Coptic Bohairic Introductory Course

Hany N. Takla, 1998 (No Media)

Lesson 1

1.1 Introduction. 1.2

Coptic Alphabet: The Coptic alphabet consists of 31 phonetic characters, a special numerical character, and a vowel point. The first 24 characters plus the special numerical character come from the Greek alphabet. The last seven characters are Demotic characters, modified to match the script of the first 24 characters. Pronunciation rules vary for some characters depending on whether they occur in words of Egyptian or Greek origin. The orthography (or shape of the characters) reflects the way Greek uncial (block) characters were written in the 2nd century A.D. Since then, many of the characters evolved along Egyptian artistic ways, independent of the natural evolution of the Greek characters.


Current Modern Pronunciation

Modified Pronunciation

"a" as in "apple" "b" as in "back", or "v" as in "vine" "g" as in "good", "ng" as in "England" "nk"

same same

a b



gg gk

"th" as in "then" "d" as in "dog" in proper nouns

"d" as in "dog"


"e" as in "let"



6 z

"z" as in "zoo" "ee" as in "feet"


"ai" as in "aid" "t" as in "top"

/ y

"th" as in "thin" "t" as in "top" after " c "

"i" as in "machine" "y" as in "yet" following a vowel



"k" as in "skin" ""l" as in "law" "m" as in "man" "n" as in "net"

same same same same same same same same


l m

n x o p r


"o" as in English "fog"

"p" as in "spin" "r" as in "road"


Lesson 1

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic

"s" as in "see" "t" as in "stop"

same same



as Coptic vowel "oo" as in "food"

same as consonent "w" as in "way"

u ou

as Greek vowel "i"

same "aw" "ew" "aiw" "wo" "ow" same same same same same same same same same same same same

"av" "ev"



/ou ouw wou

"ph" as in "phone"

v , ' w s

"k" as in "kin", in Coptic words "sh" or "kh" in some Greek words


"o" as in "hope" "sh" as in "shall" "f" as in "foot" "kh" as in "khan" "h" as in "high"


q h

"g" as in "go" "j" as in "judge" after e , / , i


"ch" as in "church"

[ ] `

"ti" "e"

1.2.1 Examples: a bot

month servant


to keep

a ve bal

areh e bol


from angel



marketplace aggeloc

a gora

a gioc






di a kwn eyouab

holy wine

school rejoice father to move grapes


anaz/b yel/l


just sea


y m/i

to create to bring

iwt kim

iom kac

yami o


i ni


cheese mother

kouji lac moni nobi


a loli


place to see


mau niben

to shepherd nau




to stand




Lesson 1

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic

to count to laugh to purify






to bless




c mou tako ouws

to destroy

to return

toubo ouwm

tacyo ouwrp

to eat bread elder

to want

to send

nose thing

hair book





hwb ]mi





1.3 Vocabulary: bal






1.4 Excercises:

Practice the pronunciation of the examples listed above.


Lesson 2 2.1 Noun Classifications: Nouns are classified by gender, masculine (m) or feminine (f), and by number, singular (sg) or plural (pl). In most cases there are no distinctions between singular and plural forms of the same noun, only the prefixed article provides such distinction. Examples: Masculine Feminine iwt father mau mother kahi earth ve heaven Singular Plural iwt father io] fathers con brother c n/ou brothers 2.2 Definite Article: Coptic uses three distinct characters to define gender and number of a noun. They are ' p ' for the singular masculine, ' t ' for the singular feminine, and ' n ' for the plural. This arrangement occurs in many nominal prefixes. The first one that we will deal with is the "Definite Article". 2.2.1 Form: The Bohairic dialect has two distinct types of articles in the singular. The longer form is referred to as 'Strong' and the shorter one is labeled 'Weak'. The definite article is always prefixed to the noun it modifies. In English the definite article is equivalent to 'the'. Type Singular Plural Masculine Feminine Strong pi- ]- ni- nen- Weak p- v- t- y 2.2.2 Uses: Singular: Weak articles are used to specify the word in a less exact way, so they are used for generic nouns, abstract nouns, and nouns that are one of a kind. Strong articles on the other hand specify the word in a more exact way by referring to specific person or thing, as follows: Weak Strong v .nou] God pi.nou] the god t .ve Heaven ].ve m .beri the new heaven Plural: For plural articles (both genders) nen- is used only with prefixed nouns, while ni- is used everywhere else, example: nen.s/ri m . p .icra/l The sons of Israel


