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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 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".
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.
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.
NNA - 18/03/2012 - President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, expressed deep regret and sorrow at the loss of Egyptian Coptic leader Shnouda III.
Field director Meyer and other members of the excavation team for the two years summarize the findings at the eastern Egyptian Coptic site about midway on an ancient route from the Nile River to the Red Sea.
Salafists demonstrated on Tuesday in front of the State Council demanding that Egyptian Coptic Pope Shenouda III release Kamilla Shehata, a priest's wife, whom they claim had converted to Islam, the pan-Arab daily ASHARQ AL AWSAT reported on Wednesday.
Sunni/Neo-Salafi militant chat-rooms on the internet have been inflamed in recent weeks with claims that the Egyptian Coptic church was forcibly holding two women, wives of Coptic priests, who they claim had converted to Islam.
The relator, or general secretary, of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, Patriarch Antonios Naguib of the Egyptian Coptic church, proposed that the Catholic church in each country of the region create a special program of pastoral care for these new Christian immigrants.
CDATA[ An Egyptian Coptic Christian leader has called for Jewish support to help prevent Egypt from becoming a ajihadist state hostile to Israel.
Ethnasios first presented in April a certificate from the Roman Orthodox Church in Cyprus, where he was baptized, but the court asked for one issued by the Egyptian Coptic church to prove its endorsement of his conversion.
A Christian of Egyptian Coptic background apologised openly for the negative attitudes he had nurtured towards Muslims.

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