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Coptic or Coptic Egyptian (Met Remenkēmi) is the final stage of the Egyptian language, a northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the seventeenth century. Egyptian began to be written using the Coptic alphabet in the first century. The new writing system became the native Coptic script, a derivation of the Greek alphabet with the addition of six to 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 are grammatically closely akin to Late Egyptian, which was written in the hieroglyphic script. The main difference is in the writing. Coptic flourished as a literary language from the second to thirteenth 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 nineteenth century. The number of people who speak Coptic today reaches around 300.
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Coptic language. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.|