Lesson 2

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic

2.3 Prepositions: In Coptic, prepositions (prep.) are unstressed and bound to the word they govern. Note: The preposition nem (with) is also used as the conjunctive 'and' in joining two nouns, example: pi.rwmi nem pi.noub The man and the gold 2.4 Simple Bipartite Clause: Coptic can achieve full predication (complete sentence) with or without the benefit of a verb. One type of these sentences is called a 'bipartite sentence', which means a sentence made out of two parts. For the sake of brevity, we will deal with only one of the five forms of this sentence construction. To achieve the correct meaning in English, the appropriate form of verb 'to be' is used in the translation. 2.4.1 Affirmative: In the affirmative, the bipartite is formed in the following manner: Definite noun + Prepositional phrase or (Definite article + Noun )+ (Preposition + Definite article + Noun) pi.rwmi hi pi.joi The man is on the ship 2.4.2 Negative: In the negative the sentence form is as follows: Definite noun + Prepositional phrase + Negative particle pi.rwmi qen pi./i an The man is not in the house 2.5 Vocabulary: an not wni m. rock, stone /i m. house qa- prep. under /ou pl. houses qello m. old man, monk mwit m. road, way qelloi pl. old men, monks nem- prep. with, and qellw f. old woman noub m. gold qen- prep. in rwmi m. man hi- prep. on c himi f. woman hijen- prep. upon twou m. mountain jwm m. book


Lesson 2

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic

2.6 Exercises 2: Translate the following into English: A 1. hi pi.mwit 8.

nem ni.rwmi



hijen pi.twou

nem ]. c himi


10. nem pi.qello

qen pi.mwit


11. qa ni./ou

qen p ./i


12. hi pi.twou

qa p ./i


13. qen ni./ou

qa pi.wni


hi pi.jwm

B 1.


pi.noub qa pi.jwm

ni.rwmi nem ]. c himi



pi.qello hijen pi.twou

ni.jwm qen pi./i an


Lesson 3

3.1 Indefinite Article: 3.1.1 form: Coptic has two distinct indefinite articles, one for the singular ou- and one for the plural han- . Like the definite article, they are prefixed directly to the nouns they modify, examples:



a ship a man

ships, some ships men, some men


han.ej/ou han.rwmi


3.1.2 uses: Singular: The indefinite article for singular is used for both masculine and feminine. In English it is translated as 'a' or 'an' before vowel-sounding letters. It is sometimes deleted in Coptic but should always be written out when translating into English. Plural: The indefinite article for the plural is always written out in Coptic. In English it is translated as ' some ' or in most cases not translated. Care should be taken in translating the noun that follows it in the plural. 3.2 Genitive (simple possessive): Relationship between two nouns is expressed by the preposition n ( m ) 'of', as follows: pi./i m .pi.rwmi The house of the man ].seri n .]. c himi The daughter of the woman In special cases, the genitive preposition n (m ) is replaced with the fuller form n te , as follows:

(a) If the first noun is indefinte: ou.jwm n te pi.qello

A book of the monk

(b) If the first noun has a strong definite article: pi.bwk n te pi.ouro (c) If both nouns are proper nouns: qen t .kana n te.].galilea

The servant of the king

In Cana of Galilee 3.3 Simple Bipartite Clause - Indefinte Nouns: Refer to lesson 2 for definition. 3.3.1 Affirmative: In the affirmative, the bipartite is formed in the following manner: Auxiliary verb + Indefinite noun + Prepositional phrase or


Lesson 3

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic

Auxiliary verb + (Indefinite article + Noun )+ Preposition + (Definite article + Noun) ouon ou.qello hi pi.mwit A monk is on the road (there is a monk on the road) 3.3.2 Negative: In the negative, the sentence form is as follows: Negative auxiliary verb + Indefinite noun + Prepositional phrase m mon qello hi pi.mwit There is no monk on the road Note: Before the negative auxiliary m mon , the indefinite article for the singular is deleted. 3.4 Vocabulary 3 bwk m. servant tebt m. fish bwki f. maidservant ouon there is ebiaik pl. servants ouro m. king eybe- prep. about, concerning ourw f. queen emrw f. harbor ourwou pl. kings, queens iaro m. river ouwini m. light m mon there is not ve f. heaven mwou m. water v/ou i pl. heavens n- (m ) prep. of joi m. ship n te- prep. of e j/ou pl. ships ran m. name 3.5 Exercises 3 : Translate the following into English: A 1. hijen pi.joi 6. qen ].emrw 2. qa ou.wni 7.. hi pi.iaro 3. qa t .ve 8. eybe ou.jwm 4. qen ou.tebt 9. eybe han.ourwou 5. qen ni.v/ou i 10. eybe ou.ouwini

B 1.


