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ϩⲁϩ[edit source]

As I'm sure everyone is aware, ϩⲁϩ is not Bohairic and even in Sahidic and Akhmimic, where it is attested, it is a quantifier/specifier ("many, much, etc" Crum 741b) and not a number of any kind. The Bohairic expression for 1,000,000 is regularly attested in Bohairic scalae as ϣⲟ ⲛ̀ϣⲟ (lit. '1000 lots of 1000') and so should be used as the number meaning 1,000,000. - AB

The word has the same phonological shape in Bohairic. ϣⲟ ⲛ̀ϣⲟ is a very clumsy phrase for million. Coptic would not even have a word for billion or trillion if we don't use ϩⲁϩ for million. And no, nobody wants to use ϣⲟ ⲛϣⲟ ⲛϣⲟ ⲛϣⲟ. With ϩⲁϩ ⲛϩⲁϩ, we can at least go up to a trillion, even though we should create separate words, at least for every six zeroes. ⲁϩⲙⲉⲧ (talk) 22:51, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
Ahmed, the word *would* have the same orthography if it were attested in Bohairic, but it isn't and so it is not a Bohairic word (usually Sah ϩⲁϩ = Boh ⲙⲏϣ). Broadly speaking, I think it's an error to essentially flatten the language - vertically (i.e. chronologically) and/or horizontally (i.e. pan-dialectically). Bohairic is its own dialect (a different language according to some Coptologists) and has its own lexicon and grammar. The expression ϣⲟ ⲛ̀ϣⲟ may seem clumsy compared to our modern system, but it is attested for 'million' in both Bohairic and Sahidic scalae (e.g. Athanasius of Qus). Of course, the reason that forming larger numbers is clumsy in Coptic is because they rarely would have been required in matters of everyday life. Further, even if we were to use ϩⲁϩ to mean million then large numbers will still be clumsy to construct so the problem has not really been solved. The only way around this, I think, is to adopt the modern/Western numerical notation for large numbers and possibly even the English or French terms as loanwords. In any case, I don't think ϩⲁϩ should be used in an unattested meaning for million for the reasons given above. - AB
Coptic should still be perceived as one language, regardless of its different dialects. Furthermore, the word is attested in Hieroglyphic and Demotic in the sense of "million". We can see what other people here say but so far that usage has never been a problem here. If you want to use Coptic like it was in the 8th century, than we can never revive it. Look at the process the Jews pursued when reviving Hebrew. ⲁϩⲙⲉⲧ (talk) 00:22, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
I agree Coptic is a single language but each dialect has its own internal cohesiveness; its own lexical and grammatical rules. These distinctions, I think, should be respected as far as is possible. In terms of pre-Coptic HH, I question to what extent is was actually meant as the number 'million' rather than just 'really large number' - it's mostly used in fixed expressions rather than accounting documents after all, e.g. ir(=f) HH (n) Hbs 'May (he) celebrate millions of jubilees' (CDD, H, p 90). See Allen's grammar 3ed, p 125 ( In this respect, it seems rather like the use of its successor in Sahidic which certainly is not used for 'million' as a number. I don't argue that Coptic should remain exactly as it was in the 8th century, but 8th century Coptic was capable of expressing nearly everything a modern person would want to express (except for completely new innovations and ideas). The task of modernising the language should primarily be to augment the lexicon in a way that is sensitive to its distinctive identity. As I understand it, the Modern Hebrew revival effort was based first and foremost on the broad reading and solid understanding of ancient Hebrew literature. In terms of neologisms in Hebrew, there are some techniques that were employed that I agree with and others that I don't but needless to say that the key to the languages revival was not how they formed new words but the fact that the endevour was state supported. - AB
Even if it would not be used as "million" in Ancient Egyptian, we do with Coptic would we also do with Arabic. Take old words and give them a new meaning. Therefore, I think it is very good to use ϩⲁϩ for "million". Ϯⲙⲉⲗⲗⲓⲥⲏⲧ (talk) 15:30, 20 February 2018 (UTC)

مليونير[edit source]

Btw, can we use ⲣⲉⲙⲛϩⲁϩ for "millionaire"? Or should we rather use ⲥⲁⲛϩⲁϩ? Ϯⲙⲉⲗⲗⲓⲥⲏⲧ (talk) 15:31, 20 February 2018 (UTC)

I'd take ⲥⲁⲛϩⲁϩ for millionaire. ⲁϩⲙⲉⲧ (talk) 16:48, 24 February 2018 (UTC)

Yes, sounds good. بطرس مرقس (talk) 01:07, 26 February 2018 (UTC)

New words for high numbers[edit source]

We need to create Coptic words for higher numbers. Any ideas? ⲁϩⲙⲉⲧ (talk) 16:48, 24 February 2018 (UTC)

