Another New Coptic Grammar
- Another Coptic Grammar has been published in English: _Coptic: A learning
Grammar (Sahidic)_ by Johanna Brankaer ((Harrasowitz Verlag, 2010).
At a mere 203 pages, of which 100 pages are exercises, chrestomathies, a
glossary (Coptic dictionary) and other back-matter, it is compact to say the
least. The grammar itself is packed into 476 tersely worded paragraphs
divided into three sections: Elements, Constructions and Complex Sentences.
The author's introduction pretty well sums up the way to use the grammar:
"I suggest that in a teaching context, you start with the constructions and
learn the elements [section] as they show up in the constructions and
complex sentences [sections]. This will allow you to progress without having
too much baggage to carry along from the start. A system of cross references
makes it possible to 'commute' between both grammar parts and the exercises
and text [chrestomathies]."
The author also notes that, "This book should be useful as a basic grammar
for students who have already familiarized themselves with the Coptic
Brankaer uses what I call "modern" grammatical terminology (meaning that she
uses Layton's terminology) so that if you learned Coptic from Lambdin's
grammar some of the terminology in this handbook may be confusing. For
example, the adverbial or bipartite sentence is called the "durative
sentence (as does Layton's grammars). What used to be called the tri-partite
pattern is now the non-durative sentence (again following Layton) while the
old suffix conjugations are now "suffixically conjugated verboids". Ahhh-The
joys of progress.
A couple of interesting features in the grammar's back-matter include a
short two page "concordance of grammatical terms" that glosses the newer
grammatical terminology with the traditional variety. Also there is a really
interesting "concordance" that cross references the paragraph numbers in
this grammar with sections in grammars by Layton, Plisch, Till and Vergote.
Unfortunately, Lambin's (and Plumley's) grammars are not cross-indexed.
I can't quite decide if this grammar is more, or less, useful than Layton's
_Coptic in 20 Lessons_ (Peeters, 2007), but I'm inclined to think that since
Layton's "Introduction" is already cross-keyed to his reference grammar,
_Coptic in 20 Lessons_ might be the better choice. Of course, if you are
feeling flush, I suppose you could buy both :-).