Coptic pronunciation

The never ending debate of whether the Coptic word for prayer is pronounced "evki" or "evshi" audio sources for the main cantors seem to all agree on "evshi" but that doesn't mean they cannot be wrong.

Which in FACT is the correct pronounciation and why?


  • FACT: There is no such thing as a "correct pronunciation"

    Why: Linguistic categories of "correct" and "wrong" are proscriptive, not descriptive. Linguistics is a descriptive science. It only describes and methodologically analyzes the characteristics of languages and dialects. Linguistics describes the push to accept or resist changes in pronunciation. It is not proscriptive. It does not prohibit one type of pronunciation. Based on linguistics, one can never say what is a correct pronunciation. 

    The question implies you (and others) are looking to linguistic for a scientific reason to use one pronunciation and prohibit the other. Linguistics cannot offer a solution.

    Politics can and often does this. Politics attempts to shift the ideology and define right and wrong, what is preferred and what is avoided, what is worth changing and what is worth resisting along political lines. Thus, those who argue for or against a pronunciation scheme are simply pushing a political agenda they feel their opponent must subscribe to. 

    Evki and Evshi are two separate snapshot pronunciation in the development of Coptic. (By the way, these are not the only two snapshots available for this word. Alternative pronunciations include euke and eushee, auke and aushee, avki and avshee, Funny how no one seems to think these are equally worth fighting for.)  Evki and the alternative pronunciations illustrate a resistance to strict GB rules, while Evshi illustrates an unconditional insistence on GB rules. It is foolish to think evshi is correct because it is more inline with GB rules. If such were the case, GB rules themselves would not change. There is an inherent resistance to GB itself, as demonstrated in this never ending debate of pronunciation.

  • Thank you Remnkemi.

    I appreciate that there are different pronunciations but unity in hymns is difficult enough when there is no unity in language as well. If we are not arguing about hezaat we are arguing about pronunciation and I, like many others, wish there was a "quick fix".
  • We all wish there was a quick fix. There is only one fix and it's very slow if never achieved: Stop fighting about hezaat. Stop fighting about language. Stop fighting period. Fighting is not the spirit of hymnology nor the mind of Christ to begin with. 

    The problem is us, not the language, not the hymns, not the Church, not Coptic anything. It's us and it has always been us. 

  • What are GB rules? I am completely ignorant about the politics of this if any.
  • Graeco-Bohairic I think
  • Thanks but what is the background of the discussion? Why is that important to worship?
  • In old Bohairic pronunciation it was pronounced as awka.
Sign In or Register to comment.