ni.tebt m.v .iaro

ou.bwki n te p .ouro



pi.ran m .pi.rwmi

pi.mwou m.v .iaro



ni./ou m.p .ouro

]. c himi m .pi.bwk

C 1.

ouon ou.ouwini qen ni.v/ou i 2.

m mon tebt qen ].emrw


Lesson 4

4.1 Relative Clause : Coptic uses three forms of the relative pronoun. They are used with nouns of either gender or number as well as verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. The forms are as follows: e- et- ete- The most common form is et- . They all are translated in English as, 'who', 'whom', or 'which'. They are usually used with sentences containing adverbial predicates, examples: pi.rwmi et.qen p ./i The man who is in the house pen.iwt et.qen ni.v/ou i Our father who is in the heavens 4.1.1 The relative pronoun et- functions as the subject of the relative clause: Affirmative ]. c himi et.hi v .mwit The woman who is on the road ni.qelloi et.qen ].ek k l/cia the monks who are in the church Negative ni.qelloi et.qen ].ek k l/cia an the monks who are not in the church 4.1.2 The relative clause cannot be used to modify an indefinite noun. 4.2 Relative Nouns : Nouns can be formed out of adjectives by prefixing the definite article to the relative pronoun and attaching the new prefix to an adjective, as follows: Singular Masculine Plural pet- pete- net- nete- Examples: pey.ouab The holy one, the one who is holy pet.hwou The evil one, the one who is evil 4.3 Demonstrative Adjectives - Far Objects : The demonstrative for the far objects trails the noun it modifies. It is formed from a combination of the relative pronoun ' ete- ' and the adverb ' m mau ' . In English it is translated as 'that' for singular and 'those' for plural. However Coptic has one form for either gender or number, as follows:


Lesson 4

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic

that man

pi.rwmi e te m mau ]. c himi e te m mau ni. c n/ou e te m mau

that woman

those brothers

4.4 Greek Nouns : A typical Coptic text contains a large number of Greek loan-words, mostly nouns. Greek masculine and feminine nouns retained their gender when they were used in Coptic. Neuter nouns were treated as masculine nouns. All Greek nouns came into Coptic in the nominative singular case and such form is kept the same in all other cases in Coptic, examples: pi.aggeloc m. The angel ]. e pictol/ f. The letter pi. p neuma n.. The spirit 4.5 Vocabulary 4: m mau adv. there seri f. daughter, girl nahren prep in the presence of s/ri m. son, child, boy nou] m. god hiren prep. at the entrance of v nou] m. God hwou adj. evil ro m. door, gate, mouth [oic m. master, owner rwou pl. doors, gates p [oic m. the Lord ,aki m. darkness [iceu pl. masters, owners , ro m. shore, bank ]mi m. village Greek Nouns aggeloc m. angel, messenger may/t/c m. disciple, pupil ek k l/cia f. church polic f. city e pictol/ f. letter, epistle tavoc m. tomb yalacca f. sea 4.6 Exercises 4 : Translate the following into English: A 1. hiren ].ek k l/cia 5. ou.ek k l/cia n te pi.]mi 2. qen v .ran m.p .[oic 6. ni.jwm m .pi.may/t/c 3. nahren p .ouro 7. p .[oic m .pi.joi 4. pi. , ro m .pi.iaro 8. qen ou.,aki


Lesson 4

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic

B 1.


pi.wni et.qen ]emrw

ni.rwmi n .].polic e te m mau



ni.aggeloc et.qen t .ve

ni.ek k l/cia n te ].polic



pi.,aki et.hijen ].polic

ni.s/ri m .pi.bwk e te m mau


Lesson 5

5.1 Possessive Adjectives : In Coptic, possessive adjectives are constructed from the characters denoting the definite article ' p , t , n ' and an attached personal pronoun. So the first part defines the gender and number of the noun and the second part defines the person possessing such noun. Coptic recognizes eight persons, five in the singular and three in the plural. These adjectives are usually prefixed to the noun they modify, as follows: Person Masculine Feminine Plural s-1-mf pa.iwt my father ta.cwni my sister] my fathers s-2-m pek.iwt your father tek.cwni your sister] your fathers s-2-f pe.iwt your father te.cwni your sister] your fathers s-3-m pef.iwt his father tef.cwni his sister] his fathers s-3-f pec.iwt her father tec.cwni her sister] her fathers p-1-mf pen.iwt our father ten.cwni our sister] our fathers p-2-mf peten.iwt your father teten.cwni your sister] your fathers p-3-mf pou.iwt their father tou.cwni their sister] their fathers Legend: s= singular, p= plural, m= masculine, f= feminine 5.2 Demonstrative Adjectives - Nearer Objects : Demonstrative adjectives for nearer objects are prefixed to the nouns they modify. They also serve as the definite article for the noun. Consequently they are, like the definite article, identified by the three characters ' p ' for the masculine ' t ' for the feminine, and ' n ' for the plural. In English they are translated as 'this' for singular and 'these' for plural. Their forms are as follows: Masculine Singular Feminine Singular Plural pai- tai- nai- pai.rwmi tai. c himi nai. c n/ou Note: After a noun with a demonstrative adjective, the genitive case is usually expressed by ' n te ' , as follows: pai.jwm n te pa.con This book of my brother

