Author Topic: Aramaic vs Coptic: Language Survival vs Fossilization  (Read 519 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline CoptoGeek

  • of Alexandria, the Christ-loving City
  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,475
Aramaic vs Coptic: Language Survival vs Fossilization
« on: June 21, 2013, 01:48:54 PM »
Aramaic vs Coptic: Language Survival vs Fossilization
by Michael Collins Dunn
Middle East Institute

excerpt:

When Coptic Pope Shenouda III died earlier this year, a commenter raised an interesting question: why does Aramaic still survive as a spoken language, however scattered, while Coptic is reduced to only a liturgical language? The Copts are by far the largest Christian community in the Middle East, and their language, which is merely the last form of Egyptian, has an unbroken lineage of some 4500 or more years. Yet it has been several centuries since anyone learned Coptic at their mother's knee; it is today a religious and scholarly, not a native, spoken tongue. Why did Aramaic survive (if hanging by a thread) as a spoken tongue while Coptic did not?

Part I:
http://mideasti.blogspot.com/2012/08/aramaic-vs-coptic-language-survival-vs.html

Part II:
http://mideasti.blogspot.com/2012/08/aramaic-vs-coptic-language-survival-vs_12.html

Part III:
http://mideasti.blogspot.com/2012/08/aramaic-vs-coptic-language-survival-vs_21.html
"Be oppressed, rather than the oppressor. Be gentle, rather than zealous. Lay hold of goodness, rather than justice." -St. Isaac of Nineveh

“I returned to the Coptic Orthodox Church with affection, finding in her our tormented and broken history“. -Salama Moussa

Offline ialmisry

  • There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 38,938
Re: Aramaic vs Coptic: Language Survival vs Fossilization
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2013, 03:18:08 PM »
Aramaic vs Coptic: Language Survival vs Fossilization
by Michael Collins Dunn
Middle East Institute

excerpt:

When Coptic Pope Shenouda III died earlier this year, a commenter raised an interesting question: why does Aramaic still survive as a spoken language, however scattered, while Coptic is reduced to only a liturgical language? The Copts are by far the largest Christian community in the Middle East, and their language, which is merely the last form of Egyptian, has an unbroken lineage of some 4500 or more years. Yet it has been several centuries since anyone learned Coptic at their mother's knee; it is today a religious and scholarly, not a native, spoken tongue. Why did Aramaic survive (if hanging by a thread) as a spoken tongue while Coptic did not?

Part I:
http://mideasti.blogspot.com/2012/08/aramaic-vs-coptic-language-survival-vs.html

Part II:
http://mideasti.blogspot.com/2012/08/aramaic-vs-coptic-language-survival-vs_12.html

Part III:
http://mideasti.blogspot.com/2012/08/aramaic-vs-coptic-language-survival-vs_21.html
I hope to get to this, but in the meantime, I'd venture to guess that Coptic failed to cultivate its own literary medium for a higher medium, and remained, in the main, a language of illiterates.  Unfortunately, in general, their grasp of Standard Arabic isn't so great either.

Btw, a comparison might be drawn between Anglo-Saxon surviving the Norman French, while Irish did not survive (outside the Gaeltracht) the Anglo-Saxons.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Salpy

  • Moderator
  • Toumarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 13,371
  • New Martyrs of Libya pray for us!
Re: Aramaic vs Coptic: Language Survival vs Fossilization
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2013, 03:24:39 PM »
My understanding is that both the Coptic and Irish languages became dead languages after periods of intense, almost genocidal, persecution.  I think Coptic died out as a spoken language during the time of the Mamlukes who almost wiped them out (someone correct me if I'm wrong.)  Irish stopped being a spoken language in most parts of Ireland after the Potato Famine.  I know the Syriac speaking Christians have faced horrific persecution themselves, but I wonder if they had events that are comparable to the two events I just mentioned.

Offline ialmisry

  • There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 38,938
Re: Aramaic vs Coptic: Language Survival vs Fossilization
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2013, 03:49:34 PM »
My understanding is that both the Coptic and Irish languages became dead languages after periods of intense, almost genocidal, persecution.  I think Coptic died out as a spoken language during the time of the Mamlukes who almost wiped them out (someone correct me if I'm wrong.)  Irish stopped being a spoken language in most parts of Ireland after the Potato Famine.  I know the Syriac speaking Christians have faced horrific persecution themselves, but I wonder if they had events that are comparable to the two events I just mentioned.
Sure. Timurlan for one.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Brigidsboy

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 387
Re: Aramaic vs Coptic: Language Survival vs Fossilization
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2013, 03:56:03 PM »
My understanding is that both the Coptic and Irish languages became dead languages after periods of intense, almost genocidal, persecution.  I think Coptic died out as a spoken language during the time of the Mamlukes who almost wiped them out (someone correct me if I'm wrong.)  Irish stopped being a spoken language in most parts of Ireland after the Potato Famine.  I know the Syriac speaking Christians have faced horrific persecution themselves, but I wonder if they had events that are comparable to the two events I just mentioned.

The Syriac/Assyrian people were victims of the Ottoman Genocide of 1915 and lost a very high percentage of their population. Still, both Syriac dialects survive but are considered endangered languages.
"I don't think I've ever eaten anything Armenian I didn't like.  I even drink my non-Armenian coffee out of a St Nersess Seminary coffee mug because it is better that way." --Mor Ephrem

Offline mabsoota

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,859
  • Kyrie eleison
  • Faith: Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox (Coptic)
Re: Aramaic vs Coptic: Language Survival vs Fossilization
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2013, 05:57:41 PM »
my friends' grandmother told my friend when she was little how she remembered people from the village having their tongues cut out for speaking coptic.

