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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 ?
The St Anthony's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Abu Dhabi held a ceremony on Sunday to celebrate Christmas in the attendance of the Egyptian community living in the country, a number of officials, and a large crowd of attendees and invitees.Christmas is celebrated on January 7 by the Coptic Christians in Egypt and the Orthodox Christians in Central and Eastern Europe.On the occasion, Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, gave a speech - which was delivered on his behalf by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan WAM Image Credit: View gallery as list
In the run-up to Christmas day, Coptic Christians fast for 43 days, avoiding food products that come from animals.
Last October, 17 people were sentenced to death for their involvement in bomb attacks on Coptic churches.
The incident occurred when the bus was heading towards the Saint Samuel Coptic Christian monastery close to Minya city, located about 270 km south of the Cairo when the gunmen opened fire indiscriminately at the passengers.
A Coptic orthodox monk's arrest this morning in the courtyard of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre."
The Commission appealed to the Egyptian government and the Christian world to immediately intervene with the occupation authorities to stop these attacks on the monastery of Sultan adjacent to the Church of the Resurrection and not to enter the monastery under the pretext of restoration, because that is the prerogatives of the Coptic Orthodox Church only.
Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad Hafiz said in a statement that Egypt, base of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, is absolutely against assaulting religious men, stressing that the Foreign Ministry is following developments regarding the assault through its embassy in Tel Aviv and the church in Jerusalem.
The Israeli assault came after priests from Coptic Orthodox Church in Jerusalem protested near Deir Al-Sultan Monastery, against an Israeli decision which denies that the church the right to conduct the needed renovation work inside the monastery which is located on the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
We have here a witness of cultural interactions between different religious communities." The leaves from these folios are derived from an earlier Coptic manuscript containing passages from the Book of Deuteronomy, which is part of the Torah and the Christian Old Testament.
While no group had yet taken responsibility for the attack and the shooters had not been caught, Coptic Christians have routinely been the subject of ( persecution in Egypt.
BEIRUT: Top Lebanese officials were quick to condemn the Palm Sunday bomb attack on two Coptic churches in Egypt.