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On double-checking one's "ⲫ" and "ⲃ" pronunciation



For me in order to double-check my pronunciation of the "ⲫ" and "ⲃ" letters, I usually do the following (not sure if that's right or wrong, though).

First, I check if the word - that I am interested in - exists in other Coptic dialects or not (i.e., same word but different spellings). If it exists, I see if those letters of interest (i.e., "ⲫ" and "ⲃ") were replaced and with what. Moreover, sometimes the same word can have different spellings in same dialect (i.e., Bohairic) such as "ⲃⲉⲣⲧ" "ⲟⲩⲉⲣⲧ" which make me very confidence that in this example "ⲃ" should be pronounced as "w" not "b" (Yes, I am aware "ⲃ" before vowels is pronounced "w" and as "b" otherwise).

I believe this works fine most of time (i.e., agrees with the Old Bohairic pronunciation). However, sometimes it does not.

For example, the word "ⲫⲏⲟⲩⲓ" is pronounced as "fawy" in the Old pronunciation [1, 2]. However, the Bohairic word "ⲫⲏⲟⲩⲓ" is attested as "ⲡⲏⲩⲉ" in Sahidic, "ⲡⲏⲟⲩⲉ" in Akhmimic and "ⲡⲏⲟⲩⲓ" in Fayoumic [3]. Which gave me some confidence that I can pronounced it with a "b"-voice.

Other words include: "ⲫⲓⲥⲓ" (B) and "ⲡⲓⲥⲉ" (S) - which I tend to pronounce as "bici" - (I've seen some Facebook groups/pages that use the Old pronunciation, pronounce it as "fisi" in some occasions [4]).

So my question: Is that wrong? or should I just stick to memorizing such words instead (no double-checking)?


[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdpiIkkiXaA
[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKdHr4YtMzU
[3] http://coptot.manuscriptroom.com/crum-coptic-dictionary/?docID=800000&pageID=259
[4] https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2132832246960904&set=gm.1777223149066011&type=3&theater&ifg=1

I did study the old pronunciation in the institute established by emil maher and they pronounced ⲫⲓⲥⲓ with "b" not "f".
I believe the one you saw on Facebook was a mistake.
ⲫ was originally pronounced as combination of  ⲡ + ϩ
Sahidic actually replace any occurrence of ⲡ + ϩ with ⲫ also in english it is translated "ph" as in photo
In certain sentences when you try pronouncing p + h you get a light f sound. This is slightly different from the normal f sound you get from the letter ϥ.While this is the original I don't know if the pronunciation has diverted over time and made ⲫ and ϥ sound the same in certain words.
Personally, I'd try to keep my pronounciation as close as possible to  ⲡ + ϩ but this is just personal opinion


that's a quite interesting question. First of all: there are three diffrent types of pronunciations in bohairic Coptic.

1. Oldbohairic pronunciation
2. Latebohairic pronunciation
3. Grecobohairic pronunciation

It's very importan to make these diffrences. Why? Because I think if we want to revival the Coptic language we should use the Oldbohairic pronunciation because the Oldbohairic pronunciation it's the closest pronunciation to the Old Egyptian lenguage, when the pharaos lived. The Latebohairic pronunciation isn't wrong at all but it was influenced by the Arabic languange and pronunciation. So it's a normal evolution of a language but because the Coptic language it's more or less dead we should keep the GREAT time of the Egyptian language in mind and use their ancestor: the Oldbohairic Pronunciation!
So, to answer your question: the right pronunciation of Ⲫ is an aspirated p (Oldbohairic pronunciation) or b (Latebohairic pronunciation) but never f! NEVER!!! Only in the Grecobohairic pronunciation it's f because in the
Modern Greek language it's f and Arian G. Moftah thought it's a good idea to adopt the Modern Greek pronunciation (approximately 1860)...
At the end I would say it's good or better to pronounce Ⲫ as an aspirated p or just a p, that's the closest to the Great Egyptian language.



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