Phonological change and interdialectal differences between Egyptian and Coptic: ḏ, ṯ → c = ϫ versus ḏ, ṯ → t = ⲧ
The development of the Egyptian palatals ḏ and ṯ has long been a thorny issue in Egyptian linguistics. No convincing phonological rule for it has been identified so far. In the present paper I argue that the distribution of these phonemes is the result of inter-dialectal borrowings between a pre-Coptic dialect (C‑Dialect) in which ḏ , ṯ → c = ϫ and a pre-Coptic dialect (T‑Dialect) in which ḏ , ṯ → t = ⲧ. It is then argued that the attested Coptic dialects derive from T‑Dialects with lexical borrowings from C‑Dialects. A preliminary discussion of the sociolinguistic contexts of these dialects is presented in the second part of the article, where it is suggested that the C‑Dialect may have been associated with the area of the cities of Avaris/Pi-Ramses/Tanis and may have become a prestigious dialect and thus a source of lexical borrowings starting from the 19th dynasty.
Keywords: Egyptology, Egyptian, Late Egyptian, Coptic, dialects, palatals, Historical Phonology
Published online: 24 February 2021
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