Lesson 3

3.1 Indefinite Article:

3.1.1 Form: Coptic has two distinct indefinite articles, one for the singular ou- and one for the plural han-. Like the definite article, they are prefixed directly to the nouns they modify, examples:



ou.joi a ship han.ej/ou ships, some ships
ou.rwmi a man han.rwmi men, some men

3.1.2 Uses: Singular: The indefinite article for singular is used for both masculine and feminine. In English it is translated as 'a' or 'an' before vowel-sounding letters. It is sometimes deleted in Coptic but should always be written out when translating into English. Plural: The indefinite article for the plural is always written out in Coptic. In English it is translated as 'some' or in most cases not translated. Care should be taken in translating the noun that follows it in the plural.


3.2 Genitive (simple possessive): Relationship between two nouns is expressed by the preposition n (m) 'of', as follows:

pi./i m.pi.rwmi The house of the man
].seri n.].chimi The daughter of the woman

In special cases, the genitive preposition n (m) is replaced with the fuller form nte, as follows:

(a) If the first noun is indefinte:

ou.jwm nte pi.qello A book of the monk

(b) If the first noun has a strong definite article:

pi.bwk nte pi.ouro The servant of the king


(c) If both nouns are proper nouns:

qen t.kana nte.].galilea In Cana of Galilee


3.3 Simple Bipartite Clause - Indefinte Nouns: Refer to lesson 2 for definition.

3.3.1 Affirmative: In the affirmative, the bipartite is formed in the following manner:

Auxiliary verb + Indefinite noun + Prepositional phrase


Auxiliary verb + (Indefinite article + Noun )+ Preposition + (Definite article + Noun)

ouon ou.qello hi pi.mwit A monk is on the road (there is a monk on the road)

3.3.2 Negative: In the negative, the sentence form is as follows:

Negative auxiliary verb + Indefinite noun + Prepositional phrase

mmon qello hi pi.mwit There is no monk on the road

Note: Before the negative auxiliary mmon, the indefinite article for the singular is deleted.

3.4 Vocabulary 3

bwk m. servant tebt m. fish
bwki f. maidservant ouon   there is
ebiaik pl. servants ouro m. king
eybe- prep. about, concerning ourw f. queen
emrw f. harbor ourwou pl. kings, queens
iaro m. river ouwini m. light
mmon   there is not ve f. heaven
mwou m. water v/oui pl. heavens
n- (m) prep. of joi m. ship
nte- prep. of ej/ou pl. ships
ran m. name      

3.5 Exercises 3: Translate the following into English:

A 1. hijen pi.joi 6. qen ].emrw
  2. qa ou.wni 7. hi pi.iaro
  3. qa t.ve 8. eybe ou.jwm
  4. qen ou.tebt 9. eybe han.ourwou
  5. qen ni.v/oui 10. eybe ou.ouwini
B 1. ni.tebt m.v.iaro 4. ou.bwki nte p.ouro
  2. pi.ran m.pi.rwmi 5. pi.mwou m.v.iaro
  3. ni./ou m.p.ouro 6. ].chimi m.pi.bwk
C 1. ouon ou.ouwini qen ni.v/oui 2. mmon tebt qen ].emrw

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