Our Coptic language > Old pronunciation vs new debate


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Hi Andrew
I don't know what your background is so what I will say may not make sense to you. I was born and raised in Egypt and lived there until I was 28 years old. Therefore I am using the critical thinking process that I have learnt in England to apply to my knowledge of the Coptic language and the relationship to the colloquial Egyptian Arabic.
So yes there are other examples although other members may not completely agree. For instance /abarka/ is pronounced /abarshy/ by proponents of the modern Greco-Bohairic pronunciation. I don't know how it is pronounced in Greek. Also /brosewka/ now /brosevshy/.
As for the second point, the language is spoken before a writing system is developed. Therefore to ask for rules governing this or that seems unnecessary to me.
Thirdly, I pronounce the word "fillet" differently according to the language I speak. Even though that is a French word, my pronunciation of "j'ai un fillet" is different to "I have a fish fillet".. I hope you get what I mean, but please let me know if you want me to explain further..
Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡ̀ϭⲥ

Hi Ophadece:

I figured out how to type in Coptic  ;)

ⲁⲡⲁⲣⲭⲏ: I think should be pronounced aparkhi.

ⲡⲣⲟⲥⲉⲩⲭⲏ: Should probably be pronounced prosevkhi.

It looks like both pronunciation systems distort these words. There is no need to pronounce π as b, χ as sh, or the diphthong ευ as ew. This is unless the speaker cannot pronounce the letters p, k, or v, respectively.

However, in a word like ⲭⲉⲣⲟⲩⲃⲓⲙ, which is of Hebrew origin, I think it's reasonable to pronounce χ as sh and ⲃ like b because this is a semitic word.

BTW, I found out that in the dialect of Crete, ⲕ is occasionally pronounced sh.

Do you know other words where χ is pronounced as sh?

ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡϭⲟⲓⲥ


Hi Andrew
You hit the nail on the head. Egyptians can't pronounce the sounds 'p' and 'v'. That is a reason why the pronunciation of the loan words is mutilated compared to the original Greek.
Mostly all words of Greek origin where the ⲭ is followed by ⲏ, ⲓ, ⲩ, or ⲉ it is pronounced /sh/, again a rule that I find rigid and meaningless to some extent, as in /abarka/ and /awka/. The examples are: ⲭⲉⲣⲉⲧⲓⲥⲙⲟⲥ, ⲁⲣⲭⲏⲉⲣⲉⲩⲥ, ⲓⲥⲭⲩⲣⲟⲥ, ⲯⲩⲭⲏ, ⲭⲏⲣⲁ.
Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡ̀ϭⲥ

Hi Ophadece:

Thank you for the examples.

My guess is that Egyptians, who continued to pronounce the aspirated φ, θ, and χ as in Classical Greek, found that χ before some vowels sounded like sh. Apparently, they never made the shift to pronouncing these sounds as in Modern Greek. Does this show that what is called GB is not really that Greek after all?

As far as Egyptians being unable to pronounce p and v, what’s the evidence that this had this handicap before introduction of Arabic?



Hi Andrew
Very good point but I don't know Greek that well, or the difference between the classical Greek and old Greek. However I was told by a Cypriot friend who knows Greek that Greco-Bohairic is very close to the pronunciation of the modern Greek. You tell me if that is your impression too.
The pharaonic (i.e. Egyptian language) did not have a 'v' sound. It had other sounds like ain, kha', ha', etc and a weak form of 'p' that seems to have disappeared altogether or influenced by Arabic! Dr @Bashandy or @admin can shed more light on this..
Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡ̀ϭⲥ


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