A Petjeek Evol

Ok so I know that in Coptic putting `A at the start of a sentence means the sentence is in the past tense.
So why is the sentece `A Petjyk `Ebol  (from the hymn of the same name) in the past tense? "Perfect was the blessing.."? Is it because the second half of the sentence is past tense? Or is this something deeper?

Thank you and God bless.


  • It's just that this hymn has been passed down with a few grammatical mistakes.. However the in the first verse the alpha is the past tense of the verb ì towards the beginning of the second stanza. I hope that makes sense..
    Oujai khan ebshois
  • In other words Daniel, the translation is wrong.

    The subject of the sentence is Petjek `ebol tou logou Pefiwt, which is a bilingual mix of Sahidic Coptic and Greek. Petjek ebol is Sahidic for the Perfect One. Tou is the Greek genitive or possessive pr adjective and Logou is the genitive or adjective form of Logos. And Pefiwt is Coptic for His father. The whole subject is "The Logos Perfect One of His Father". Since this is awkward in English, it is "The Perfect Logos of His Father"

    As you noted, the A at the start of the sentence denotes the past tense. It is attached to the verb "i" which means "came". 

    So the translation is "The Perfect Logos of His Father came. He was incarnate as a perfect man."

    Hope that makes sense.
  • @Remnkemi...how about putting together a quick document for a proper translation for the 3 main parts of the hymn? The latter verses are just "The blessing of...."
  • @Remnkemi that makes sense. The break-up of the stanzas made it seem different. Thanks
  • Another question for this hymn: Is it correct to say Ere pi`cmou for the saint of the church? If it is, what should it be like as a general reference?
  • Dear @Daniel_Kyrillos
    Yes that is perfectly fine. What do you mean by asking what should it be like?
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡ̀ϭⲥ
  • Ⲁⲡⲉⲧϫⲏⲕ ⲉ̀ⲃⲟⲗ ⲛ̀ϫⲉ ⲡⲓⲥ̀ⲙⲟⲩ του λογου Ⲡⲉϥⲓⲱⲧ: ⲓ̀ ⲁϥϭⲓσαρξ ϩⲱⲥ ⲣⲱⲙⲓ ⲛ̀τελιος.
    δοξα πατρι και υιω και αγιω πνευματι
    Ⲁⲡⲉⲧϧⲉⲗϧⲱⲗϥ ⲛⲁⲩ ⲉ̀ⲣⲟϥ: ⲁⲡⲉⲧϧⲉⲗϧⲱⲗϥ ϣⲟⲡ ⲛⲉⲙⲱⲧⲉⲛ: ⲁⲡⲉⲧϧⲉⲗϧⲱⲗϥ ⲁϣϥ ϩⲓϫⲉⲛ ⲡⲓσταυρος
    και νυν και αι και ις τους εωνας των εωνων αμην
    Ⲑⲁⲓ ⲧⲉ ϯⲛⲟⲩ ⲉ̀ⲧⲉ: ⲑⲁⲓ ⲧⲉ ϯσεβηρος ϯπροσκυνισης τω μονω χριστος
    (Ⲉⲣⲉ ⲡⲓⲥ̀ⲙⲟⲩ ⲛ̀ϯτριας ⲉ̅ⲑ̅ⲩ̅) ⲃ̅: Ⲫ̀ⲓⲱⲧ ⲛⲉⲙ ⲡ̀Ϣⲏⲣⲓ ⲛⲉⲙ ⲡⲓπνευμα ⲉ̅ⲑ̅ⲩ̅.
    (Ⲉ̀ⲣⲉ ⲡⲓⲥ̀ⲙⲟⲩ ⲛ̀ϯθεοτοκος) ⲃ̅: μαρια Ⲑ̀ⲙⲁⲩ ⲛ̀Ⲓⲏ̅ⲥ̅ Ⲡⲭ̅ⲥ̅.
    (Ⲉⲣⲉ ⲡⲓⲥ̀ⲙⲟⲩ ⲙ̀ⲡⲉⲛπατριαρχης) ⲃ̅: ⲛ̀ⲓⲱⲧ ⲉⲧⲧⲁⲓⲏⲟⲩⲧ ⲛ̀αρχιερευς παπα αββα ⲛⲓⲙ
    Ⲉⲩⲓ̀ ⲉ̀ϩ̀ⲣⲏⲓ ⲉ̀ϫⲉⲛ ⲡⲁⲓλαος ⲧⲏⲣϥ: ϫⲉ αμην ⲉⲥⲉ̀ϣⲱⲡⲓ.

