What language did the ancient Egyptians speak?

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Egyptian is an Afro-Asiatic language most closely related to the Berber, Semitic, Somali and Beja languages. It survived until the 5th century AD in the form of Demotic and until the late 17th century AD in the form of Coptic. Written records of the Egyptian language have been dated from about 3200 BC, making it one of the oldest recorded languages known. The national language of modern day Egypt is Egyptian Arabic, which gradually replaced Coptic Egyptian as the language of daily life in the centuries after the Muslim conquest of Egypt. Coptic is still used as a liturgical language by the Coptic Church, and reportedly has a handful of native speakers today. Scholars group the Egyptian language into 6 major chronological divisions: Archaic Egyptian (before 2600 BC) Old Egyptian (2600 BC – 2000 BC) Middle Egyptian (2000 BC – 1300 BC) Late Egyptian (1300 BC – 700 BC) Demotic (7th century BC – 5th century AD) Coptic (4th century AD – 17th century AD) Egyptian writing in the form of ... more
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