Coptic or Coptic Egyptian (ⲘⲉⲧⲢⲉⲙ̀ⲛⲭⲏⲙⲓ Met Remenkēmi) is the current stage of the Egyptian language, a northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the 17th century. Egyptian began to be written using the Greek alphabet in the 1st century. The new writing system became the Coptic script, an adapted Greek alphabet with the addition of six or seven signs from the demotic script to represent Egyptian sounds the Greek language did not have. Several distinct Coptic dialects are identified, the most prominent of which are Sahidic and Bohairic.
Coptic and Demotic Egyptian are grammatically closely akin to Late Egyptian, which was written in the Hieroglyphic script. Coptic flourished as a literary language from the 2nd to 13th centuries, and its Bohairic dialect continues to be the liturgical language of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. It was supplanted by Egyptian Arabic as a spoken language toward the early modern period, though revitalization efforts have been underway since the 19th century.
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Famous quotes containing the word language:
“The language of the younger generation ... has the brutality of the city and an assertion of threatening power at hand, not to come. It is military, theatrical, and at its most coherent probably a lasting repudiation of empty courtesy and bureaucratic euphemism.”
—Elizabeth Hardwick (b. 1916)