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Coptic Language

by Dr. Ossama Alsaadawi


Question: from Kem-Au; posted 11 December 2003 02:45 PM

Is Coptic still a spoken language? Or is it just used during religious ceremonies like Latin?

Answer: from Dr. Ossama Alsaadawi:

There is NOTHING called Coptic language. There is only Egyptian language used in Egypt. During my last lecture in Cairo about the Egyptian language a Coptic lady asked me about the Coptic language. I asked her what language she speaks to her husband in midnight? She replied 'it is Arabic'. I replied: No it is the same Egyptian language that the Copts used in Egypt hundreds of years before the Arabians invaded Egypt. Then I asked her once more: did the Copts let go or changed their Orthodox religion? She answered: No, Never. Then I asked her: then how come you let go or changed your claimed Coptic language? Then I asked her more: what is your husband's name? She answered: it's '3aziz'. I asked: is it a Coptic or Arabic name? She said: it is a Coptic name! I said: but 3aziz is an Arabic word, which means 'dear'! Then I asked her if she could write it in Coptic alphabet? She said: No I can't do that. I asked her why? She said: because there is no (3) phoneme in Coptic alphabets, and I have to write it as 'aziz' but not '3aziz'. Then I asked her: do you name your children after Arabic names? She answered: No, Never. Then I asked: then what about hundreds of Coptic names that are of Arabic utterance like:

nakhla, millaad, ghaali, wahba, morqoS, Hanna, layla, samia, sohair, ni3mat, moneer, mamdwH, samir, salwa, sawsan, 3aziz, 3izzat, shinwda, gameel, sam3aan, etc, etc, etc.

She replied: I don't know, may be its really Egyptian!!

If there is ANY sort of Coptic spoken language then why the Copts, or at least few of them,

don't use it in everyday life or between themselves in any special occasion?

By Coptic language some scholars mean the Coptic trial to replace the Egyptian writing lines, like Hieroglyphs and Demotic, by a modified Greek line. It was a trial born dead because it didn't match the phonetic values of the spoken Egyptian.

The famous Coptic linguist Anton Zikri wrote in his famous book 'Key of Ancient Egyptian Language':

**most of the religious Coptic words that still be used in Coptic Church are of Greek source**

Here is another testimony that was posted on the Guardian discussion board:

>> By Su on Wednesday, February 21, 2001 - 12:21 pm: Edit


**We are told that Coptic is the closest surviving language, but when I've attended Coptic ceremonies, it seemed to be more a mixture of Arabic and Greek or Latin, which I suppose makes sense because they were the languages to follow ancient Egyptian**

**Interestingly though, I've found that many transliterated hieroglyphs are very similar to Arabic words used today, so maybe something of the language carried on after the Arab conquest** .... Su <<



[[ The Spoken Egyptian Language has NEVER changed one bit from far pre-dynastic eras up today ]]

Dr. Ossama Alsaadawi


Alsaadawi, your comments about the Coptic language are very interesting. Thank you for sharing them.

But as far as the modern Egyptian language not being any different from the ancient language, can you expand on that, preferably with some examples. I've read some of ausar's posts where he mentioned that many ancient words still existed in the upper egyptian language, but i've never read anything that suggested that modern egyptians speak anything other than arabic.

i understand that the dialects in upper egypt are different from those of lower egypt, probably due to the survivals of the ancient language. but from what i understand, it's still arabic. do you have any examples to demonstrate sentence structure?

Dr. Alsaadawi:

Kem-Au, thank you for your sapient and discernment words. The Egyptian language is very wide and very intense. This comes from the fact that all 'basic' Hieroglyphic graphemes have only bilateral phonetic values. It's an evident primary fact that was not discovered by Champollion and his followers or by traditional Egyptologists. Wonderfully, each of those AE Hieroglyphic bilateral sounds has a specified Egyptian meaning. Sometimes many of them have been crept or conducted to many other languages with the same phonetic and meaning qualities. Let's start by some basic examples then go further gradually to some more extended examples:

The first example from alphabetic point pf view is:

[G1-G29] = ab = father.

Please see Wallis Budge EHD p.5a

Here we have only one grapheme [G29] or the Jabiru bird with its famous phonetic value (ab / ba). Wonderfully, all combinations of this word are still used in Egypt by the same meaning like:

ab, aba, ba, baba, aboy, aboya, etc. They all mean 'father'.

It is also conducted to many other languages by the same phones and the same meaning.

A second example is the AE Hieroglyph [F40] defined by Gardiner as 'backbone'. Its phonetic value is 'aw' and is used in Egyptian language by this phone to mean:

[F40] = aw = or

It was also conducted to other languages by the same phone and same related meanings.

A third example is the famous AE star [N14]. Its phonetic value is (bs/bS) and related phones. It still been used in Egypt to mean:

[N14] = bS = boSS = look.

It is not a formal Arabic word but pure Egyptian and still be used frequently by all the Egyptians. Of course it has many derivatives like for example the Egyptian word 'baSSaaS' which means 'spy'!

A forth example is the famous AE woman sign [B1]. Its phonetic value is 'st'. It still been used in Egypt to mean:

[B1] = st = woman.

It is not an Arabic word but pure Egyptian.

In Egyptian we say: 'wad, bt, st' to mean 'boy, girl and woman'. These words have nothing to do with Arabic language. They are pure AE words and are still be modern Egyptian words that anyone could hear them allover Egypt.

