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Author Topic: Well, there might be hope  (Read 15947 times)

13 September , 2009, 01:26:51 pm
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EMTW

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Well, there might be hope
« on: 13 September , 2009, 01:26:51 pm »
I am an enthusiastic for the Coptic language, although the lack of resources always kept me away. Anyway, google the following "Mona Zaki Coptic Language". You can just follow the following links (just a sample):

http://www.love-egypt.com/coptic-language.html
http://freecopts.net/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=440

It states that there is an ACTUAL family that still speaks Coptic for their daily communication  :)
Very interesting, right? Actually this is where we can start restoring the original aspects of the language (Provided that this family has kept the language all the way, not just that they learned it in sunday school and then decided to use it)

My question is: Can anyone get the contacts of this woman? Maybe later we can contact her (or anyone in her family willing to help), maybe record her pronunciation of debated words...etc. I bet that there are tons of questions that she can answer.

We can start by this "Joseph Mayton, The Daily Star " (The reporter who did the interview with Mona), maybe he can provide us with here contact after her permission.

The whole thing sounds to be too good to be true for me, but you never know. Maybe that finally we can be over the right track. So tell me, what do you think about this?

13 September , 2009, 01:51:07 pm
Reply #1

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Re: Well, there might be hope
« Reply #1 on: 13 September , 2009, 01:51:07 pm »
There is an old topic here about that called "Ⲡⲓⲕⲱϯ ⲛⲥⲁ Ⲙⲟⲛⲁ Ⲍⲉⲕⲓ" (searching for mona zaki)
http://kame.danacbe.com/index.php/topic,95.0.html
after doing many researches, I finally knew who is Mona zaki
She is one member of family originally from Alex
the founder of this family ( Besenti Rezkalla) adopted the malformed (Greeko) Coptic pronunciation, and started to use it as spoken language at home
so his children and grandchildren grew up speaking this tong, mona zaki, father Bijwl and anba dimitrios are all members of this family
their pronunciation is not original

15 September , 2009, 02:35:48 pm
Reply #2

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Re: Well, there might be hope
« Reply #2 on: 15 September , 2009, 02:35:48 pm »
Old pronunciation was reconstructed from the following sources
1- Arabic text that was written in Coptic letters (when the egyptians were still learning Arabic)
2- Coptic text that was written in Arabic letters (when Coptic language grew weaker)
3- Coptic names that still used till now
4- records western scientists made before and during changing pronunciation (Like worell, made a book called Coptic Sounds)
5- small village in Luxur which refused to use the new pronunciation (till now)

04 October , 2009, 09:06:18 am
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Offline ET

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Re: Well, there might be hope
« Reply #3 on: 04 October , 2009, 09:06:18 am »
OK, I have a question: what's the name of this village? surprising fact for me!!!

04 October , 2009, 09:13:29 am
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Offline ET

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Re: Well, there might be hope
« Reply #4 on: 04 October , 2009, 09:13:29 am »
oh btw, I came by fr. Shenooda's website... I have a question about the original pronunciation. it's about the 'pi' letter. He transliterated the letter into a 'b', not a 'p'. I have serious doubts about his idea... maybe I'm wrong about this.

Actually, I belive that 'p' is native to the Egyptian language. After all, it is present in the names of Egyptian kings like Hatshepsut and Imhotep. Maybe that's not the original names as a whole, but we're sure that they had the letter 'p' in the name. I guess that the supression of 'p' comes from the arabic language and is not native to the Egyptian language.

04 October , 2009, 10:52:59 am
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Offline epchois_nai_nan

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Re: Well, there might be hope
« Reply #5 on: 04 October , 2009, 10:52:59 am »
I agree ET. I believe that Abouna Shenouda's pronunciation is accurate, but I also think it reflects a Coptic that had already been influenced by Arabic. This is apparent in things like the softening of the 'p' to 'b' and also in the vowels like changing 'e' to 'a' (as in 'apple'). This is from a paper written by an American Phd on that very subject:

