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July 11, 2019

As Ⲁⲡⲁ (Apa) is the Coptic word used by a child for its biological father and was adopted to call a spiritual father too, so is Ⲁⲙⲁ (Ama) is the Coptic word used by a child for its biological mother, and was used, in Coptic for nuns.

But in our modern age, being somehow disconnected from our heritage or inflicted with cultural amnesia, we call now our nuns, ‘Tasoani’ (Ⲧⲁⲥⲱⲛⲓ), a word which means, ‘Our Sister’. It lacks the intimacy and closeness, and the spiritual sonship or daughtership, as one finds in ‘Ama’.

It would be nice to call our nuns simply, ‘Ama’, rather than ‘Tasoani’.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Daniel Myerson permalink
    July 12, 2019 1:44 am

    YOU ARE AMAZING! Love your linguistic writing.
    Glad you’ve shifted away from colonial IDIOTS
    like Cromer. Who cares what he thought? Now
    PETRIE really knew something and is considered the
    father of modern archaeology. He is respected world
    wide and was a dedicated and UNBIASED witness.
    And he loved the Copts. So I am glad you mentioned
    him in your blogs which I read out loud to my friends.

    • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
      July 12, 2019 6:30 am

      Thank you! Really appreciated.

  2. anthony alcock permalink
    July 21, 2019 12:00 pm

    Apa, Ama and Tasôni

    ‘Apa’ and ‘Amma’ are both of Syriac origin via Greek. Any of the three major etymological dictionaries (Cerny, Westendorf and Vicychl) will confirm this.
    The native Egyptian word in the Coptic period for ‘father’ is ‘eiôt’ and for mother ‘maau’.
    The transcription of the Coptic word in your note on this subject is ‘tasôni’, which means ‘my sister’.
    Incidentally, Roger Pearse’s translation of the Apocalypse of Samuel is from Ziadeh’s translation. Pearse has my translation of the Arabic text on his website.
    Not all Coptic scholars ignore modern Coptic writing:

    • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
      July 21, 2019 4:26 pm

      Dear Anthony, thank you very much for your visit. I follow with enthusiasm your great work in Coptology, including your translations into English of available Copto-Coptic and Copto-Arabic texts.

      My article was a criticism to using invented, corrupt or newly borrowed titles for our clergy. Copts of today, use words like ‘Abba’, ‘Anba and, Avva’ (Father) for masculine clergy and ‘tasoani’ (My Sister) for nuns. In the past, we used ‘Apa’ for the first and ‘Ama’ for the second. Whether ‘Apa’ and ‘Ama’ are etymologically Syriac introduced to the Copts via Greek may be debatable. These words are babbling words which are in many languages first spoken by infants, and either meant, or made to mean’ father and mother. They are shared by many languages. In the absence of any research to show the history of the introduction of these words into Coptic, I think it will be hard to say they did not actually exist in Egyptian. Even if they were loanwords from Greek (which took them from Syriac) they were adopted very early and have become Coptic by long use. My arguments in the article is that we should use these old terms, which we used to address our saints and martyrs of the old rather than use the terms used today.

      I know your translation of the Apocalypse of Samuel of Kalamoun which is more accurate than that made by Roger Pease, since yours is direct from the existing Arabic text while Roger made it from the inaccurate Ziadeh’s French translation.

      I will publish your ‘Coptic Quill’ in my website, with your approval, if that is ok.


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