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Coptic Writing in Cairo
Writing Old Nubian in the Greek/Coptic Script


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Writing systems that use this script (4)

  • This is a sample of Coptic writing from a wall plaque in Cairo, Egypt. Photo taken by Eric Olsen, originally posted on  flickr.

    Copyright© 2005 Eric Olsen
    LicenseOpen content license - see terms below

    Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

    ContributorSteph Holloway
  • The Nubian languages are a group of Eastern Sudanic languages spoken in what is not Egypt and Sudan. Old Nubian is an ancient variety of one or more of these languages, which was used until the 15th century.

    Old Nubian writing came into existence after Christianity had penetrated the region around the 4th century. It was an offshoot of the Coptic alphabet, itself derived from the Greek alphabet, and consisted largely of Greek symbols, with some additional symbols specific to the Coptic script, and some symbols from Egyptian Meroitic hieroglyphs. Diacritics were used to indicate numerals and separate words. A mark was also used, unique to Old Nubian writing, at the end of proper names.

    Old Nubian writing was used from the 8th to the 11th centuries. There are some efforts underway to revitalize the script, but the Nubian languages today are commonly written with the Latin or Arabic scripts.



Copyright © 2017 SIL International and released under the  Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license (CC-BY-SA) unless noted otherwise. Language data includes information from the  Ethnologue. Script information partially from the  ISO 15924 Registration Authority. Some character data from  The Unicode Standard Character Database and locale data from the  Common Locale Data Repository. Used by permission.