Morpheme Separation in Layton Book
- Still working on the displays of multi-saying words, I've just today opened upBentley Layton's Coptic in 20 Lessons, which had been sitting shrink-wrappedon a shelf since I received it some months ago. One of the first things that struckme was that Layton uses dashes to separate the various meaningful elements (he callsthem 'morphs') within a compound Coptic word (which he calls a 'bound group').I'm delighted to see this. When I studied Coptic (about twenty years ago, I guess),I used the Lambdin book, which didn't have separators, so I had no model whenI devised my own system. In all the time since then, I've never run across anyone elsewho used separators. Now I'm sure there's differences between Layton's system andmine, but for the moment, I'm pretty excited to find this in a scholarly publication.Mike G.
Yeah, I like the dividers too. And, FWIW, the dashes seem somehow to distract less from the text (in other words, they are less intrusive than the raised dots). The divisions are also used in in Brankeaer’s 2010 Learning Grammar as well as in Layton’s 2007 Coptic Reference Grammar. It looks like you started a trend!
As long as we are on the subject of Layton’s Grammar, what do you think of the alternate grammatical naming conventions (for example bipartite sentence patterns are now “durative sentences” and the old tripartite patterns are now referred to as “non-durative sentences, etc.)? It seems to me that somebody needs to put together a cross-reference for ALL the new terminology.
- Hi Rick,As to the alternate naming conventions that Layton uses, I haven't gotten far enoughinto the book to form any opinion on that. I've only skimmed a few random passages,and so far, so good. His instincts about what needs explaining and how to explain itseem much in line with my own. A couple things I notice so far:1. I like the Coptic font. It looks like Codex II.2. No answer key to exercises: Lambdin didn't have one either, but Bill Arnal workedone up. Wonder if he'll do the same for Layton?3. Layton's dictionary (which is basically why I cracked the book open) doesn't begin tocompare with Lambdin's, which is about 150 pages. Evidently not one of the things thatLayton was interested in doing in this book.As to the type of divider used, I'm not fond of Layton's dashes - not because they'redashes, but because they're very wide dashes. Since they're wider than the spacebetween words, I think that the eye tends to see them as the divider between words,rather than the inter-word space. Maybe the eye will eventually get used to it, but as ageneral rule, I would think that whatever intra-word divider is used should be narrowerthan the spacing between words. (In the case of the "raised dot" that I use, it was morethe result of the limitations of the font used at the time than a conscious choicebetween alternatives, but compared with a wide dash, it's much less intrusive.)Mike
After a break of quite some time ( a year or so), I am just about to plunge back into my doctorate, which means polishing up my Coptic, which was sadly neglected while I was working in an entirely other field. Fortunately, one of my local colleagues (I am now living in Albury, at the other end of the state, although still a student at UNE) is fascinated by old languages and has said she’d like to learn Coptic. Mind you, this all happened while we were wandering the streets of North Albury on an ecumenical stations of the cross – she may change her mind when she has had a chance to think it through more carefully. J We will be using Layton, I think, for a number of reasons. One is that April DeConick has been using it since it came out and is impressed by it; another is that I would like to get my head around Layton’s classifications. A third is that Layton’s glossary uses the same system of alphabetising that Crum uses, which will make it easier for her to learn to use Crum. Lambin’s glossary is much easier for English-first-language people to find words in, but many people then find it really difficult to find words in Crum or Smith.
Layton isn’t the only one to use them and probably not even the first – Ariel Shisha-Halevy was talking about durative sentences etc in his Coptic Grammatical Chrestomathy - A Course for Academic and Private Study, which was published in 1988. They argue that this system better describes how Coptic works, now that people have had several decades to examine the Nag Hamadi texts. The index to Layton’s grammar provides a guide to the equivalences between the terms, in that when you look up the older name, it will point you to the new one. I know that the grammar is prohibitively expensive for those who are not employed in the field, but I would be very happy to scan and email a copy of the index to anyone who has more spare time than I do and would be prepared to produce a concise reference table of equivalent terms. J
PhD Candidate, School of Humanities
University of New England
Armidale 2351 Australia
ph: +61 2 6773 3401
mob: 0437 044 579
- G'day Judy,What a pleasure to hear from you again! Just to clarify a couple book references:(1) Your reference to "Smith" was, I take it, to Richard Smith's Concise Coptic-EnglishLexicon (1983)? If that's it, I myself have it, but I'm not sure that it's all that well-known.(For those thinking to purchase, it should probably be said that, as the title implies, it's ashort book - less complete in fact than the glossary in Lambdin's Intro to Sahidic Coptic.)(2) As you know, there are two Layton books that we might be talking about here, andI want to make sure that folks know which one is being described at any given pointin time. Your reference was to Layton's Coptic Grammar (2004), which I personallydon't have - probably because it's considerably more expensive ($117 vs. $27 on Amazon)than the Layton Coptic book which I do have (and was talking about earlier), namelyCoptic in 20 Lessons (2006). I don't know whether Layton's Grammar has those extra-widedashes I was talking about between morphemes (the width may be the result of some publishingstandard), but as to alphabetizing, 20 Lessons doesn't use the Crum order. The only list of wordsis a "Reference List of Coptic Forms" discussed in the text, and that list is in Lambdin order.Another key place where the Crum system of alphabetizing is found is in Stephen Emmel's"Indexes of Words" in Layton's critical edition of Codex II, 2-7 (1989). Although I'venever gotten used to the Crum system, Emmel's list of words for GTh was invaluablein my initial work on the interlinear, and now again lately as I've been working onhttp://www.gospel-thomas.net/keywords.htm (about 80% complete, I figure).Cheers,Mike
Good to see that you are alive and well, whether in Albury or elsewhere.
