Coptic in 20 Lessons: Introduction to Sahidic Coptic with Exercises and Vocabularies
Layton (Bentley)
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Cover Blurb

  1. Coptic in 20 Lessons is written by the author of the most authoritative reference grammar of the Coptic language, and is based on decades of pedagogical experience. In easy steps and simple explanations, it teaches the patterns and syntax of Sahidic Coptic, along with the most useful vocabulary. Drills, compositions, and translation exercises enable the student to gain fluency. All words that occur more than fifty times in the Sahidic New Testament are introduced lesson by lesson in vocabulary lists, which are arranged by semantic field and accompanied by both Greek equivalents and English glosses. The book concludes with three chapters of the Gospel of Mark, in which all new vocabulary is glossed in footnotes. Coptic in 20 Lessons is the ideal resource for use in the classroom or for teaching oneself Coptic.
  2. Coptic in 20 Lessons is the up-to-date teaching grammar that Coptic studies has long needed. ... There is no better way to learn Coptic.
    … David Brakke, Indiana University.
  3. Layton brings to this book a life-long experience of teaching, combined with the authority of his masterly Coptic Grammar, arguably the best grammar of Sahidic Coptic ever written, from which the present work is distilled. A state-of-the-art account.
    … Ariel Shisha-Halevy, Hebrew University
    Foreword. vii
  1. Coptic. The Alphabet. Regular Replacements. Simplifications. Abbreviations. 1
  2. Articles and What They Express. Noun. Proper Noun. Omission of Article. Article Phrase. ‘And', ‘Or', and ‘Of'. 13
  3. Possessive Article. Simple Nominal Sentence. 24
  4. Adjective. Attributive Construction. Adjectival Predicate. 32
  5. Nominal Sentences with Three Members. 38
  6. Specifiers. Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers. 45
  7. Preposition. Personal Suffixes. Possessed Noun. Compound Preposition. Combinative Adverb. 51
  8. Possessive Pronoun. Survey of Articles and Pronouns. 60
  9. Durative Sentence. Infinitive and Stative. Adjectival Meaning. Comparative and Superlative. Direct Object. Additional Predicate after a Direct Object. Ingressive. 67
  10. Non-durative Conjugation: Main Clause Conjugation Bases. ‘To Be' in Coptic. 79
  11. Bound States of the Infinitive. Direct Object Constructions. Compound Infinitives. Imperative. Vocative. 86
  12. Non-durative Conjugation: Subordinate Clause Conjugation Bases. Inflected Modifier. Some Stylistic Devices. 98
  13. Causative Infinitive. Verboids. ‘To Have'. Dynamic Passive. 108
  14. Impersonal Predicates. The Four Conversions. Preterit Conversion. How Conversion Works. 117
  15. Asyndetic Connection of Clauses. Adverb. Circumstantial Conversion. 130
  16. Relative Conversion. 140
  17. Relative Conversion (Continued). 147
  18. Focalizing Conversion. 154
  19. Cleft Sentence. Reported Discourse and Thought. 164
  20. Conditional Sentences. Purpose and Result. Correlated Comparison. 170
  21. Chrestomathy: The Gospel of Mark, Chapters One to Three. 177
    Reference List of Coptic Forms. 187
    Subject Index. 201


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"Layton (Bentley) - Coptic in 20 Lessons: Introduction to Sahidic Coptic with Exercises and Vocabularies"

Source: Layton (Bentley) - Coptic in 20 Lessons: Introduction to Sahidic Coptic with Exercises and Vocabularies

