Modern Standard Arabic is the official language of Egypt today. Widespread use of the Arabic language in Egypt began with the Arabic conquest of the country in 640, during the early medieval period. Arabic did not become the official language of Egypt until the 17th century. Although the language of the ancient Egyptians and Arabic share linguistic roots, ancient Egyptians did not speak Arabic.

What They Did Speak

Ancient Egyptians used the now-extinct Egyptian language, which holds the distinction of having a longer period of provable usage than any other language. Use of the ancient Egyptian language traces to earlier than 3000 B.C. The language's usage is broken down into five major eras: Old Egyptian, in use from before 3000 until circa 2200 B.C., Middle Egyptian, in use from 2200 B.C. until circa 1600 B.C., Late Egyptian, in use from 1550 until circa 700 B.C., Demotic, in use from 700 B.C. until circa A.D. 400 and Coptic, in use from the second century until at least the 17th century.Coptic continues to be used in the liturgy of Coptic Christian churches in Egypt.