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Some Lesser Known Prospective and Causative Conjugation Forms in Coptic Dialects and the Problem of Their Ancestry

Wolf-Peter Funk


This paper aims to draw attention to three rarely discussed Coptic conjugation patterns that mainly occur in literary dialects outside the Sahidic domain: (1) Present-based Future forms involving the Egyptian preposition {r-} (Coptic ⲉ- / ⲁ-) as found in the Manichaean dialect and other southern Coptic sources; (2) the Future Conjunctive pattern ⲧⲁϥⲁⲥⲱⲧⲙ̄ (instead of ⲧⲁⲣⲉϥⲥⲱⲧⲙ̄) of some southern dialects; (3) the Causative Infinitive ⲧⲉ- and its competition with ⲧⲣⲉ- in a most intriguing cross-dialectal distribution. Assuming that none of these forms can a priori be considered an “innovation” at the Coptic stage (though some of their usage patterns may be), the quest for their ancestry in earlier stages of the Egyptian language will be critically reviewed and newly defined as a desideratum with greater urgency. 

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