The course consists of a two-hour lecture and a one-hour tutorial each week. The tutorial will provide the opportunity to consolidate the information presented in the lecture and will comprises working through exercises from the textbook (see below) as a group.
Technology used and required
The unit has an iLearn page which can be accessed at https://ilearn.mq.edu.au/login/index.php. PC and internet access are therefore required. Basic computer skills (e.g., internet browsing) and skills in word processing are also a requirement. Content, readings, and discussions for this unit will be delivered via the unit iLearn page. The lectures for this unit will be recorded and the audio recordings and accompanying slides will be available on the Echo 360 system. Any extra readings required will be made available on the unit iLearn page.
Lectures and tutorials will be recorded and uploaded to Echo360 soon after class. Course notes will be uploaded to iLearn, as will the 3 assignments. The weekly class test will also be available on iLearn for external students.
Note: iLearn should be regularly consulted for updates, learning tools, and for participation in the discussion forum.
For the purposes of this course it is essential that you learn to type words in Coptic (or Greek). Most ancient language fonts – even if they are of the same language – have a different distribution of characters on the keyboard. So if members of the group use different fonts, this will lead to misunderstandings. We will use unicode fonts which (theoretically) display the same on all systems. I suggest therefore that you download the public domain Unicode font “New Athena Unicode”, which contains Coptic and Greek characters.
New Athena Unicode is available for both PC and Macintosh computers on the following website:
(See the link to "DOWNLOAD New Athena Unicode version 5.002 in ttf format" under "Latest Version")
For Coptic Unicode input (that is, keyboard layout), follow the directions provided at:
This contains instructions for installing the Keyboard layouts in Windows or Mac systems, and general guidance on entering Coptic on both systems.
If you have any problems using this font, please contact the lecturer.
Textbook and other reading
The textbook we will use is Lambdin, T. O., Introduction to Sahidic Coptic, Macon 1983 (2nd edition 1992). This is available from the co-op bookshop, and all students must purchase a copy.
As scholarly focus since the late 19th century has primarily been on Sahidic, there is a large body of teaching aids available for this dialect. The following list is not exhaustive, but lists the most important grammars. If students wish to purchase a comprehensive grammar, I recommend that of Layton, below, but this is not required.
Layton, B., A Coptic Grammar. Wiesbaden 2000 (2nd ed. Wiesbaden 2004).
Mallon, A., Grammaire copte: bibliographie, chrestomathie et vocabulaire, 4 éd. revue par Michel Malinine, Beyrouth 1956.
Plisch, U.-K., Einführung in die koptische Sprache (sahidischer Dialekt). Wiesbaden 1999.
Polotsky, H. J., Études de syntaxe copte, Cairo 1944.
Reintges, C., Coptic Egyptian (Sahidic Dialect). A Learner's Grammar. Köln 2004.
Shisha-Halevy, A., Coptic Grammatical Categories. Structural Studies in the Syntax of Shenoutean Sahidic. Roma, 1986.
Stern, L., Koptische Grammatik, Leipzig 1880.
Till, W., Koptische Grammatik, Leipzig 1961.
Till, W., Koptische Dialektgrammatik, München 1961.
Torallas Tovar, S., Gramática de Copto Sahidico. Madrid 2001.
At this point of learning Coptic it is not necessary to purchase one of the dictionaries listed below, although access to a dictionary will be necessary for the advanced study of Coptic. For the purposes of this unit, the dictionary given in Lambdin, Introduction to Sahidic Coptic, is quite sufficient. The most important dictionary below is Crum, W.E. Coptic Dictionary.
Černý, J., Coptic Etymological Dictionary, Cambridge 1976.
Crum, W. E., Coptic Dictionary, Oxford 1939 (various reprints since, including Oxford 1999 and Wipf & Stock Publishers 2005).
Kasser, R., Compléments au Dictionnaire copte de Crum, Cairo 1964.
Smith, R., A Concise Coptic-English Lexicon, Grand Rapids 1983.
Westendorf, W., Koptisches Handwörterbuch, Heidelberg 1965-77.