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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 ?
Hiltz said members of the church "share in the suffering of our Coptic brothers and sisters.
They are grateful that El-Sisi attended the Coptic Christmas Mass this past January, for extending personal condolences to Pope Tawdros II when the 21 Copts were martyred in Libya, and for speaking out against radical Islam at Al Azhar University, but more must be done, even -- and we believe especially -- in this time of trial against terrorists intent on destroying the vision of a progressive and modern Egypt.
Coptic Solidarity and the Coptic people condemn in the strongest possible terms these genocidal massacres by the Islamic State and the international Jihadist movement of which they are a part.
Fueling the melee, state owned television station broadcast news-alerts that Coptic Christians were attacking the Egyptian military, and explicitly encouraged "good citizens" to go into the streets to "rescue members of the military.
Furthermore Coptic Solidarity urges members of the US Congress to join this new caucus as a concrete step in lending support to the promotion of equality, human rights, religious freedom, and democracy in Egypt.
Coptic Solidarity has partnered with MECHRIC (The Middle East Christians Committee), which is a federation of independent NGOs, including Coptic, Maronite, Assyrian, Chaldean, Syriac, Melkite and others, in order to create greater awareness among the general public.
According to a Muslim eyewitness who discussed the event on the Egyptian program, 90 Minutes, Mary Sameh George was driving out of an adjacent Coptic Orthodox Church in order to deliver medicine to a sickly, elderly woman:
Coptic churches have been burned in Libya and more than one hundred people have been detained and tortured during this timeframe.
Congressman Wolf has been an outspoken advocate for the people of Egypt over many years, and he has stood firm in support of the Coptic community.
Coptic Solidarity expresses our special gratitude to Representative Frank Wolf and Representative Anna Eshoo for sponsoring HR 301 and their tireless determination to ensure that the US government does more to protect religious minorities in this region, including Egypt's indigenous Coptic Christians.
The delegation met with Interim President Mansour, minister of Defense General al-Sisi, and members of the cabinet, and visited the Pope Tadraous, spiritual leader of the Coptic Church.
Overt efforts are being made to intimidate and threaten the Coptic community.