Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Suzanne Onstine

Committee Member

Daniel Unowsky

Committee Member

Peter Brand

Committee Member

Robert Demarée

Committee Member

Fayza Haikal


Coptic is the final stage of the ancient Egyptian language, which appeared fully formed in the third century CE, until Arabic gradually replaced it after the Arab conquest of Egypt in 642 CE. Despite the dominance of Arabic, Coptic remained as a spoken language in Egypt until the sixteenth century. The only remaining usage of Coptic today is confined to liturgical use in the Coptic church in Egypt. The disappearance of Coptic coincides with the formation of the Egyptian Arabic dialect, the earliest appearance of which is in a manuscript by Yusuf al-Maghribi which dates to the sixteenth century. The migration of South Arabian and Yemeni tribes to Egypt from the Arabian Peninsula resulted in cultural and linguistic contact between Coptic, Yemeni Arabic, and the South Arabian languages. This linguistic contact has influenced the development of Egyptian Arabic, which is apparent in the similar linguistic features shared between Egyptian Arabic, Modern South Arabian languages, Yemeni Arabic, and Coptic. One of these similar linguistic features is the ancient Egyptian particle ḥ3, “would that,” and the future tense prefix ḥa in Egyptian Arabic, which shares similar phonology and function of indicating a desire or an action that might or might not happen in the future. In this dissertation, I offer two possible scenarios for explaining this similarity between Coptic and Egyptian Arabic as follows: a) this similarity resulted from the contact-induced influence from Coptic, Yemeni Arabic, and South Arabian languages on Egyptian Arabic; b) or the ancient Egyptian particle ḥ3 and the Egyptian Arabic future prefix ḥa originated from a shared Afroasiatic source represented in the prefix ḥ.


Data is provided by the student

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Embargoed until 6/18/2024

Available for download on Tuesday, June 17, 2025