Dictionary Finds: أيِس

وَثائِقي

root: و-ث-ق / adjective / definition: documentary


I’ve spent the past few days furiously (and, sometimes, frustratedly) editing the mini documentary I have to submit for an Arabic assessment. I say “mini”, but creating a 30-minute video with footage from Jordan and videos I shot here in my flat of me speaking face-to-camera—with my phone precariously balanced on a chair, recycling box, and a stack of books I haven’t had time to read—has felt like no small feat.

And I say “frustratedly” because, other than the video transition glitches getting on my last nerve, watching and listening to yourself speak a foreign language—and having to re-watch and re-listen so many times during the editing process—is not too fun.

(Also, I have unfortunately discovered in the process that my eyes don’t blink in sync, something I’d rather have not known, to be honest.)

But it’s not all doom and gloom, in fact overall it’s been quite fun creating the documentary. And I’m sure I’d sound more enthusiastic saying that if there was no looming deadline in the mix.

“Deadlines” seems to be the keyword in recent weeks, so although I’ve been craving to write a really in-depth grammar post here, neither the calendar nor my full-to-the-brim brain would allow it.

After this batch of deadlines/exams in May though, I’ll no doubt be ready to decompress with some good old grammar. And what a lovely distraction it will be from the dissertation I have yet to start.

(Note: any grammar explanation requests are welcome in the comment section below!)

Well…. That was a long introduction.

Back to القاموس we go now, as this is the second post in our new Dictionary Finds series.

Not too long ago, I was taking a look at page 47 of the Hans Wehr (possibly checking if أيقوني, “iconic”, occurs as a nisba adjective under the noun أيقونة, “icon”—it doesn’t), when my eyes wandered onto an interesting verb:

Now, not only is this verb interesting phonetically—something about أَيِسَ / يَأيَسُ sounds quite cool, in my opinion, I think it’s the ء-followed-by-ي sequence—but my immediate thought was: word twin!

That’s right, this verb is a twin to the more commonly used verb for “to despair”: يَئِسَ / يَيئِس أو يَيأَس.

The verb أيس is derived from the root ء-ي-س while يئس comes from ي-ء-س, so the only difference is that the root letters ي and ء have switched positions.

It’s only been four weeks since my last post about word twins, but I clearly couldn’t wait to talk about another example of the phenomenon. And I think that’s partly because recognising word twins when flicking through the dictionary is pretty good proof that vocabulary is taking root in deeper parts of your brain.

I mean, how easy would it be to recognise أيس as a word twin if you hadn’t internalised يئس?

I could go on and on but like I mentioned… deadlines! I have a 1500-word reflective piece in Arabic due tomorrow, and I’m only about 20% of the way through, so it’s time to get moving.

I’ll see you on my next post!

!مع السلامة


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2 thoughts on “Dictionary Finds: أيِس

  1. Your wishes have been partially fulfilled, I have just left a grammar question for you under the post on Arabic numbers : ) I hope for your response!

    Thank you for the wonderful blog.

    Please accept my best wishes during this stressful period!

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