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Author Topic: Classical Coptic Pronunciation  (Read 1018 times)

23 June , 2018, 04:13:36 am
Reply #15

Offline Andrew

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Re: Classical Coptic Pronunciation
« Reply #15 on: 23 June , 2018, 04:13:36 am »
Hi Canis Majoris:

< I hope that Egyptians can reclaim their native language. >

I hope so, too. You provided a very good summary of revival of Classical languages and modern pronunciations.

< Greco-Bohairic is most useful for continuation of the Orthodox Church's pronunciation of liturgy. Mostly priests, Coptic Christians, and clergy would learn this pronunciation. >

I completely agree. Coptic language is in danger of being used less and less in the liturgy. It would be very useful to teach congregations how to follow prayers in Greek and Bohairic without confusing them with the AB pronunciation. Teaching people to converse in Bohairic should be of secondary importance.

Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡ̀ϭⲥ

Ⲁⲛⲇⲣⲉⲁⲥ
« Last Edit: 23 June , 2018, 04:16:55 am by Andrew »

31 January , 2019, 12:14:21 pm
Reply #16

Offline bashandy

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Re: Classical Coptic Pronunciation
« Reply #16 on: 31 January , 2019, 12:14:21 pm »
With respect to pronunciation. I would like to clarify my terminology first. I'll use classic Bohairic for the proposed scholarly one, old Bohairic (documented by Worrell, Sobhy & Ishak) and Greco-bohairic. The three of them cannot be equated or compared properly.

 Classical Bohairic is a system proposed by scholars based on ancient Greek. It is speculative in nature and does not aim to provide a comprehensive framework for speaking, it is stated as standard for scholars working with manuscripts and not for talking or praying.

Old Bohairic was recorded by phonetic linguists compared with manuscripts and bilingual texts in 20,19,18,17,16 and 10th century. In addition to correlation with ancient Egyptian. There's staggering amount of evidence to it from bilingual and monolingual manuscripts. Yes, there's influence of Arabic and Greek but this applies to OB and GB this is inevitable, it's not as simple as v or p sound. It has to do with the quality of aspiration of consonants, vowel morphology and sound, overall power, nasal tones, the quality of fricatives, stresses of speech and intonation.

As for GB it's important to define which Greco-bohairic one is talking about. Iryan Moftah proposed a system where theta ⲑ is pronounced as th unless preceded by shai or sima ⲥ, ϣ later tav ⲧ was added to list.

Moftah also proposed that sima ⲥ is to be pronounced as a except when preceded by mi ⲙ it is to be pronounced as z. This applies to all vocabulary. Later, Claudius Labib restricted this rule to Greek words. Moftah also proposed that tav ⲧ is to be pronounced as t except when preceded by ni ⲛ it is to be pronounced as d in all words irrespective of their etymology. Claudius Labib later restricted this rule to Greek words only. Moftah stated that phi ⲫ is pronunciation as f. Claudius Labib in his Akhomvat books stated clearly that it is only pronounced as f in Greek words and v in Coptic words. Others proposed that in words with two djandjia both are to be pronounced as dj as in ϫⲁϫⲓ, ϫⲓϫ, etc. Many proposed that the alpha ⲁ is to be pronounced as â as in far, while abba Demetrios postulated many words to be pronounced as a as in fat.

Practically, the repetitive changes in the rules of GB create a certain degree of chaos. Also, in real life what's mostly pronounced in Egyptian churches is a different thing so ⲃ can vary from v to f, delta ⲇ is almost invariably pronounced as z not dh. Theta ⲑ is pronunsed as s instead of th. Pi ⲡ is pronounced as b. Sima became a mess of s, z because of contradiction, the same with ⲫ phi (v & f).and a bit of lack of clarity about djandjia ϫ.
What I hear in churches would be ⲉⲑⲃⲉ ezve, ⲉⲩⲗⲟⲅⲉⲙⲉⲛⲟⲥ eflofemenoa, ⲡⲁⲡⲁ baba, ⲫⲏⲉⲧⲁϥⲑⲁⲙⲓⲟ fyetafsamio or vyetafsamio etc


On balance OB seems to be the supported and well documented by evidence, it is been live so as compared to others it's the only one that didn't start as a hypothetical pronunciation. Trying to pronounce coptic like Greek is a process of affectation Arabic words in Swahili, Turkish, Persian do not follow neither the grammar nor the pronunciation of the source language. The same with English pidgins and creoles. No linguist would say that they are pronouncing "wrong" because the indigenous system of pronunciation is different from the source language.





