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Posts Tagged ‘Arabic beginners’

Hollow Verbs

Verbs in which the middle root letter is waw or ya و ي
Are traditionally known as “hollow verbs” and are subject to certain phonetic changes.
In the past tense, this “weak letter” is usually replaced by an Alif, so that we could describe this using the pattern:
فالَ
for example you will often come across these common verbs which fit the pattern:
كان
kaana
he was

جاء
Jaa’a
he came

زار
zaara
he visited

In the present tense the middle letter is the original root middle letter (this can be found out by checking a dictionary, or simply learned.)

So that from the above verbs we get:

يكونُ
يجيءُ
يزورُ

These verbs are then conjugated as normal.

nb: It is important to note that because these middle root letters are seen as “weak” sometimes they can be pushed out and there will be no long vowel in the word at all! This happens whenever the long vowel would have been followed by a letter with a sukoon. Eg:

In the past tense first person of كان
we get the conjugation :
كُنْتُ
kuntu
This is because of the rule that you never should have a long vowel followed by a letter with a sukoon
The long vowel has been retained in the small way of placing a damma on the kaf. So we can say that in a way the long vowel is squeezed into its equivilent small vowel.

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Except

The main words which can be used to make exceptions are :

سوى
siwaa
إلا
ilaa

Which are basically synomymous. The most famous example which every Muslim will no doubt be familiar with is our declaration:

لا إلهَ إلا الله

There is no god except Allah.

Some other examples made up by me :

ما جاء الأولادُ إلا أحمدُ
maa jaa’a al awlaadu ilaa Ahmad
The boys did not come, except Ahmad
ie: From the boys, only Ahmad came.
Here you must note that Ahmad has damma as he is the logical subject despite being after ilaa

الساعة التاسعة إلا ربعٍ
As-saa3at ut taasi3ah ila rub3in
It is quarter to nine
ie: it is nine o clock, except a quarter

أحبّ كلّ الطلابِ إلا مصطفى
uhebbu kull at tullaabi ilaa mustafa
I love all the students, except Mustafa

After Siwa if you are using a pronoun then it must act like it does when you add a pronoun to words like “inna”. Eg not “huwa” but just the possesive ending “hu”

لم أرَ سواه
lam ara siwaahu
i didnt see anyone except him
لا يتكلّمُ الفرنسيّة سوايَ
laa yatakallam ul faransiyya siwaaya
noone speaks french except me
لم أجدْ سوى الكتب
lam ajid siwaa alkutub
i didnt find anything except the books

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Assalaamu alaykum. This time we are not going to cover a grammatical point, but rather we are going to learn some vocab and read some conversations about everyone’s favourite topic – food – and through this will we be revising some of the structures and points previously learned insha allah.

Read the following sentences and the explanations:

ماذا تريدُ أنْ تأكلَ يا محمّد؟

maadhaa tureedu an ta’kula yaa Mohammed?
what do you want to eat, Mohammed?
notice here that the word given for “what” is “maadha” not “maa”, when the word for “what?” comes with a verb, it is recommended to use “maadha”
Also notice the fatha on the end of the verb. We learnt to put a dama on the end of imperfect (present) verbs like this, however when you see the word “an” before the verb, it puts the verb in a different “mood” called subjunctive – which is usually shown by a fatha.
before we call someone by name, usually you add the word “yaa”



ماذا تريدينَ أنْ تطبجي يا حبيبتي؟

maadhaa tureedeena an taTbakhee yaa Habeebatee?
what do you want to cook, my love?
note all the same points from above apply here. for the “you feminine” the verb loses its final noon as a result of subjunctive.

هل تُحِبُّ الأرزَ يا سلمان؟

hal tuhebb ul uruzza yaa Salmaan?
do you like rice, Salman?
Normally in speech you will just call rice “Ruz” but strictly in fusha it is written with a beginning alif as Uruzz

طعامي المفضّل هو الشروامة

Ta3aamy almufaDDil huw ash sharwaama
My favourite food is sherwama
notice that the adjective agreeing with Ta3aamee has got AL. This is because the possessive endings make the word definite so adjectives following them must have AL.
The huwa here is to make the meaning clearer.
For those who do not know, Sherwama is an Arab dish made from meat. It is quite tasty

لا أحبُّ السمك

Laa uhebb us-samak
I don’t like fish
أمّي طباخةُ جيّدةٌ

Ummee Tabaakhatun Jayyida
My mum is a good cook
Notice all the agreement with the feminine subject
يحبّ يوسف الطعام الآسِيَويَّ

Yuhebbu Yousef aT Ta3aam al aasiyaawiyy
Yousef loves Asian food.
Aasiyaawiyy is an adjective created directly from the place name Aasiya which we previously learned

هل عندكم الطعام العربي في هذا المطعم؟

Hal 3andakum aT Ta3aam ul 3arabiyy fi haadhal maTa3am?
Do you have Arab food in this restaurant?
هل تفضّلينَ الطعام الإنجليزيّ أو الطعام العربيّ يا نورة؟

Hal tufaDDileen aT Ta3aam al ingleeziyya aw aT Ta3aam al 3arabiyy, yaa Noora?
Do you prefer english or arab food Noora?

