Friday, October 1, 2010

A new Coptic grammar by Johanna Brankaer

I have been meaning to alert you to a new Coptic grammar that has just been published. It is written by Johanna Brankaer, Coptic: A Learning Grammar (Sahidic) (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz). The book is structured in five parts: the first three are concerned with learning Coptic grammar. Part four is exercises that apply what has been learned in the grammatical chapters. Part five includes a selection of texts to translate. A great feature is that the exercises and the texts have cross-references to the grammatical chapters.

Her organization and pedagogy is simple: Part 1 contains all the elements of Coptic language (pronouns; nouns; numerals; prepositions; adverbs; verbs); Part 2 addresses Coptic sentence structures (nominal articulation; nominal sentences; durative sentences; etc); Part 3 covers complex sentences (main clauses; subordinate clauses; relative clauses; cleft sentences). I really like the way the grammar is laid out like this because it shows you, even in the table of contents, what the language looks like as a system. So it approaches Coptic from a holistic perspective rather than presenting it as a series of disassociated grammar and syntax points. I think it might be possible to teach the basics of Coptic in one semester using this grammar.

Brankaer uses the terminology established by Bentley Layton in his Coptic Grammar, although she has a glossary where equivalent terms found in other grammars are explained.


Judy Redman said...

Thanks for this, April. I have just ordered my copy through the Book Depository (, which is significantly cheaper for me than Amazon. I find that they often offer lower prices and include free postage to most places in the world, so I always check their website.

Gareth Hughes said...

Thanks for posting this. Have you had time to see how this compares to other teaching grammars? I bought Layton recently based on your positive review of it.


Memra said...

Thanks. I purchased the book and am presently going through it. It is essentially a review for me after Layton's "A Coptic Grammar."

But my opinion is that a student of Coptic can't have too many grammar books. Another one is always welcome.