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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 ?
A spokesman for the Anglican Diocese said: "The proposed closure of the church of St Paul's Stoneycroft, and subsequent lease and sale to the Egyptian Coptic church, has been properly consulted upon within the diocese, and the process is now in the hands of Church Commissioners in London.
The statement issued by the cleric members of the parliament, deplored the brutal killing of the Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya by the ISIL, and said, "Now, the US and western governments and the regional sheikhdoms (Persian Gulf Arab states) which have created and strengthened the killer group should account for such genocide.
Earlier on Sunday, the IS militant group released a video purportedly showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians abducted in Libya.
He said that Sudan condemns "in the strongest terms the slaughter of Egyptian Coptic at the hands of the so-called Islamic State (Da'esh) in Libya".
And just last week, an Egyptian Coptic couple were found dead in their home in Sirte, hometown of longtime dictator Col Mu'ammar Qadhafi, who was overthrown and killed in a NATO-backed uprising three years ago.
The Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church has commended the UAE under the leadership of the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for its policy of religious tolerance towards other religions.
On the afternoon of August 14, the Freedom and Justice Party Helwan Branch had posted a statement on the group's Facebook page accusing Pope Tawadros, the religious leader of the Egyptian Coptic community, of participating in Morsy's removal and of inciting Copts to block roads, encircle mosques, and storm them.
Egyptian liberal opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei met army chief General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, along with the heads of state Islamic institute, Al-Azhar, and the Egyptian Coptic Church.
Mehmet GE[micro]rmez, the head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs, Anba Bakhomious, acting pope of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, Amine Pierre Gemayel, former Lebanese president from 1982 to 1988, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoy-lu and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoy-an will deliver opening speeches on the first day of the conference.
The development comes in the wake of the death of Patriarch Shenouda III, the head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, who for decades prohibited Copts from traveling to Jerusalem and other sites due to the "Israeli occupation.
Late Pope Shenouda barred Egyptian Coptic Christians from going to Israel to pray in Arab East Jerusalem, citing the danger caused by Israel's "oppressive occupation" of Palestinian land.
Cairo, Mar 18 (Petra) -- The Arab League has paid tribute to Egyptian Coptic Christian Pope Shenouda III, who died on Saturday at the age of 89.

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