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Book/Printed Material Coptic Language Primer.

About this Item


  • Coptic Language Primer.


  • This manuscript is a basic introduction to the alphabet, pronunciation, and grammar of the Bohairic dialect of the Coptic language written for Arabic speakers by Iryan Moftah (1826--86). It is copied in a commercial notebook. The author divides each page vertically with text in Coptic script on the left and Arabic translation or explanation on the right. The manuscript is written in a bold black ink. Title and author are given on a label pasted on the front cover. The work is undated, but it is most likely from the mid-19th century. In addition to the alphabet, the author teaches formation of nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and telling time. The Coptic language, although no longer spoken by Egyptians, is of cultural and liturgical importance to Coptic Christians in Egypt and around the world. As a grammarian and teacher, Iryan Moftah participated in the educational and cultural reforms of the Coptic pope, Cyril IV (reigned 1854--61), which included advocacy of the Bohairic dialect as the vernacular of the liturgy. This dialect incorporated significant vocabulary and even pronunciation from Greek and on that account met opposition from some quarters, especially in Upper Egypt. It is not known whether Moftah's primers were ever printed and used in schools and seminaries. His manuscripts on religious, historical, and linguistic subjects are preserved in the Iryan Moftah Collection of the American University in Cairo.


  • Moftah, Iryan Author.

Created / Published

  • [place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified], [1800 to 1899]


  • -  Egypt
  • -  1800 to 1899
  • -  Arabic language
  • -  Bohairic dialect
  • -  Coptic Church
  • -  Coptic language
  • -  Grammar
  • -  Greek language


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  Original resource extent: 146 pages ;19.5 x 13 centimeters.
  • -  Original resource at: The American University in Cairo Rare Books and Special Collections Library.
  • -  Content in Arabic and Coptic.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.


  • 1 online resource.

Source Collection

  • Iryan Moftah Collection of Coptic Books and Manuscripts

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021667304

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

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Credit Line: [Original Source citation], World Digital Library

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Moftah, Iryan Author. Coptic Language Primer. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified, to 1899, 1800] Pdf.

APA citation style:

Moftah, I. A. (1800) Coptic Language Primer. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified, to 1899] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Moftah, Iryan Author. Coptic Language Primer. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified, to 1899, 1800] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.