FWIW, maybe I can point out that Layton apparently uses two schemes of alphabetization (is that a word?). For the glossary to the Coptic chrestomathy (pages 453-464) he follows the convention used in Crum (i.e., ordered by root) but in the “Select Coptic Index” (pp. 501-520) he arranges the words in Greek sequence followed by the six Egyptian glyphs. The index in the Twenty Lessons learning grammar appears to be an abbreviated version of the “Select Index” in his reference grammar.
Also, FWIW, I’m working on a concise conversion table that cross references Layton’s-Lambdin’s-Plumley’s grammatical terms, but note that there is already a cross index in the back of Brankaer’s Learning Grammar (all of 1 ½ pages) for those who don’t want to wait for me to finish it up. I first became interested in doing this when I acquired a copy of Greg Sterling’s Coptic Paradigms and had a devil of a time trying to cross reference the verb paradigm charts in Lambdin with those in Sterling. I agree that the newer classification system better describes the “working” of the language but we old-school types have a bit of a re-learning curve to face.
- Hi Rick,You wrote that the convention used in Crum is an ordering by root. My understandingof the Crum ordering is that it's primarily by consonants, and then within that by vowels.As an example, all the words whose sole consonants are 'M' and 'R' will be groupedtogether, and then that group will be sorted by whatever vowels the individual words contain.I believe the reasoning behind this is that different forms of a Coptic root often have variationsof vowels, but not nearly so often of consonants. In any case, I think that both systems sortby root, but that the one (Lambdin) is strictly alphabetical, while the Crum system is thisspecial consonant-vowel thingy.Cheers,Mike
- Hi Mike-
You are precisely correct- the dictionary IS arranged by consonant then by
vowel. Apologies for the mis-information.
On Wed, April 27, 2011 12:37 am, M.W. Grondin wrote:
| Hi Rick,
| You wrote that the convention used in Crum is an ordering by root. My
| of the Crum ordering is that it's primarily by consonants, and then within
| that by vowels.
| As an example, all the words whose sole consonants are 'M' and 'R' will be
| together, and then that group will be sorted by whatever vowels the
| individual words contain.
| I believe the reasoning behind this is that different forms of a Coptic
| root often have variations
| of vowels, but not nearly so often of consonants. In any case, I think
| that both systems sort
| by root, but that the one (Lambdin) is strictly alphabetical, while the
| Crum system is this
| special consonant-vowel thingy.
- Hi Judy, et al;
Your remark about the high price tag on Layton's reference grammar is well
taken, but I just did a little checking to see what the current street
price might be. Used copies are actually selling for **more** than the
retail of a new one (up to $175 US on ABE), but I was astounded to see
that there is a 3rd edition of the grammar that is to be released on April
30th for a "mere" $82 on Amazon. If your colleague is a bit put off by the
$100 plus price tag, maybe this will take some of the sting out of the
purchase. I have a hunch (just because I'm cynical about the book
publishing business) that after the book is released its price will bounce
back up to $100 plus.
But this brings me to another question: Why so many editions? The grammar
first appeared in 2004, then a second edition appeared in 2007 and now we
have a 3rd edition in 2011. All I could find about the 3rd edition is that
it contains some "corrections". I wonder what needed to be corrected?
IIRC, I spotted some typo's in the second edition, but I can't imagine
they would publish a third edition just for that, can you?
- Seems my description of the Crum ordering system was flawed. The first letter of aroot is the basic sort, and that proceeds in standard Coptic alphabetic order (which isthe same as Greek order for the first 24 letters, then the six (Sahidic) additional letters.The consonant-vowel thingy comes into play only within each set of roots that all startwith the same letter. Sorry about that. Hope I've got it right this time.Mike G.
Thanks for this information.
I share your cynicism about the book publishing industry and the likely post-publication price hike and am not sure that I need the third edition unless the corrections are pretty extensive or significant. Even though the Australian dollar is running very much at parity with the US one at the moment, the added postage still makes it pretty expensive. I suspect that my colleague probably still won’t buy it because her particular area of research is Hebrew Bible – she is fascinated by languages and is excited by the possibility of learning another one, but I don’t imagine she wants or needs to go to the kind of depth that the Layton Grammar gets into.
I have noticed that when a book is out of print, there is a lot of profiteering on second hand editions. When Crum was out of print, the second hand ones on Amazon were around $100 US more than the new ones were selling at only a few months beforehand. I got mine at a quite reasonable price (ie about half that of the new price) from an antiquarian bookseller in the Netherlands.
Incidentally, has anyone bought one of the softcover copies of Crum – the Wipf and Stock edition? I think it’s wonderful that they’ve brought it back into print and that it’s affordable but wonder how durable such a huge volume will be in softcover.
PhD Candidate, School of Humanities
University of New England
Armidale 2351 Australia
ph: +61 2 6773 3401
mob: 0437 044 579