    On reviewing the text it seems a Bohairic text all through, with a few Greek verses. The alpha at the start is legitimate for past tense. It should translate as
    The Perfect of blessing, The Logos of His Father came. He was incarnate (took flesh literally) as a perfect man

  • @Ophadece yes, I'd think it'd be (Ere pi`cmou `nte (`m)piMarturouc nim for martyrs, `mpeniwt `ndikewc for Male saints, `nte ]agia for females. Is that correct? 
  • Ⲡⲁⲙⲉⲛⲣⲓⲧ @Daniel_Kyrillos
    Don't put either ⲙ̀ or ⲛ̀ after ⲛ̀ⲧⲉ. Otherwise the format is spot on..
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡ̀ϭⲥ
  • Upon reviewing the first sentence, the Coptic is not standard and a bit confusing. The presence of the initial alpha with the copula `nje in the same sentence is odd. It should either be 
    A Petjyk `ebol `mpi`cmou tou Logou Pefiwt `i 


    Af`i `nje Petjyk `ebol `mpi`cmou tou Logou Pefiwt

    It can't be both. 

    This is why there are different translations and interpretations. In my previous translation, I forgot to add pi`cmou in my translation. I believe the correct translation of the full sentence should be "The Perfect, the Blessing of the Logos of His Father came [and] was incarnate as a perfect man." 

    Some notes. 
    1. Perfect is the noun, not the adjective. It can't be the Perfect Blessing or the Perfect Logos. 
    2. It is possible that the original Coptic is changed due to a different use of bilingualism. It is possible that the hymnographer treated nje  as the Coptic equivalent of the Greek singular genitive tou . In this case, the author is not using proper Coptic verb syntax as mentioned above but bilingually influenced Coptic. If this is the case, the sentence is correct with minor corrections. This would result in  "A Petjyk `ebol `mpi`cmou tou Logou `mViwt `iwhich gives a translation of "The blessing, the Logos of the Father, the Perfect came..." Notice, both the "blessing" and "Logos of the Father" are adjectives of "The Perfect". But in English "perfect" is an adjective and not an noun. And there is no adjective form of "blessing" and "Logos" in English. As a result, the closest English translation would be "The Perfect, blessed and Logos of the Father came" 

    The third and fifth verses are even more confusing. This is why I was reluctant to make a document for a proper translation. I can't define what is "proper".

    Welcome to the world of Coptic philology.
  • @Remnkemi do you mean a petkehkholf and Thai te are also weird?
  • Yes. They also have very strange grammar.
  • @Remnkemi The 3rd is pretty normal to me:

    A- past tense
    petqelqolf- the Slaughtered One

    nau erof- to be seen by you in past tense, ie, was seen by you

    sop nemwten- is in your midst / is with you
    asf hijen pi`ctauroc- was crucified upon the cross

    The werid part there would be the use of the past tense in sop nemwten.

    The next part, however, is a hot mess:

    :ai te - this is

    ]nou `ete- Makes no sense to me. ]nou means "Now" as in, "Emmanuel our God is now in our midst" from the Hymn of Joy
    [cebyroc- ??? I haven't found this word anywhere else

    ]`prockunicyc-the worship (Weird because it uses the Coptic article ] but he Greek word `prockunicyc)
    tw monw-of the one 
    <rictoc-Christ, although I think it should be <rictou(w)