 

Here is a vocab list of some foods :
(not every food could be covered obviously since there are so many things)

لحم
lahm
meat (or can refer specifically to lamb)
دجاج
dajaaj
chicken

لحم البقرة

lahm al baqra
beef
لحم الخنزير
lahm al khinzeer
pork

سمك
samak
fish

بيض
bayDH
egg

أرز
Uruzz
rice

مكرونة
makaroona
pasta

جبن
jibn
cheese

خبز
khubz
bread

حليب
haleeb
milk

عصير برتقال
aseer burtuqaal
orange juice

بسكويت
baskooweet
biscuits

كعك
ka3k
cake

سلطة
salaTa
salad

آيس كريم
Ice cream
Ice cream

فواكه
fawaakih
fruit

خضروات
khuDrawaat
vegetables

بطاطا
bataata
potato

تفاح
tufaah
apple

مانجو
maango
mango

زيتون
zaytoon
olive

شاي
shy
tea

قهوة
qahwa
coffee

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Negatives

In Arabic we have different words to negate sentences in the past, present and future. Negating simply means to change the meaning to include “not” eg:

Ahmed likes dogs
Ahmed does not like dogs – this is a negation of the above sentence

Present tense – Laa

the present tense negater is لا. it comes before the verb which you want to negate, which should be in imperfect indicitive (ie the “usual” present tense verb ending in a damma, “laa” had no effect on the verb apart from negating its meaning)

examples


لا يَكْتُبُ المدّرسُ
the teacher is not writing
يَكْتُبُ المدّرسُ
the teacher is writing

Past tense – Maa and Lam

1.) the easiest past negator to use is ما which should be placed infront of the verb in the perfect (past) tense. This also has no effect on the verb apart from negating meaning.

ما ذَهَبَ الولدُ
the boy did not go

ذَهَبَ الولدُ
the boy went

It is occasionally also used to negate a present tense sentence, but you should not do this yourself. eg

ما يَشْرَبُ
he is not drinking

2.) the other way of negating past is with لم
this comes infront of an imperfect jussive verb (مجزوم) which is formed by ending the verb with sukoon and if there is any long vowel in the verb it will be removed. if the verb had an “ending” eg in 2nd person feminine, the noon will be removed.

examples
لم يَكْتُبْ

he didnt write

لم تذْهَبي

you (female) didnt go

لم يَكُنْ

he wasnt

Future tense

لن is used, this comes before a verb in the subjunctive. This is like the normal imperfect(present) only instead of ending with dhamma on the last letter, it will be fatha. also, when the verb has an “ending” like you female, the noon is removed like in the jussive.

examples


لن يَأْكُلَ
he will not eat

يَأْكُلُ
he eats.

To negate an equational sentence, we must use the verb “laysa” لَيْسَ
although this looks like a past tense verb, we should translate it simply as “is not / are not” and do not give it a past tense meaning when translating.

It should be conjugated as any normal past tense verb. Eg

ليس الولدُ ذكيّاً
lays alwaladu dhakiyyan
the boy is not clever


ليست البنتُ مجتهدةً
laysat al bintu mujtahidatan
the girl is not hard working

Note that the predicate of the equational sentence became accusative case due to this verb. This is the same effect that we learned when using the verb Kaana, so we say that laysa is a sister of Kaana.

Also note this difference in the conjugation :
If there is a sukoon on the seen when conjugating the verb normally… then you must remove the ya.
So we are left with…

لَسْتُ كسلانً
lastu kaslaanan
i am not lazy

لَسْتِ في البيتِ
lasti fil bayt
you are not in the house
etc

This is because of the rule that we are not allowed two sukoons next to each other, and there is already a sukoon on the ya so that letter is removed.

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There are ten forms of Arabic Verbs. This means that when you take the three root letters, you may be able to use them in some of the ten different patterns. (All ten patterns are unlikely to be available for one verb! )

These patterns are useful, as they are quite regular so if you see a form three verb for example, you will straight away know how to form its verbal noun (once you learnt ur verb forms that is )

Also it will help you to recognise words and be able to pick out their roots in order to look them up in the dictionary (many good arabic dictionaries are organised by root, such as Hans Weir) (I will give the pattern represented by the root fa 3ayn lam, then an example) (verbs are given in their 3rd person masc singular form)

For beginners it will be a bit confusing to cover all ten patterns in one lesson, so we will start with forms 1 and 2

FORM ONE

The most basic form of the verb. It is the only form were certain variations may occur (ie in middle vowel of the imperfect, and in verbal noun pattern)
EG (shariba) means to drink