5.3 The Infix ' -ke- ' : This is a noninflectional word element that is inserted between the noun prefix and the noun. In English it expresses the meaning 'other' . It is used with the definite or indefinite articles, the demonstrative adjectives, and the possessive adjectives, as follows:


Lesson 5

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic

the other man the other men anothor man some other men this other man my other man



Vocabulary 5 :

m. pl. m. m.


prep. behind, against

/rp io] iwt ma mau nobi

n ca

parents, ancestors c n/ou

pl. m.

brothers, monks brother, monk

father place mother



sister bread







prep. near, beside


Greek Nouns

f. f.

marketplace commandment

m. m.

world monk peace

agora entol/







e pickopoc


Exercises 5 : Translate the following into English:

A 1.


qen tou.polic

n ca nef.may/t/c



eybe ten.cwni

nem tef.seri



nahren pen.[oic

qen pai.kocmoc


B 1.

ni.entol/ n] m



qaten tek.ek k l/cia

tai.epictol/ n te pauloc



eybe nen.nobi m .pek./i



pi./rp n .nai.mona,oc

qen ].agora n .].polic

3. m mon hir/n/ qen pai.kocmoc

C 1.

pen.iwt et.qen ni.v/ou i


Lesson 5

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic

2. ouon ou.qello hiren tek.ek k l/cia 4. pa.iwt nem ta.mau qen p ./i


Lesson 6 6.1 Nominal Sentence : Coptic, like many of the languages of the Middle East, has full sentences that are constructed without the aid of a true verb. These sentences are characterized by the frequent use of a helping verb, sometimes called 'copula'. This helping verb follows the same format that we have seen in defining nouns in Coptic. In other words, it has a form for masculine singular ' pe ' , a form for feminine singular ' te ' , and a form for the plural ' ne ' . In English, the meaning rendered for such helping verb is the appropriate form of verb 'to be'. 6.1.1 Two-member Nominal Sentence : This type of sentence contains two parts. The first is a predicate noun, with a prefixed article, and the second is the helping verb, as follows: pa.iwt pe he is my father ou.rwmi pe he is a man ta.mau te she is my mother ou. c himi te she is a woman na. c n/ou ne they are my brothers han.ej/ou ne they are ships 6.1.2 Three-member Nominal Sentence : This is the more common form of the nominal sentence. It contains a subject noun and a predicate noun along with the helping verb. The position of the helping verb is dependent on the predicate. If indefinite, it is always followed by the helping verb regardless of its position in the sentence. When the predicate is definite, then the helping verb usually falls in between it and the subject. The position of the predicate and the subject is mostly dependent on style and emphasis, as follows: ou.caq pe pa.iwt my father is a teacher pa.iwt ou.caq pe my father is a teacher pai.rwmi pe pen.caq this man is our teacher pen.caq pe pai.rwmi this man is our teacher 6.1.3 Rules of Agreement : The rules for choosing the gender and number of the helping verb are as follows: Two-member Nominal Sentence : The helping verb agrees with the predicate noun in gender and number, as shown in the examples of 6.1.1 above. Three-member Nominal Sentence : The rules here are more complex by virtue of having three parts in the sentence to contend with. These rules can be summarized as follows: a. The helping verb agrees in gender and number with both the subject and predicate if they in turn are nouns (or pronouns in the 3rd person) and in agreement with each other. b. If there is disagreement in gender or number, then the helping verb in the masculine singular form ' pe ' is used.