Offline Jason.Wike

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,046
Re: Aramaic vs Coptic: Language Survival vs Fossilization
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2013, 06:19:25 PM »
Aramaic vs Coptic: Language Survival vs Fossilization
by Michael Collins Dunn
Middle East Institute

excerpt:

When Coptic Pope Shenouda III died earlier this year, a commenter raised an interesting question: why does Aramaic still survive as a spoken language, however scattered, while Coptic is reduced to only a liturgical language? The Copts are by far the largest Christian community in the Middle East, and their language, which is merely the last form of Egyptian, has an unbroken lineage of some 4500 or more years. Yet it has been several centuries since anyone learned Coptic at their mother's knee; it is today a religious and scholarly, not a native, spoken tongue. Why did Aramaic survive (if hanging by a thread) as a spoken tongue while Coptic did not?

Part I:
http://mideasti.blogspot.com/2012/08/aramaic-vs-coptic-language-survival-vs.html

Part II:
http://mideasti.blogspot.com/2012/08/aramaic-vs-coptic-language-survival-vs_12.html

Part III:
http://mideasti.blogspot.com/2012/08/aramaic-vs-coptic-language-survival-vs_21.html
I hope to get to this, but in the meantime, I'd venture to guess that Coptic failed to cultivate its own literary medium for a higher medium, and remained, in the main, a language of illiterates.  Unfortunately, in general, their grasp of Standard Arabic isn't so great either.

Btw, a comparison might be drawn between Anglo-Saxon surviving the Norman French, while Irish did not survive (outside the Gaeltracht) the Anglo-Saxons.

Though at the beginning of English invasion the Irish were far more literate than the English. The Irish had folks in universities all across Europe while the English were still figuring out that bathing is good.

Offline Santagranddad

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,198
Re: Aramaic vs Coptic: Language Survival vs Fossilization
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2013, 06:46:10 PM »
Aramaic vs Coptic: Language Survival vs Fossilization
by Michael Collins Dunn
Middle East Institute

excerpt:

When Coptic Pope Shenouda III died earlier this year, a commenter raised an interesting question: why does Aramaic still survive as a spoken language, however scattered, while Coptic is reduced to only a liturgical language? The Copts are by far the largest Christian community in the Middle East, and their language, which is merely the last form of Egyptian, has an unbroken lineage of some 4500 or more years. Yet it has been several centuries since anyone learned Coptic at their mother's knee; it is today a religious and scholarly, not a native, spoken tongue. Why did Aramaic survive (if hanging by a thread) as a spoken tongue while Coptic did not?

Part I:
http://mideasti.blogspot.com/2012/08/aramaic-vs-coptic-language-survival-vs.html

Part II:
http://mideasti.blogspot.com/2012/08/aramaic-vs-coptic-language-survival-vs_12.html

Part III:
http://mideasti.blogspot.com/2012/08/aramaic-vs-coptic-language-survival-vs_21.html
I hope to get to this, but in the meantime, I'd venture to guess that Coptic failed to cultivate its own literary medium for a higher medium, and remained, in the main, a language of illiterates.  Unfortunately, in general, their grasp of Standard Arabic isn't so great either.

Btw, a comparison might be drawn between Anglo-Saxon surviving the Norman French, while Irish did not survive (outside the Gaeltracht) the Anglo-Saxons.

Though at the beginning of English invasion the Irish were far more literate than the English. The Irish had folks in universities all across Europe while the English were still figuring out that bathing is good.

We helped bring them and the Germans to Christianity too. Gaelic in Ireland was suppressed by the vanquishing of Irish catholic leaders, clergy and the destruction of Gaelic society which prior to the reign of Elizabeth l saw incomers become more Irish than the Irish, so to speak. From the Elizabethan era on discrimination and suppression became the norm and the language was one casualty among others.

Offline ialmisry

  • There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 38,938
Re: Aramaic vs Coptic: Language Survival vs Fossilization
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2013, 08:59:42 PM »
Aramaic vs Coptic: Language Survival vs Fossilization
by Michael Collins Dunn
Middle East Institute

excerpt:

When Coptic Pope Shenouda III died earlier this year, a commenter raised an interesting question: why does Aramaic still survive as a spoken language, however scattered, while Coptic is reduced to only a liturgical language? The Copts are by far the largest Christian community in the Middle East, and their language, which is merely the last form of Egyptian, has an unbroken lineage of some 4500 or more years. Yet it has been several centuries since anyone learned Coptic at their mother's knee; it is today a religious and scholarly, not a native, spoken tongue. Why did Aramaic survive (if hanging by a thread) as a spoken tongue while Coptic did not?

Part I:
http://mideasti.blogspot.com/2012/08/aramaic-vs-coptic-language-survival-vs.html

Part II:
http://mideasti.blogspot.com/2012/08/aramaic-vs-coptic-language-survival-vs_12.html

Part III:
http://mideasti.blogspot.com/2012/08/aramaic-vs-coptic-language-survival-vs_21.html
I hope to get to this, but in the meantime, I'd venture to guess that Coptic failed to cultivate its own literary medium for a higher medium, and remained, in the main, a language of illiterates.  Unfortunately, in general, their grasp of Standard Arabic isn't so great either.

Btw, a comparison might be drawn between Anglo-Saxon surviving the Norman French, while Irish did not survive (outside the Gaeltracht) the Anglo-Saxons.

Though at the beginning of English invasion the Irish were far more literate than the English. The Irish had folks in universities all across Europe while the English were still figuring out that bathing is good.
unfortunately they were far more literate in Latin, which didn't do Irish any good.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth