Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Diary 3: Layton's Coptic Grammar

The first exam went very well. Every student is able to read all the different types of PE sentences. So the first five chapters have achieved their goal.

On chapter 6, there are some problems. First, students don't understand what a "specifier" is. This word is not descriptive enough for them. Second, the actual information given on specifiers is scanty, and it is divided. Some of the material comes later in chapter 8. This is okay except that one of the exercises (B.j.) required the students know about the NIM sentence constructions which aren't covered until chapter 8. So my advice is to do chapter 6 and chapter 8 in the same week. And the instructor is probably going to have to give quite a bit of lecture information on what specifiers are. I call them "Quantity Expressions" for lack of a better term, and teach them in this way: What are the pronouns used to express quantity? Interrogative (ash, ou, nim, ouâr) and Indefinite (laau, ouon, hah); How do you construct quantity phrases? with linking particle en; How do you construct quantity sentences with ou, ash, laau, nim (=chapter 8)?; What are the fixed expressions of quantity? use of ash en he and ash em mine. Layton does not cover this material well, so anticipate giving students more examples along with more explanation.

The cardinal numbers are covered well in chapter 6, although the students get hung up in section 46 with the singular definite article with plural numbers.

In the exercises for chapter 6, I think there are two typos: (44) occurs twice interrupting the sentences, and these need to be removed.

Lesson 7 is all about prepositions, and Layton is very thorough here. On page 53, in the large box, enchi should be removed. It is not a preposition, but a subject marker.

Lesson 8 is filler. Perhaps Layton needed "20" chapters. As I said earlier, chapter 8 really belongs in chapter 6 (at least the first half of section 57). The rest of the chapter is about possessive pronouns and an overview of what students have learned about articles and pronouns. So nothing really "new" except the possessive pronouns which could be easily combined with Lesson 7 which is about prepositions and how they suffix pronouns.

I am looking forward to learning our first verb in chapter 9. The beauty of the way that Layton has laid out this grammar is that students are taught everything except verbs first. They can read any nominal sentence; any pronoun; any prepositional phrase. So when the verb comes, they can concentrate on it exclusively. By the way, my students were able to sight read a long portion of Thunder: Perfect Mind on their exam (after only 5 chapters!):

I am the first and the last,
I am the honored and the scorned,
I am the whore and the holy,
I am the wife and the virgin,
I am the mother and the daughter,
I am the limbs of my mother,
I am the bride and the bridegroom,
I am the mother of my father
and the sister of my husband
and he is my birth.
I am the Lord.

1 comment:

Ray Sweha said...

You are talking about "Coptic in 20 lessons" book, right?