Simple Coptic Lessons Book

Hi guys,

I want to get a friend of mine, who is a linguist, a easy simple book on Coptic as a gift. What do you recommend?


  • How simple are we talking here?
  • I was reading some reviews on "Coptic in 20 Lessons" by Layton, and I thought "that simple"?
  • Why not get him a copy of the Psalmody in Coptic with transliteration and translation? He can read the Coptic, read something useful at the same time, and understand the words in English.
  • No...that's not what I asked
  • Here are a couple. Also, a dictionary might also be a good gift. I've included links to PDFs so you can check them out and see if they are what you're looking for before actually buying him a hard copy.

    So you want to learn Coptic: A Guide to Bohairic Grammar - Sameh Younan

    Coptic Grammar - Moawad Daoud (Might be hard to find in English to buy, but it certainly exists)

    Coptic Dictionaries:

  • Thank you :)
  • Lol, Mina, you sound as if we're at school bro and you're my science teacher. 

    "No. That's not what I asked".

    Think out of the box ya doctor! My suggestion is great. He gets to read Coptic and see the language and understand the meaning. The tasbeha is  LIVING book. Its used daily in our Church.

    Its up to you man.
  • She is Hindu, she loves studying languages.  I want to be a bit more subtle than that, something that can help her understand in a lesson-book format what the language is, and not just a book of prayers that she would have to decipher herself.

    Not sure if this is available in booklet format.

  • lfahmy said:

    Not sure if this is available in booklet format.

    Wow.. that's the best Coptic Learning website i've seen. Thank you!

    This is our language, we ought to learn this.
  • You said she is a linguist. That website is meant for beginning level introduction (something equivalent to third grade English lessons). I don't know if a linguist would want that. Coptic in 20 lessons is Sahidic Coptic and it really requires the full textbook to see all the examples. 

    So you want to learn Coptic is full of errors and it is a bit awkward. I have Nabil Mattar's Bohairic Coptic (which is good but it is intended for beginners). Then of course there is Ariel Shish-Halvey's Structural Studies in the Bohairic Dialect. This is for linguists and it is very complicated. It is meant to be a critical reference of morphosyntactic analysis in the Bohairic dialect. 

    There are also old grammars that a linguist would like. There is Mallon's French book, Coptic Grammaire Copte, which was translated into English by the late Professor Boulos Ayad. This one is Bohairic. Then there is Rev Henry Tattam's A Compendious Grammar (which is outdated but a nice historical grammar). 

    Of course, there are many more old and new Sahidic grammars (done by linguists) than there are Bohairic ones (all done by non-linguists). The old Sahidic Coptic grammar by Till are now translated into Spanish. And then there are the classical Sahidic grammars of Plumey and Lambdin.

    And if your linguist friend knows Arabic, there are a handful of modern and medieval grammars (known as scalae or sullam in Arabic). And if your friend knows Latin, there is Athanasius Kichner's Latin translation of the Sammanoud Scalae. 

    Let me know what which one you would like.
  • Nabil Mattar's book sounds perfect! I would describe her as a beginner when it comes to Coptic, so I would like to get her a beginner's book, but of course not extremely simplistic as the website as you correctly pointed out.
  • Rem please share the aforementioned documents. Thank you
  • I just bought it now. It said there was one left in stock, so I didn't want to wait just in case, but this is the one Rem?
  • Yes, that is the one. Just keep in mind, all Bohairic grammars are extremely simplistic. They wouldn't pass beyond 6th grade English equivalent books. So in my eyes, all Bohairic grammars are just as simplistic as that website. But that's all we have now.
  • I think that's fine. At least it makes for a presentable gift than just a website, and it comes recommended, which is what I sought. I doubt if she will ever go beyond the level of Coptic offered in the book, but she loves learning languages, and I'm perhaps the only Coptic person she will meet in a verrry long time.
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