    Now I am by no means a Coptic scholar and anything I've gotten is either form other hymns or patterns I've noticed within hymns. Please correct me if I am wrong.
  • edited October 2017
    Dear @Daniel_Kyrillos,
    Very well done on your deduction and good work. Once again I stress that this hymn has grammatical mistakes, but let me elaborate.
    Abatkhalkholf should be bibatkhalkholf (I am using my mobile and that is why I am avoiding the Coptic font having seen how it comes out on the computer!) why I am saying that is because the past tense article 'a' should only be attached to the singular subject as in him or her, and not in an indirect speech kind of way. Therefore it should have been bibatkhalkholf awnaw arof (if it were structured for the use of afnaw or acnaw that current structure would have been OK). Same goes for bibatkhalkholf awashf, again an indirect speech statement. As for the word shob, that is actually an adjective rather than a verb, but please note that the past tense article 'a' could at times be used to refer to the present tense, pretty much as the first conjugation of verbs in the Italian language. Therefore it would have made some sense to have used shobi rather than shob.
    As far as dinou ata is concerned, this is a misspelling or a variant of dinoata spelt with a hada meaning "the mental" or "the rational". This kind of misspelling indeed throws the light on the proper pronunciation of Coptic but I am not going to go there.
    So I hope this little elaboration helps in understanding the unusual structure and the mistakes found in the hymn.
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡ̀ϭⲥ
  • Why do we have so many hymns with weird mistakes that we brush under the carpet for the sake of routine?? We do the same thing with O Kyrios (a misnomer for Agios Yistin) which makes 0 sense as most people know it.
    Speaking of that, I know a church in Canada has made the proper corrections to the hymn.. does anyone have a written copy, Greek or Coptic-Greek?
  • Dear @Daniel_Kyrillos,
    There are many reasons in my personal opinion, but I am not absolutely sure what the church's official position is.
    First of all, albeit recognising the huge difference, there are many British songs that use unusual words for the American ear, and vice versa, along with many English songs in general that have grammatical aberrations and they are still fine. Secondly, I inherited from my father some weird words and expressions that people would understand in general terms. Thirdly, my father is only human, half of the stories he told me are either wrong or incomplete, but I honour them as they nonetheless taught me invaluable lessons for my life. How much is honouring him is worth in God's eyes. Fourthly, when we write posts on tasbeha.org we write them in different stages of our life, and some can be easily understood by little children, some are too complicated, and some are full of philosophical and psychological mistakes, let alone political and scientific, twenty years from now, yet I would hope that there will be a committee to fully analyse the purpose of the posts and preserve them. Lastly what doesn't make sense to me now, may make sense to someone else.
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡ̀ϭⲥ
  • And by the way, agios yestain makes perfect sense, as @Remnkemi wrote an analysis of it before. It is just multilingual..
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡ̀ϭⲥ
  • It is difficult to answer it depends on what you'd define as a mistake and what not. For example, ancient Egyptian language was primarily written in consonants, this carried on till demotic.

    As Coptic script flourished; vowels started to show more clearly and then, idiosyncrasies appeared and loads of irregulatities between dialects. The Sahidic dialect showed economy of vowels used by the usage of the supralinear stroke. Othwise, it's vastly different even within the same scribe, the common ones are alpha (A) Ⲁ & Epsilon (E) Ⲉ , Omicron Ⲟ & Omega Ⲱ & Omicron Ypsilon ⲞⲨ at times, etc.  For consonants, Theta Ⲑ & Tau Ⲧ were used interchangeably at times, Tau Ⲧ & Delta Ⲇ These would make sense if Coptic is pronounced in Old Bohairic

    Spelling of Greek Loan words:
    Also , Greek loan words were spelled in a way that is different from how they are written in Koine Greek e.g. Kai, Chaire: ⲕⲁⲓ, ⲭⲁⲓⲣⲉ were written as Ke & Chere: ⲕⲉ ⲭⲉⲣⲉ Constantine was written as Costantine ⲕⲱⲥⲧⲁⲛⲧⲓⲛⲟⲥ, Analypsis, was written as Analympsis, ⲁⲛⲁⲗⲩⲙⲯⲓⲥ etc.

