The Egyptian Language

In Seth O’Keefe’s world, the speech of Egypt (re-en-Kam) never died. The Sons of Set use it in their daily rituals to appease their god and for the spells they cast. Thanks to Sir Budge, I was able to come close to what the Egyptian language might have sounded like within these chapters. In truth, no one is certain what the speech of ancient Egypt sounded like since it was last used by Cleopatra; and the Egyptian writing style removes most vowels.

In addition, during the long period of ancient Egyptian language, many changes occurred. This prompted researchers to divide the language into five main phases: Old Egyptian (3400 BCE-2100BCE), Middle Egyptian (2100 BCE-1600 BCE), Late Egyptian (1600 BCE-600 BCE), the Demotic Phase (8 BCE-5 CE), and the Coptic Phase (3 BCE-997 CE).

Ancient Egyptian is either classified as part of the Afro-Asiatic linguistic family or the Semito-Hamitic linguistic family. These predominately emerged from the Arabian Peninsula and settled in the regions of Southwest Asia and North Africa. The texts I refer to associate the language more with the Semitic languages, mostly because the history of Semitic languages is better known. However, Sir Budge mentions that other scholars believed that ancient Egyptian developed more quickly—separating itself from it’s Asiatic sisters at a very early period—partly due to the mixing of people in the Nile Valley. Sir Budge also goes on to state that a large number of words expressing fundamental relationships and feelings are actually African in origin, not Semitic. Unfortunately, there is no means of learning how much the Egyptians borrowed linguistics from other cultures in the area, or other cultures borrowed from them.


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