05 February , 2019, 03:23:25 am
Reply #17

Offline Andrew

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Re: Classical Coptic Pronunciation
« Reply #17 on: 05 February , 2019, 03:23:25 am »
Hi Bashandy:
< Practically, the repetitive changes in the rules of GB create a certain degree of chaos. Also, in real life what's mostly pronounced in Egyptian churches is a different thing so ⲃ can vary from v to f, delta ⲇ is almost invariably pronounced as z not dh. Theta ⲑ is pronunsed as s instead of th. Pi ⲡ is pronounced as b. Sima c became a mess of s, z because of contradiction, the same with ⲫ phi (v & f).and a bit of lack of clarity about djandjia ϫ. >
Thank you for the thoughtful analysis. We know that majority of Egyptians do not pronounce "dh", "th", and "p" sounds, even though the former 2 sounds do exist in Arabic. Unfortunately, they replace these 2 with "z" and "s" sounds, respectively. In Koine Greek, and most probably Coptic, Delta was pronounced as "d" and Theta was close to a "t" sound. Both of these should be easy enough to learn.   
The lack of clarity about Pi, Sigma, phi, and djandjia is bound to persist, again due to Egyptians' habits of pronunciation, especially in Cairo.
The issue with Beta and Phi is of particular interest. In Modern Greek, they are pronounced like "v" and "f," respectively. It is very unlikely that they were pronounced this way in Coptic.  We cannot find the sound "v" in Ancient Egyptian. And the Ancient Egyptians added the letter fay for "f" sound. It would have been redundant to add this Demotic letter if Greek Alphabet already included the "f" sound.   
So, it's more likely that Beta was pronounced "b" and Phi was pronounced "p-h" as in Classical Greek. A return to "b" sound is easy to teach. But the "p-h" sound is not easy to learn. You said that it is being alternately pronounced as "v" or "f". Perhaps it is best to leave it this way.
< On balance OB seems to be the supported and well documented by evidence, it is been live so as compared to others it's the only one that didn't start as a hypothetical pronunciation. >
Arabi-Bohairic may be "supported and well documented by evidence." It may, indeed, be the pronunciation that existed in 1600 AD. But I believe the attempt to change liturgical pronunciation would increase the chaos that you described so convincingly in your post. The goal is finding the most effective way to revive liturgical Greek and Bohairic among younger generations.
Thank you again.
Ⲁⲛⲇⲣⲉⲁⲥ


06 February , 2019, 09:46:22 pm
Reply #18

Offline bashandy

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Re: Classical Coptic Pronunciation
« Reply #18 on: 06 February , 2019, 09:46:22 pm »
Thank you for your reply.
Redundancy of letters is a phenomenon that is non-existent in most planned languages e.g. Esperanto, Toki Pona etc. With natural languages, redundancies occur. In English language for example:
The letter C could be completely substituted by S, KThe letter Q could be subtituted with KThe letter S is pronounced as S (sad), Z (as), Sh (Sure, Sugar), J (television) or silent (island)The sound z is produced mostly by S, while Z occursThe sounds Ch, Th, Dh, Sh, are commonly occuring with no specific letter to correspond with that.The letter Y, could  sound like IThe double letter OO, could be U (blood), or O (door), or OO  (poor)
In Greek there are six ways to give the voice of IIn Russian the theta letter was pronounced as F, only in 1918 they removed it. There are no evidence to support that it was pronounced otherwise.
In short what I am trying to say is that, writing system develop over decades and sometimes hundreds of years, it develops in different geographical areas and once a generation, gets used to writing something in a certain manner, or important texts are written or distributed it can persist, writing systems are very difficult to work in backward engineering manner, and try to find a logic to what happened exactly as the input is so complicated, multifaceted, with no apparent logic(s) at times.
OB pronunciation is a bit older than 1600 AD, there are manuscripts that are older, up to manuscripts written as Arabic in Coptic letters around the 9th & 10th century. Older texts show mixing between Delta & Daw, Wida & ha, Bashmuric dialect (written entirely in only Greek letters) used phi to denote fai. This is not to say that OB was the one and only pronunciation that was used everytime and everywhere. It just provide sufficient evidence towards its authenticity. I am relying on the PhD by Dr Emile Maher and other resources from Coptic sounds.

