Lectures and Tutorials
The course consists of a one-hour lecture and a two-hour tutorial each week. The lecture, which will be prerecorded and uploaded via Echo360 on the Monday of each week, will present and discuss Coptic grammar. The tutorial, which will be held at 1–3 pm on Thursday in 21WW 2.300, will provide the opportunity to consolidate the information presented in the lecture and will comprise working through exercises from the textbook (see below) as a group.
Technology used and required
The unit has an iLearn page which will host all the content and assessment for the unit, including the recorded lectures (via Echo360), assessment (via the iLearn Quiz function and Turnitin), lecture notes and other resources, and communications with the teaching staff. Internet access and a device (e.g. PC, tablet) are required, as are basic computer skills (e.g. internet browsing, word processing).
For the purposes of this course it is essential that you learn to type words in Coptic (and occasionally possibly in 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 5.008 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.
Further advice on fonts is available on the iLearn page. If you have any problems using a Coptic font, please contact the teaching staff.
Textbook and other readings
The textbook we will use is Lambdin, T. O., Introduction to Sahidic Coptic, Macon 1983 (2nd edition 1992), a copy of which all students must purchase.
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. 2004, 3rd ed. 2011).
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 Glossary provided in Lambdin, Introduction to Sahidic Coptic, is quite sufficient. The most important dictionary of those listed below is Crum, W.E. Coptic Dictionary.
There is now a Coptic Dictionary online (edited by the Koptische/Coptic Electronic Language and Literature International Alliance [KELLIA]) online at https://coptic-dictionary.org/ which contains both Coptic and Greek words and links to Crum and other lexical resources. For guidance on using this dictionary see https://coptic-dictionary.org/help.cgi
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.