Coptic grammar

edited December 1969 in Hymns Discussion
Hi people.

I have been following Sahidic Coptic lessons at the University.
I'm starting to get to know the meaning of various parts of hymns during Mass, which is great of course :-).

I have been thinking of the grammar of the following sentence during the Hiten ni:

Epchois ari ehmot nan empi ko evol ente nen novi.
O Lord grant us the forgiveness of our sins.
How do you split the parts in this sentence?

Epchois = Lord.
Ente = of
ne-n novi = our sins.

So what about the rest?

Thanks in advance. You can post the Coptic letters if you want, it just didn't work here.


  • Dear Aegyptian,
    Obviously you have to understand that the church rites follow the Bohairic (and sometimes a mixture of Bohairic and Sa'idic with predominance of the former) dialect. Concerning your question:
    [coptic]`P[C [/coptic](Lord) [coptic]ari`hmot[/coptic] (imperative form of the verb[coptic] er`hmot[/coptic] = to give blessing or grace = grant) [coptic]nan[/coptic] (us - direct (first) object) [coptic]`mpi,w ebol[/coptic] (the forgiveness (second (indirect) object)) [coptic]`nte [/coptic](of) [coptic]nennobi[/coptic] (our sins).
    On a side note, what material are you studying, and if you please would you be able to direct me to any online material that I can subscribe to (preferably Bohairic if you know any, or both Bohairic and Sa'idic).
    [coptic]]sep`hmot `ntotk emasw
    oujai qen `P[C[/coptic]
  • Of course I know that we use Bohairic. It's a shame they don't teach Bohairic here, so I didn't have any choice but to accept Sahidic Coptic :-)

    Thanks for the explanation, it's clear now!

    I am using a book called: C.H. Reintges, Coptic Egyptian (Sahidic dialect): A learner’s grammar.

    It's 100% Sahidic dialect. I'm not sure if it has any website, I'll check it for you. Do you need Sahidic online material anyway?
  • Yes please... anything you can get your hands on... thanks a lot in advance
    [coptic]oujai qen `P[C[/coptic]
  • Isn't it the case that the important documents of the Church are in Sahidic? I mean the writings of St Shenoute etc? I didn't think that the Church switched to Boharic until quite late? Is that so?

    There is a lecturer at one of the local universities who has said I can sit in with her students who are studying Coptic. I am thinking that I might do this because being able to study Sahidic Coptic is more useful for me in my circumstances than Boharic.

    Surely Copts should be studying both, or even prioritising Sahidic so that the early Coptic texts can be made available in English? Who knows both here on Tasbeha?

    Father Peter
  • Yes that is right Fr. Peter. The manuscripts and the early writings by church fathers are mostly in Sa'idic, but Bohairic is used for the purposes of rites and prayers in the liturgy and midnight praises for example, used quite more recently (by recently I mean 10th or 11th centuries, as I read).
    You are very lucky Fr. Peter; I wish I had still been working in London or nearby so that I attend those courses. Any chance of material being available online of that tutor? I can pay for them (but this has to take some savings first)...
    [coptic]oujai qen `P[C[/coptic]
  • [quote author=Father Peter link=topic=10063.msg122941#msg122941 date=1291055364]
    Surely Copts should be studying both, or even prioritising Sahidic so that the early Coptic texts can be made available in English? Who knows both here on Tasbeha?

    Father Peter

    That's great, I'd be willing to translate some Sahidic texts which are not in English yet. ( I still have to improve a lot though, I have been studying Sahidic for like 3 months or so. ) It'd be a great exercise for me to do, since it would help my understanding of Sahidic too.

    By the way Father, a small off topic question: do you know any Orthodox text that talks in any way about Politics? (I'm a student of Political Science). I'm eager to know what's the Orthodox stance on the size of government, who should be the political elite, and what they think about libertarian principles.

    @ophadece, I think the book of Reintges is great, if you have any money availabe I'd suggest it. I'm still looking for online material for you: I'll reply soon.
  • The lecturer uses Introduction to Sahidic Coptic by Thomas Lambdin.

    Do you know it? I have a copy myself.

    She also offered to read with me privately. I am not sure how much it would cost. I would like to pick up a proficiency in Sahidic Coptic as quickly as possible. It seems to me that there are a great many manuscripts that remain untranslated (in Syriac as well of course).

    Father Peter
  • The book of Lambdin seems to be very good, haven't seen it before. It basically has the same structure as the book I use.
    Try it ophadece!
  • I'm aware of the book of Lambdin although as far as I can remember having skimmed through it in the not very recent past I had some reservations. I may be wrong though so I'll have another look. I'll also follow your advice and see if the book you mentioned Aegyptian is on sale. THanks anyway
  • Go to and type in Sahidic Coptic and there are quite a few to choose from.

    I am starting to have another look at Lambdin now. I'd be glad to hear recommendations from others.

    Father Peter
Sign In or Register to comment.