I have no inclination of changing the church's pronunciation or anyone's pronunciation for what it matters. This is none of my business, the church is lead by church leaders, they decide on these matters. I guess I am concerned with providing supporting evidence for the OB pronunciation. Language revival would require a goal, motivation, proper pedagogical approach, time and money. Chaos inevitably happens if there is lack of proper planning and proper implementation, this applies to any aspect of life.

I am reciting attempts to address chaos; with respect to language reform towards OB, or other pronunciations Dr Emile Maher proposed starting with Deacon's responses as they are sung solo, then moving forward. Dr Kamal Farid Isaac, proposed a middle pronunciation which he sees as an authentic one in his rejected PhD to the Higher Institute of Coptic Studies (2009), where each unit of time (decade) one letter pronunciation is changed. I do not necessarily endorse anyway of these methods. I guess it is people's right to know exactly the history of their language. What any person does with it, or what people agree on, is a matter for public decision and organisational implementation.

07 February , 2019, 04:57:05 am
Reply #19

Offline Andrew

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Re: Classical Coptic Pronunciation
« Reply #19 on: 07 February , 2019, 04:57:05 am »
Hi Bashandy:

Thank you for the thoughtful comments.

< I have no inclination of changing the church's pronunciation or anyone's pronunciation for what it matters. This is none of my business, the church is lead by church leaders, they decide on these matters. I guess I am concerned with providing supporting evidence for the OB pronunciation. Language revival would require a goal, motivation, proper pedagogical approach, time and money. >

Most people would agree with this. Proposing to completely change Church Bohairic to AB would cause quite a bit of chaos. However, one may suggest that pronunciation of certain letters needs to be adjusted (I suggested ⲃ, ⲇ, and ⲑ). One should accept that we will never be able to understand the authentic redundancy of letters in Coptic.

< What any person does with it, or what people agree on, is a matter for public decision and organisational implementation. >

Exactly.

ⲁⲛⲇⲣⲉⲁⲥ
« Last Edit: 07 February , 2019, 05:14:06 am by Andrew »

07 February , 2019, 11:50:00 am
Reply #20

Offline bashandy

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Re: Classical Coptic Pronunciation
« Reply #20 on: 07 February , 2019, 11:50:00 am »
Hi Andrew,
Thank you for your reply. It is interesting you mentioned the modern pronunciation of detla & theta, Hany Takla the head of St Shenouda Archmandrite Society, suggested that same. Dr Kamal Farid Isaac suggested starting with these letters in his banned PhD. I have but one reservation, I do not use the term arabized Bohairic. It is not a standard term. The term used by Vycichl, Worrell, Yassa AbdelMessih, Emile Maher Ishak, Georgy Sobhy was old Bohairic.







