[Editorial note: [...] indicates use of Arabic or Coptic text. Original script is available for viewing in the PDF format of this article.]
DJINKIM. The djinkim ([...]) is a Coptic reader’s sign in the form of a point (derived from a much teduced supralinear stroke?) or, in BOHAIRIC (B) only, a grave accent, placed above a grapheme—a sign that is commonly found in B (cf. Polotsky, 1949) or in M, or Mesokemic (cf: Kasser, 1981; Schenke, 1981, pp. 26-30) and of which only a few taces have been discovered in V. (None are known in F or in any other of the Coptic dialects.) Polotsky (1949, p. 25, n. 1) wrote, “The name is inspired by the position of the point above some letters, superficially similar to that of the harakat in relation to the huruf in Arabic writing. One cannot draw any conclusion from this regarding the significance of the point.” In these various idioms the djinkim was used from the beginnings of their literary existence, but is employed in a way that differs from one dialect to another or even within the same dialect. Thus, one may distinguish at least four systems of its use, those of classical B, late B, pre-classical M, and classical M.
In classical B the only letters marked with a djinkim are (1) any vowel forming a syllable by itself, such as [...], he went out, and [...], sin; (2) the letters [...] and [...] when they are grammatical elements (prepositions, marks of the genitive, negation) or the first radical before another graphic consonant, as in [...], Egyptian; [...], prison; [...], repose; and [...], thee (Polotsky, 1949, pp. 25-29). These are then, in each case, either a graphic vowel = a vowel in phonology also, or a (nasal) graphic consonant = a vowel too in phonology, more precisely a nasal sonant. Hence, each letter marked with a djinkim in classical B is a phoneme with a vocalic function and forming a syllable by itself.
In late B, in addition to the syllabic vowels and sonant nasals of classical B (cases 1 and 2 above), the following four categories are also marked with the djinkim: (3) the first of two consecutive conso-nants at the beginning of a word or within the word when it is a case of Greek compounds, as in [...], woman; [...], crown; [...], engender; [...], church; [...], offense; and [...], census; (4) the prefixes of the present I when they consist of a single consonant (2. masc. [...], 3. masc. [...], 3. fem. [...]) both before a consonant and before a vowel, as in [...], you hear; [...], you see; [...], he is placed; [...], you know; and [...], she resembles; (5) the weak definite article masc. sing. [...] ([...]), fem. [...]([...]), both before a consonant and before a vowel, as in [...], the son; [...], the man; [...], the glory; [...], heaven; [...], the mother; and [...], the head; (6) the auxiliary [...], be able: [...] [...], which cannot be measured (Polotsky, 1949, pp. 25-26). In all these cases, which are late and probably influenced by Arabic, the consonant marked by the djinkim never forms a syllable by itself. One may thus with reason consider them suspect from the point of view of Coptic phonology and exclude them from a comparative analysis limited to the investiga-tion of the general value and varieties of usage of the genuinely Coptic djinkim.
In preclassical M (fourth century; Orlandi, 1974) the letters marked with the djinkim (which might well have the same material aspect as the djinkim of classical M; see below) are as follows: (1) of vowels, only [...] and [...] when it forms a syllable by itself (equally within the word?) in bradysyllabication, as in [...], because of, 1 Thes. 3:1 (but [...], I, not [...], 1 Thes. 3:5); [...], to believe, 1 Thes. 2:13 (but [...], advent, not [...], 1 Thes. 3:13); (2) (exactly as in point 2 of classical B) sonant [...] or [...] forming a syllable by itself (also within a compound word or at the end of a word?), as in [...], you, 1 Thes. 3:3; [...], near to, 1 Thes. 2:13; [...], not you, 1 Thes. 2:19 (Kasser, 1981).
In classical M (fifth-century, rather than sixth-century[?]) manuscripts, of which only one has been published so far (Schenke, 1981), the letters that use the djinkim (which has sometimes the appearance of a very short stroke, sometimes that of an actual point; Kasser, 1981, pp. 121-22) are as follows: (1) of vowels, only [...] and [...] when each forms a syllable by itself, in bradysyllabication, as in [...], treasure; [...], trade, craft; [...], wheat; [...], king; [...], river; and [...], steal; (2) (exactly as in point 2 in classical B and preclassical M) sonant [...] or [...] forming a syllable by itself, as in [...], be sad; [...], the verbal prefix of the preterite of the negative perfect (no cases attested for final m); [...], to sleep; [...], after; [...], there is (Kasser, 1981).
The only traces of the djinkim that have been found in V are at the beginning (Eccl. 1-4) of P. Mich. 3520 (unpublished) and appear, it seems, only over syllabic [...] or [...] (hence exactly and exclusively as in point 2 of classical B and preclassical and classical M). This would be a vestige of a usage that is elsewhere generalized but whose influence did not succeed in imposing itself in this dialect.
All that precedes gives support to Polotsky (1949, p. 27, speaking especially of the djinkim in classical B): this sign “relates to some phonetic character common to the vowels and to the nasals: one will think directly of sonority.” Each of the graphemes that carry the djinkim, in B as in M (or V), forms a syllable by itself, often in tachysyllabication and always in bradysyllabication; they are sometimes graphic and concurrently phonologic vowels, some-times sonant nasals (consonantal graphemes with vocalic function). And when, as in M, it is not just any vowel, it is certainly [...] and [...], the most open (or voiced) and one of the most open (or voiced) among the vowels, but above all those most used in Coptic, whether each forms a syllable by itself or with another phoneme. Similarly, it is the sonant nasals, the most used among the sonants in Coptic, that carry the djinkim (in Coptic the voiced nasals are very frequent too). One may probably see in this the necessity for the use of the djinkim, particularly on a and e among the vowels and on [...] and [...] among the sonants.
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