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Variation and standardisation: a comparative study of the graphemic realisations of the vowel-glides between three early Sahidic manuscripts and classical Sahidic
thesisposted on 2022-03-29, 03:40 authored by Susan Price
The high degree of graphemic variation in the Sahidic literary manuscripts of the 4thand 5th centuries CE reflects a written language in a state of flux at a time when theorthographic rules were not fixed. This thesis offers a comparative typological study ofregular and free variation exhibited in the graphemic realisations of the vowel-glides /i/~/j/and /u/~/w/ in the early manuscripts of the 4th and 5th centuries and in those representing theclassical, or standard, Sahidic of the 6th and 7th centuries. The corpus includes three 4th-5thcentury literary manuscripts: British Library Or. 7594; Papyrus Bodmer XVIII; and PapyrusBodmer XXIII. Chester Beatty Mss. 813 and 814 have been selected as the comparanda,being excellent representatives of standard Sahidic. A synchronic and diachronic comparisonof the respective typologies allows one to gain valuable insight into the dynamic state of thewritten language and the process by which the orthography becomes standardised. Thequestions addressed in this thesis seek to complement previous scholarship on the state of thelanguage of early Sahidic, particularly the linguistic studies on the Nag Hammadi codices. Byproviding valuable data which may serve as comparanda, and by developing a reliablemethod based on the recent theories and methodologies of historical linguistics and languagechange, this thesis seeks to lay the foundation for future research into Coptic orthography.