Hieroglyphs tutorial; Relative forms
Relative forms are used to describe an action that someone or something else performs. Relative forms are similar to participles in that they have common traits to verbs and adjectives.
They are based on the stem of the verb and like an adjective they agree in number and gender with the noun or noun phrase that preceeds them. Unlike participles they are more closely connected to verbs and have a subject of their own. Because the tense already tells us that the action is linked to the person, the Egyptians did not need to insert a word to represent "that", "what" or "which". This is a fairly tricky concept as this particular construction is not found in English.
Present Relative Tense
The present relative tense decribes an action as "(one) which a person does". For example "(the cat) that she loves" or "(the coat) that he wears".
A common example of this form can be found in the offering formula in the phrase "(ht nbt nfrt) 'nHt nTr im" - "(all good things) on which a god lives". "'nHt" ends with a "t" because it reflects the feminine gender of the noun "ht" ("things")
(someone or something) which he hears
(someone or something) which he sees
(someone or something) which he loves
(someone or something) which he gives
Past Relative Tense
The past relative tense decribes an action as "(one) which a person did". For example "(the cake) that he ate" or "(the sound) that she heard".
(someone or something) which he heard
(someone or something) which he saw
(someone or something) which he loved
(someone or something) which he gave
If the relative form stands on its own rather than relating back to a previous noun or phrase it usually has the ending "t" inserted between the stem and the verb ending to show that it has an abstract subject. The table below depicts the past relative tense with an abstract subject but this can equally apply to the present relative tense.
that which he heard
that which he saw
that which he loved
that which he gave
As before, (refer to Verbs; part two) the endings of verbs are always;
- "y" for the singular personal verbs ("I")
- "k" for second person singular male verbs (you)
- "T" (tj) for second person singular male verbs (you)
- "f" for third person singular masculine verbs (he)
- "s" for third person singular verbs
- "n" for first person plural verbs (we)
- "Tn" (tjn) for second person plural verbs
- "sn" for third person plural verbs