"An interesting result in this system is that the Eta and Epsilon are both taken to be pronounced æ, as in English "bat" (indeed, the a-e ligature, æ, was borrowed into the International Pronunciation Alphabet from Old English) -- though the Eta could also be pronounced i (as noted with Sahidic above). Now, æ is not a sound that occurs in every language. It is present in Modern English, Arabic, and Persian, but not, for instance, in French, German, Italian, or Spanish. There is no particuar reason to doubt that æ was the pronunciation of Epsilon and Eta in Coptic at the time of the Greco-Coptic "reform," but there is good reason to wonder if this was the pronunciation before the effect of phonetic bias introduced by the dominance of Arabic. The evidence, indeed, for the pronunciation is from transcriptions of Arabic and from living speakers whose first language, of course, is Arabic."


The full paper can be found here, its an interesting read: http://www.friesian.com/egypt.htm

If we were to one day officially revert to Old Bohairic, I would suggest that we left, Ⲡ and Ⲉ as 'p' and 'e' respectively because of they are likely the result of Arabic influence. That said, Pi is often pronounced as 'b' anyway just because we say it quickly, I don't think it will really matter in the end (neither will Tau as 'd' for the same reason.)

ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ

04 October , 2009, 02:42:34 pm
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Re: Well, there might be hope
« Reply #6 on: 04 October , 2009, 02:42:34 pm »
We need to distinguish between Sahidic And Bohairic Dialect
People in lower Egypt still pronounce the "e" "ae"
for example they say "tala3" instead of "tele3" طلع
That makes me more assured that Ⲉ was pronounced "ae" at least in Bohairic Dialect
I can't give any suggestions about "Ⲡ", no evidences that it was pronounced "P" (I don't know from where did we know the accurate pronunciation of kings names)
as for Ⲧ there is evidences that it was pronounced like Ⲇ, can list it if you want

05 October , 2009, 06:03:29 am
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Offline ET

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Re: Well, there might be hope
« Reply #7 on: 05 October , 2009, 06:03:29 am »
I am no expert in old Egyptian language, but I can guess how we know that the names contained the 'p'. My idea is based over how the rosetta stone got decyphered. First of all, we know that the letter 'b' is represented by specific symbol (the foot I guess).

On the other hand, cartouches that contains names of kings that we are sure that their names had a 'p' in  it (Cleopatra for instance, her name is originally Greek meaning father's glory), must have had another symbol to represent the 'p' other than the foot (b). Actually, the whole pronunciation system of the old Egyptian was based over such evidences (I mean by parallelyzing what we know for sure with its Hieroglyohic inscription).

05 October , 2009, 06:19:27 am
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Offline epchois_nai_nan

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Re: Well, there might be hope
« Reply #8 on: 05 October , 2009, 06:19:27 am »
But many of the Egyptian names as we pronounce them in English first went through Greek, where they had to have an 's' added on at the end etc. so they are not very accurate. A lot of names as we pronounce them today in English have been modified.

Tut = Thoth (That's who the first Coptic month is named after :))
Haru = Horus (The 's' came from Greek)
Usir = Osiris (Again the 's' is from Greek)

You can find the original Egyptian names of these Pharaohs and deities on Wikipedia, most of them are pretty different to their traditional English names.

05 October , 2009, 07:08:26 am
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Offline ET

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Re: Well, there might be hope
« Reply #9 on: 05 October , 2009, 07:08:26 am »
Maybe you're right about it, but IMO, if the hieroglyph that was used to represent the 'p' in cleopatra is
a) different than any representation of 'b'
b) is found in older hieoroglyphs

this would be a decent proof of the existence of the sound in the genuine Egyptian language. Of course we can never know for sure, even any who support the 'pi' to be a 'b' can never be sure about there position.

