PROGRAMME FOR THE MODERNISATION AND REVIVAL OF THE COPTIC LANGUAGE
Modernisation and revival of Coptic must go hand in hand – there is no point in modernising Coptic if we do not aim at its revival; and there can be no hope of revival of Coptic without modernising it first. Coptic nationalists and their friends must aim at achieving both. Here is a preliminary programme that I think will achieve both:
- Bohairic is the dialect that should be modernised and revived.
- Neo-Bohairic is the phonology that should be used.
- The Coptic numeric notation system must be modernised.
- The Coptic punctuation system must be modernised.
- New words must be coined and added to the Coptic vocabulary.
- A trusted and agreed body must be created akin to the Académie française to act as the authority representing the nation, and to decide on the usages, vocabulary, and grammar of the Coptic language, and publish an authoritative dictionary of the Coptic language.
- Establishment of Coptic schools – this forms part of a Coptic cultural autonomy (Coptic non-territorial autonomy).
- The Coptic Church should protect and promote the Coptic language.
- Production of modern publications, including newspapers and books that include not just grammatical works on Coptic but literary works, religious and non-religious, in Coptic, particularly short stories, novels, plays and poems. To this must be added a. translation of world literature to Bohairic Coptic; b. rendering of Coptic literature in other dialects, particularly Sahidic, to Bohairic.
- Digital technology must be used to support the process of revival of Coptic.
Some Copts may not agree on all points; and I suspect point 2 particularly will not get universal support. Why I went for Neo-Bohairic is a matter of practicability. But I will write about each point in detail later. The suggested programme is shared here to trigger more thinking and discussion.