Agreed. Some real Coptic numbers would be nice, we should try to avoid the international terms. بطرس مرقس (talk) 17:13, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
Why should we try to avoid the international terms, Botros? - AN
Why not? I think we could at least try it. Also, we could avoid the ugly long / short scale confusion. It is quite common that languages adopt a word which meant "many" for some specific higher number. بطرس مرقس (talk) 01:07, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
Many languages and cultures which have a history traceable to the antiquity have their own numbers, ie China, India and Greece. Ψενανουβισ (talk) 15:22, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
Iran, Armenia and Israel have their history traced to antiquity as well, but still use international terms for high numbers. So i'm not sure that changes anything. --ⲡⲁⲣⲇⲁ (talk) 15:45, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
Botros: In English the long/short scale confusion is historical. The short scale system is now the international standard and no one in the UK uses milliards or billiards anymore. Whatever system is proposed for larger numbers (above 10^6) will be an invention since there were no true Coptic/Egyptian terms for these for obvious reasons. And since the aim of modernising the Coptic language seems to be to make it fit for the modern age, I think it would make sense to adopt the international standard which is the English (short) system for large numbers. Many living languages (and ancient) have adopted this system for large numbers (in addition to their native number systems for smaller numbers) since they are mainly needed in the fields of science, finance, etc for which the lingua franca is English.
Fortunately, we have the word ⲙⲓⲗⲓⲟⲛ (Matt 5:41) attested in Coptic from Latin mille "(Roman) mile" through Greek μίλιον, which is the same word that gave rise to the word million. I suggest we use this as the word for million in Coptic, a suggestion also made by Dr Kamal Ishak in his booklet entitled ⲛⲓⲏⲡⲓ (p. 14). In my opinion, this is preferable to using an essentially arbitrary term ϩⲁϩ, which is (i) not Bohairic and (ii) has (probably) never actually meant the number million (except as used by Western Egyptologists as a translational expedient). Anyway, there are many other words meaning "many, much, multitude, abundant etc", which are attested in Bohairic.
My proposal is a system built on Latin numerical prefixes and "base" -ⲗⲓⲟⲛ would yield (per the prevailing 'short' scale system): 10^6 ⲙⲓⲗⲓⲟⲛ (alongside native ϣⲟ ⲛ̀ϣⲟ and even ϣⲉ ⲛ̀ⲑⲃⲁ), 10^9 ⲃⲓⲗⲓⲟⲛ, 10^12 ⲧⲣⲓⲗⲓⲟⲛ/ⲑⲣⲓⲗⲓⲟⲛ, etc. This system has the advantage of being in line with the international numbering system, which is, after all, a modern convention.
Alternatively, Greek numerical prefixed could be used but this is less preferable in my opinion since this would lose conformity with the international terms. However, one advantage of this is that the Greek numbers are attested in Bohairicised orthography in the Scala Magana under ϯϫⲓⲛⲱⲡ ⲙ̀ⲙⲉⲧⲣⲱⲙⲉⲟⲥ (= Kircher, p. 66).
What do people think? - AB
ⲙⲓⲗⲓⲟⲛ is mile, so we shouldn't use it for "million". I would stay with ϩⲁϩ for million. I want to point out, that the Greek term for 10,000 originally also just meant "many, numberless", so the evolution for "many" to a defined number is very common. When it comes to the higher numbers, I am not sure. How would the Greek numbers in Coptic look like? ⲇⲓⲥϩⲉⲕⲁⲧⲟⲙⲩⲣⲓⲟⲛ, ⲧⲣⲓⲥϩⲉⲕⲁⲧⲟⲙⲩⲣⲓⲟⲛ? Ϯⲙⲉⲗⲗⲓⲥⲏⲧ (talk) 16:19, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
Hi Ϯⲙⲉⲗⲗⲓⲥⲏⲧ. I don't think it's a problem for a word to have more than one meaning - this is rarely a problem in living languages. Besides, if adopted, ⲙⲓⲗⲓⲟⲛ as 'million' would become the primary meaning since length is almost everywhere measured in SI units and so kilometer rather than mile would be used. (Btw, the 'Roman mile' which ⲙⲓⲗⲓⲟⲛ translates in the NT and the 'English/Imperial mile' are different lengths). I know that sometimes specifiers evolve into numbers and vice versa, but there is a difference between organic development and, as I see it, artificial imposition of a word which moreover is from a different dialect. Why not Bohairic ⲑⲟ or ⲙⲏϣ or ⲁϣⲁⲓ/ⲁϣⲉ? If an Egyptian speaking Bohairic were to organically coin a word for 'million' I doubt very much that they would have picked a word from a different dialect (which they probably would not have even known). In fact, we know from several (medieval) sources that they used ϣⲟ ⲛ̀ϣⲟ and did not coin a new word. Anyway, in my opinion ⲙⲓⲗⲓⲟⲛ is preferable since it shares its pedigree with modern term for million used in many languages even outside the West. (In English, 'mile' comes from Latin mille (= 1,000) and 'million' comes from Latin mille + suffix -one).
The Greek numbers attested in Bohairic in the Scala Magna are all (mostly?) absolute cardinal number forms, but reduced/construct forms could easily be derived from these (See: but cross-reference with some Scala Magna MSS is needed because Kircher is very unreliable). There are no terms given for million, billion, etc. I wasn't saying we should adopt the modern Greek names for large numbers, but only pointing out that we have attested Bohairicised forms of Greek (small) numbers since, as far as I know, the same is not attested for Latin cardinal absolute/construct numbers and there are no construct forms of Bohairic numbers (except ϥⲧⲟⲩ-/ϥⲧⲉ- in a few fixed expression). If not for numbers, these could be used for scientific purposes. - AB
I really don't like the idea of ⲙⲓⲗⲓⲟⲛ for "million". -on in million is not a typical Greek ending which can be omitted but is part of the word itself. ⲙⲓⲗ(ⲗ)ⲓⲱⲛ looks far more probable for "million". Also, who says the word does not exist in Bohairic. Crum and other traditional dictionaries don't list it as Bohairic, but that doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't exist. Ϯⲙⲉⲗⲗⲓⲥⲏⲧ (talk) 17:41, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
I think the form is probably because Greek μίλιον is a loanword from Latin mille and Bohairic took it over in its Greek orthography. I don't particularly mind Bohairicising it to ⲙⲓⲗⲓⲱⲛ /mil.jon/ (also suggested by Dr Kamal Ishak). Crum is incredibly thorough and so I would take his word for it unless a Bohairic attestation for ϩⲁϩ can be found. Anyway, ϩⲁϩ is well attested in Southern varieties of Coptic in literary texts for which there are Bohairic correspondences and ϩⲁϩ is usually translated by ⲙⲏϣ (never ϩⲁϩ). So I think we can be fairly confident that ϩⲁϩ was lost in (written) Northern varieties of Coptic. - AB
AB actually has a point and i see no reason why we shouldn't use international system (ⲙⲓⲗⲓⲟⲛ or ⲙⲓⲗⲓⲱⲛ for "million" in particular). ϩⲁϩ looks a bit far-fetched to me as well (it would make sense if transition from it's original meaning to "million" was natural though but it's not). --ⲡⲁⲣⲇⲁ (talk) 17:53, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
Agreed ⲡⲁⲣⲇⲁ. - AB

