Egyptian Old Language
Egyptian Language, language of Egypt from ancient times until about the 14th century AD. The sole member of the Egyptian subfamily of the Afro-Asiatic languages, Egyptian has a longer recorded history-almost 5000 years-than any other language.
As in other Afro-Asiatic languages, words in Egyptian tend to be formed from roots typically consisting of three consonants; the basic meaning of the root is altered by different vowel patterns. Egyptian verbs, however, developed forms and syntax that vary markedly from verbs in the other Afro-Asiatic subfamilies. Spoken and literary Egyptian differs considerably. Most of the formal inscriptions on tombs, temples, pillars, and statues were written in an archaic style, and approximations of living speech are preserved only in practical documents such as business records and letters.
On the basis of the prevailing literary language, Egyptian has been divided into five periods. Old Egyptian (before 3000 BC-c. 2200 BC) was the written language of the Predynastic period through the Old Kingdom (1st-6th dynasties). Middle Egyptian (circa 2200 BC-c. 1600 BC), the classical Egyptian literary language, is believed to reflect the speech of about 2200 BC. Its period of dominance coincides with the Middle Kingdom and the transitional periods before and afterward (7th-17th dynasties); in addition, it persisted as a dead literary language (like Latin in Europe) until about 500 BC. About 1380 BC, early in the New Kingdom period (18th-26th dynasties), the heretical pharaoh Akhenaton introduced Late Egyptian (c. 1550 BC-c. 700 BC) as the new literary standard. Probably based on the speech of about 1550, it shows marked grammatical and phonetic changes from the earlier language. Shortly before the New Empire gave way to Persian rule, demotic Egyptian (meaning "popular Egyptian"; c. 700 BC-c. AD 400) became the accepted literary language, remaining so through the Persian, Greek, and Roman dominations of Egypt. It was written with a distinctive script (demotic script) and appears to represent the speech of about 700 BC. The emergence of Coptic (c. AD 300-c. 1400), the last phase of Egyptian, coincides both with the replacement of traditional Egyptian writing by an adaptation of the Greek alphabet and with the rise of a Christian literature. After about 700 Coptic began to give way to Arabic, declining rapidly in the 11th to 14th centuries. It is still the liturgical language of the Coptic church.
Three forms of writing were developed by the Egyptians for formal inscriptions) and two : hieroglyphics (used cursive offshoots, hieratic 450). For all three, the signs (up to c. 650 BC) and demotic (c. 650 BC-c. AD represented ideograms, syllables determinatives (interpretive aids for (consonants only), single letters, and signs having more than one meaning did not represent vowels, and thus ). The writing did not represent vowels, and thus (except for Coptic) scholars can trace the phonetic evolution of the language only through the consonants.
Playing: Nassam 3lina El Hawa Midi