5.1 Sentences with nominal predicates. A second type of non-verbal sentence is illustrated by
ⲡⲁⲉⲓⲱⲧ ⲡⲉ. He is my father. It is my father,
ⲧⲁⲙⲁⲁⲩ ⲧⲉ. She (It) is my mother.
ⲛⲁⲥⲛⲏⲩ ⲛⲉ. They are (It is) my brothers.
ⲟⲩⲣⲱⲙⲉⲡⲉ. He (It) is a man.
ⲟⲩⲥϩⲓⲙⲉ ⲧⲉ. She (It) is a woman,
ϩⲉⲛⲉϫⲏⲩ ⲛⲉ. They are (It is) ships.
The pronominal subject is expressed by ⲡⲉ (m.s.), ⲧⲉ (f.s.), and ⲛⲉ (pl.), the choice of which depends usually on the gender and number of the predicate noun. Simple two-member sentences like the above are relatively rare except in response to such questions as "Who is that?" "What are these?" where an answer giving the predicate alone is sufficient, the subject being understood from the context. Modifiers of the predicate, such as a genitive phrase, may optionally stand after the pronominal subject:
ⲡϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲡⲉ ⲙ̄ ⲡⲟⲩⲏⲏⲃ. Не is the son of the priest.
A nominal subject may be added to the basic predica-tion, producing a three-member sentence in which ⲡⲉ, ⲧⲉ, ⲛⲉ are reduced virtually to the status of a copula. If the predicate is indefinite, the order is almost always predicate + ⲡⲉ, the subject being placed before or after the whole unit:
ⲟⲩⲥⲁϩ ⲡⲉ ⲡⲁⲉⲓⲱⲧ. / ⲡⲁⲉⲓⲱⲧ ⲟⲩⲥⲁϩ ⲡⲉ. My father is a teacher.
If the subject and predicate are both definite, the normal position of ⲡⲉ, ⲧⲉ, ⲛⲉ is between them:
ⲡⲉⲓⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲡⲉ ⲡⲉⲛⲥⲁϩ. / ⲡⲉⲓⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲡⲉⲛⲥⲁϩ ⲡⲉ This man is our teacher.
Identification of subject and predicate in this case can be made only on a contextual basis. The rarer order, пе«ршме пенелг пе, places an emphasis on the real subject: "As for this man, he is our teacher."
In the event that there is a disagreement in the number or gender of subject and predicate, the copula ⲡⲉ, ⲧⲉ, ⲛⲉ usually assumes the number and gender of the noun imnvediately preceding it.
All of the preceding sentences are negated by placing ⲛ̄ (ⲙ̄) before the predicate and ⲁⲛ before ⲡⲉ, ⲧⲉ, ⲛⲉ:
ⲙ̄ ⲡⲁⲉⲓⲱⲧ ⲁⲛ ⲡⲉ. It is not my father.
ⲡⲁⲉⲓⲱⲧ ⲛ̄ ⲟⲩⲥⲁϩ ⲁⲛ ⲡⲉ. My father is not a teacher.
ⲙ̄ ⲡⲉⲛⲥⲁϩ ⲁⲛ ⲡⲉ ⲡⲉⲓⲣⲱⲙⲉ. This man is not our teacher.
Note that in the case where both subject and predicate are definite, the nominal element negated is, by definition, the predicate.
Sentences with nominal predicates are converted to the status of relative clauses with ете. For the moment we shall restrict ourselves to those clauses where сте functions as the subject of the relative clause:
ⲡⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲉⲧⲉ ⲟⲩⲥⲁϩ ⲡⲉ the man who is a teacher
ⲡⲣⲱⲙⲉ ⲉⲧⲉ ⲛ̄ ⲟⲩⲥⲁϩ ⲁⲛ ⲡⲉ the man who is not a teacher.
The phrase ⲉⲧⲉ ⲡⲁⲓ ⲡⲉ is frequently used to introduce explanatory material, much like English "namely, i.e., that is to say":
ⲡⲉⲛⲥⲱⲧⲏⲣ ⲉⲧⲉ ⲡⲁⲓ ⲡⲉ ⲓ̄ⲥ̄ ⲡⲉⲭ̄ⲥ̄ our savior, i.e. Jesus Christ
5.2 The nearer demonstrative pronouns (this, these) are ⲡⲁⲓ (m.s.), ⲧⲁⲓ (f.s.), and ⲛⲁⲓ (pl.). They are frequently employed as subjects in sentences with nominal predicates:
ⲛⲁⲓ ⲛⲉ ⲛⲉϥϣⲁϫⲉ. These are his words.
ⲡⲁⲓ ⲡⲉ ⲡⲁϫⲟⲓ. This is my ship.
ⲧⲁⲓ ⲟⲩϩⲙ̄ϩⲁⲗ ⲧⲉ. / ⲟⲩϩⲙ̄ϩⲁⲗ ⲧⲉ ⲧⲁⲓ. This is a maidservant.