I meant like 500 or 1000 bc so no armeniaΨενανουβισ (talk) 15:50, 25 February 2018 (UTC)

Armenia was first mentioned in Behistun inscription (520 BC). --ⲡⲁⲣⲇⲁ (talk) 16:50, 25 February 2018 (UTC)

So What? That doesn't imply anything relevant Ψενανουβισ (talk) 23:08, 25 February 2018 (UTC)

I'm for ϩⲁϩ. ⲁϩⲙⲉⲧ (talk) 18:01, 26 February 2018 (UTC)

مليار 1,000,000,000[edit source]

Nobody except one person is willing to give up ϩⲁϩ, so I think it is better to concentrate on the higher numbers. I argue for using the Greek higher numbers in the older sense in which they were used, so a new name for every 6 zeroes. In between, we can use ϣⲟ. In the case of 1,000,000,000, that would be ϣⲟ `ⲛϩⲁϩ. بطرس مرقس (talk) 17:45, 26 February 2018 (UTC)

(ⲙⲓⲗⲓⲁⲣ)ماذا عن ( يوسف ) (talk)

I'm fine with both. Although I would generally prefer Coptic/Greek/Arabic numerals to Western-American ones. ⲁϩⲙⲉⲧ (talk) 18:01, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
Botros, I don't think anyone can be said to be "giving up ϩⲁϩ" since it doesn't already exist. I've simple given my arguments against inventing this word in Bohairic, especially since we already have an attested (albeit quite late) term for million (i.e. ϣⲟ ⲛ̀ϣⲟ based on the native tradition). What I'm proposing is to adopt the modern, international system for large numbers alongside the native Bohairic numbers for smaller numbers. The main advantage of using the international system (per the short/US scale) is that the names will correspond across languages, particularly English since it is the lingua franca, in the scientific, mathematical financial spheres. As such, there is absolutely no advantage in adopting the modern Greek system, which is (i) not native, (ii) is not in line with the most commonly found terms across the world and (iii) frankly cumbersome. I think it's logical to adopt international practices - its no accident that many other living languages have done the same. - AB

ترليون 1,000,000,000,000[edit source]

