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PROGRAMME FOR THE MODERNISATION AND REVIVAL OF THE COPTIC LANGUAGE

March 8, 2016

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:

  1. Bohairic is the dialect that should be modernised and revived.
  2. Neo-Bohairic is the phonology that should be used.
  3. The Coptic numeric notation system must be modernised.
  4. The Coptic punctuation system must be modernised.
  5. New words must be coined and added to the Coptic vocabulary.
  6. 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.
  7. Establishment of Coptic schools – this forms part of a Coptic cultural autonomy (Coptic non-territorial autonomy).
  8. The Coptic Church should protect and promote the Coptic language.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

 

19 Comments leave one →
  1. aletheianoesis permalink
    March 8, 2016 7:28 pm

    Do not forget that the Copts had their own scripture, greek letters, not Arabian letters. So introduce new Coptic language with neogreek letters.

  2. Emad permalink
    March 8, 2016 9:11 pm

    “asking the church to revive the coptic language is like you are asking a Helpless and paralyzed man to help you pass the street”
    I agree with all the ten points reviving the coptic language must start out side the church as achademic first then as schools its language our mother tounge not just for prayers and it have to be modern the church has kept the language from extinct but to get the language out doors of the church you need professional institute and schoolers
    Today and i prisist today we should have started from the day before because no one knows what will happen tommorow you saw syria and iraq and no one knows what egypt could be

  3. Emad permalink
    March 31, 2016 3:38 am

    this dualism of the coptic language has to stop immediatly
    copts don’t know any thing about their coptic languages
    whether it is boheric or sadic
    modern coptic should be unique and modern
    i agree with the point of the numerical system
    its 1 2 3 or never i can count numbers but not letters
    coptic vocabulary should cover every thing in life this is the truth about languages it describes things the policy of the church to learn prayers in coptic which is good but it don’t cover all aspects of life
    i insist again and again the coptic church could involve in the academic studies on how to modernize coptic because the church is a good reference for the orthodox coptic language
    but learning and studing should be pure academic there should be professional Certified institutes for learning coptic languaes
    american canada and australian copts should be the The core of this project and they should talk to their government in these countries for making a branch in their collages to teach and learn coptic and i hope if the project succeded in the west we could copy that in egypt so copts can have institutes and centers to learn reading and writing and talking in coptic through a distict levels like all languages in all world wide
    note : this generation is the only generation which can do that because they are the only one who can make connection between the past and a way to the future of coptic language
    and if we through this bag on the comming generations who are getting day by day away of their coptic language and even from their home land egypt

  4. topcat88 permalink
    April 25, 2016 1:59 pm

    coptic language should start outside church (i.e. in all schools) so that is does not alienate non orthodox christians, be stigmatized as orthodox christian only. FYI up until the ottoman rule all Egyptians were called the term “copt”. also the majority of Egyptians are ethnic egyptians [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_history_of_Egypt ] so it should be regarded as a matter of pride for all of us.

    • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
      April 25, 2016 2:21 pm

      Good to hear that. But will you dispose of the language of the Hijra?

  5. George permalink
    April 29, 2016 12:39 am

    Neo boharic no we have to stop it let us learn our original old boharic and also revive the other sahdic as geroboharic it comes by Mr moftah he has destroyed our beloved language anyway We will back and speak our language again and just time

    • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
      May 8, 2016 12:54 pm

      I don’t agree. I think Mr Muftah did what he did in good faith and I find it abhorrent that Copts attack him in a very nasty way. He, in my opinion, tried to standardise Coptic pronunciation and he must be thanked for that whatever our position on the right pronunciation if Coptic.

    • Emad permalink
      May 9, 2016 2:54 am

      you could study old coptic for scholar or knowledge issues
      using old fasion coptic will vanish the rest of the language left
      Asking to use old coptic is like asking people to ride horses instead of driving cars or using wired phones in the time of samrt phones
      upgrade your minds people before you ask to upgrade coptic
      coptic should be as easy as egyption Slang which is actually coptic indeed

      • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
        May 9, 2016 7:48 pm

        Egyptian slang or Egyptian Arabic is not optic. It is a local Arabic dialect. Coptic is different.

      • Emad permalink
        May 9, 2016 8:13 pm

        it is not my own conceive both pope shenoda III and pope Tawadros II have stated it many times in tv and in many Sermons about the roots of numerous coptic words in egyptian tounge as we still use coptic till today
        i don’t remmember the referance but you may google it
        any way i was only comparing how easy coptic should be if we wanna it to be a language of daily use

      • Emad permalink
        May 9, 2016 8:20 pm

        i also wanna stress on the term “Modern Coptic” like modern Greek or modern italian or even modern Hebrew its no more latin or old greek that’s the different between old and modern languages

  6. Emad permalink
    May 6, 2016 3:41 pm

    First we have to admit that we have nothing to represent to copts as a coptic language scince all the efforts that the church possess in teaching coptic would only make you a good Chorus to sing the melodies inside the church but to be a language of speaking or writing of an ordinary copts we are too far from a properly Methodology to revive a language which has been off work for more than a thousand years ago

    • Emad permalink
      May 6, 2016 4:04 pm

      Second, I thought that there would be at least millions of copts who are interested in reviving the Coptic language, but now it is very obvious that the Coptic language is just something to be remembered from time to time between the Copts then we sat for a while to cry on the lost Coptic and wish that it will be revived one day, but no effort was done, I’ve reviewed many channels on YouTube trying to make an effort in Coptic language learning but I found that all efforts are Dispersed and is also only interested in religious aims

      • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
        May 8, 2016 12:51 pm

        Do not spread a message of pessimism. See that there are many who are working to revive the Coptic language, and be one of them rather than sing a desperation song.