05 October , 2009, 12:57:33 pm
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Re: Well, there might be hope
« Reply #10 on: 05 October , 2009, 12:57:33 pm »
You are right, Its very likely that Ⲡ was pronounced P
even father shenouda doesn't deny that possibility, he only says "what is the problem if pronouncing that letter b was because of Arabic influences? all language influence each others all of the time"

but for us (Old Pronunciation speakers) Ⲡ is the only letter that represent absolute "B"
the other two letters Ⲃ and Ⲫ have double pronunciation (B/W and B/F)
so assuming I pronounced Ⲡ as "P" and I want to write a person's name with B
I will have to choose between Ⲃ and Ⲫ in all cases I am risking that the name might be misread by the readers
but I think this is a minor issue

05 October , 2009, 01:09:10 pm
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Re: Well, there might be hope
« Reply #11 on: 05 October , 2009, 01:09:10 pm »
T-hut ⲑⲟⲩⲧ in sahidic ⲑ = ⲧϩ so pronunciation in sahidic would be t-hout (t7out)
Hwr his name in Coptic is ϩⲱⲣ and there is a common name ⲡⲁϩⲱⲣ (belongs to hwr)
Osiris, I heard that his real name is Usar (not sure if its correct)
We should make topic about kings/gods real names

05 October , 2009, 09:08:06 pm
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Offline ET

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Re: Well, there might be hope
« Reply #12 on: 05 October , 2009, 09:08:06 pm »
you know, since we have brought up the subject, I was reading on wikipedia the topic of "hieroglyohic transliteration". They were mentioning that the letter '3ein' is present in the old Egyptian. If so, why we dont have it in Coptic ?

Makes sense to me, names like "toot 3an7' amoon" has the '3ein'. Of course I am not sure how they knew about the presence of that letter.

Another question, it's a bit philosophical one: Are we allowed to add to the Coptic language? Every language evolves with time, but "danacbe :) " have been static for a while. Why don't we (I dont mean by 'we' the ppl in this forum, but I mean the coptic community as a whole) start to add some improvments to the language? For example like adding the 3ein to the Coptic alphabet (especially if it proves that it was native to the earlier versions of the language). That letter is native now to all Egyptians, I guess it would be a plus if it is present in the Coptic alphabet (Actually my name starts with 3, not E  :D

Another question: does anyone knows about 'demotic' ? Is it purely an alphabetic system or is it like Hieroglyphs, alphabets + logographs ? I know that  it is hard to get the exact pronunciation from the demotic as vowels were not written, but I guess that the demotic can become invaluable for settling many debates over the the original pronunciation of the language (for example, the debate of "Theta" or "teta"; 9th letter)


One last question: We know that we have dumped some of our original words n favor for their Greek equivilent.  I guess that mainly these words had something to do with our old pagan religion, and we have swapped these terms with their Greek Christian equivalent. Is there any source for the original words?

06 October , 2009, 01:51:59 am
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Re: Well, there might be hope
« Reply #13 on: 06 October , 2009, 01:51:59 am »
1. the letter 3ain disappeared from the Coptic language, don't know why
2. we can't add to the Coptic language at the current time, we are already divided between Old and New pronunciation supporters the last thing we want now is another division.
3. I have read a little about it, its just a very simplified form of hieroglyphics (and the simple here is the shape of the letters not reading it)
4. Coptic writing system existed before Christianity, we have few Coptic text about our old gods
Maybe we can find something in them (I didn't see one myself but they are mentioned in crum)

06 October , 2009, 05:05:48 am
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Offline epchois_nai_nan

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Re: Well, there might be hope
« Reply #14 on: 06 October , 2009, 05:05:48 am »
I would love to replace some the Greek words we use with their pagan equivalents, just because its kind of symbolising how we have all turned from paganism to worshipping the One True God. I think the reason they had to use the Greek words instead of the Egyptian ones is because the Egyptian Pagan religion was still alive and strong and they needed to dissociate themselves...but that's hardly a problem now ;)

Things like ⲡⲛⲉⲩⲙⲁ into ⲫⲁ (pron. Ba), ϩⲓⲣⲓⲛⲏ into ϩⲟⲧⲉⲡ or ϩⲟⲧⲡⲉ (as in peace like in the name ImHOTEP as you mentioned before :)). There are Egyptian words for soul, body and paradise as well but we use Greek for them now. I think it would be nicer if we could pray with real Egyptian religious words.

Btw about demotic, I think it has about 400 letters...but a lot of them were more than one sound. I'm not sure how well we know how to read it...I remember reading somewhere that modern linguists are put off by Demotic because its so complicated. Be interesting to look up some more though.