Coptic


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Coptic

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

Coptic

 

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.

REFERENCES

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.

A. I. ELANSKAIA

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