شَرِبَ

Past tense (perfect) Fa3ala / Shariba
فَعَلَ
Present/future tense (imperfect) yaf3alu / yashrabu (form one is the only one were the middle vowel may vary, and must be learned for each verb)

يَفْعَلُ
يَشْرَبُ

Active participle faa3ilun / shaaribun

فاعِلٌ
شارِبٌ

Passive participle maf3oolun / mashroobun

مَفْعولٌ
مَشْروبٌ

Verbal noun There are a few varying patterns of verbal noun for form one, the appropriate one can be found in the dictionary or learnt together with the verb

FORM TWO

Is formed by placing a shadda on the middle root letter.
EG (darrasa) means to teach
Past tense (perfect) fa33ala / darrasa

فَعَّلَ
دَرَّسَ

Present/future tense (imperfect) yufa33ilu / yudarrisu

يُفَعِّلُ
يُدَرِّسُ

Active participle mufa33ilun / mudarrisun

مُفَعِّلٌ
مُدَرِّسٌ

Passive participle mufa33alun / mudarrasun

مُفَعَّلٌ
مُدَرَّسٌ

Verbal noun taf3eelun / tadreesun
تَفْعِيلٌ
تِدْرِيسٌ

Other words derived from verbs
Active Participle –
The person who does the action of that verb. If the verb was “write” then the activer participle is “writer”

Passive participle – The thing that has had the action done to it. If the verb was “choose” then the passive participle is “chosen”

Verbal noun – this is a naming word that had its origin in a verb. Often it names a concept rather than a specific thing. An example of this is the word “smoking” in the sentence “Smoking is bad for you.

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Kaana and Inna

Lesson twenty : كان وإنّ

We will deal with these in the context of “equational sentences” (see lesson four)
Both of these words can be placed at the start of an equational sentence and then slightly change the following grammar.
We will firstly take إنّ
This word does not really need to be translated, but if you want to you can translate it as “indeed” or “verily”. Its purpose is to add emphasis to a sentence.

This word is always followed by a noun, and will always put the noun into the accusative (ie it makes it carry fatha)

EG:

الْوَلَدُ جَميلٌ


إنّ الْوَلَدَ جميلٌ

If it was followed by a pronoun, then the pronoun changes into its accusative form which is the same as the possessive pronouns… EG

هُوَ فَقيرٌ

إنَّهُ فقيرٌ

As for كان
It could be said to have the opposite effect of Inna.
This word puts the meaning of the equational sentence in the past and can be translated as “was”. It is a verb, and all conjugations of it cause the same grammatical effect. [it is what’s known as a Hollow Verb, and that topic will be dealt with later]
The effect of Kaana is that it puts the predicate in the accusative.
EG
الْوَلَدُ جَميلٌ

كانَ الْوَلَدُ جميلاً

This is a quite simple topic and the basic summary to remember is:
Inna : Subject in Accusative, predicate unaffected
Kaana : Subject unaffected, predicate in Accusative

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Root System

The Root System:

The following stuff in blue has been adapted from this site : Language Centre
If you wish, read the original page for more info but I have tried to make it a little bit easier to understand. This is more theory stuff, background to how the language works. If you are confused by it don’t worry too much.

  • Arabic belongs to the Semitic group of languages.
  • The characteristic feature of Semitic languages is their basis of consonantal roots (this means each word has a root made up of letters which are not vowels),
  • roots are mostly trilateral. (ie most roots are made up of Three letters
  • Variations in shade of meaning are obtained, first by varying the vowelling of the simple root, and secondly by the addition of prefixes, suffix and in-fixes.


An Arabic word is composed of two parts:

1) The root; which is usually formed of three (sometimes four) consonants.

2) The pattern; There are many “patterns” existing in the Arabic language which may be applied to a certain root to produce a meaningful word.

Because of the productive nature of the Arabic morphology, Arabic writing was mainly designed to convey primarily the root information. Hence, Arabic writing system represents mainly consonants. As we already learnt, vowels are added in by use of Harakaat (damma, kasra, fatha)

We previously touched upon this root and pattern system in the lesson on Broken Plurals. That is the kind of thing for which understanding about word patterns can be useful.

Patterns are normally shown by using the root فعل
as an example. If we wanted to symbolise the pattern of these following words:
ٌشارِب
صاحِبٌ
ٌصالِح
then we would write : فاعِلٌ

As explained above in the Language centre peice, different yet similar words can be made by using the same root but changing the pattern. Look at the following words all from the same root :
كَتَبَ
kataba
he wrote
كِتاب
kitaab
book
كُتُبٌ
kutub
books
كاتِبٌ
kaatib
writer
مكْتبٌ
maktab
office
مكتبةٌ
maktaba
library or bookshop

All the words are on the topic of writing.

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