Lesson 6

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic

c. If The subject is a pronoun in the 1st or 2nd person then the masculine singular form ' pe ' is usually used regardless of the gender and number of the predicate. Examples: han.rem. n .,/mi ne] my fathers are Egyptian t .ve pe pa. y ronoc the Heaven is my throne n yo pe ].sour/ you (f) are the censer n yoc te ta.mau she is my mother 6.1.4 Negative Construction : The negation of the nominal sentence is achieved by placing the particle ' n(m) ' before the predicate and ' an ' before the helping verb, as follows 2-member sentence: m .pa.iwt an pe he is not my father 3-member sentence: pa.iwt n .ou.caq an pe my father is not a teacher 6.1.5 Relative Construction in the Nominal Sentence : nominal sentences are converted to the status of relative clauses by using the relative pronoun ' ete ' , as follows: pi.rwmi ete ou.caq pe the man who is a teacher pi.rwmi ete n .ou.caq an pe the man who is not a teacher ete vai pe that is (namely) 6.2 Demonstrative Pronouns - Nearer Objects : 6.2.1 Form : The demonstrative pronoun for the nearer objects has a similar form to the demonstrative adjective explained in Lesson 5. However they are not prefixed to any other word. In English, they would be translated as 'this one, these ones' , as follows: Masculine Singular Feminine Singular Plural vai yai nai 6.2.2 Uses : They are frequently employed as subjects in sentences with nominal predicates, and they agree in gender and number with the predicate: nai ne nef.caji these are his words yai ou.bwki te this is a maidservant ou.bwki te yai this is a maidservant 6.3 Vocabulary 6: ervei m. temple, sanctuary ou/b m. priest


Lesson 6

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic


middle, midst in the midst of crowd, multitude teacher, scribe

m. m. m.

husband carpenter



hamse jamoul

qen ].m/] n -

m. m.

camel power

m/s caq



Greek Nouns

m. m.


m. m.

savior Christ

acpacmoc euaggelion


gospel virgin

, rictoc



6.4 Exercises 6: Translate the following into English: A 1. ou.bwk te n te ta.mau 4.

ou.paryenoc te



ou.tebt pe

pi.jamoul pe m .pef.iwt


ou.jwm pe n te pek.con

B 1.


pef.s/ri ou.ou/b pe

yai te t .jom m . v .nou]


nai ne ni.caji m .pi.euaggelion

C 1.

pai.jwm ete vai pe pi.euaggelion


].qellw ete ou.paryenoc te


Lesson 6

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic

Coptic Quiz

Translate the following into English: 1. p . /i n .ni.aggeloc (5 pts.) 2. pi.mwit n te pef.[oic (6 pts.) 3. pai.rwmi pe pa.caq (7 pts.) 4. pi.bwk qen ].m/] n .].ek k l/ci a (8 pts.) 5. ni.tebt e te m mau m.v .iaro (6 pts.) 6. v .ouwini et.qen ni.v/ou i (6 pts.) 7. ].entol/ m.p .[oic n .ou.nobi an pe (9 pts.) 8. pa.con nem ta.cwni (7 pts.) 9. pi.jom n te ].yalacca (5 pts.) 10. pi.jwm hijen pi.joi (5 pts.)


Lesson 7

7.1 Independent Personal Pronouns : 7.1.1 Form : Person Singular





a nok n yok

a non


you (m) you (f)

you (pl)

n ywten



n yo




n yof n yoc

n ywou




7.1.2 Uses in the Nominal Sentence : In Two-Member Sentence : They are frequently used as predicates in a two-member sentence, usually followed by ' pe ' unless in the third person singular feminine or the third person plural, as follows: a nok pe it is I a non pe it is we n yo pe it is you (f) In Three-Member Sentence : They may appear in the ordinary subject or predicate positions in a three-member sentence, as follows: n yof pe pi. , rictoc He is the Christ n yof ou.nou] pe he is a god nef.ebiaik pe a non we are his servants 7.2 Interrogative Pronouns : 7.2.1 Form : nim; who? as; what? ou; what?

Note: The question mark in Coptic is ';', like Greek.


Lesson 7

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic

7.2.2 Uses : They are frequently used in sentences with the helping verb ' pe ' , as follows: nim pe vai; who is this? nim pe pai.rwmi; who is this man? as pe vai; What is this? as pe pek.ran; what is your name? ou te yai; what is this? ou te ].meym/i what is the truth? 7.2.3 Special Uses : If the subject is a personal pronoun of the first or second person, then it may be placed before the interrogative pronouns ' nim ' or ' ou ' : nek.sini han.ou ne; what is your news? n yo t .seri n nim; whose daughter are you? 7.3 Vocabulary 7 e cwou m. sheep c/fi f. sword man e cwou m. shepherd wou m. glory m/ini m. sign, miracle Greek Nouns







7.4 Exercises 7: Translate the following into English: A 1. n yok pe pencaq 4.

pai./rp n .nim pe vai;


n yof pe p .wou m .pef.laoc 5.

as te tai.jom;


vai pe v .nomoc m . v .nou] 6.

ou pe pai.m/ini;


