Egyptian


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Related to Egyptian: Egyptian architecture, Egyptian religion

Egyptian

1. of, relating to, or characteristic of Egypt, its inhabitants, or their dialect of Arabic
2. of, relating to, or characteristic of the ancient Egyptians, their language, or culture
3. Archaic of or relating to the Gypsies
4. a member of an indigenous non-Semitic people who established an advanced civilization in Egypt that flourished from the late fourth millennium bc
5. the extinct language of the ancient Egyptians, belonging to the Afro-Asiatic family of languages. It is recorded in hieroglyphic inscriptions, the earliest of which date from before 3000 bc. It was extinct by the fourth century ad

Egyptian

 

the language of the ancient Egyptians, the inhabitants of the Nile valley. Together with Coptic, which developed from it, Egyptian belongs to the Hamito-Semitic family. A dead language since the fifth century A.D., Egyptian is one of the most ancient cultural languages of the world. The first written records in Egyptian date from the turn of the third millennium B.C.; the latest documents are from the fifth century A.D. Over a period of 35 centuries the language changed considerably. The following periods are distinguished in its development: the Old Egyptian period (30th to 22nd centuries B.C.), the Middle Egyptian period (22nd to 16th centuries B.C.), the Late Egyptian period (16th to eighth centuries B.C.), and the demotic period (eighth century B.C. to the fifth century A.D.). Coptic began to take shape in approximately the third century A.D.

The phonetic composition of Egyptian has been comparatively poorly studied: the consonants are known, but the vowels are not, since they were not written. In open syllables the vowels were long; in closed syllables they were short. The stress fell on the last and penultimate syllables. Nouns were of two genders, masculine and feminine, and there were three numbers—singular, dual, and plural. The case forms in Egyptian were not expressed by affixes. The cases were analytical—that is, they were expressed by prepositional groups. Adjectives were qualitative or relative; there were both cardinal and ordinal numerals. Verbs in Egyptian were of three categories—transitive, verbs that could be both transitive and intransitive, and intransitive—and had both active and passive forms. The imperative and subjunctive moods could be distinguished morphologically. There was no category of tense in early Egyptian. Verb forms indicated action or state, momentary or repeated quality of action, brevity, and duration of action. Later, certain forms in Egyptian came to be used more or less systematically to express time periods and gradually came to acquire the meaning of tense. The predicate is the basis for classification of sentences in Egyptian; it is expressed by the verb, as well as by certain other parts of speech. As a result, both verbal and nonverbal sentences existed in Egyptian.

REFERENCES

Korostovtsev, M. Egipetskii iazyk. Moscow, 1961.
Petrovskii, N. S. Egipetskii iazyk. Leningrad, 1958.
Spiegelberg, W. Demotische Grammatik. Heidelberg, 1925.
Erman, A. Ägyptische Grammatik. Berlin, 1928.
Erman, A. Neuaegyptische Grammatik. Leipzig, 1933.
Lexa, F. Grammaire démotique. Prague, 1949–50.
Lefebvre, G. Grammaire de l’egyptien classique. Cairo, 1955.
Gardiner, A. Egyptian Grammar. London, 1957.

M. A. KOROSTOVTSEV

References in classic literature ?
As you spoke a while ago of the passage of the Israelites and of the catastrophe to the Egyptians, I will ask whether you have met with the traces under the water of this great historical fact?
Several of the audience, not being much interested in the missionary's narrative, here left the car; but Elder Hitch, continuing his lecture, related how Smith, junior, with his father, two brothers, and a few disciples, founded the church of the "Latter Day Saints," which, adopted not only in America, but in England, Norway and Sweden, and Germany, counts many artisans, as well as men engaged in the liberal professions, among its members; how a colony was established in Ohio, a temple erected there at a cost of two hundred thousand dollars, and a town built at Kirkland; how Smith became an enterprising banker, and received from a simple mummy showman a papyrus scroll written by Abraham and several famous Egyptians.
He is an Egyptian, and people say he is my father; he is Neptune's head man and knows every inch of ground all over the bottom of the sea.
About one-tenth in earnest and nine-tenths in jest, we arranged a battery in the Doctor's study, and conveyed thither the Egyptian.
And it is much more likely, that the destruction that hath heretofore been there, was not by earthquakes (as the Egyptian priest told Solon concerning the island of Atlantis, that it was swallowed by an earthquake), but rather that it was desolated by a particular deluge.
He had reserved what he considered to be his greatest wonder till the last--a royal Egyptian mummy, the best preserved in the world, perhaps.
Penney--the head of the Egyptian medical service, who, in a small steamer, penetrated one degree beyond Gondokoro, and then came back to die of exhaustion at Karthoum--nor Miani, the Venetian, who, turning the cataracts below Gondokoro, reached the second parallel-- nor the Maltese trader, Andrea Debono, who pushed his journey up the Nile still farther--could work their way beyond the apparently impassable limit.
Cut on one of these pillars we discovered the crude likeness of a mummy, by the head of which sat what appeared to be the figure of an Egyptian god, doubtless the handiwork of some old-world labourer in the mine.
Whereupon the whole court began, on all sides, to devour the dishes spread before them with such enthusiasm that it looked as though a cloud of Egyptian locusts was settling down on green and growing crops.
He took the glove in silence from the aide-de-camp, and sat down in the lady's chair, placing his huge hands symmetrically on his knees in the naive attitude of an Egyptian statue, and decided in his own mind that all was as it should be, and that in order not to lose his head and do foolish things he must not act on his own ideas tonight, but must yield himself up entirely to the will of those who were guiding him.
I remember reading in Egyptian history something to the effect that understanding could not be had of Egyptian art without first studying the land question.
     Who slew the Egyptian.

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