Arabic Headline Analysis #2

خَبَر

root: خ-ب-ر / noun / plural: أخْبار / definition: news


It’s safe to say that most of us are following the news more than ever now, now that we’re in the middle of an accelerating pandemic.

And while headlines seem to be overwhelming in number, I’ve decided to pick a recent Arabic headline to analyse—step-by-step—so that you’ll hopefully find them less overwhelming in terms of linguistic content.

(If you haven’t read the previous headline analysis, you can find it here.)


The following headline is from Al Jazeera:

ـ 30 مارس/آذار 2020

الصين تعيد إغلاق صالات السينما استعدادا لموجة ثانية من فيروس كورونا


The breakdown:

الصين

الْصِّين simply means “China”

تعيد

تُعيد is a form IV present tense verb from the root ع-و-د, so the past and present forms are أَعادَ and يُعيد, respectively (you can view the verb form chart here, if you’re still not confident with the forms)

It has the meaning of “to do something again”, so you’ll usually find that it is followed by a مصدر (verbal noun) with the meaning of “to re-x” (e.g. rebuild, re-open, etc.)

You’ll notice that the verb conjugation is feminine, and that’s because the subject الصين—like the names of most other countries in Arabic—is grammatically feminine

إغلاق

The word إغْلاق is the مصدر of form IV from the root غ-ل-ق, and means “to close”/”closing”

So تُعيد إغلاق means “re-closes”

إغلاق does not have the definite marker الـ at the start as it is the first word in a three-word إضافة (genitive construction)

(note: so although we have translated the phrase تعيد إغلاق as a verb in English (“re-closes”), إغلاق itself is still a noun, which is why it can form an إضافة)

صالات السينما

صالات is the second word in the إضافة, and it is the plural of صالة which means “hall”

السينَما means “cinema” and is the last word in this إضافة

Together, صالات السينما can be translated as “cinemas” (or, in American terms, “movie theatres”)


So far, this is what we have:

الصين تعيد إغلاق صالات السينما

China re-closes cinemas

Note: it is tempting to just translate إضافة constructions into English using the word “of”, which tends not to sound very natural

For example, if we did that here, we’d end up with something like “China re-does the closing of the halls of cinema”… so make sure you look at phrases and sentences as whole units to get more idiomatic translations

Onto the rest of the headline:

استعدادا

اِستِعْداداً comes from the مصدر for the form X verb of the root ع-د-د, which is استعداد

استعداد means “preparedness” or “preparation”

In simple terms, a word may be in منصوب case (i.e. end in ً ) because it is telling us how/why/in what way the verb is being carried out—and we often translate it into English using “in” or “as” or “in terms of”

(Examples include: “as a precaution”/”اِحتِرازاً”; “in fear of”/”مَخافةً”; and “in terms of culture”/”ثَقافةً”)

So, in this context, we can translate استعداداً as “in preparation”

لموجة

لِمَوْجَة is a combination of two elements, لِ and مَوجة

لـِ here means “for”, which is easy to guess, considering the previous word: استعدادا لـِ = “in preparation for”

مَوجة, from the root م-و-ج, means “a wave”

ثانية

ثانِيَة is an adjective meaning “second” or “another”, derived from the root ث-ن-ي

It has the feminine ـة ending because the noun that it is describing (موجة) is feminine, so the adjective must match in gender

So, موجة ثانية means “a second/another wave”

من

مِن has various meanings, but here it means “of”

فيروس كورونا

فيروس means “virus”

So, فيروس كورونا, as you’ve probably guessed by now, means “coronavirus”


The full headline:

الصين تعيد إغلاق صالات السينما استعدادا لموجة ثانية من فيروس كورونا

China re-closes cinemas in preparation for a second wave of coronavirus



That’s all there is to it!

And while we’re on the topic… If you’re following the news in Arabic regarding the ongoing pandemic, I’ve created a vocab set on Quizlet which you might find useful. I’m aiming to gather together all of the most relevant vocabulary used in the news about the situation (I’m still adding to it by the day!) to help myself and others navigate through all of the new terms we’re hearing and reading. You can check it out here.

So I hope this walk-through was clear enough and helpful; if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below. And don’t forget to share this post with others who may find it beneficial!

!مع السلامة


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