Egyptian language


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Egyptian language,

extinct language of ancient Egypt, a member of the Afroasiatic family of languages (see Afroasiatic languagesAfroasiatic languages
, formerly Hamito-Semitic languages
, family of languages spoken by more than 250 million people in N Africa; much of the Sahara; parts of E, central, and W Africa; and W Asia (especially the Arabian peninsula, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and
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). The development of ancient Egyptian is usually divided into four periods: (1) Old Egyptian, spoken and written in Egypt during the IV to VI dynasties of the Old Kingdom (3d millennium B.C.); (2) Middle Egyptian, a form of the language noted for its great literature and current from the XI dynasty (beginning 2134 B.C.) to the reign of Ikhnaton (c.1372–1354 B.C.) in the XVIII dynasty; (3) Late Egyptian, which was used from the time of Ikhnaton through the XX dynasty of the 12th cent. B.C.; and (4) demotic, dating from the late 8th cent. B.C. to the 5th cent. A.D.

The ancient Egyptian language first used a hieroglyphichieroglyphic
[Gr.,=priestly carving], type of writing used in ancient Egypt. Similar pictographic styles of Crete, Asia Minor, and Central America and Mexico are also called hieroglyphics (see Minoan civilization; Anatolian languages; Maya; Aztec).
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 form of writing that underwent several stages of development in the course of the centuries. From hieroglyphics evolved an Egyptian cursive handwriting known as hieratic; and from hieratic, a simplified script called demotic, in which was recorded the form of the Egyptian language also called demotic. Egyptian hieroglyphics and the styles of writing derived from them are associated with pagan civilization. Their extinction followed the victory of Christianity over the pagan religions.

Some scholars regard Coptic (see CoptsCopts
, the native Christian minority of Egypt; estimates of the number of Copts in Egypt range from 5% to 17% of the population. Copts are not ethnically distinct from other Egyptians; they are a cultural remnant, i.e.
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) as a fifth period of ancient Egyptian, although others classify it as a different language descended from the ancient tongue. If Coptic, which is written in a modified version of the Greek alphabet, is considered a continuation of the Egyptian language, a written record of the latter may be said to cover an unbroken span of at least 40 centuries, the longest such record known for a language.

See also Rosetta Stone under RosettaRosetta
, former name of Rashid
, city (1986 pop. 51,789), N Egypt, in the Nile River delta. The city once dominated the region's rice market; rice milling and fish processing are the main industries of modern Rashid. Founded in the 9th cent.
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.

Bibliography

See studies by A. Bakir (1983, 1984); A. H. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar (3d ed. 1957); N. M. Davies, Picture Writing in Ancient Egypt (1958); E. W. Budge, Egyptian Language (8th ed. 1966).

References in periodicals archive ?
For eight-year old student of Egyptian Language School, Karim Waheed who was at Hyatt Plaza where shows such as Play D'oh and Mr Dropsy & the BellBoy were staged, it was an Eid holiday well spent.
Each piece has been selected to tell the story of the development and use of the ancient Egyptian language.
This first grammar of the Pharaonic Egyptian language has been reprinted recently.
Invited topics include recent PhD dissertations, reports from excavations, specialized studies in ancient Egyptian language and culture, conference proceedings, and the history of the field of Egyptology.
She sifts out the syntactic patterns showing Greek influence in one or both text groups, showing how certain patterns came to be used in Coptic clearly through translations, and raising questions of whether those syntactic influences that came to the Egyptian language through the bilingual situation can be detected with certainty.
But because Greek was a well-known language and the differences in the three texts were minor, the researchers could decipher the Demotic Egyptian language and the hieroglyphs.
Further investigation revealed a copy of an additional letter written even earlier, just one year after Champollion's initial breakthrough, when his understanding of the ancient Egyptian language was still in its infancy.
The Egyptian Language School in Doha has undergone a complete change of management at the senior level as a consequence of Egypt's January 25 revolution.
She was the first of her line to take the trouble to learn the Egyptian language.
133: Concerning the supposed complex alliterations, a study setting the alleged instances against random patterns due to the global relative frequency of these sounds in the Egyptian language would be necessary.
Unlike many of her predecessors, however, Cleopatra knew the Egyptian language, and embraced aspects of traditional Egyptian culture.
As for the ancient Egyptian language, Victoria said she no longer remembers it as she used to speak it thousands of years ago.

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