How did the ancient Egyptian language go extinct?


How did the ancient Egyptian language go extinct?

TThe End of the Language of Ancient Egypt:

Although modern Egyptians are culturally and ethnically similar to the inhabitants of other Arab countries like Syria and Iraq, they have tended since the 20th century to see themseves as the descendants of the ancient Egyptians and the heirs to their culture, despite the fact that many aspects of it are totally alien to the country's Muslim character. Modern Egypt has tended to be somewhat torn over how much it should set itself apart from the other Arab nations.

Answer and Explanation:

The language spoken in the Egypt of the Pharaohs, from the third through the first millennia BCE, continued to be spoken into the Persian period of the mid-1st millennium, and then after the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE when Egypt became a Hellenistic kingdom whose rulers and government spoke and wrote in Greek. Though the capital of Alexandria did not contain many speakers of Egyptian, they continued to be found in the countryside; though the dialect they spoke, which came to be known as Coptic (from the Greek name for Egypt), was somewhat changed from the older version of Egyptian. This situation persisted under Roman and then Byzantine rule, until Egypt was conquered by Arab armies in the 7th century CE. In the years that followed, the Umayyad caliphs that ruled the entire Middle East made Arabic the official language, and from that point it started to become the spoken language of Egyptians. Some time after that Coptic ceased to be a living language, though it continues even today to be the ritual language of the Coptic Church to which between 10% and 20% of Egyptians belong.

Learn more about this topic:

Egyptian Achievements: Unification, Pyramids, Hieroglyphics & Calendar


Chapter 3 / Lesson 7

In this lesson, we will discuss some of the major achievements of ancient Egypt, including its unification by King Menes, the pyramids, hieroglyphics, and the Egyptian calendar.

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