Arabic Headline Analysis #5

نِقابة

root: ن-ق-ل / noun / plural: نِقابات / definition: syndicate, union


It’s been a while since the last instalment in the Arabic Headline Analysis series, so we’re back today with another headline from the Project Syndicate website to analyse. (Take a look at this post to find out why this news website is great for language learners!)

Here’s the headline of this article:

ـ 11 ديسمبر / كانون الأول 2020

هل يجب علينا أن نجازف بتدمير المحيط لإنقاذ الكوكب؟


And here’s the word-by-word breakdown:

هل

هَل is a particle that turns a statement into a yes/no question

so, it can be translated as “do”, “is”, “will”, etc. depending on the sentence

يجب

root: و-ج-ب

form I verb

يَجِبُ is a present tense verb in the masculine, singular conjugation

this verb is often found in this “fixed” conjugation, because the subject here is the clause beginning with أَنْ (which we’ll come to later)

أن is grammatically masculine and singular by default—hence the verb conjugation

وَجَبَ / يَجِبُ = “to be necessary”

it’s frequently followed by على, which indicates who it is necessary for

e.g. يَجِبُ عَلَيهِ = “it is necessary for him” or “he must”

so يَجِبُ can be translated as “necessary” or “must” or “have/has to”—we’ll see which translation sounds best when we put it all together

علينا

components: عَلى + نا

على is a preposition—as mentioned, when it follows the verb يَجِبُ, it indicates who must do something

the نا suffix is the first person, plural attached object pronoun meaning “us”

so هَل يَجِبُ عَلَينا = “is it necessary for us…?” or “do we have to…?”

أن

أَنْ is a particle that introduces a verbal clause—i.e. it’s going to be followed by a verb

when we have أن plus a verb, it often translates into the infinitive form, e.g. “to do” or “to speak”

the verb it’s followed by must always be in the subjunctive mood, المضارع المنصوب

نجازف

root: ج-ز-ف

form III verb, present tense, first person plural conjugation

جازَفَ / يُجازِفُ = “to risk”, when the object of the verb is preceded by بِـ

so, for example, يُجازِفُ بِنَفسِهِ means “he risks his life”

the verb نُجازِف here ends in a fatha (نُجازِفَ) because—due to the أن—it is المضارع المنصوب

together, أن نُجازِفَ means “to risk”, when referring to the subject “we”

بتدمير

components: بِـ + تَدْمير

as we said, the preposition بِـ after the verb جازف / يجازف simply introduces the verb’s object which is…

تَدْمير

root: د-م-ر

form II verbal noun (مصدر)

تَدمير, derived from the form II verb دَمَّرَ / يُدَمِّرُ, means “destroying/ruining” or “destruction”

its case would be مجرور because it comes immediately after a preposition (بِـ)—so it would end in a kasra: تَدميرِ

although this word doesn’t have الـ, it is definite because it’s in a definite إضافة (possessive construction) with the next noun

المحيط

root: ح-و-ط

noun

مُحيط = “ocean”

the prefix الـ is the definite marker—المحيط = “the ocean”

the derivation of this word is interesting: it’s actually the active participle (اسم فاعل) of the form IV verb أحاطَ / يُحيطُ meaning “to surround”

so the literal meaning of مُحيط = “that which surrounds”—a beautifully metaphorical way to view the ocean, I think

المحيط would be مجرور too, because it’s a non-initial word in an إضافة

تدمير المحيطِ means “the destruction of the ocean” or “destroying the ocean”

لإنقاذ

components: لِـ + إنقاذ

لِـ is a preposition that can carry many different meanings, here it means “for (the sake of)” or “(in order) to”

as for إنقاذ…

root: ن-ق-ذ

form IV verbal noun

إنقاذ = “to save/rescue” or “saving/rescuing”

here, it will be مجرور due to the preceding preposition, لِـ

إنقاذ is in an إضافة with the next word

الكوكب

root: ك-و-ك-ب

noun

كَوْكَب = “planet”

الكَوْكَب = “the planet”

again, it would be مجرور because it’s a non-initial word in an إضافة

together, لِإنقاذ الكَوكَبِ means “to save the planet”


Time to put all of that together for the initial translation!

هل يجب علينا أن نجازف بتدمير المحيط لإنقاذ الكوكب؟

Is it necessary for us to risk the destruction of the ocean to save the planet?


My first thought? It’s a bit wordy for a headline.

Let’s neaten it up:

Do we have to risk destroying the ocean to save the planet?


Do you find these word-by-word breakdowns of news headlines and literature extracts useful? Let me know!

Make sure to check last week’s post for the different ways to say “one of” in Arabic, too. I’ll catch you on my next post.

!مع السلامة


Follow The Arabic Pages on Instagram and Twitter, and find out how you can support this blog!

If you’d like to receive email notifications whenever a new post is published on The Arabic Pages, enter your email below and click “Subscribe”:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: