Coptic alphabet

Coptic writing is an alphabetic script used since the 2nd century AD for the Coptic language and is derived from the Greek alphabet. The shape of the letters differs to some extent from Greek, also the Coptic script was expanded to 8 characters demotic origin. These characters were needed to write the non-displayable with the Greek alphabet sounds [ ʃ ], [ f], [ x], [h ], [ ts ], [ k ʲ ] and the combination of sounds [ ti ]. In contrast to the Demotic vowels were able to first read in the transcript of the Egyptian written, which was for the study of Egyptian predecessor languages ​​are important. Overall, the Coptic alphabet contains 32 letters.

History of writing

Since the conquest of Egypt 332-331 BC under Alexander and the subsequent Ptolemaic rule of Egypt was subject to an intensive Hellenization. So Greek was the language of administration. Knowledge of the Greek language and literature and of the Greek alphabet were therefore widespread with time. Since the 1st century AD, some texts were written in Middle Egyptian or Demotic in the Greek Scriptures in Egypt, which is known as altkoptische font. It contains demotic additional letters for certain, the Greek foreign sounds. The first lyrics are especially magical texts such as the Papyrus BM 10808th

Since Christianization of Egypt in the 3rd / 4th Century the older Egyptian writings, so the hieroglyphs, the hieratic and demotic writing were completely abandoned, living in Egypt Egyptian Christians authored texts now. , In a modified form of the Greek script, which is now called Coptic Font

Ever since the Coptic as a spoken language supplanted by Arabic and is extinct, the Coptic script is only in the Coptic church for liturgical purposes in use, but is increasingly displaced from Arab.

Since the 8th century AD the spoken in present-day Sudan Altnubisch was written with the altnubischen writing, which was derived from the Coptic script.

The system of writing and the letters

In contrast to the systems previously applied for the textualization of the Egyptian Coptic script is a phonetic alphabet, vowels and consonants equally. Depending on the dialect, there are approximately to 30 letters; usually represents a letter of the Coptic script is a phoneme, this, however, there are some exceptions. ⲑ th, ⲫ ph, kh ⲭ, ⲝ ks, ⲯ ps and ϯ ti are in most dialects monograms, each representing a sequence of two phonemes. Conversely, / y / plene as ⲉ ⲓ and / w / as written ⲟ ⲩ. The phoneme / ʔ / does not have a corresponding letter. Some of the Coptic writing on the Phonen is paid instead of the phonemes, then / nō / [ nu ] written as ⲛ ⲟ ⲩ ( nu). In addition, consonants could be marked with a Supralinear line when they were syllabic.

The following list gives an overview of the entire Coptic alphabet with the Latin transcription, the corresponding phonemes and the reconstructed pronunciation. The phonemes specified partly differ in dialect- dependent; the reconstructed pronunciation applies only to genuine Coptic words, during the debate in Greek words partially deviated. For information about indicated in the last column representation of numbers can be found in the article Coptic numbers.