Lectures and Tutorials
The course consists of a two-hour lecture and a one-hour tutorial each week, except in the final weeks, which will consist of reading Coptic texts in a two hour tutorial each week. For Weeks 1–10, the lectures will present and discuss Coptic grammar, and the tutorial 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.
The lecture will be prerecorded and uploaded via Echo360 on the Monday of each week. The tutorial will be held on campus at 12–1 pm on Thursday, with a weekly discussion forum for students enrolled in the Online-flexible mode to allow them to ask questions about that week's exercises.
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 notes will be available on the Echo 360 system and the iLearn page. Any extra readings required will be made available on the unit iLearn page, as will all assessment for the unit.
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 5.008 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.
If you have any problems using this font, please contact the tutor.
Textbook and other reading
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 source.
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, 3rd ed. Wiesbaden 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 dictionary given 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. 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.