Greek in Tamgeed

Hello again,

I was just wondering about some of the usage of Greek in Tamgeed.

1.) In Ⲭⲉⲣⲉ Ⲑⲉⲟ̀ⲧⲟⲕⲉ, what are the roots of the phrase ⲧⲏⲥ ⲡⲓⲛⲁ ⲡⲓⲣⲟⲅⲁⲙⲏ (and how does it fit the translation given).

2.) Is Ⲥⲉⲛⲁ ⲧ̀ϣⲟ a mix of Greek and Coptic?
2.1) How does the refrain fit the translation? (It along with some of the verses almost seem to suggest a simple future pronoun connected to a noun, which I don't understand.)

3.) From what I can tell, ⲁⲝⲓⲟⲥ/ⲁⲝⲓⲁ in Greek are used as a singular nominative adjectives and other "declensions" exist (the liturgy uses ⲁⲝⲓⲟⲛ, which is another declension of the same word). In Ϧⲉⲛ Ⲫ̀ⲣⲁⲛ (or anytime ⲁⲝⲓⲟⲥ is said), if the verse is chanted for a group, would the declension of ⲁⲝⲓⲟⲥ change?

Ϧⲉⲛ ⲟⲩϣⲉⲡϩ̀ⲙⲟⲧ.


  • Hi @WedeYonas,
    I may have time to elaborate on this later and of course I will await other people's comments, but so that we are clear, we do not speak Greek period. All the Greek loan words are Copticised and mutilated very far away from their current, original, or any other description, Greek meaning and grammar. Ⲁⲝⲓⲟⲥ for masculine singular and plural as you said. Ⲡⲁⲣⲑⲉⲛⲟⲥ for our Virgin Mary.. etc
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡϭⲥ
  • Ⲁⲝⲓⲁ feminine
    Ⲁⲝⲓⲟⲥ masculine
    Ⲁⲝⲓⲟⲓ plural
  • Dear @Jojo_Hanna
    You are right in writing the Greek vocabulary but the Coptic vocabulary doesn't have ⲁⲝⲓⲟⲓ
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡϭⲥ
  • edited January 2022
    Salam @Ophadece,
    From my limited knowledge I know that they are just not commonly used or known in the church as cantors and chanters have never been really known for grammar. It is grammatically incorrect to use something singular on a group setting, it’s like saying “ⲭⲉⲣⲉ ⲛⲁⲕ ⲱ̀ ⲠⲒ⳥“ in one verse for both Saint Apakir and Saint John, although They are more than one person so the correct wouldn’t be “Ⲡⲓ” but “Ⲛⲓ”, and not “Ⲛⲁⲕ” but “Ⲛⲱⲧⲉⲛ”, as I’m confident someone of your great knowledge would know :)
    I myself use the plural when the veneration is for multiple saints in one verse, like St Maximus and St Dometius’, as a most recent example.
  • hi, dear brother jojo hanna.
    i think ophadece is saying that tradional coptic uses bad greek, and so he doesn't want to change that to use good greek.
    bad greek is good coptic!

    don't ask me why, that is above my pay scale!
    next coptic class hasn't started yet and i think i need 4 or 5 more levels to catch up with you guys
  • Ⲭⲉⲣⲉ ⲛⲁⲕ ⲡⲁⲥⲁϧ @Jojo_Hanna
    As @mabsoota alluded Coptic grammar does not follow Greek grammar (definitely not the modern Greek grammar or koine Greek for that matter). You are absolutely right that cantors are not the best or most reliable sources when it comes to Coptic language as a whole but that doesn't mean that ⲁⲝⲓⲟⲓ is a word that is mistakenly ignored by them. It is a Greek word that has not found its way into the Coptic language, so it is inappropriate to use it in our hymns.
    By the way I apologise for my example of ⲡⲁⲣⲑⲉⲛⲟⲥ but more on this later.
    You are once again absolutely spot on about the wrong usage of ⲭⲉⲣⲉ ⲛⲁⲕ ⲱ ⲡⲓ⳥, when it should be ⲭⲉⲣⲉ ⲛⲱⲧⲉⲛ ⲱ ⲛⲓ⳥, but here is what I mean to say - the Coptic noun of such a word is ⲙⲉⲧ⳥: ⲙⲉⲧ being a prefix attached to verbs, in this case is used in a peculiar manner relating to Coptic only, as in other cases ⲙⲉⲧⲁⲡⲟⲥⲧⲟⲗⲟⲥ, ⲙⲉⲧⲁⲅⲁⲑⲟⲥ, ⲙⲉⲧⲁⲛⲟⲓⲁ.
    In summary we neither use Greek grammar or pure Greek vocabulary..
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡϭⲥ
  • edited January 2022
    I’ve missed speaking with you @mabsoota, I pray all is well with you :)
    Ⲭⲉⲣⲉ ⲛⲁⲕ ⲟⲛ “Ⲥⲁϧⲟ” Ϥⲁⲇⲓ! (I’m not sure if I’m the only one who’s ever heard that word before haha) :))
    My point about cantors was derived from the fact that I’ve spoken to many cantors from the institute of Saint Didymus and I learned from them that they were indeed taught ⲁⲝⲓⲟⲓ but they are not motivated/encouraged to use it.