  7. Emad permalink
    May 9, 2016 2:11 am

    look mr Boles I’m not frustrating the reform i am already joining in it if i don’t care why i came here to post and share ideas

    i ‘ve disscussed this coptic language issue with my self several times and i get a conclusion that coptic in its today shape is no more than a papyrus from the old ages it has to be translated to be understood could you belive in the 21 centuary that you send your kids to study english language and when you ask them what do you know about english thwy said a b c d

    ok i give you an example i ve made a survey on my family with a simple question what do you kow about coptic and the answer was always silence or nonsence the best answer was yea i know “alpha beta gamma delta” could you belive that you ask any one do you know english then he answer you yes “a b c d” what would you say about such an answer isn’t that almost completely ignorance of coptic who is responsible for that There is a terrible mistake in the methodology of dealing with the revival of the language

    I am in the thirties, I ve seen numerous attempts since junior to re-teach Christians their native language but they all failed knowing the problem is half the way to solve it and the problem presisits in the language its self not in the motivation of the copts to revive their mother tounge

  8. Emad permalink
    May 9, 2016 2:36 am

    The tide and spend too long time on words used in delivering ecclesiastical tunes must not sneak to the modern Coptic language Even if we have to edit or cancel some linguistic rules we are in the era of speed informations
    information should be understood as fast as it gets out of your lips
    no more owwwwww and elongation of coptic words
    coptic should be as fast as posting on twitter or facebook

    • George permalink
      September 14, 2016 11:06 pm

      No with my respect to yr idea it does not work as if you study coptic it a musical language mever compate it with arabic or european languages we are 5000 years language we are the dawn of history also when you study the language you will find your self as a speed like all other language also facebook and twit one of their excitance is spying so never compare spare time things with language remeber this is yr language imagine yr grand grand father King Mina and ahmos and sait Antony they were speaking coptic we just keep the velues of the letter but with greek letters snyway I think you are not littrate enough buy the way I speak ENGLISH FRENCH GERMAN KOREAN SWEDISH AND LEARNIG THEBIC ACCENT I MEAN COPTIC I DO NOT SAY THAT to make a show nnoo but to make learn languages and use yr time in better things more than facebook and twit also y r my brother man I respect and love you as we are anon pa ramankamy right pronunciation see you but next time after I finish my language upper Egypt accent maybe many months or years

      • Emad permalink
        September 15, 2016 1:38 am

        stop this nonsense stop talking about old and ancient we are talking about modern coptic not reviving an ancient one that dream was over if you wanna still Clinging to that illusion that is your problem and go listen to the Bishops who will fill you mind with craps about a family still using coptic in their home as a speaking language that is myth where is that family where we could find them on mars that’s crap stop using those lies and stop its spread
        and even the pope is still talking about some tiny words that have Made their way through arabic from coptic and he is so glad about that and that’s all
        you want me to learn coptic i won’t because the church gives you the coptic that can fit with their Chants and prays with much ahhhhhhh and a lot of owwwwwwwwww are you going to be a singer or in a singing Chorus
        enough is enough

        that deal should be led by Specialists and if we don’t own any we should bring some to teach us how to deal in that field

        you have to put a study Syllabus like when you go to study any language english french italian etc

        similar to what you have learned in school arabic and math also coptic should be that way

        you get a new language
        can you speak portuguese?
        no i can’t speak portuguese
        and even coptic too

        if we didn’t change that Regressive minds coptic will be completely lost
        we have to face it wake up people we are talking about dead language

        Now coptic have vanished from everyday use it only still in the scriptures and in some Prayers of the church

        we are not unique case many people ve faced situations like this and they developed take example of greeks and italians they had changed their languages to modern and they are still called greek and italian while old greek and latin still there in the books for research and scriptures not for everyday use

        stop living in your own dreams and put your legs on the real ground memphis is a history and soon are the copts

  9. George permalink
    September 14, 2016 10:53 pm

    I agree in every thing except the wrong new coptic as it has language mistake from the idea of mr Mofta afndy so we need to back to right pronunciation which they call it today old boharic anyway also the word boharic is also in arabic it is better we say Memphis accent or lower egypt accent and I hope upper Egypt accent come to live AS THERE IS NO NATION IN THE WORLD THEY USE ONE ACCENT IT DOESNOT EXSITS

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