    Also, in psalis many words were apparently misspelled deliberately to fir in the acrostc pattern given the similarity of te phoneme in Old Bohairic pronunciation.
    e.g. In the acrostic Psali of Sunday
    Ja ghar ⲅⲉ ⲅⲁⲣ: ϫⲉ ⲅⲁⲣ
    Dakmataghathos: ⲇⲉⲕⲙⲉⲧⲁⲅⲁⲑⲟⲥ: ⲧⲉⲕⲙⲉⲧⲁⲅⲁⲑⲟⲥ

    The usage of grammar showed also certain degress of variability. Greek loan words in Coptic adopted mostly a constant form even with spelling idiosyncrasies. In contrast, to Koine Greek where the suffix changes depending on the position in the sentence whether subject or object etc. In Coptic texts it was occasionally maintained in its same shape.

    In latter texts there are some gross grammatical mistakes that probably stem from apparent decay of the language. The common errors are swapping a masculine noune to a feminine one and vice versa following Arabic gender of the noun, or usage of singular feminine adjective instead of plural adjective following grammar of Arabic language.

    The areas where clear unequivocal unambiguous grammatical mistakes are apparent are predominantly in Kiahk Psalmody, Agios Istin znd the unusual grammar of Abadjak awol.

    The problem does not stop here, as if the texts are constant. There are some minor textual changes that were deliberately added by persons in the 1990's thinking that the original text had grammatical error or that it is better to be used this way e.g.
    Response of the Gospel in the Great Lent:
    ϯϩⲓⲣⲏⲛⲏ ⲛ̀ⲧⲉ Ⲫϯ ⲑⲏⲉⲧϭⲟⲥⲓ ⲉⲛⲟⲩⲥ ⲛⲓⲃⲉⲛ ⲥϩⲣⲏⲓ ϧⲉⲛ ⲛⲉⲧⲉⲛϩⲏⲧ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡⲭ̄ⲥ̆ Ⲓⲏ̄ⲥ̆ ⲡⲉⲛϭ̄ⲥ̄
    The original version means The peace of the God that is higher than every mind let it be in your hearts in Christ Jesus Our Lord.
    This was swapped for no clear reason to this sentence
    ϯϩⲓⲣⲏⲛⲏ ⲛ̀ⲧⲉ Ⲫϯ ⲑⲏⲉⲧϭⲟⲥⲓ ⲉⲛⲟⲩⲥ ⲛⲓⲃⲉⲛ ⲉⲥⲉⲁϩⲣⲉϩ ⲉⲛⲉⲧⲉⲛϩⲏⲧ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡⲭ̄ⲥ̆ Ⲓⲏ̄ⲥ̆ ⲡⲉⲛϭ̄ⲥ̄
    The Peace of God that is higher than every mind let it keep your hearts in Christ Jesus Our Lord

    Dr Emile Maher, 1978, proposed to correct the obvious grammatical mistake in the acrostic psali of the third hos known as Aripsalin written by Sarkis 
    ⲛⲉⲙ ⲛⲓⲫⲩⲥⲓⲥ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ ⲉⲧⲁϥⲁⲓⲥ
    which is a mistake as the the noun is plural and then the verb object is singular feminine which matches with Arabic but has no sense in Coptic. It is basically wrong to say 'And all the natures that he did it;
    ⲛⲉⲙ ϯⲫⲩⲥⲓⲥ ⲧⲏⲣⲥ ⲉⲧⲁϥⲁⲓⲥ
    He proposed to switch to all the nature that he did it

    Tok da dijom in Pascha:
    My Strength & my hymns is the Holy Lord  and He became a Salvation.
    ⲧⲁϫⲟⲙ ⲛⲉⲙ ⲡⲁⲥⲙⲟⲩ ⲡⲉ Ⲡϭ̄ⲥ̄ ⲁϥϣⲱⲡⲓ ⲛⲏⲓ ⲉⲩⲥⲱⲧⲏⲣⲓⲁ ⲉϥⲟⲩⲁⲃ

