[Editorial note: [...] indicates use of Coptic text. Original script is available for viewing in the PDF format of this article.]
VOCABULARY, COPTO-ARABIC. No language is entirely homogeneous, and so it is with Coptic. There is a majority of autochthonous words deriving from pharaonic Egyptian, but after the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great (332 B.c.) many Greek words were adopted. And, later on, after the end of the Byzantine domination, Egypt, subdued by the Arabs (A.D. 641), began to undergo their influence, at first imperceptibly but later more obviously. Thus, Arabic loanwords were extremely rare in Coptic immediately after the ARAB CONQUEST OF EGYPT, comprising but a few personal names and some substantives. They became more numerous in the very last period of Coptic, as evidenced by Stern’s text (1885) on alchemy and Chassinat’s medical papyrus (1921), both probably translated from the Arabic. In the former, most nouns are preceded by al- or an assimilated form:
S [...] (fem.), bottle:Arabic al-karura.
S [...] (masc.), beaker:Arabic al-kadah.
S [...] (masc.), coal:Arabic al-fahm.
S [...] (masc.), sulphur:Arabic al-kibrit.
S [...] (masc.), oven:Arabic al-kanun.
S [...] (fem.), carob bean:Arabic al- arruba.
S [...] (fem.), sheet of metal:Arabic as-safiha.
S [...] (masc.), arsenic:Arabic az-zirni .
S [...] (masc.), mercury:Arabic az-zaybak.
There are forms without article, such as S [...] (masc.), [...] (unit of weight); S [...] (masc.), danak (unit of weight); and S [...], white, from Arabic ’abyad, white.
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.