Likewise there are tens of other similar examples like for instance:

[Y5] = mn = from / who

[D7] = 3n = eye

[D2] = Hr = free

[G20] = m3 = with

[G25] = akh = brother

[S40] = ws / wS = sponsor


If we reach some full alphabetic AE words then we can find hundreds of them that are reported in AE Hieroglyphic texts and that are still be used in Egypt today. Nearly 60-70% of everyday spoken words used by modern Egyptians are not formal Arabic. I have recorded hundreds of such words. When I cast them or read them to the attendants they become extremely surprised!


Interesting stuff! What I would like to know is are we talking about the "ancient" ancient egyptian language or the "more modern" ancient egyptian language. I know that Ancient egypt was conquered and ruled by several empires during its latter era so there should be remnants of all of these "occupations" in the language? Also I'm sure the language naturally evolved and changed like all languages do over time. I'm I making sense? If not please fill me in. Is copt really ancient egyptian language with influences from the dominating cultures that occupied?

Dr. Alsaadawi:

Keino, all your questions are quite logic.

>>are we talking about the "ancient" ancient egyptian language or the "more modern" ancient egyptian language<<

They both are the same. Here I would like to repeat the first statement of 'Alsaadawi's Theory on True Hieroglyphs':

**the Egyptian spoken language has Never changed one bit from far pre-dynastic times up today**

I introduced a huge volume of evidence to prove this evident Fact.

>>I know that Ancient egypt was conquered and ruled by several empires during its latter era so there should be remnants of all of these "occupations" in the language?<<

On the contrary, Egyptian language was intensely crept, conducted and converged into the weak languages of all those invaders. The Greek language, for example, is a direct derivation of the Egyptian language in many aspects either in written graphemes or in oral utterance. You can simply check this by comparing the basic Greek alphabetic graphemes and their corresponding phones with the AE Hieroglyphs and their corresponding phones.

Even the English alphabets are pure imitation and duplication of AE Hieroglyphs either in graphical or phonetic construction. Here are only some few examples:

< please read here about origin of English Alphabets >

English a = G1 = the Egyptian vulture.

English b = D58 = the Egyptian leg.

English c, s = S29 = the Egyptian folded cloth.

English D = D46 = the Egyptian hand.

English e = M17 = the Egyptian reed.

English f = G40 = the Egyptian flying bird.

English G = W11 = the Egyptian jar.

English h = O4 = the Egyptian shelter.

English L = V13 = the Egyptian rope.

English N = N35 = the Egyptian rippled water.

English q = N29 = the Egyptian seat.

English R = E23 = the Egyptian lion.

English T = S36 = the Egyptian umbrella.

English V = F13 = the Egyptian horns.

English X = Q4 = the Egyptian head-rest.

English y = N23 = the Egyptian canal.

English Z = I15 = the Egyptian serpent.

Notice that all these phonemes are equivalent in both graphical and phonetic values.

>>Also I'm sure the language naturally evolved and changed like all languages do over time. I'm I making sense?<<

No. I explained before that the Egyptian language is really a unique unchangeable language because of its bilateral phonetic values. It means simply that it could constitute infinite number of words and still have logic meanings. All imported words from other languages are of Egyptian origin due to this distinct quality. There are hundreds of examples. I cast here two examples only:

The English word 'hello' or 'hallow' which the Egyptians say now is in fact of Egyptian origin given by the grapheme 'hl' from which the Egyptian word 'hala' or 'ahlan' evolved. 'hala' means in Egyptian 'welcome'.

The English word 'free' or 'far' is evolved from the Egyptian grapheme 'fr' or [N31] that was conducted also into Arabic as 'farr' which means 'flee' or 'to be free'.

>>Is copt really ancient egyptian language with influences from the dominating cultures that occupied?<<

No. Coptic was a foreign trial to replace the Egyptian writing lines like Hieroglyphs and Demotic by a modified Greek line. This trial was born dead because Greek alphabets do not match the Egyptian phonetic values. The Copts themselves are the first peoples to reject it and refuse to use it. That is why the Coptic writing line is a dead one. On the other hand the Copts never changed their Egyptian spoken language that they still use it up today. This is different than some Greek religious statements that Copts use in Churches. Some Coptic people try hard to convince others that this limited Greek religious wording was the real spoken Coptic. But most of the Copts in Egypt refuse all these trials and insist to name their children after the real and True Egyptian language. Just talk to any Coptic in Egypt and ask him about his name and the names of his mother and father and grandfathers, you find that they are all pure Egyptian but Not the Claimed Vague Dead Coptic.


Alsaadawi-4, your post is very interesting. i must admit i'm particularly fascinated by you comparisons with the kemite symbols and the english alphabet. there are some definite similarities. i've never noticed that. but it makes some sense because the english alphabet basically comes from latin, which was influenced by greek, which was influenced by kemet.

thank you for posting this

Dr. Alsaadawi:

Thank you Kem-Au for your sincere and informative words. I always believed that there are many truthful savants who could rightly judge the good work and appreciate it. I cordially acknowledge your words, and please allow me to repost here an important message that was posted online from a well known English author Mr. Jim Bowles:

From: "Jim Bowles" <jimbow@h...>
Date: Sat Sep 30, 2000 12:55 pm
Subject: Ossama Alsaadawi & English alphabets

I am interested in a statement that Ossama Alsaadawi made about English alphabets being derived (directly) from Hieroglyphs.

I have studied the Pyramid Texts in English translation, for many years, and have found "word mazes" with in them. There'll always be a "clue" along the way that tells you [what you should read] when you've exited the maze correctly. I have been fascinated that these should work in English. But perhaps the work by Ossama Alsaadawi suggests why.

A friend asked me whether hieratic script came from the hieroglyphics also?

Looking forward to a very pleasent exchange.

James Bowles
author, "The Gods, Gemini, and the Great Pyramid."


< please read here about origin of English Alphabets >


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