Last Update 0:25
Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Egyptian word power

Ancient Egyptian words seep powerfully through the sands of time, war and massive political changes to persist in today's everyday language

Sherry El-Gergawi, Saturday 25 May 2013
Egyptian
Share/Bookmark
Views: 12801
Share/Bookmark
Views: 12801

Despite all the weapons of mass destruction and wars, words remain the gatekeepers of culture, heritage and a constant reviver of history. Indeed, thousands of years of Egyptian history not only survives in the immense stone temples in what are now sandy deserts, but also in some Egyptian colloquial words.

Ancient Egyptian language is multi-layered and has survived changes that accompanied the rise and fall of numerous dynasties throughout centuries. However the only main source of translation to old Egypt is the Rosetta Stone, deciphered by Champelione during the French expedition in Egypt. The stone had three versions of the same text: Greco-Roman, Hieroglyphic (Egypt's then-official language) and demotic (local). This was the breakthrough in understanding hieroglyphs.

The ancient Egyptian language began to be written using the Greek alphabet in the 1st century. The new writing system became the Coptic (Egyptian) script and adapted the Greek alphabet with the addition of six or seven signs from the demotic script to represent Egyptian sounds the Greek language did not have. Coptic and Demotic Egyptian are grammatically close to the latest form of Ancient Egyptian language.

The term 'Copt' was used by the Greeks and the Arabic invasions to refer to all Egyptians, only later was the term used to specify Egyptian Christians. In ancient times, Egypt was known as Kemet (Black Land) due to its prosperity and fertile land.

According to the book by Professor of Egyptology at Cairo University and Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Calligraphy Centre Abdel Halim Nour El-Din The Language of Ancient Egyptians:

Aragouz : From the Coptic Arogus, which means the vocalist, or the man of words

Em Bou:  Baby talk for water; derived from Ancient Egyptian word Eb Mo that was altered to Em Bou, meaning thirsty

Oppa: Baby talk meaning to carry a child; derived from Coptic term opet, which means "to carry"

Mebalem: A dull face with no expression; derived from Coptic term bal am

Bekh: peek-a-boo child game; derived from Coptic term beeik meaning a ghost

Kersh: A big belly; derived from Coptic word

Balbous: Naked; derived from Coptic word Belboush

Shwaya: A little bit; derived from Coptic term showa

Shekara: A big sack, often used to measure big quantities of wheat, cement and such; derived from Ancient Egyptian shakar

Mout: Death; derived from Coptic word mawt, which means the loss of life

Dabous: A pin derived from Ancient Egyptian tipis; derived from the Coptic word meaning to pinch

Foul: Beans; derived from Ancient Egyptian boul, which was later in Coptic called fel

Falafel: Fried chick pea patty; derived from Coptic word that means a lot of foul (beans)

Nounou: Baby or infant; derived from Coptic

Mashi: Walking or moving

Fouta: Towel; derived from Coptic foteih/fitet

Search Keywords:
Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.