ⲇⲓⲥϩⲉⲕⲁⲧⲟⲙⲩⲣⲓⲟⲛ from Greek δισεκατομμύριο (nowadays - and illogically - used for 1,000,000,000. Probably the influence of short-scale colonialists). بطرس مرقس (talk) 17:48, 26 February 2018 (UTC)

What do you mean by "short-scale colonialists"? - AB
Americans and British. Also, I think we should switch to Arabic here. I think it is a problem if we discuss everything in English, when almost every Copt is more comfortable with Arabic. بطرس مرقس (talk) 18:36, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
And you don't consider Arabic colonial? I don't understand your apparent obsession with colonialism to be honest. The Western number system is used around the world because the West leads the world in science, maths, commerce, etc. That's all there is to it. - AB

1,000,000,000,000,000[edit source]

ϣⲟ `ⲛⲇⲓⲥϩⲉⲕⲁⲧⲟⲙⲩⲣⲓⲟⲛ. بطرس مرقس (talk) 17:48, 26 February 2018 (UTC)

1,000,000,000,000,000,000[edit source]

ⲧⲣⲓⲥϩⲉⲕⲁⲧⲟⲙⲩⲣⲓⲟⲛ. بطرس مرقس (talk) 17:48, 26 February 2018 (UTC)

Proposal[edit source]

What if we take the following:

  • ϩⲁϩ for million
  • ⲙⲓⲗⲓⲁⲣ for billion
  • ⲧⲣⲓⲗⲓⲱⲛ (ⲑⲣⲓⲗⲓⲱⲛ ?) for trillion
  • ⲕⲟⲩⲁⲧⲣⲓⲗⲓⲱⲛ (ⲭⲟⲩⲁⲧⲣⲓⲗⲓⲱⲛ ?) for quadrillion. ⲁϩⲙⲉⲧ (talk) 18:46, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
Well, I'd prefer my suggestions (of course, lol).. But on the other hand it would just be nice to settle this dispute because it takes energy we could put into something else. So, OK... بطرس مرقس (talk) 18:53, 26 February 2018 (UTC)

ⲁϩⲙⲉⲧ, in this scheme I honestly don't think ϩⲁϩ adds anything. Also, you seem to be using the long scale which hardly anyone uses today and a mixed of Coptic/Arabic/Western terms which I think is confusing. Counterproposal:

  • 10^6 (million) ⲙⲓⲗⲱⲛ /mil.jon/ [alongside native Coptic ϣⲟ ⲛ̀ϣⲟ and also ϣⲉ ⲛ̀ⲑⲃⲁ]
  • 10^9 (billion) ⲃⲓⲗⲓⲱⲛ
  • 10^12 (trillion) ⲑⲣⲓⲗⲱⲛ
  • 10^16 (quadrillion) ⲭⲟⲩⲁⲧⲣⲓⲗⲓⲱⲛ /k(h)
  • ...
  • 10^303 (centillion) ⲥⲉⲛⲧⲓⲗⲓⲱⲛ /sen.til.jon/ - AB

I am using the short scale. I still think ϩⲁϩ is better, but that doesnt touch the scale. It is still the short scale, I don't know your criticism.ⲁϩⲙⲉⲧ (talk) 19:06, 26 February 2018 (UTC)

ⲁϩⲙⲉⲧ, I thought it was the long scale because you used ⲙⲓⲗⲓⲁⲣ (I guess from French milliard, which a long scale term, through Arabic). For an Arabic speaker this is obviously less confusing. Anyway, I think there is a bit of a mishmash of forms and etymological roots. I honestly think what I've proposed the most straightforward and practical system. What about it don't you like? - AB

Why don't we just use the Coptic word for million and for the rest we do it like Arabic? So what Ahmad proposed? Ψενανουβισ (talk) 20:53, 26 February 2018 (UTC)

I don't see why your proposal is the most practical? English is not a language the Copts take over their words from. It is either (traditionally) Greek or (since Islamic times) Arabic. We don't agree on ϩⲁϩ, although the majority here says it is good. But it seems بطرس مرقس is the only one who is or was against the international numbers and he says he accept the majority opinion. It would be nice if the people who don't like ϩⲁϩ could do the same. With the higher numbers, we take your proposal with the international numbers, with ⲙⲓⲗⲓⲁⲣ as this is what Egyptians use and I think therefore ⲙⲓⲗⲓⲁⲣ is really justified.

The only question which should remain is whether we write ⲧⲣⲓⲗⲓⲱⲛ or ⲑⲣⲓⲗⲓⲱⲛ, ⲭⲟⲩⲁⲧⲣⲓⲗⲓⲱⲛ or ⲕⲟⲩⲁⲧⲣⲓⲗⲓⲱⲛ. For that, we also have a separate discussion where I would be happy to hear some more opinions:

ⲁϩⲙⲉⲧ (talk) 20:46, 27 February 2018 (UTC)