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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 ?
He also injured another Coptic clergyman, who was accompanying the victim.
The Coptic Church published a statement with the names of the casualties.
They announced plans earlier this week to protect festivities around the New Year and, on 7 January, Coptic Christmas.
Islamic State Group, also known as ISIS, vowed more attacks on the religious group in 2016 after they took responsibility for the bombing of a Coptic cathedral in Cairo that killed 25 people.
The second, carried out just a few hours later by a suicide bomber in Alexandria, hit the historic seat of the Coptic Pope, killing 11, including three police officers, and injuring 35, the ministry added.
Sweres' accusation is the latest episode in an ongoing debate -- or confusion, rather -- over the true size of Egypt's minority Coptic community.
This is followed by an examination of Coptic responses to political Islam in the decade following the end of the Second World War.
Like so many others in the world, I have viewed with horror and deep grief the images of the brutal execution of 21 young Coptic Christian men.
Bishop Angaelos, general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, said the murders of the hostages had caused "deep feelings of sorrow and pain".
From the very beginning we know that the approach is one where "the contributors combine academic expertise with intimate and practical knowledge of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Coptic heritage" (i).
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.