Two Questions

1)  The first is on the revival of the Coptic language. Are there any large scale efforts in Egypt or abroad to bring the language back into normal use? Surely it's possible, I believe that Israel did something similar with Hebrew? 

2) What is the ACTUAL Coptic population within Egypt? There are all sorts of numbers flying around. Is this number shrinking, growing, staying the same? I actually visited a local Coptic parish last weeked and was told they have a pretty steady flow of Egyptians moving to the area from abroad 


  • edited August 2017
    1. No, not really. It is strictly something a few Copts may be engaged in in certain pockets of Upper Egypt, but that's it. The assumption made in analogy to Hebrew would have to mean that Copts are a huge majority, which is not the case. One way this can be made possible if Copts can lobby for Muslims to also feel proud about their own Coptic past in the same way that they are proud of their ancient Pharaonic past, and maybe there could be a small revival that way.

    2. According to estimates, about 8-15 percent of the Egyptian population is Christian, and about 95% of Christians are Coptic Orthodox. But yes, due to the political and economic climate, there has been a steady flow of Coptic immigrants to other parts of the world. It was at a high rate before during the Muslim Brotherhood, but the rate decreased now.
  • Dear @Menas17,
    I really hope to see the day when the Coptic language is revived as was done to the Jewish language, but as @minasoliman pointed out, this would entail huge efforts on nationalistic levels, and such a move is quite impossible I think in the current climate in Egypt, or unfortunately even in the near future. There are some facebook groups, a yahoo group, and twitter enthusiasts, that @bashandy can shed more light on, in addition to a few people in Upper Egypt, but that is it unfortunately. 
    Oujai qen P[c
  • Todate there are no large scale efforts for revival. The concept of revitilisation started with Coptic Scala to preserve the language. As the language died out. Iryan Moftah attempted revival via standardisation of pronunciation and systematic teaching. This was followed by an attempt by Claudius Labib to revive the language, followed by Pisenti Rizkalla who succeeded to revive the language in his family. In the late 1960's Dr Emile Maher started teaching Coptic, by 1976 he had an institute to teach Coptic in Old Bohairic pronunciation. To the best of my knowledge it did not bread native speakers, though it has many fluent speakers.

    The difficulties with revival are:
    01. The lack of motivation, there's no perceived esteem or dignity in learning Coptic as compared to English, there's no financial reward, not even to cover the expenses of time spent learning Coptic language.
    02. The branding of Coptic as a Christian language: while most of the Coptic literature is religious in nature either Christian or Gnostic the non-religious texts are scanty. Coptic is perceived as important for scholars who are studying early Christianity. For Coptic to be revived it has to be branded as the language of Egyptians not Christians. There has to develop a secular tradition, and secular Coptic literature
    03. The revival chaos: the various attempts of revival have not been in sync. with each other. Claudius Labib and Pisenti Rizkalla had their own tradition of neologisms, and somehow different perspective in Grammar. Some attempted writing Coptic in joined letters as in ancient English Script and Arabic scripts. Some attempted transliteration/transcription of Coptic as an alternative to Coptic letters to ease in learning the language. The pronunciation of Old Bohairic and the new words by Dr Emile Maher seem to be the most well crafted and logical ones, yet, he has been stigmatised, maginalised due to having different pronunciation, that was more authentic than the Iryan Moftah's reformed one.
    04. Anti-Coptic movements: Many copts would oppose Coptic language saying that it's not necessary for salvation and that it's a waste of effort and time, in addition to perceived difficulty. Coptic should not be treated as a spiritual, religious, christian or ecclesiastical endevour it is a language not a theology
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