Coptic:Glossing recommendations

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Common forms

(Please contribute) 'Glossing of common Coptic (Sahidic) forms.'

Examples in published articles and books

List of Examples of glossed Coptic online.


Extra Glossing transcription line

Readers outside the field of Coptology cannot be expected to be able to read Coptic letters. Anyhow, it is good common practice to translate all not latin-based script systems into latin-based transliterations or transcriptions. There are various systems to transliterate Coptic which differ in detail. Recently the following transliteration symbols have been suggested: [1]

Copt. Transl.   Copt. Transl.   Copt. Transl.   Copt. Transl.   Copt. Transl.   Copt. Transl.
a   ê   n   t   ϥ f   x’
b   t h   k s   u   ϩ h   ç
g   i   o   p h   ϧ x   ç’
d   k   p   p s   ϫ č  
e   l   r   ô   ϭ c  
z   m   s   ϣ š   ϯ t i  

The encoder shall add the transliteration in an an extra ‘Glossing transcription line’ between the original Coptic line and the Glossing line.

Example
Coptic ⲡⲣⲣⲟ ⲇⲉ ⲛⲉⲙⲛⲧϥ ϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲛϩⲟⲟⲩⲧ
Glossing transcription prro de nemntf šêre nhoout
Glosses DEF.SG.M:king(M) but PST:not_have:3SG.M son/child(M) ATTR:male(M)
‘But the king had no male child (but only two daugthers)’.
 

But there is also another issue.

Traditional philological editions of manuscripts use a system of punctuation (cf. the Leiden Conventions) which is partially in conflict with the punctuation as defined by the Glossing Rules.

Compare the following table:

Puctuation Meaning in
philological editions
Meaning in
Glossing transcription line
Meaning in
Glossing line
< > Emendation of a scribal error (addition) Infix
{ } Emendation of a scribal error (deletion)
[ ] Completely destroyed text (lacuna),
potentially with reconstructed content
‘Zero’ morpheme
[[ ]] Deleted text
( ) Non-overt part of an abbreviation Inherent category
dot below
(e.g. ⲁ̣)
Damaged or unclear characters
\ Addition/insertion above the line (\ / or ‘ ’) Ablaut phenomenon
/ Ambigous morpheme
~ Reduplication morpheme
_ Fixed phrase Fixed phrase

In order to prevent any confusion between the meaning of “[ ]” and “( )” in the Coptic line and “[ ]” and “( )” in the Glossing line, it is strongly advisable to use these symbols in their traditional meaning in the Glossing transcription line directly above the Glossing line at all. As far as “< >” is concerned, it is even mandatory not to use it with the philological meaning (emendation) in the Glossing transcription line. (Keep in mind that the number and sequence of “-”, “=”, “~”, and “< >” in the Glossing transcription and the gloss needs to match exactly.)

Problematic examples
Coptic (edited) [ⲡ=ⲣ]ⲣⲟ ⲇⲉ ⲛⲉ=ⲙ<>ⲧ-ϥ \ϣⲏⲣⲉ/ ⲛ=ϩⲟⲟⲩⲧ
Glosses DEF.SG.M=king(M) but PST=not_have-3SG.M son/child(M) ATTR=male(M)
‘But the king had no male child (but only two daugthers)’.
 
Glossing transcription [p=r]ro de ne=m<n>t-f \šêre/ n=hoout
Glosses DEF.SG.M=king(M) but PST=not_have-3SG.M son/child(M) ATTR=male(M)
‘But the king had no male child (but only two daugthers)’.
 

The advices to provide a latin-based transcription and to keep the line directly above the Glossing line free of philological markups are the two main reasons to provide the following three lines:

  1. a Coptic line with philological markup,
  2. a Transcription line (without philological markup),
  3. the Glossing line.


Example
Coptic (edited) [ⲡⲣ]ⲣⲟ ⲇⲉ ⲛⲉⲙ<ⲛ>ⲧϥ \ϣⲏⲣⲉ/ ⲛϩⲟⲟⲩⲧ
Glossing transcription p=rro de ne=mnt-f šêre n=hoout
Glosses DEF.SG.M=king(M) but PST=not_have-3SG.M son/child(M) ATTR=male(M)
‘But the king had no male child (but only two daugthers)’.
 

In the Glossing transcription line, all symbols need to be used according to the Glossing Rules. In the Traditional transliteration line, however, the encoder may use all the symbols according to his/her philological tradition.

Expert Glossing Punctuation
X:C X-C X=C X~C X<C> C1...C1 X\C X\C X[C] X.C X(C) X_Y C/D
unspecified affix clitic reduplication infix circumfix ablaut transfix ø morpheme Portmanteau inherent phrase polysemous


Hands-on transcription transformation guidelines

To derive a valid Glossing transcription line from a Coptic line with philological markup, the follwoing hands-on rules may help.

Compare the following table:

Coptic (edited) Glossing transcription line Examples
dot below
(e.g. ⲁ̣)
leave dot below out keep character ϣⲏ̣ⲣⲉ → šēre son/child(M) ‘child’
< > leave brackets out keep content <ϣ>ⲏⲣⲉ → šēre son/child(M) ‘child’
( ) leave parentheses out ⲁⲩ(ⲟ) → auo and ‘and’
\ / or ‘ ’ leave ‘slashes’ out ϣ\ⲏ/ⲣⲉ → šēre son/child(M) ‘child’
[ ] leave brackets out keep content
or leave it out
ϣⲏ[ⲣⲉ] → šēre son/child(M) ‘child’
ϣⲏ[ⲣⲉ] → šē[__] ‘[-destroyed-]’
[[ ]] leave brackets out leave content out ϣⲏ[[ⲏ]]ⲣⲉ → šēre son/child(M) ‘child’
{ } ϣⲏ{ⲏ}ⲣⲉ → šēre son/child(M) ‘child’
Expert Glossing Punctuation
X:C X-C X=C X~C X<C> C1...C1 X\C X\C X[C] X.C X(C) X_Y C/D
unspecified affix clitic reduplication infix circumfix ablaut transfix ø morpheme Portmanteau inherent phrase polysemous

References

  1. Grossman, Eitan & Martin Haspelmathin (in print). The Leipzig-Jerusalem Transliteration of Coptic, in: Egyptian-Coptic Linguistics in Typological Perspective, ed. by T. S. Richter, M. Haspelmath & E. Grossman (Manuscript submitted to De Gruyter Mouton), table 1.

Bibliography

  • Grossman, Eitan & Martin Haspelmathin (in print). The Leipzig-Jerusalem Transliteration of Coptic, in: Egyptian-Coptic Linguistics in Typological Perspective, ed. by T. S. Richter, M. Haspelmath & E. Grossman (Manuscript submitted to De Gruyter Mouton).