Coptic Language

Coptic Language was the spoken native language of Egyptians to the 11th Century, when it was replace by Arabic. Some pockets in Upper Egypt still spoke the language until the 1600s. Till the 11th Century, it was the final stage of the native Egyptian Language, belonging to the Afro-Asiatic family. It is no longer a spoken language, except in the Divine Liturgy service and the Praises of the Coptic Church. 

Coptic is divided into 7 major dialects, although others have been identified: Akhmimic, Lycopolitan , Subakhmimic, Mesokemic(Middle Egyptian) ,  Fayyumic , Bohairic, and Sahidic. Bohairic is the most northern of the dialect of Coptic. Some linguist consider it a separate language. Akhmimic is located from Akhmim to Aswan in the south. Lycopolitan is located north of Akhmimic dialects and very similiar, but different enough to comprise its own class. Subakhmimic dialect is located next to Akhmimic. Christian orthodox literature, Manichaean and Gnostic works were written in Subakhmimic. Mesokemic(Middle Egyptian) or Oxyrhynchite is the youngest of the dialects. Fayyumic is marked by extensive use of the lambda and rho character. Bohairic is found in the western Delta. It was written down in the 5th/6th Century. Sahidic located in upper Egypt and was the first to be written down of the Coptic dialects. It is also, the most prominent of the dialect.

The language remains preserved in numerous religious writings that used the Coptic Script. The Coptic Alphabet contains 32 characters. The first 25 characters come from Greek. The last seven derived from Egyptian Demotic Hieroglyphics.

Related Article: Coptic Common Names , Coptic Script ,