Thursday, March 17, 2011

Coptic Again . . .

Introduction to Sahidic Coptic
Thomas O. Lambdin
(Image from Amazon)

After a break of nearly five years, I've recently started reviewing Coptic grammar again, using Lambdin's Introduction to Sahidic Coptic.

At one time, I was quite good in Coptic and even corrected Alexander Böhlig, but when I failed to obtain a position in religious studies after a postdoctoral year in Jerusalem, I had less time to work on it. I tried for a few years. I recall using flash cards to learn new vocabulary as I trudged along dark paths among rice paddies at five in the morning on my way to teach English to Korean students during winter months, using a small flashlight to illuminate the cards and guide my steps. I wore gloves with the thumb and forefinger cut off to leave me freer use of my hands for the flash cards, but the winter chill froze my fingers, and I had to alternate between one hand with the cards and the other in my coat pocket, not a simple procedure while while holding a even a tiny flashlight. But by around 2005 or 2006, I could see the handwriting on the wall and realized that I was never going to teach religious studies, so in my discouragement, I set my Coptic aside.

But as I said, I've recently begun reviewing it. I don't have a practical reason for this, for I expect no job opportunities in which I could put it to use. Rather, I felt sad to lose my facility in a language that I had worked so hard to learn. Moreover, I had begun to outgrow my discouragement over the career path that I failed to follow despite my efforts.

I therefore briefly review a bit of Coptic grammar and vocabulary every day, and I try to keep my ears open to reports about the Coptic Church in Egypt since it's in the news these days.

Not that I know much about that, for their liturgy is in Bohairic Coptic, and I study the Sahidic dialect.

Labels: ,


At 5:38 AM, Anonymous dhr said...

I recall using flash cards to learn new vocabulary

I use your Blog :-)

At 6:56 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

But my blog's not flashy . . .

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 7:07 AM, Anonymous dhr said...

It's fleshy.

At 7:11 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uh-oh . . . and I was trying to keep this blog family friendly.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm kinda like dhr, you were trudging across rice paddies with flash cards and a flashlight learning, er, Coptic!!? Yes, yes, I used not one but two "e"-marks... but oh, I dunno, the first time I asked you about the "e"-mark the next day you responded with two.

So. What's next?

Bogs, a candle and Gaelic?

Geehaw Jeff, this is beginning to read like... well, I was gonna say Louis L'Amour - but it kinda reads like Cran.

Jeanie ain't gonna be happy.


At 1:16 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

These days, I ride the subway, but my Coptic studies are done at home. I'm not aiming for the skies anymore.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 9:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Professor Jeffery once labeled us otiose and obtuse.
To which I could add abstruse.
Since I have nothing further to say, I will only conclude with:

Aloha and adios.


At 3:46 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Look, everybody -- Uncle Cran's writing poetry.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I only hope it isn't otiose, obtuse and abstruse for you guys.
I know I'm clueless.

You will note I am trilingual.
I also know a little Japanese.
For instance, Judo and kamikaze.
And I used to know a little Greek.
His was Frank Fotoplos, Paster of West Side Baptist Church, Wichita, Kansas.
But those languages are fading away, much as friend Frank.


At 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


His name was Frank Fotoplos...


At 1:32 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

And also English . . .

Jeffery Hodges

* * *


Post a Comment

<< Home