Lesson 8 8.1 Tripartite Construction: This sentence structure is the typical verbal sentence in Coptic. It is usually made up of three parts, a verbal prefix (tense marker), a subject (nominal or pronominal), and a verb. 8.1.1 First Perfect Tense: Form: This is the best form of the narrative past tense. It corresponds to the English simple past, or in some cases, the perfect tense. It is conjugated with the eight different persons that we have encountered in previous lessons. The verb ' mosi ' 'to walk' will be used as a example here, and it is conjugated as follows:


Person Singular


I walked

we walked

a.i.mosi a.k.mosi are.mosi a.f.mosi a.c.mosi



you (m) walked are.ten.mosi you (pl) walked


you (f) walked same


he walked she walked

they walked



same Nominal Subject: The use of the nominal subject is dependent in large on the style of the literary writer. Three differnt forms are available in Coptic, as follows: a pi.rwmi mosi the man walked pi.rwmi a.f.mosi same a.f.mosi n je pi.rwmi same Note: ' n je ' is used in verbal construction to move the nominal subject after the verb. It is frequently used in texts translated from the Greek. 8.2. Prepositions with Verbs of Motion : The prepositions ' e - , sa , e jen ' are frequently used with verbs of motion, as follows: 8.2.1 e - indicates motion to or toward a place or a person: a.f.mosi e .pef./i he walked to his house a.f.vwt e.].ek k l/cia he ran to the church 8.2.2 sa indicates motion to or up to. It is more frequently used with persons than places: a.f.vwt sa pef.iwt he ran to his father


Lesson 8

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic

we went to the bishop sa pi. e pickopoc

8.2.2 e jen indicates motion onto or on: a.f.mosi e jen pi.mwou

he walked upon the water

8.3 Vocabulary 8: i

vb. vb. m. vb.

to come

vb. vb. vb. vb.

to run, flee to pursue


to come after

--- n ca

--- n ca

donkey to walk namely to weep

to go



to pray prayer


s l/l



n je rimi



to sit horse



h yo

Greek Nouns: y ronoc





t rapeza

8.4 Exercises 8: Translate the following into English: A 1. a ni. c n/ou se e .].polic 5.

a nef.may/t/c vwt e



pi.s/ri a.f. i e .pen./i

a.i.rimi e jen na.nobi



a.f.mosi n je i/couc e jen pi. , ro n. ].yalacca

a.u.hemci e .]. t rapeza n je tef. c himi nem nef.seri


a.u. i n ca nou.s/ri


Lesson 9

9.1 Directional Adverbs: 9.1.1 Form: Coptic has a set of directional adverbs that corresponds closely to English adverbs such as, 'up, down, over, in, out', etc. They are frequently used to modify the meaning of the verb. The following is a list of the most commonly used adverbs: e bol out, away e pec/t down e qoun in e vahou back, backward eh r/i up ep swi upward 9.1.2 Uses: These adverbs can be used alone, as follows: afse e bol he went away af i e qoun he came in afvwt e vahou he ran back But frequently they are combined with simple prepositions to form a compound prepositional phrase, as follows: e bol e - out to, away to eh r/i e - up to e bol qen out of, from eh r/i e jen up unto e bol hi away from e pec/t e - down to, down into e bol hiten through, through the agency of e pec/t e jen down on e vahou e - back to e qoun e - to, into, toward 9.2 Conjunction in Verbal Sentences: Clauses containing the first perfect may be coordinated with the conjuctive ' ouoh ' 'and' , or it may follow one another without a conjuctive, as follows: a.f.hemci ouoh a.f.rimi he sat down and wept a.f.hemci a.f.rimi he sat down (and) wept


Lesson 9

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic

9.3 Vocabulary 9 e hoou m.




mou oube

adv. today

prep. against

m voou


earth, ground

m. vb. vb.

festival, feast



prep after

to become, happen

menenca menencwc



to happen to

--- m mo=

vb. vb.

