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Typesetting Coptic

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  • Michael Everson
    I m working on an Irish translation of the Gospel of Thomas, which I intend to publish in a parallel edition. So far the Coptic texts I have been working with
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 5, 2002
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      I'm working on an Irish translation of the Gospel of Thomas, which I
      intend to publish in a parallel edition. So far the Coptic texts I
      have been working with are that published in Guillaumont et al. 1959
      and then Grondin's interlinear text.

      Now, the question is, how do I typeset the Coptic? The problem is, of
      course, wordbreaks. Shall I retain the middle dots to aid students?
      What shall I do about hyphens and double hyphens (see Plumley
      §§29-34). What is best practice?
      --
      Michael Everson *** Everson Typography *** http://www.evertype.com
    • mwgrondin
      ... The chief advantage of the practice I adopted is that it syntactically isolates nouns and verbs proper within noun and verb clauses in which they re
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 7, 2002
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        --- Michael Everson wrote:
        > Now, the question is, how do I typeset the Coptic? The problem
        > is, of course, wordbreaks. Shall I retain the middle dots to aid
        > students? What shall I do about hyphens and double hyphens (see
        > Plumley §§29-34). What is best practice?

        The chief advantage of the practice I adopted is that it syntactically
        isolates nouns and verbs proper within noun and verb clauses in which
        they're embedded, thus making it easier for someone unfamiliar with
        the language (or just learning it) to relate the Coptic to the
        English. The chief disadvantage of this method is that it can't be
        systemically applied in all cases. Before getting into that, however,
        I must say that I would now probably drop the separators between root
        and suffix, for the following reasons:

        1. Those familiar with Greek are already used to conceptually dividing
        a noun or verb between root (stem) and suffix.
        2. Most Coptic pronoun-indicators are consonants, and most roots to
        which such suffixes are attached end in vowels, hence the separator
        usually appears in these cases as highly artificial, since it
        interrupts the perceived natural sound-flow. (Ideally, altho the
        separators are for morphemes, they're most natural where they appear
        on a syllable-dividing point as well.)

        That leaves us with prefixal separations only (plus separations
        between verb and attached nominal object). But, as you probably know,
        this is not always possible, due to the Coptic practice of
        occasionally combining the last letter of the prefix with the first
        letter of the root. An example of this is on the very first line,
        where et-hHp ('which-is/are-hidden') is written as eQHp (where Q =
        th). Obviously, one can't separate 't' from 'h' unless they're written
        as two separate letters. In such cases, I've made a notation above the
        line, but otherwise left it as an undivided word, as written.

        Were it not for this difficulty, I'd have no hesitancy to say that
        "best practice" seems to be what I've attempted to do. But I'm too
        close to it - too biased. I'd really like to hear from others who've
        compared this presentation with the standard academic practice in
        Guillaumont, Meyer, etc.

        Mike Grondin
      • Michael Everson
        ... One could write the text e[t-h]Hp, or footnote it thus, I suppose. ... I d like to hear other views as well. It s not like I m in a hurry to typeset it.
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 9, 2002
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          At 16:22 +0000 2002-01-07, mwgrondin wrote:

          >That leaves us with prefixal separations only (plus separations
          >between verb and attached nominal object). But, as you probably know,
          >this is not always possible, due to the Coptic practice of
          >occasionally combining the last letter of the prefix with the first
          >letter of the root. An example of this is on the very first line,
          >where et-hHp ('which-is/are-hidden') is written as eQHp (where Q =
          >th). Obviously, one can't separate 't' from 'h' unless they're written
          >as two separate letters.

          One could write the text e[t-h]Hp, or footnote it thus, I suppose.

          >Were it not for this difficulty, I'd have no hesitancy to say that
          >"best practice" seems to be what I've attempted to do. But I'm too
          >close to it - too biased. I'd really like to hear from others who've
          >compared this presentation with the standard academic practice in
          >Guillaumont, Meyer, etc.

          I'd like to hear other views as well. It's not like I'm in a hurry to
          typeset it. The translation takes a good long while.
          --
          Michael Everson *** Everson Typography *** http://www.evertype.com
        • Rick Hubbard
          Michael- Here s a thought for you to consider: I possess an old, and very unique, paradigm chart for Greek verbs. What makes this chart so extraordinary is
          Message 4 of 4 , Jan 9, 2002
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            Michael-

            Here's a thought for you to consider:

            I possess an old, and very unique, paradigm chart for Greek verbs. What
            makes this chart so extraordinary is that the various morphological changes
            in the inflection patterns are color coded. The formative root of each verb
            remains in black, but changes such as reduplication, augment, thematic
            vowels, and personal endings are printed in different colors. If you want
            something really "sexy" and completely out of the ordinary, that might be
            something to consider for the Coptic text.

            Rick Hubbard
            Humble Maine Woodsman

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Michael Everson [mailto:everson@...]
            Sent: Wednesday, January 09, 2002 1:53 PM
            To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [GTh] Re: Typesetting Coptic


            At 16:22 +0000 2002-01-07, mwgrondin wrote:

            >That leaves us with prefixal separations only (plus separations
            >between verb and attached nominal object). But, as you probably know,
            >this is not always possible, due to the Coptic practice of
            >occasionally combining the last letter of the prefix with the first
            >letter of the root. An example of this is on the very first line,
            >where et-hHp ('which-is/are-hidden') is written as eQHp (where Q =
            >th). Obviously, one can't separate 't' from 'h' unless they're written
            >as two separate letters.

            One could write the text e[t-h]Hp, or footnote it thus, I suppose.

            >Were it not for this difficulty, I'd have no hesitancy to say that
            >"best practice" seems to be what I've attempted to do. But I'm too
            >close to it - too biased. I'd really like to hear from others who've
            >compared this presentation with the standard academic practice in
            >Guillaumont, Meyer, etc.

            I'd like to hear other views as well. It's not like I'm in a hurry to
            typeset it. The translation takes a good long while.
            --
            Michael Everson *** Everson Typography *** http://www.evertype.com

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