Foreword (Full Text)
  1. This book will quickly teach you all the basic patterns of Coptic, mainly at the level of phrases and sentences. It contains drills to help you gain fluency as well as translation exercises, both from Coptic to English and from English to Coptic. A vocabulary list is given at the end of most lessons. If you memorize these lists thoroughly, you will know all the words that occur more than fifty times in the Sahidic Coptic New Testament. In order to read Coptic it is absolutely essential to memorize these lists. Once you have finished learning the contents of this book, you will be ready to read the Gospel of Mark in Coptic1. The first three chapters of Mark are included in this book, with vocabulary glosses. Ordinarily one academic year should be enough time to complete both the grammar and all sixteen chapters of the Gospel.
  2. The book can be used in the classroom or to teach yourself Coptic.
  3. The vocabulary lists include common Greek equivalents for Egyptian Coptic words, based on the Coptic translation of the New Testament. (For more information, consult the Concordance du nouveau testament sahidique). In the vocabularies, Greco-Coptic words are starred (*).
  4. Bold face numbers occurring within the text make cross-reference to section numbers of the grammar. Some information of an advanced level is provided in boxes.
  5. A very inclusive Reference List of Coptic Forms is provided for your convenience in the back matter of this book. You should use this list whenever you have trouble identifying a form, or difficulty making sense of a passage. You will also find a Subject Index, which lists all the topics discussed in this book.
  6. You may want to pursue some grammatical topics in greater detail and to read a wide selection of real examples taken from the Coptic literature. This information can be found in Bentley Layton, A Coptic Grammar (ISBN 3-447-04833-6; 2d edition, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2004; Link), to which I have provided references throughout the present book, using the siglum "CG" followed by paragraph number. You can get more practice reading Coptic by using the chrestomathy and vocabulary printed at the end of that2 work. You should purchase a copy of W.E. Crum, A Coptic Dictionary (Oxford: Clarendon, 1939 and various reprints) and start learning its contents once you've finished this grammar, or even before.
    [ … snip …]
Lesson 1 (Opening paragraphs).
  1. Coptic is the final stage of the indigenous language of Egypt as it was written in the Nile Valley, the Egyptian Delta, and the Oases about AD 300-1000. It is the direct descendent of Ancient Egyptian, which was once written in the hieroglyphic, hieratic, and Demotic writing systems. Philologists treat Egyptian as a language group unto itself; it has some affinities with Semitic and various African languages. Coptic Egyptian flourished in Egypt until about AD 1000, by which time it had been replaced by Arabic as the language of daily life in Egypt. Unlike the notation of all previous stages of Egyptian (stretching back to before 3000 BC) Coptic was written in an alphabet, based on Greek. The Coptic writing system must have been standardized by the Christian religious establishment in the third century AD. Coptic comprised a number of dialects, of which Sahidic (centered perhaps in Shmoun-Hermopolis-Al Ashmunein) had the greatest literary importance and the widest use in the Nile valley. Almost all native Coptic literature was composed in Sahidic, between AD 325-8003. Sahidic is the dialect taught in this grammar. Because the climate of Egypt is especially favorable for the preservation of antiquities — desert conditions prevail south of Cairo, as one goes up the Nile Valley — an astonishing number of very early Coptic manuscripts have been discovered, dating from AD 300 onwards, and the number continues to grow. The book as we know it (the codex format) was invented in Egypt, and these earliest Coptic manuscripts are the earliest known examples of the book.
  2. Coptic literature, which survives in a number of dialects, comprises both original works and translations from the Greek and was mostly intended for use in the non-Greek churches and monasteries of Egypt. It includes several translations of the Bible made from Greek starting about AD 300, which are a very early indirect attestation of the Greek text and a direct indication of an Egyptian (perhaps Alexandrian) understanding of what it meant: the Coptic versions are of great importance to modern scholars of Biblical textual criticism. [ … snip …]

In-Page Footnotes ("Layton (Bentley) - Coptic in 20 Lessons: Introduction to Sahidic Coptic with Exercises and Vocabularies")

Footnote 1: Footnote 2:
Note: He doesn’t mention his "Layton (Bentley) - Coptic Gnostic Chrestomathy: A Selection of Coptic Texts with Grammatical Analysis and Glossary".

Footnote 3: The liturgy of the present day Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt is written in a mixture of Arabic, Greek, and Bohairic Coptic, the ancient dialect of the Delta and the great monasteries of the Wadi Natrun. Coptic is no longer a living language.

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