to die

prep. through, by agency of



to die from

--- eybe

Greek Nouns

conj. but, however, and cunagwg/




9.4 Exercises 9: Translate the following into English: A 1. hiten nek. s l/l 4.

e bol qen ].polic



hiten nef.caji

oube nen. c n/ou


e bol hiten pai.mwit


Lesson 10

10.1 Declension of prepositions: 10.1.1 Form : A pronominal object of a preposition is expressed by a suffixed form of the personal pronoun. The preposition itself assumes a prenominal form which must be learned with each preposition. For example the preposition ' e- ' become ' e ro= ' before pronominal suffixes. The symbol ' = ' is a convention used in Coptic grammers to indicate any form of the word to which a pronominal suffix is to be attached. 10.1.2 Examples: The following are the most common prepositions used in Coptic: e - , e ro= to, against nem , nema= with eybe , eyb/t= for, concerning n ca , n cw= behind, against e jen , e jw= on, upon oube , oub/= against n - , m mo= D.O. sa , saro= to, toward n - , n = to, for qen , n q/t= in nahren , nahra= before, in front of hijen , hijw= upon, on Illustrated examples: s-1-mf m moi me e roi to me n/i for me s-2-m m mok you (m) e rok to you (m) nak for you (m) s-2-f m mo you (f) e ro to you (f) ne for you (f) s-3-m m mof him e rof to him naf for him s-3-f m moc her e roc to her nac for her p-1-mf m mon us e ron to us nan for us p-2-mf m mwten you (pl) e rwten to you (pl) nwten for you (pl) p-3-mf m mwou them e rwou to them nwou for them


Lesson 10

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic

10.2 Vocabulary 10: ri f.

room, cell

vb. to arise, get up vb. to rise up against


vb. vb. vb. vb. vb. vb. vb.

to speak, talk


-- e -

to talk to

-- e bol qen vb. to arise from

caji e -

to talk about to talk with to talk against to talk against to talk about words, affair

vb. to arise from

--- eybe --- nem --- n ca --- oube

-- e bol hi

vb. to rise up against

-- e jen

-- eh r/i e jen vb. to rise up against

conj. and


pl. m.

tasks, things

--- ha

h b/ou i


work, task, thing



10.3 Exercises 10: A. Translate the following prepositional phrases and then replace the nominal subject with the appropriate suffix pronoun. For example , eybe paihwb - eyb/tf. 1. e jen pi.kahi 4. qen ].cunagwg/



menenca pef.mou

menenca pai.ehoou



nahren v] e .pi.sai

B. Translate the following into English: 1.

a.u.twoun a.u.vwt e bol 3. a.i.twoun e bol hi ]. t rapeza 2. evahou e .pef./i 4. a.f.hemci ouoh a.f.caji nem ni.rwmi


Lesson 11 11.1 Direct and Indirect Object: Coptic uses nouns or pronouns to expand the meaning of the sentence. They are usually introduced by certain prepositions. They usually express the object of the action of the verb, whether that action is transferred to such object directly (Direct Object), or indirectly (Indirect Object). In other words, these nouns are being used in the Accusative case or in the Dative case respectively. 11.1.1 The Direct Object: The Direct Object of a transitive verb is usually introduced by the preposition ' n-(m -) , m mo= ' , as follows: a.f.kwt n. ou./i he built a house a.f.kwt m mof he built it Many verbs, especially those denoting perception, uses ' e - , e ro= ' to introduce the Direct Object, as follows: a.n.cwtem e. tef. c m/ we heard his voice a.n.cwtem e roc we heard it Sometimes other prepositions are used to introduce the Direct Object like ' n ca , n cw= ' , as follows: a.f.sini n ca tef. c himi he looked for his wife a.f.sini n cwc he looked for her 11.1.2 The Indirect Object: The Indirect Object, if available is usually introduced by the preposition ' n-(m-) , n= ' , as follows: a.i.] m. pi.jwm m. pi.rwmi I gave the book to the man The preposition ' e - , e ro= ' is often used to mark the corresponding Dative form in English and Greek. 11.1.3 Order Within the Sentence: The Direct Object preceds the Indirect Object, if both are nouns, both are pronouns, or the Direct Object is a pronoun. If the Indirect Object is a pronoun and the Direct Object is a noun, then the order is reversed, i.e. Indirect Object then Direct Object, as follows: a.i.] m mof m .pi.rwmi I gave it to the man a.i.] m mof naf I gave it to him a.i.] naf m. pi.jwm I gave to him the book


Lesson 11

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic

Note: The position of the Direct or the Indirect Object depends in many cases on the degree of emphasis accorded to each. 11.2 The Negative Construction of the Verbal Sentences: 11.2.1 Bipartite Tenses: These tenses are negated in a similar way to the negation of the nominal sentense, i.e. the introduction of the particle ' an ' after the conjugated verb with an occasional preceding ' n- ' . An example of the negative First Present tense is as follows: n. ].em p sa an I am not worthy 11.2.2 Tripartite Tenses: Thes tenses are negated using a distinct verbal prefix plus the nominal or pronominal subject in the same way that the affirmative tenses are conjugated. An example of the negative First Perfect tense is as follows: Person Singular Plural 1-mf m pi.mosi I didn't walk m pen.mosi we didn't walk 2-m m pek.mosi you (m) didn't walk m peten.mosi you (pl) didn't walk 2-f m pe.mosi you (f) didn't walk same 3-m m pef.mosi he didn't walk m pou.mosi they didn't walk 3-f m pec.mosi she didn't walk same

