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date: 13 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Ancient Egyptian constitutes one of the main branches of the Afro-Asiatic phylum. It was used as a written and spoken language in the Lower Nile Valley and the Nile Delta by the ancient Egyptians. Though its latest form, Coptic, was gradually replaced by Arabic as a spoken language from the tenth century ad onward, it remains the liturgical language of the Coptic Church in modern Egypt. With hieroglyphic and hieratic writing appearing in the late fourth millennium bc, it is the language with the longest documented history, more than four millennia, during which profound diachronic changes occurred. The decipherment of the hieroglyphic writing in 1822 led to the establishment of a new academic discipline—Egyptology—but also to the realization that Ancient Egyptian forms a distinct group together with other African languages, such as Berber and Cushitic, as well as Semitic.

Keywords: Ancient Egyptian, Coptic, decipherment, hieroglyphic writing, hieratic

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