    The Arabic translation is inaccurate referring Holy to the Salvation not the Lord so, in Didimos institute they proposed to swap it with the feminine gender of the adjective Holy to match with the erroneous translation in the first place. e.g.
    ⲧⲁϫⲟⲙ ⲛⲉⲙ ⲡⲁⲥⲙⲟⲩ ⲡⲉ Ⲡϭ̄ⲥ̄ ⲁϥϣⲱⲡⲓ ⲛⲏⲓ ⲉⲩⲥⲱⲧⲏⲣⲓⲁ ⲉⲥⲟⲩⲁⲃ
  • Ⲡⲁⲙⲉⲛⲣⲓⲧ Ⲡⲉϣⲉⲛϯ
    Thank you very much for the insight, I didn't realise that the Lenten Gospel response had been modified, otherwise I wouldn't have sung it!
    Dear @Daniel_Kyrillos and all,
    In reference to my post above I made a mistake regarding the word shob. Yes it can also come as a verb so in that particular quartet abatkhalkholf makes some sense..
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡ̀ϭⲥ
  • @Ophadece regarding Thai Te Tinou Ete, I realized that we use the correct word in a very popular hymn- Pioik! "piManna en-o-ee-ton." So the correct form should be: Thai te tinou-ee-ton.
    Correct me if I'm wrong.
    @bashandy your explanation is very thorough and clear. Thank you so much! Id always felt that verse in Aripsalin was weird :) do you have a link to Remnkemi's analysis of Agios Yistin?

    Pray for me.
  • Thank you @Daniel_Kyrillos & @Ophadece, unfortunately, I do not have a link to Remnkimi's analysis.
    This is a recording and transcription of the text of Aĝios bejatŝob (Ο Κυριος μετασο) translated text to Coptic and it shows more improvement in meaning, and more coherence.
    guess it will be in recording tape 32. The above link is for the
    contents of his teaching tape. and the lower link has all his audio
    recordings for Coptic language in Old Bohairic pronunciation.I guess the way he wrote was to emphasise that it was written with rhyme scheme and meter devised for OB pronunciation.  I
    don't think he'd be ever happy if anyone would sing his work in
    Greco-Bohairic pronunciation. It's not hard to re-write it in Coptic
    from the translation and the transription. I find it an outstanding example of renovation and improvement of hymns in church that is inline with the legacy of Coptic hymns' heritage.

    Just to divert a bit regarding Coptic & Greek in liturgical services. It seems that in the mass, the priest prays mostly in Coptic except when - at times - addressing the congregation e.g. ιρηνη πασι and the deacon has his responses mostly in Greek e.g. επιπροσευχα σταθητε, προσευξαστε, σπατηρ αγιος, τας κεφαλας ημων, προσχωμεν Θεο μεταφοβου, etc.

    The people's responses are a mixture of Greek & Coptic the Greek parts are like Αγιος, Δοξα Πατρι, Και νυν, αμην αμην αμην τον θανατον, και του πνευμα ...., ενοπιον σου Κυριε, Κυριε ελεησον etc.

    It has been interpreted that the Coptic Orthodox Church was minded with 2 things:
    01. Its identity maintaining that the priest prays in Coptic in the mass
    02. Helping the congregation to follow & understand.
    In this view the priest prays mostly in Coptic unless addressing the congregation, and he faces the altar, while the deacon, addresses the mostly the congregation and in most circumstances giving clear instructions to the congregation about what to do, almost translating/paraphrasing what the priest just said e.g. Stand up for Prayer, Listen, Kneel.

    It is believed that if we're to maintain the identity of the church and have a meaningful prayer, where the deacon has a role apart from repitition. Priests are to pray in Coptic, while Deacons should be responding in Greek, Arabic, French, English or whatever language the congregation understands. This will make the mass coherent from a linguistic point of view.

    In addition, this was done in an era before Church books were available to the congregation, and slideshow with texts were available. Nowadays, the congregation can follow exactly and understand what's being said by books & slideshow. I do believe that the missing part is that the church should keep its unity and identity to carry on praying in Coptic & preserving the hymns in Coptic. I'm not speaking here about OB/GB debate; just Coptic language.

  • edited October 2017
    Dear @Daniel_Kyrillos,
    Exactly. I believe, although I am not very well versed in Greek to that extent, that "`nnoyton" ismasculine in the case of the hymn "piwik", and "noyte" (or as it is a variant "no`ete") is obviously feminine in the hymn "apetjyk ebol". I am sure you know Greek better than me, so you would have understood that already I think. 
    Thank you for digressing - did you read my post on deacon responses long time ago on this website? Hehe... I cannot agree more...
    Oujai qen P[c
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