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Coptic Language of Egypt

Coptic Alphabet

The Coptic language is derived from Late Egyptian, though its script is based on the Greek alphabet with the addition of seven Demotic (late Hieroglyphic) characters. Its origins date to the third century AD when it was developed to make the Christian scriptures available to the Egyptians. It became the liturgical language of the Coptic Church after the council of Chalcedom in 451 when the Coptic Church officially broke away from the Orthodox Church. Subsequently Coptic was used for theological writing, liturgy, and religious purposes of a more general nature. It developed four to five regional dialects and was used to translate many Greek and Gnostic manuscripts as a spoken language. In Upper Egypt spoken Coptic appeared to persist among the Christian communities there until about the seventeenth century.


Last Updated on Sunday 16th January 2011

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