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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Michael A Williams
EGYPT 411
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Coptic

Elements of grammar of the Sahidic dialect of the Coptic language.

Class description

This course provides an introduction to the Sahidic dialect of Coptic, a written form of the Egyptian language that emerged in the first centuries C.E., using the Greek alphabet plus a six other letters of Egyptian origin. Coptic, in its various dialects, was the last phase of the Egyptian language, and it became the language of Egyptian Christianity, eventually dying out as a spoken language by the 17th century C.E., except within the liturgy. In this course students will begin learning the essentials of Sahidic grammar along with a working vocabulary.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

The grammatical lessons will be introduced with explanation and discussion in class, and then the students will practice these lessons with homework exercises due by the next class meeting. The first part of each class meeting will be devoted to recitation/correction of the execises, followed by the introduction of the next lesson(s).

Recommended preparation

There is no prequisite for the course. However, students who have had some amount of training in Greek will find this very helpful with certain vocabulary items, since Coptic not only uses the Greek alphabet, but also includes many words of Greek origin. But Coptic grammar is completely different from that of Greek.

Class assignments and grading

Exercises will be due at the beginning of each class period and corrected in class. Chapter exercises consist of translation of increasingly more challenging samples of Coptic phrases, sentences and eventually paragaphs. Exercises also include translation from English into Coptic. There may be periodic quizzes on grammar and vocabulary. There will be a midterm exam and a final exam, testing students' commprehension of grammar and vocabulary.

1. Participation in classroom work on exercises and completion of the written exercises for each chapter covered in the textbook. Exercises will be due by the beginning of each class period. Students must have sent an e-copy to me by that time. The exercises will be corrected in class. These chapter exercises are intended to insure regular study, application and practice, and to encourage active learning while allowing mistakes in the course of this consistent exercise. They will therefore be graded on a credit/no credit basis—i.e., if you have completed the exercise and submitted it on time you will receive full credit for that exercise, even if there are mistakes. Full credit on the minimum number of required number of exercises will result in a 4.0 for this portion (20% of the course grade). To allow for some understandable non-compliance (due to, e.g., illness) the student may, for whatever reason, fail to turn in as many as four exercises during the quarter and still receive full credit for this requirement. No exercises will be accepted late. 2. Six short quizzes during the quarter (see schedule). 20% of course grade. These quizzes should help keep you current and prepared for the mid-term and final exams. There will be testing on both grammatical paradigms, and also vocabulary. 3. Mid-term exam. 30% of course grade. Some testing on grammatical paradigms, but also translation of sentences. 4. Final exam. 30% of course grade. Some testing on grammatical paradigms, but also translation of sentences.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Michael A Williams
Date: 11/10/2008