Hieroglyphic language is the origin of the Coptic language.
1. The Hieroglyphic
language was known since 4200 years before Christ, whereby each picture meant
2. There is a version of the Hieroglyphic language named Hieratici
- which was the language used by priests for their religious purposes.
3. In around 2400 BC, the hieroglyphic language was modified
and developed to a demotic language (=public) whereby each picture meant one
letter – the beginning of the name of this picture.
(a) The outline
“A” because ‘eagle’ in the Coptic language
is “akhoom”, modified to A
The outline of a house
“B” because ‘house’ in the Coptic language is “beit”, modified to B
(c) The waves of water
means “M” because ‘water’ in the Coptic language is “mo-ou”,
modified to M
The demotic script was modified by the Senatics and the
Phoenicians to the Greek script (24 letters). Around the end of the 2nd
century, and the beginning of the 3rd century AD, the early fathers
of the Coptic Church (in the Theological school of Alexandria), modified the
Greek letters and the demotic letters to the Coptic script (32 letters). They
added 7 letters from the demotic script to the 24 Greek letters, and 1 letter
as the number 6 to fulfil the pronunciation of the Coptic language in order to
translate the Holy Bible from the Greek to the Coptic language.
The numbers in the Coptic language were taken from the
letters, with the addition of a dash above the letter, or in big numbers,
underneath the letter.
The Coptic language was used by all Copts – mainly in Upper
Egypt. There are 5 dialects of the Coptic language:
Sahidic (Upper Egypt)
Bohairic (Lower Egypt)
Fayoumic (in Fayoum)
Akhmimic (in Akhmeem)
Dialect of Atreeb
Copts started to speak Arabic gradually after the Arabs
entered Egypt. By the 14th century, the Arab language was dominant
over the Coptic language in daily usage, which remains only in Churches and
Monasteries until now.
The Coptic language is very important to translate and study old
manuscripts, especially for the Holy Bible.
As related by His Eminence Metropolitan Dr. Anba Abraham. All rights reserved.