THE COPTIC LANGUAGE
The Coptic Language is the Egyptian Language in its last phase. It was written with the letters of the Coptic alphabet which is derived from Greek letters and Demotic Egyptian signs. It differs in some respects from the classic Egyptian language due to common language modifications over thousands of years.
Although it borrowed many words from the Greek language, it kept the main tone of the Egyptian language. It has several dialects, of which the most important are: Sahidic, Bohairic, Fayoumic, Akhmimic and Sub-Akhmimic. The language began to deteriorate after the Arabic invasion of Egypt where Arabic replaced the Coptic language. Yet, one family succeeded to learn and revive it in the twentieth century where it became the mother tongue of the offspring of this family. It is also used in the liturgy of the Coptic Orthodox church of Egypt, and is taught in many universities in Europe and America. Knowledge of Coptic is important to scholars of Egyptology, archaeology, history, linguistics and theology. Some Egyptian activists and cultured intellectuals are also interested in it as the language possesses some important heritage of Egypt.
Dr. Kamal Farid Isaac
Coptic Language Departement at the Institute of Coptic Studies – Cairo