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The Coptic script is an adaptation of the Greek alphabet for the latter stages of Egyptian spoken in the Roman and early Christian periods. Most of the Coptic akovetuc forms are similar to the Greeks alphabet, but Coptic also includes symbols for sounds not found in Greek. Coptic was replaced by Arabic in Egypt, but is still used in the Coptic Christian church liturgy and is being revived as a spoken language.

Early vs. Late Unicode Coptic

Early Unicode

When Coptic was first encoded into the Unicode standard, it was considered to be an alternate version of the Greek alphabet. Thus letters such as Coptic Alfa (ⲁ) was merged with Greek alpha (α), and only Demotic "extensions" such as Coptic Shei (ϣ) were given seprate code points (15 total). Unicode fonts with Coptic from that era had only these extra characters.

Later Unicode (Unicode 4.1 and beyond)

As of Unicode 4.1 (2005), Coptic was assigned its own "block" so that each letter from alfa to oou were assigned their own letters. The new block also includes Coptic manuscript punctuation, Coptic variants and other symbols. Note that the codes for the original Demotic extensions are still in the Greek block.

Although support for the most recent version of Coptic is essential, you may need to consider that some documents may be written for older standards.

Browser and Font Recommendations

Fonts

The following freeware fonts are available for both Windows and Mac:

Recommended Browsers

Most modern browsers support the Coptic block, but some browsers may not display the Coptic characters if the developer uses a default font which does not contain Coptic characters.

Test Sites

If you have your browser configured correctly, the Web sites above should display the correct characters. If you have difficulties, see list below for font and browser configuration instructions.

Coptic Keyboards for Fonts

Coptic Keyboards

Neither Microsoft or Apple provide Coptic keyboard utilties, but freeware is available from:

Unicode Chart with Keyboard Codes

See the Unicode chart for Coptic to see OS X Hex codes, Windows XP ALT codes and HTML entity codes. Note that the correct Unicode font must be installed in order for the codes to work. See the Browsers Section for details.

Web Development

Coptic Encoding and Language Tags

These are the codes which allow browsers and screen readers to process data as the appropriate language. All letters in codes are lower case.

Unicode Chart with HTML Entity Codes

Unless a keyboard which supports Unicode is installed, you must use the Unicode chart for Thaana and enter HTML entity codes.

Coptic CSS

Unlike other scripts, if your page uses a default which does not contain Coptic characters, some browsers like Firefox may not substitute another font for Coptic characters. For Coptic text, you may want to use font embedding or specify a style which includes some of the major Coptic fonts.

.coptic {font-family: "New Athena Unicode", Analecta, Quivira}

Web Development

See the Web Content Editors page to get started on learning to create non-English Web content.