subscribe

Egyptian Hieroglyphs: Lesson 3

Pronouns

The Basics

Pronouns act as substitutes for nouns. The noun that it replaces is known as the antecedent. Although it is necessary for a pronoun to have an antecedent, in certain Egyptian texts, the antecedent is not always clear (or even written in some cases). The absence of an antecedent allows for variation in the interpretation of a sequence of events in stories. In this lesson, the three different types of pronouns will be covered: suffix pronouns, dependent pronouns, and independent pronouns.

Suffix Pronouns

Suffix pronouns are attached to nouns, verbs, prepositions, and sometimes, the particle iw, which we will see in later lessons. They cannot stand alone as individual words and their main uses are as possessives (my house, your dog) as subjects, when attached to verbs (He walked to school). The chart below lists the Middle Egyptian suffix pronouns, followed by a few examples.

 

Click to show chart.

 

Suffix Pronouns

Number

Common

Masculine

Feminine

Translated

Singular

1st

  i  –  –  “My,” “Me,” “I”

2nd

 –   k   ṯ  t   “Your” or “You”

3rd

 –   f   s  “He, She, It” or “His, Hers, Its”

Plural

1st

  n  –  –  “Our,” “Us,” “We”

2nd

  tn,  ṯn  –  –  “Your” or “You”

3rd

  , Third Person Plural Suffix Pronoun - snsn  –  –  “Their,” “Them,” “They”

 

Hieroglyph of Her Mother - Noun and suffix mwt.s “Her mother.”

Hieroglyph of We See - Verb and Suffix m33.n “We see.”

Hieroglyph of Therewith him - Preposition and Suffix im.f “Therewith him.”

 

Suffix pronouns are the most common form of pronouns in Middle Egyptian texts, so familiarity with them is essential. It is important to note that the suffix pronoun does not have to share the same gender or number as the word to which it is attached. Instead, it should match its antecedent, as it serves as its replacement.

Dependent Pronouns

While suffix pronouns are attached to words, dependent pronouns are treated as separate entities, usually as the direct object of a verb. Below is a chart of the dependent pronouns.

Click to show chart.

 

Dependent Pronouns

Number

Common

Masculine

Feminine

Translated

Singular

1st

  , 1st Person Common Dependent Pronoun - wiwi  –  – “I,” “Me”

2nd

 –  2nd Person Masculine Dependent Pronoun - twṯw   2nd Person Feminine Dependent Pronoun - tnṯn “You”

3rd

  sw 3rd Person Feminine Dependent Pronoun - sysy  “He/Him,” “She/Her,” It”

Plural

1st

  n  –  – “We” or “Us”

2nd

    ṯn  –  –  “You”

3rd

  , Third Person Plural Suffix Pronoun - snsn  –  –  “They/Them” or “It”

 

 

 

In some cases, the dependent pronoun 3rd Person Common Dependent Pronoun - st is used for the third person plural.  Here are a few examples of the dependent pronoun in action.

Hieroglyphs for i found her iw gm.n.i sy “I found her.”

Hieroglyphs for the scribe found her iw gm.n sy sš  “The scribe found her.”

 

In these examples the dependent pronoun serves as the direct object of a subject. In the first example, the dependent pronoun sy is the direct object of the suffix pronoun i. The second example is similar to the first, but the subject is a noun, rather than a pronoun.  

Independent Pronouns

Independent pronouns are nearly always placed at the front of a sentence and never function as the subject of a verb. Below is a chart of the independent pronouns and an example of their use.

Click to show chart.

 

Independent Pronouns

Number

Common

Masculine

Feminine

Translated

Singular

1st

 ink  –  –  “I”

2nd

 –  ntk  ntntt  “You”

3rd

 –  ntf  ,  nts  “He,” “She,” “It”

Plural

1st

 , inn  –  –  “We”

2nd

 ntṯn nttn  –  – “You”

3rd

 ,  ntsn  –  –  “They”

 

 

 

Hieroglyphs of I am his father ink it.f “I am his father.”

Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstratives are found less frequently than the other pronouns we have seen.  Depending on the type of demonstrative pronoun, it can either follow or precede the noun it modifies. This might be difficult to keep track of at first, but there is a simple rule you can follow that will save you time. If the demonstrative ends in 3 or is composed of more than two hieroglyphs, then the construction is demonstrative + noun. The rest of the demonstratives follow the noun + demonstrative construction. The most commonly used demonstratives are pn, tn, p3, and t3, so it would be best to memorize those first.

Click to show chart.

 

Demonstrative Pronouns

Translated as “This”

Number Masculine Feminine Common
Singular  pn  tn
Plural  nn n(y)
Translated as “That”
Number Masculine Feminine Common
Singular  pf  tf
Plural  nf n(y)
Translated as “The”
Number Masculine Feminine Common
Singular  p3  t3
Plural  n3 n(y)

Lets look at an example:

Hieroglyph of This house pr pn “This house.”

Because the demonstrative does not end with 3 and is composed of two hieroglyphs, it follows the noun + demonstrative construction.

Lesson 3 Vocabulary and Exercises

 

Vocabulary List

Hieroglyph for Abydos 3bw “Abydos”

Hieroglyph for Horizon - Akhet 3t “Horizon”

Hieroglyph for the East i3btt “East”

Hieroglyph for Heliopolis iwnw “Heliopolis”

Hieroglyph for the West imnt “West”

Hieroglyph for Anubis inpw “Anubis”

Hieroglyph for Father it “Father”

Hieroglyph for Thebes w3st “Thebes”

Hieroglyph for Mother mwt “Mother”

Hieroglyph for People, Mankind rm “People, mankind”

Hieroglyph for Ka, Spirit, Soul k3 “Ka, spirit, soul”

Hieroglyph for place and throne st “Place,throne”

 

Biliterals

Hieroglyph for Aw - biliteral 3w

Hieroglyph for Ax - Biliteral 3

Hieroglyph for pH - Biliteral p

Hieroglyph for mw - biliteral mw

Hieroglyph for mH - biliteral m

Hieroglyph for ms - biliteral ms

Hieroglyph for ns - Biliteral ns

Hieroglyph for KA - biliteral k3

Hieroglyph for TA - biliteral 3

 

Triliterals

Hieroglyph of aHa - triliteral ʿʿ

Hieroglyph of aSA - triliteral ʿš3

Hieroglyph of wbn - triliteral wbn

Hieroglyph for xnt - triliteral ḫnt

Hieroglyph for sma - triliteral sm3

Hieroglyph for spr - triliteral spr

Hieroglyph for Sms - triliteral šms

Hieroglyph for dwA - triliteral dw3/sb3

Hieroglyph for dmD - triliteral dm

 

Exercises: transliterate and translate

1. Hieroglyph for the lord of the west

Click here to check your answer.

ink nb imnt “I am the lord of the west.”

2. Hieroglyph for the mother of your daughter

Click here to check your answer.

t3 mwt nt s3t.k “The mother of your daughter.”

3. Hieroglyph for "This Ka of yours (feminine)."

Click here to check your answer.

k3.ṯ pn “This Ka of yours (feminine).”

4. Hieroglyph for "That boat."

Click here to check your answer.

dpt tf “That boat.”

 

Return to IndexContinue to Lesson 4