11.3 Vocabulary 11 kwt n -( m mo=) vb

to build

vb. to seek, inquire

sini n ca


to see

jimi n -( m mo=) vb. to find

nau e -


sound, voice

vb. to give to

c m/

] e -

vb. vb.

to hear, listen to

-- n -( m mo=) vb. to give to

cwtem e -

to obey

vb. to sell

-- n -(na=)

-- m mo=

e bol


to obey

vb. to give to vb. to fight

-- n ca

-- n -(na=)


garment, tunic to visit, greet

-- oube

s y/n


vb. to take, receive

sini e -

[i n -( m mo=)

11.4 Exercises 11: Translate the following into English:

A 1.

6. a.f.sini e rof qen tef.ri

a.f.] n/i n ou. s y/n


7. a.f.[i n.

a.i.] naf m .pa.joi e bol


Lesson 11

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic


8. a.c.jimi n qen pec./i

m pou.cwtem n ca nou.[iceu

4. a.i.cwtem e .]. c m/ m .pi.ou/b 9. a.i.nau e.p. wou m.p .[oic nem tef.jom 5. a.u.sini n cwi qen ].agora


Lesson 12

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic

Lesson 12 12.1 Forms of the Verbs: Coptic verbs has two distinct types, the Infinitive and the Qualitative. The Infinitive is further divided into three different forms, the Absolute, the Construct, and the Pronominal. Some verbs have all these distinctive forms or types while others have one, two, or three. The following are some examples of common verbs used: Infinitive Qualitative Absolute Construct Pronominal i ------ ------ To come n/ou To be coming c mou ------ ------ To bless c marwout To be blessed twoun ten- twn= To rise ------ ------ ,w ,a- ,a= To put ,/ To be put, be swpi ------ ------ To become sop To be, exist [i [i- [it= To take [/ou To be taken ] ]- t/i= To give toi To be given 12.2 Meaning and Uses: 12.2.1 Meaning: The infinitive is the elementary form of the verb and it always expresses its action. The Qualitative, on the other hand, expresses the quality or the result of the veb action. 12.2.2 Uses: The Absolute and the Qualitative are used with Bipartite tenses such as Present, Simple Future, Imperfect, ..etc. The Absolute, the Construct, and the Pronominal are used with the Tripartite tenses, such as First Perfect, Present of Habitude, Future Energetic, ... etc. a.f.,a nen.nobi nan e bol He has forgiven us our sins f. ,/ neman He is with us saf.t/if sa pi. e pickopoc He usually gives it to the bishop a.f.sop qen tai.polic He is in this city


Lesson 12

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic

12.3 Numbers: 12.3.1 Simple Numbers: Number



ou i

ouai c nau

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

a b

c nou] som]

b ] g ]



f twou f tou-


]ou (tiou)




sasf s m/n

z ] / ] y ] i ] k ]

sasfi s m/ni

z / y


'i] m/] jw]

m/t , met-

10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90




map , mab

l m

h me

teoui , taiou

n x o p f r


s be , s fe




100 200






10,000 y ba 12.3.2 Composite Numbers: Between 11 and 99, the numeral is formed by placing the tens before the ones. For hundreds and thousands, the single unit is placed before the hundred or the thousand unit and they joined by the particle ' n- ' , except for the numeral 'two'. For combination of ones, tens, and hundreds, they are arranged as in the same order the numeral is written. Examples:


Lesson 12

Fundamentals of Bohairic Coptic



Written Form

met c nau

12 24


jwt f twou


somt n se , somt se f twou n se , f twou se tiou n se , tiou se

300 400 500 900 101 111 163 251

t u v

'it n se , 'it se


se ouai


se metouai


rxg se ce somt

c nau se nem teou i ouai


12.4 Abbreviation (Sacra Nomina): Coptic uses an abbreviated form of certain sacred words. Such practice was adopted from the Jewish tradition. The most common ones are as follows: Word Abbreviation Meaning all/louia al Halleluia dauid dad David eyouab eyu Holy yeoc yc God ieroucal/m i l/m Jerusalem i/couc i /c Jesus iwann/c i wa John kurie ke Lord marturoc ` Martyr p[oic p [c Lord pi,rictoc p ,c Christ pneuma p na Spirit cwt/r cwr Savior ctauroc ~ Cross uioc uc son vnou] v] God


Made with FlippingBook - Online catalogs