07 February , 2019, 11:59:15 am
Reply #21

Offline bashandy

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Re: Classical Coptic Pronunciation
« Reply #21 on: 07 February , 2019, 11:59:15 am »
Some libelled the traditional pronunciation by saying that it is "strongly arabicized", in order to confuse its genuineness. Admittedly we cannot ignore the fact that Coptic, like all living languages, has been influenced to some extent by the other language in its vicinity; in the case of Coptic by Greek and Arabic. But this influence is within natural bounds and does not apply so far as to put its genuineness and validity in doubt.
According to Worrell, "If the Copts have arabicized their Coptic pronunciation, they seem also to have Copticized their Arabic"   
I believe that the traditional pronunciation is influenced by Arabic only to a negligible extent and certainly not to the point where it could be called arabicized
Worrell published a Coptic letter on papyrus, whose dialect is Bohairic. He dates it to the 4th or 5th centuries and registers among its phonetic features that "ⲃ (B) (stands) for ⲞⲨ (OY) before accented vowel" Ⲧⲁⲃⲟ (ⲧⲁⲟⲩⲟ), ⲃⲁ (ⲟⲩⲁ)

Reference:
Ishak, Emile Maher (1975). The phonetics and phonology of the Bohairic dialect of Coptic and the survival of Coptic words in the Colloquial and Classical Arabic of Egypt and of Coptic grammatical constructions in Colloquial Arabic. Volumes 1 – 4. (A D.Phil Thesis submitted to the University of Oxford, September 1975).

 

08 February , 2019, 03:45:08 am
Reply #22

Offline Andrew

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Re: Classical Coptic Pronunciation
« Reply #22 on: 08 February , 2019, 03:45:08 am »
Hi Bashandy:
< It is interesting you mentioned the modern pronunciation of detla & theta, Hany Takla the head of St Shenouda Archmandrite Society, suggested that same. Dr Kamal Farid Isaac suggested starting with these letters in his banned PhD. >

Perhaps reasonable people can come to similar conclusions, independently <g>.

< The term used by Vycichl, Worrell, Yassa AbdelMessih, Emile Maher Ishak, Georgy Sobhy was old Bohairic. >

I didn't use the adjective "old" because it appears too vague to me. But, I will not be nit-picking. I'm ready to use the term "OB" to avoid confusion.

< Worrell published a Coptic letter on papyrus, whose dialect is Bohairic. He dates it to the 4th or 5th centuries and registers among its phonetic features that "ⲃ (B) (stands) for ⲞⲨ (OY) before accented vowel" Ⲧⲁⲃⲟ (ⲧⲁⲟⲩⲟ), ⲃⲁ (ⲟⲩⲁ) >
I suggested that "В" be pronounced "b" most of the time. But I don't doubt that it was occasionally pronounced "w". Would you list other words where it was pronounced that way?

Thank you,
Андреас

08 February , 2019, 02:30:01 pm
Reply #23

Offline bashandy

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Re: Classical Coptic Pronunciation
« Reply #23 on: 08 February , 2019, 02:30:01 pm »
Dear Andreas,
Thank you for your comment. I agree with you the term 'old' is vague, as time is relative, the same goes for calling Greco-Bohairic pronunciation 'New' where it is now over 150 years old since its prototype appeared by Iryan Moftah. Some OB enthusiasts suggested 'authentic' or 'correct' which I find to be value laden, so, 'old' seems to be more palatable and more standard. For GB some suggested 'Church pronunciation', 'Cyrlillic Pronunciation' (alluding to Pope Cyril IV) or 'standard pronunciation'. I find that OB was also the church pronunciation at a time; adding the name of a Pope like Cyril IV can add a bit of religious overtone to a linguistic debate. I do not see GB as standard for a lot of reason, apart from being based on a non-scientific premise.
As for references. The example is from the PhD by Emile Maher. This is a link to an excellent resources including the PhD https://copticsounds.wordpress.com/resources/

10 February , 2019, 02:37:17 am
Reply #24

Offline Andrew

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Re: Classical Coptic Pronunciation
« Reply #24 on: 10 February , 2019, 02:37:17 am »
Hi Bashandy:In page 423 of his thesis, Fr Ishak wrote, "In Bohairicϫis frequently written for Sahidicϭ, e.g.ϫⲓⲙⲓforϭⲓⲛⲉ.How would you explain this?Thank you,Андреас
« Last Edit: 10 February , 2019, 02:39:57 am by Andrew »

11 February , 2019, 03:06:53 pm
Reply #25

Offline bashandy

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Re: Classical Coptic Pronunciation
« Reply #25 on: 11 February , 2019, 03:06:53 pm »
Hi Andrew,
There are lists of letters that change in between different dialects in Coptic. Between Bohairic (1st column) & Sahidic. These changes do not occur in every word, but occasionally these are found.

