Linguistic Unity With Southern and Western Africa
In a detailed study of languages, Diop illustrated the strength of the cultural ties between ancient Egypt and its African neighbors by comparing the Egyptian language with Wolof, a Senegalese language spoken in West Africa near the Atlantic Ocean.
Diop clearly demonstrates that ancient Egyptian, modern Coptic of Egypt, and Wolof are related, with the latter two having their origin in the former.
“The kinship between ancient Egyptian and the languages of Africa,” Diop wrote in the General History of Africa, “is not a hypothetical but a demonstrable fact which it is impossible for modern scholarship to thrust aside.”
He believed the kinship to be genealogical, and he provided examples:
In ancient Egyptian “kef” means “to grasp, to take a strip (of something)”; in Wolof it means “to seize a prey.”
“Feh” means “go away” in ancient Egyptian; in Wolof it means “to rush off.”
To further demonstrate the similarity between the two languages, Diop also examined verb forms, demonstratives, and phonemes. The results, he found, showed little difference between the two.