    On another note, why do we not consider Coptic vocabulary instead of the Greek? The same way I can chant “worthy”, what is incorrect with saying “Ϥ̀ⲉⲙ̀ⲡ̀ϣⲁ”?
    It was always interesting to me how the Ϧⲉⲛ ⲫ̀ⲣⲁⲛ part is in Coptic but the next Tatkees part of Ⲁⲝⲓⲁ/Ⲁⲝⲓⲟⲥ/Ⲁⲝⲓⲟⲓ is in Greek?

    I’d love to hear your opinion on both points as you have a scholarly opinion when it comes to these linguistic matters.
  • @Jojo_Hanna,
    anok oucaqo an - `n;ok picaqo `ntyi
    I wasn't aware of this teaching of course, but all I can say is that unfortunately due to inconsistencies in learning, and sorry to put it bluntly like this, the lack of direction and education of the Coptic language in the Coptic Church, people can think they know, and derive things, such as axioi, but no, this should not be used - it is wrong; it is not Coptic. I guess it goes back to the point that we discussed before, i.e. cantors and their educators should not be seen as reliable sources of Coptic language in general.
    Look @Jojo_Hanna, if you want my honest opinion, I do not think that is necessary and I personally do not favour it, and I personally know some movements which had started to take some pace a few years ago, but thank God (for me at least) they died down. Why am I saying this? Because each language has borrowed from another. This is a sign of healthiness, and life in a language. Why get rid of Greek loan words? At the end of the day, they are Coptic not Greek anymore. I would not think that the English speakers would rid words like "fillet" and replace it with "boneless pieces" (you use both, as in the case of Coptic still), or "chauffeur" and "personal driver", etc. In fact, while I am saying this, those cases enrich languages more, even though languages are not devoid of such expressions in the first place. Let's also not forget that an important aspect of borrowing from the Greek, is painting the Coptic language in a Christian flavour, which I find very admirable.
    What do you and all others think?
    Oujai qen p[c
  • i am being brave / foolish in jumping in here - i pass one small coptic test with only 15 questions and suddenly i think i am in the same class as the great teachers...


    but i heard that the reason we have so much that is still in greek was for all the foreigners who attended church,, especially in alexandria where there were lots of jews, europeans, asians and other africans.
    all these people communicated in greek, as it was the international language most well known in that area.
    so the priest's parts are often in coptic, then the deacon / reader says something similar in greek, so the foreigners know what is going on.

    (taking this further, it means we should also ensure that the liturgy is translated into whatever language the coptic people move to, but this is another discussion for another time)
  • Hi @mabsoota,
    I have been meaning to reply to this post but I have also been very busy as you may be aware already. I will try to be brief and concise at the same time, don't know how!
    I heard the arguments you kindly shared even on this very website and although the principle holds true (ie liturgies were translated into Coptic from Greek preserving some parts), the rest of the argument is flawed. The deacon responses are not all in Greek (only about 2/3 if that) and actually that doesn't apply to the Cyrilian liturgy. Let's not forget that the latter is the oldest, let alone the other liturgies that fell out of use for one reason or another.
    Please also remember that even if the argument is true as to Greek deacon responses for the sake of foreigners, then the majority of the congregation responses are in Coptic! What does this mean? Explain to foreigners abouna's prayers then excluding them from responding at all? I don't think so. I think such a number of Greek responses has been preserved in Basilian and Gregorian liturgies to convey the message of "holistic" worship if you know what I mean.
    Last, but not least, we as Egyptians have been humiliated through the ages under various occupations and we certainly have serious collective, societal, and/or common disregard to our own identity - one aspect being the language, and another being the Coptic calendar, the things that I am currently interested in. I don't think that you will be surprised to hear that I used to go to El-Zamalek District in Cairo that is full of protestant and Anglican churches to improve my English. Now, you guessed it, the congregation were mainly foreigners from several different countries, not just English speaking, but the mass is in English. Indeed, the chief deacon serving was Egyptian but neither he, nor any other person in the congregation, spoke Arabic, or Coptic! Of course not the latter - it is just a language for the church service only and some Coptic servants are actually advocating for it to be scrapped altogether even in Egypt!
    I hope you get my point..
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡϭⲥ
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