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Glossary

Coptic

It is a name for Egyptians of the Christian faith and their Church. It is also the name for the last form of the ancient Egyptian language, which was written with mostly Greek letters. The Coptic language survives only as a liturgical language of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

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Spread of the Ancient Egyptian Language
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The Ancient Egyptian language belongs to the Afro-Asiatic family, which has been widespread from antiquity to the present time in North Africa, the eastern Mediterranean, and western Asia. This group of languages includes languages that are still spoken today, such as Berber and Cushitic in North Africa and Arabic and Hebrew in the Middle East.

The Ancient Egyptian language apparently had begun to take form before the African and Asian branches began to develop their current separate grouping, since words from both groups occur in Ancient Egyptian, especially during the New Kingdom.

When the Ancient Egyptians used Semitic words, for instance, in their hieroglyphic writing, they distinguished them as foreign by a special system of spelling.

The Ancient Egyptian language is known from texts spanning four thousand years, from about 3000 BC to the late first millennium AD, when Arabic took over as the spoken language.

Ancient Egyptian is now considered a "dead," or no longer used, language like Latin. It's use is now limited to Coptic Orthodox church services.

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