(University of Liverpool)
Throughout its history, the Egyptian language exhibits the ‘linguistic cycle’ pattern, the alternation between analytic and synthetic forms, within the diachronic development of each of its verbal constructions, and for the most part this follows the crosslinguistic trend that an entire language does not exhibit analytic and synthetic stages, but that these stages occur at different times in individual constructions. However, within the development of the Coptic stage of the Egyptian language, every verbal construction experienced an increase in syntheticity, allowing Coptic to be classed as a synthetic stage of the Egyptian language.
This presentation will suggest that this was able to occur due to the period of ‘agraphia’ of the Egyptian population, in which there was no native Egyptian writing system available, and Greek was used as the predominant script in Egypt. The creation of Coptic using the Greek script, was thus a deliberate innovation, and allowed for deliberate changes to be made, including the increase in syntheticity of verbal constructions through standardised and widespread coalescence. This presentation will also investigate the influence the impact of Greek, which provided the script and many loanwords for the writing of Coptic and, at this time, contained highly synthetic verbal constructions, on the increase in the syntheticity of the Egyptian language.
Please email Rachael Cornwell (R.H.Cornwell@liverpool.ac.uk) or Daniel Lowes (D.G.Lowes@liverpool.ac.uk) for the zoom link.