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Egyptian Language

Ancient Egyptian language
Egyptian is an Afro-Asiatic language most closely related to Berber, Semitic, and Beja. The language survived until the 5th century AD in the form of Demotic and until the late 17th century AD in the form of Coptic. Written records of the Egyptian language have been dated from about 3200 BC, making it one of the oldest recorded languages known. The national language of modern day Egypt is Egyptian Arabic, which gradually replaced Coptic Egyptian as the language of daily life in the centuries after the Muslim conquest of Egypt. Coptic is still used as a liturgical language by the Coptic Church, and reportedly has a handful of native speakers today.

Periodization :
Scholars group the Egyptian language into 6 major chronological divisions :
• Archaic Egyptian (before 2600 BC)
• Old Egyptian (2600 BC – 2000 BC)
• Middle Egyptian (2000 BC – 1300 BC)
• Late Egyptian (1300 BC – 700 BC)
• Demotic (7th century BC – 5th century AD)
• Coptic (4th century AD – 17th century AD)
Egyptian writing in the form of label and signs has been dated to 3200 BC. These early texts are generally lumped together under the term "Archaic Egyptian."
Old, Middle, and Late Egyptian were all written using hieroglyphs and hieratic. Demotic was written using a script derived from hieratic; its appearance is vaguely similar to modern Arabic script and is also written from right to left (although the two are not related). Coptic is written using the Coptic alphabet, a modified form of the Greek alphabet with a number of symbols borrowed from Demotic for sounds that did not occur in Ancient Greek.
Arabic became the language of Egypt's political administration soon after the Arab conquest in the seventh century, and gradually replaced Coptic as the language spoken by the populace. Today, Coptic survives as the liturgical language of the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Coptic Catholic Church.

Egyptian writing :
Most surviving texts in the Egyptian language are primarily written on stone in the hieroglyphic script. However, in antiquity, the majority of texts were written on perishable papyrus in hieratic and (later) demotic, which are now lost. There was also a form of cursive hieroglyphic script used for religious documents on papyrus, such as the Book of the Dead in the Ramesside Period. Hieroglyphs are employed in two ways in Egyptian texts: as ideograms that represent the idea depicted by the pictures; and more commonly as phonographs denoting their phonetic value.

Phonology :
While the consonantal phonology of the Egyptian language may be reconstructed, its exact phonetics are unknown, and there are varying opinions on how to classify the individual phonemes. A peculiarity shared with the Semitic languages. Since vowels were not written natively, reconstructions of the Egyptian vowel system are much more uncertain, relying on the evidence of Coptic and Greek transcriptions of Egyptian names.However The vocalization of Egyptian is partially known, largely on the basis of reconstruction from Coptic, in which the vowels are written. Recordings of Egyptian words in other languages provide an additional source of evidence. Scribal errors provide evidence of changes in pronunciation over time.

Language of Modern Egypt
Egyptian Arabic (Maṣrī)
is a variety of the Arabic language of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. It originated in the Nile Delta in Lower Egypt around the capital Cairo. Descended from the spoken Arabic brought to Egypt during the AD seventh-century Muslim conquest, its development was influenced mainly by the indigenous Copto-Egyptian language of per-Islamic Egypt,[2][3][4] and later by other languages such as Turkish. Egyptian Arabic is spoken by more than 76 million people in Egypt. It is also understood across the Middle East due to the predominance of Egyptian media, making it the most widely spoken and one of the most widely studied varieties of Arabic.
The country's native name, Maṣr, is used locally to refer to the capital Cairo itself. Similar to the role played by Parisian French, Masri is by far the most dominant in all areas of national life. While it is essentially a spoken language, it is encountered in written form in novels, plays, poems (vernacular literature) as well as in comics, advertising, some newspapers and transcriptions of popular songs. The Egyptian vernacular is normally written in the Arabic alphabet for local consumption, although it is commonly transcribed into Latin letters or in the International Phonetic Alphabet in linguistics text and textbooks aimed at teaching non-native learners.

Geographic distribution :
Egyptian Arabic is spoken by more than 77 million Egyptians in Egypt as well as by immigrant Egyptian communities in the Middle East, Europe, North America, Australia and South East Asia. Among the spoken varieties of Arabic, Egyptian is the only one to have become a lingua franca in other parts of the Arabic-speaking world for two main reasons the proliferation and popularity of Egyptian films and other media in the region since the early 20th century and the great number of Egyptian teachers in various countries in the Arabian Peninsula and in other countries such as Algeria and Libya.

History :
The Egyptians slowly adopted the Arabic language following the Arab-Muslim conquest of Egypt in the 7th century AD. Up till then, they were speaking Egyptian in its Coptic form. For more than three centuries, there existed a period of Coptic-Arabic bilingualism in Lower Egypt. Arabic may have been already familiar to Egyptians through per-Islamic trade with Bedouin Arab tribes in the Sinai and the easternmost part of the Nile Delta. Egyptian Arabic seems to have begun taking shape in Fustat, the first Islamic capital of Egypt. The variety of Arabic spoken by the Muslim military troops stationed in Fustat was already different from Classical Arabic , which in part accounts for some of the unique characteristics of the Egyptian dialect. Local chroniclers mention the continued use of Coptic Egyptian as a spoken language until the 17th century AD by peasant women in Upper Egypt. Coptic is still the liturgical language of the Egyptian Coptic Church.

Dialects :
The Egyptian variants spoken in central and southern Egypt, referred to collectively as Sa'idi (Upper Egyptian), are mainly descended from the northern Egyptian dialect due to early contacts with Bedouin Arab dialects. They carry little prestige nationally though continue to be widely spoken, including in the north by rural migrants who have adapted partially to Lower Egyptian dialect. However the Second and third-generation southern Egyptian migrants are monolingual but maintain cultural and familial ties to the south. The traditional division between Lower and Upper Egypt and their respective dialectal differences go back to ancient times. Egyptians today commonly refer to the people of the north as baḥarwa and to those of the south as ṣaʻayda. The dialectal differences throughout Egypt, however, are more wide ranging and do not neatly correspond to this simple division.
The dialect of western Alexandria is different from all other forms of Egyptian, as linguistically it forms part of the Maghrebi group of dialects. The same was formerly true of the Egyptian form of Judaeo-Arabic.