alphabet but descended from ancient Egyptian. It was extinct as a spoken language by about 1600 ad but survives in the Coptic Church
2. of or relating to this language



the latest stage of Egyptian, spanning approximately 1,000 years, with an alphabetic writing system. In the llth and 12th centuries it was dying out and was replaced by Arabic. It has survived among Egyptian Christians as a religious language. The five main dialects are Sahidic (literary language of the fourth to llth centuries), Bohairic (used now by the Copts), Sub-Akhmimic, Akhmimic, and Fayumic.

Coptic possesses a well-developed analytical structure. The 23 consonants are voiceless (with and without aspiration) and resonants; only j is voiced. Voicing is replaced by nasal resonance. The basic vowels are ī, ě, ē, ǎ, ǒ, ō and ū Stress is dynamic. The vocabulary contains a considerable number of Greek elements.


Elanskaia, A. I. Koptskii iazyk. Moscow, 1964.
Morenz, S. “Das Koptische.” In Handbuch der Orientalistik, section 1. Leiden, 1959. Pages 90–104.
Steindorff, G. Lehrbuch der koptischen Grammatik. Chicago, 1951.
Till, W. C. Koptische Grammatik (saidischer Dialekf), 3rd ed. Leipzig, 1966.
Nagel, P. Der Ursprung des Koptischen: Das Altertum, vol. 13, number 2. Berlin, 1967.


References in periodicals archive ?
Pope Tawadros II visited Jerusalem Thursday to attend the funeral of the Coptic Orthodox Metropolitan Archbishop Abraham of Jerusalem and the Near East, who died at age of 73.
The Coptic Church has observed a decades-old ban on trips to Jerusalem because of Israel's occupation of the holy city.
para]]WASHINGTON, July 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Coptic Solidarity strongly supports President El-Sisi's declared war on terrorism to combat Islamist forces intent on impeding a stable and prosperous future for Egypt.
Hiltz said members of the church "share in the suffering of our Coptic brothers and sisters.
For Coptic activists, these security incidents underscore the need for Pope Tawadros II to reverse the church's role in domestic politics.
Our prayers are particularly with the families of these young Coptic men, who were fathers, brothers, sons and friends.
contributes three separate essays: on Coptic theology, monasticism, and spirituality (105-42).
They discuss Coptic Christian history, religious culture, literary culture, and material culture.
The Muslim convert, Imad Qidees Sinada, stressed at a press conference on Thursday that Coptic Christians who convert to Islam face huge social pressures, saying that they lose their families and children and could perhaps be killed.
Two chapters are devoted to two Coptic martyrs, one a sixteenth-century male, St.
Coptic Christians account for an estimated 10 per cent of the country's 85 million population.
The Coptic pope spoke in a telephone interview Tuesday to a political talk show aired on the private ONTV network.