Monday, September 17, 2007

Diary 1: Layton's Coptic Grammar

Every now and then, I plan to post a brief note about how it is going in Coptic class using Layton's new grammar rather than the standard learning grammar by Lambdin.

It is good. There are many features that I can tell I already prefer to Lambdin. The best in terms of learning are the exercises that ask the students to compose Coptic sentences in each chapter. They are all fairly simple so far, but what they do is REALLY teach students under what conditions certain consonants shift (N to M), what types of variations in sentences we can expect, and how sentences are structured. So this is a boon.

I also like the sequence of learning so far. Layton breaks the nominal sentence down into a couple of easily digestible chapters, and explains the order of the subject and the predicate in very simple terms.

I did find myself creating a handout for the alphabet with a bit different sounds of J and CH, and an easier explanation of the dipthongs and semivowels, which Layton covers in Chapter 1.

Chapter 2 required some easier explanation, especially in terms of the zero article conditions which Layton seems fond of discussing and marking. I found this a bit cumbersome, and something that interests a linguist, but not necessarily a first semester student.

Chapter 3. There is a mistake on p. 26: line 28, propophetes is incorrect: should read prophetes. I also wondered why the box on p. 28 wasn't introduced with the personal subject pronouns on p. 26 #32 heading.

PS: As for pacing, I am doing one chapter a week. This can probably be increased to two a week after Chapters 1 and 2. But I would suggest having two 2-hour meeting times per week to do this. I'm meeting only once a week for 3 hours. We are usually done in 2 hours. So it is a bit leisurely I think.


Jim Deardorff said...

It sounds like you will be writing your own Coptic Grammar text within a few years!

Judy Redman said...

Thanks for this, April. I look forward to further installments.

James M. Leonard said...

I'm using this book to review what I learned through Lambdin's grammar, while doing a PhD on Codex Schoyen. Have you heard anything of an answer key?

Jim Leonard

James M. Leonard said...