AHIS1160 – Coptic Egyptian A

2023 – Session 2, In person-scheduled-weekday, North Ryde

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Lecturer and Convener
Malcolm Choat
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Tutor and Convenor
Madeline Jenkins
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Ellen Ryan
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Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

This unit is an introduction to Coptic, the final stage of the Egyptian script and language. An understanding of Coptic is necessary for advanced study of late antique and Christian Egypt, and is of great benefit to those studying earlier phases of the Egyptian language. This unit focuses on the Sahidic ('Upper Egyptian') dialect, the first Coptic dialect into which biblical texts were translated in the third century. Sahidic became a pan-Egyptian written dialect in the fourth and following centuries,and boasts a rich literature, both original and translated.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Recognise and recall Coptic script and phonetic structure
  • ULO2: Identify and recall Coptic grammatical structures at elementary level
  • ULO3: Recognise and memorise foundational Coptic vocabulary
  • ULO4: Assess grammar, explore grammatical reference tools, and recognise and recall linguistic technical terms
  • ULO5: Integrate knowledge of grammar and vocabulary in reading and/or writing simple Coptic texts
  • ULO6: Explore the significance of Coptic for the study of relevant ancient cultures

General Assessment Information


​Assessment tasks are compulsory and must be submitted on time. All assessment will be submitted via iLearn.


As a general rule, extensions will not be granted without a valid and documented reason (e.g. medical certificate).  All requests for Special Consideration must go via and must be supported by appropriate documentation.

Late Submission Penalty 

Unless a Special Consideration request has been submitted and approved, a 5% penalty (of the total possible mark) will be applied each day a written assessment is not submitted, up until the 7th day (including weekends). After the 7th day, a mark of ‘0’ (zero) will be awarded even if the assessment is submitted. Submission time for all written assessments is set at 11.55pm. A 1-hour grace period is provided to students who experience a technical issue.

This late penalty will apply to non-timed sensitive assessment (including essays, reports, posters, portfolios, journals, recordings etc). Late submission of time sensitive tasks (such as tests/exams, performance assessments/presentations, scheduled practical assessments/labs etc) will only be addressed by the unit convenor in a Special consideration application. Special Consideration outcome may result in a new question or topic.


The use of AI (e.g. ChatGPT) by students to assist in their assessment is not permitted in this unit, and if detected, will result in the assessment being referred to the Department's Academic Integrity Officer.

Satisfactory Completion of Unit

In order to complete this unit satisfactorily students must gain a mark of 50% or more, and undertake all assessment tasks.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Assignments 70% No 23:55 pm Friday 18/8/23; 1/9/23; 29/9/23; 13/10/23
Take Home Exam 30% No 23:55 pm Friday 3/11/23


Assessment Type 1: Quiz/Test
Indicative Time on Task 2: 45 hours
Due: 23:55 pm Friday 18/8/23; 1/9/23; 29/9/23; 13/10/23
Weighting: 70%


Four assignments which consolidate the grammar and vocabulary learned to the time when each assignment is set.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Recognise and recall Coptic script and phonetic structure
  • Identify and recall Coptic grammatical structures at elementary level
  • Recognise and memorise foundational Coptic vocabulary
  • Assess grammar, explore grammatical reference tools, and recognise and recall linguistic technical terms
  • Integrate knowledge of grammar and vocabulary in reading and/or writing simple Coptic texts

Take Home Exam

Assessment Type 1: Examination
Indicative Time on Task 2: 21 hours
Due: 23:55 pm Friday 3/11/23
Weighting: 30%


A take home exam held during the end of session Examination period brings together everything studied in the course to demonstrate an understanding of Coptic vocabulary and grammar.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Recognise and recall Coptic script and phonetic structure
  • Identify and recall Coptic grammatical structures at elementary level
  • Recognise and memorise foundational Coptic vocabulary
  • Assess grammar, explore grammatical reference tools, and recognise and recall linguistic technical terms
  • Integrate knowledge of grammar and vocabulary in reading and/or writing simple Coptic texts
  • Explore the significance of Coptic for the study of relevant ancient cultures

1 If you need help with your assignment, please contact:

  • the academic teaching staff in your unit for guidance in understanding or completing this type of assessment
  • the Writing Centre for academic skills support.

2 Indicative time-on-task is an estimate of the time required for completion of the assessment task and is subject to individual variation

Delivery and Resources

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 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. Please consult the timetable for the time and location of the tutorial.

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 , 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).

Coptic fonts

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. We 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 which contains both Coptic and Greek words and links to Crum and other lexical resources. For guidance on using this dictionary see

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.

Unit Schedule

Each week, there will be a 1-hour lecture, and a 2-hour tutorial. The course material will be presented in the lecture; the tutorial will consist of exercises that will reinforce the information learned in the lecture. Listening to the lecture and attending tutorials are compulsory for students who wish to learn the language properly and thus do well in the unit. For a week-by-week overview of the content we will cover, see the unit iLearn site.

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central ( Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit Student Policies ( It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

To find other policies relating to Teaching and Learning, visit Policy Central ( and use the search tool.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct:


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit or if you are a Global MBA student contact

Academic Integrity

At Macquarie, we believe academic integrity – honesty, respect, trust, responsibility, fairness and courage – is at the core of learning, teaching and research. We recognise that meeting the expectations required to complete your assessments can be challenging. So, we offer you a range of resources and services to help you reach your potential, including free online writing and maths support, academic skills development and wellbeing consultations.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit

The Writing Centre

The Writing Centre provides resources to develop your English language proficiency, academic writing, and communication skills.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

Student Services and Support

Macquarie University offers a range of Student Support Services including:

Student Enquiries

Got a question? Ask us via AskMQ, or contact Service Connect.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Changes from Previous Offering

Since the last offerng of this unit, the assessment has been altered.

Unit information based on version 2023.02 of the Handbook