In writing, I believe it is representative of the verb "to be" since that sort of thing isn't really in spoken Ukrainian. Like, "Я студент" (if translated word for word) is "I student," so the verb isn't really there but it still means "I am a student" ("the" and "a" don't exist either!). Hope this helps a little.
Also, please remember that Ukrainian is a different language from Russian. It is an older language and has different words, meanings, and connotations. Please do not confuse the two. Дякую! :)
Please remember that Ukrainian is a different language from Polish. Polish uses 'jest' everywhere (Ona jest studentką), Ukrainian doesn't (Вона студентка).
Only some Western varieties of Ukrainian, heavily influenced by Polish, require using «є» like Polish requires 'jest'.
But is it correct to put a dash here? As far as I'm concerned, in Russian, you don't put a dash after pronouns. is this so in Ukrainian, or do the puncuation rules differ from Russian?
A dash is correct here. It is a substitution for є (is) and is pronounced like a pause. Compare: Він є мій друг / Він (pause) мій друг.
That's precisely WHY I continue to use the verb "є" ("to be") in my Ukrainian writing & speech. I don't have to worry about 'dashes', & it 'makes more sense' & is 'more melodic & authentic'. "To BE"/"Є" is an AWESOME VERB! Why would anyone want to remove it from a language?! :/
No one 'wants to remove it', it's you who want to add it. It's not used in literary Ukrainian. Just open any Ukrainian book, and you'll see «є» is not used there in the way your dialect uses it. For example, I've just opened Taras Shevchenko's «Причинна», and here's what I see:
- «Така її доля... О боже мій милий!», NOT «Така є її доля».
- «Одна, як та пташка в далекім краю.», NOT «Одна є».
- «Пошли ж ти їй долю, — вона молоденька», NOT «вона є молоденька».
- «Щаслива голубка: високо літає», NOT «щаслива є голубка».
- «О боже мій милий! така твоя воля, // Таке її щастя, така її доля!», NOT «така є твоя воля, // таке є її щастя, така є її доля».
- «Чи всі ви тута?» — кличе мати», NOT «Чи всі ви є тута?»
This is how Ukrainian classic books were written: without «є» (except when it means 'there is').
more melodic & authentic
So, Shevchenko is not authentic and melodic for you? Lesya Ukrainka and other classic writers are not authentic for you? Modern Ukrainian writers are not authentic for you? Then who is?
The literary languages are formed like this: the literature becomes famous all over the country, and then people start imitating it. The dialects that become the basis of literary language don't use «є» the way that you do.
Yes, some Western dialects have «є». However, literature wasn't and isn't written in these Western dialects, so this usage of «є» is only limited to that region. Because no famous books were written in your variant of Ukrainian. Instead, people of the West embraced the literary Ukrainian (without «є» everywhere) because they wanted Ukraine to be a single country and wanted to be understood by people throughout Ukraine, and not just in the West.