Coptic Language - Geographic Distribution - Influence On Other Languages

Influence On Other Languages

In addition to influencing the grammar, vocabulary, and syntax of Egyptian Arabic, Coptic has lent to both Arabic and Biblical Hebrew such words as:

  • timsāḥ, تمساح (Arabic), תמסח (Hebrew) – "crocodile"; ⲉⲙⲥⲁϩ emsaḥ.
  • ṭūbah طوبة "brick"; Sahidic ⲧⲱⲃⲉ to:be; Bohairic ⲧⲱⲃⲓ to:bi; this subsequently entered Catalan and Spanish (via Andalusi Arabic) as tova and adobe respectively, the latter of which was borrowed by American English.
  • wāḥah واحة "oasis"; Sahidic ⲟⲩⲁϩⲉ waḥe, Bohairic ⲟⲩⲉϩⲓ weḥi.

A few words of Coptic origin are found in the Greek language; some of these later were lent to various European languages (e.g., barge, from Coptic ⲃⲁⲁⲣⲉ bari, "small boat"). However, most words of Egyptian origin that entered into Greek, and subsequently into other European languages, came directly from ancient Egyptian (often Demotic). An example of this is the Greek ὄασις oasis, which comes directly from Egyptian wḥ3.t or demotic wḥỉ. Yet Coptic reborrowed some words of ancient Egyptian origin back into its lexicon via Greek. For example, both Sahidic and Bohairic use the word ebenos, which was taken directly from Greek ἔβενος "ebony", originally from Egyptian hbny.

The Coptic name ⲡⲁⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ, papnoute (from Egyptian pa-ph-nuti), means "the (man) of God". It was adapted into Arabic as Babnouda, which remains a common name among Egyptian Copts to this day. It was also borrowed into Greek as the name Παφνούτιος (Paphnutius). That, in turn, is the source of the Russian name Пафнутий (Pafnuty), e.g. the famous mathematician Pafnuty Chebyshev.

The Old Nubian language and the modern Nobiin borrowed many words of Coptic origin.

Read more about this topic:  Coptic Language, Geographic Distribution

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