ⲙ:ⲛ
ⲭ:ⲕ
ⲑ:ⲧ
ⲕ:ⲅ
ⲏⲟⲩ:ⲏⲩ
ϫ:ϭ
ⲫ:ⲡ
ϧ:ϩ

In Fayyumic ⲣ:ⲗ

The common interpretation of this phenomenon is that words were pronounced differently between each dialect and the other. However, it is difficult to ascertain the pronunciation in some cases. In the case of the ϭ shima letter is a complex one. The current Greco-Bohairic pronunciation is /tʃ/ and sometimes /etʃ/ if at the start of a word or preceded by a consonant. In Akhomvat by Claudius Labib he mentiond that it represent /gʃ/ however it was written in Arabic so it could have meant /dʒʃ/ or /ʒʃ/. The Old Bohairic pronunciation is /ʃ/ the theory is that it originally was /dʒʃ/ or /ʒʃ/ some argue that it could have been /c/ or even /g/.

12 February , 2019, 06:59:36 am
Reply #26

Offline Andrew

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Re: Classical Coptic Pronunciation
« Reply #26 on: 12 February , 2019, 06:59:36 am »
Hi Bashandy:


Thank you for the explanation. Sometimes Sahidic spelling and grammar make more sense to me.


Andrew

14 February , 2019, 02:48:09 pm
Reply #27

Offline bashandy

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Re: Classical Coptic Pronunciation
« Reply #27 on: 14 February , 2019, 02:48:09 pm »
Some argue that Sahidic was more of a standard dialect, so to minimise differences between different dialects it reverted to supralinear strokes which made it more compact and space efficient.
Others argue that Sahidic had longer life span than Bohairic so developed with respect to orthography and grammar more. For example, θ theta and Φ phi are
diphthongs in Sahidic which makes a lot of sense.




14 February , 2019, 05:44:10 pm
Reply #28

Offline Andrew

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Re: Classical Coptic Pronunciation
« Reply #28 on: 14 February , 2019, 05:44:10 pm »
Hi Bashandy:
This raises the question as to whether it makes sense to use Bohairic in church or to teach it at all when Sahidic seems to be Classical / Standard Coptic.
Andrew

16 February , 2019, 04:01:26 pm
Reply #29

Offline bashandy

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Re: Classical Coptic Pronunciation
« Reply #29 on: 16 February , 2019, 04:01:26 pm »
This is an interesting proposal. My understanding from a Coptologist, is that the Coptic Church was not micromanaged or governed centrally. There were multiple liturgies showing regional variation as the Euchologion of The White Monastery which had liturgies in Sahidic etc. Possibly other places had liturgical services in regional dialects. However, during the days of Pope Christodolou (10477-1077), he issued a decree that all prayers should be recited in Bohairic as the Papal Cathedral moved towards Cairo, also this coincided with the active work of scribes of Natire Valley ⲡϣⲁϥⲉ ⲛϣⲓϩⲏⲧ which contributed to the late Bohairic aka Nitrian Bohairic. Since then, the prayers of Church and hymns were all conducted in Bohairic, some texts were translated from Sahidic to Bohairic, and the hymns were all adjusted to this. There written manuscripts that show different liturgies in different dialects but it is hard to know how they were sung.
According to Ariel Shisha-Halevy, Bohairic dialect is different from Sahidic but it is not less important or less authentic in any sense. It shows numerous differences as the number of Greek vocabulary in it is much more, but it is a valid option.
I would not discard Bohairic, thought I would have hoped to embrace more diversity, and that the diverse dialects re-emerge in their geographical location. This would entails seraching for manuscripts, completion of missing texts, and re-composing Coptic music [just a dream nothing].