Demotic


The word demotic or, in its masculine form, demotic, is an adjective that is applied to the simplifications of the ancient Egyptian or Greek languages. It is necessary to emphasize that each one of the languages ​​conserves its own demotic versions and they are studied separately. As for the Egyptian, it was called demotic to that which originated towards the last stage of Ancient Egypt, in which demotic ideographic writing was used to write it, and which was differentiated for the first time by Herodotus, to distinguish it from hieratic writing and hieroglyphic. Demotic Greek, also known as demotiki, is the basis of modern Greek and the product of the evolution of ancient Greek.

The demotic Egyptian proliferated thanks to the fact that it was used for literary and economic purposes, while the hieratic was only maintained for religious reasons. There was an important contrast between these: while the former was engraved on stones and pieces of wood, papyrus and ostraca, much more delicate materials, were specially reserved for the latter. However, this did not prevent it from becoming the dominant script in Egyptian lands, reaching its peak around 600 BC At present, to differentiate demotic Egyptian from demotic Greek, it is usually written with a capital “D”.

Demotic Greek, meanwhile, is the natural evolution of the ancient Greek language. The term to refer to it has been used since 1818, in contrast to the artificial archaic form, called Kazarévuza, which was used until 1976. The use of both variants of the Greek opened the way to a long debate, which ultimately failed to favor of demotic as the current official language.