Our Coptic language > Old pronunciation vs new debate


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Andrew N: [Edit]
Hi everyone:

I admire your expertise in Coptic. The following quotation is from an old post:

كلمة  اسكيم
ينطق فيها حرف الهادة  بنطق الياء وليس الالف  لكن اذا قراتها بالحديث  ستكون  اسشيم   لانها كلمة يونانية الاصل  وينطق حرف الكي ش اذا جاء بعده حرف متحرك للكسر في اللفظ الحديث ولكن في اللفظ القديم هذه القاعدة ليست الزامية

My question is about pronouncing the letter kai in Greek words. The Greek language does not have a sheen sound. This is just like English doesn't have a khah sound and Arabic doesn't have a pee sound.

I'm surprised as to why some Greek words are pronounced with a sheen sound in Coptic churches.

I appreciate your help,



Hi Andrew N,
Please note that the post you quoted is questioning the validity of the new Greco-Bohairic sound, hence the /sh/ sound. Words in any language do not follow strict rigid rules as what is conveyed by the new Greco-Bohairic pronunciation. That word ought to be pronounced as /skeima/ in my humble opinion, pretty much like /ewka/ meaning "prayer" as cited by Mr Erian Moftah himself..
Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡ̀ϭⲥ


> That word ought to be pronounced as /skeima/ in my humble opinion, <

Hi Ophadece:

Thank you for the answer.

I agree. This is probably how Coptic-speaking people pronounced it.

Regardless of the pronunciation of this word, Both GB and OB allow the Sh sound in some Greek words. And, as far as I know, there is no Sh sound in any Greek words. If I'm right then both systems are wrong. I wonder about the source of this error.

BTW, what does your name mean? :)


Hi Andrew
I don't support the argument of right and wrong. The loan words were borrowed from the old Greek language and modified to suit the Egyptian tongue. However this is again my opinion and I don't know what other members think!
My nickname doesn't mean anything, it is just a modified form of Fady sounding pharaonic.. Hehe
Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡ̀ϭⲥ

Hi Fady:

You say that Greek words were modified to suit the Egyptian tongue. This is routinely done in any language when one inserts a foreign word in his speech. As you said, they become loan words. Is this the only situation where Kai is pronounced sh in Coptic?

Are there rules for the phonetic choice?

OTOH, when one says whole sentences in a foreign language, he should pronounce the words correctly as in the source language. Is kai ever pronounced as sh in this circumstance?

Thank you for the answer,

(Sorry, I don't have a Coptic font).


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