Arabic Headline Analysis #7

جامِعة

root: ج-م-ع / noun / plural: جامِعات / definition: university


So I’m finally here, at university (!), after a four-hour drive which depleted my already-sunken energy levels and temporarily numbed my arm that had the misfortune of being the support pillar of a precariously-balanced bag.

But who cares about the fatigue, the six hills I have to trek up to get to my seminar building, and the constant hum of the fridge in my little studio flat that’s driving me up the wall… because I’m so excited to be formally studying Arabic again!

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Useful Arabic Phrases Meaning “Tantamount to”

عَكَسَ

root: ع-ك-س / form I verb / present tense: يَعكِسُ / definition: to reflect


I was toying with the title Fancy Ways to Say “Is” in Arabic for this post—which would have been reflective of the content, albeit a little ambiguous.

Nevertheless, the phrases we’re going to look at in this post which—by dictionary definition—mean “tantamount to” are often simply translated as “is”.

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Four Arabic Verbs Meaning “to Listen”

أُذن

root: ء-ذ-ن / noun / plural: آذان / definition: ear


A few months ago, we took a look at a plethora of Arabic words that all mean “to look at”. Now, we’re adding to the synonyms series by exploring another common verb related to one of the senses: “to listen“!

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Quadriliteral Active Participles in Arabic

اِسم فاعِل

root: ف-ع-ل / phrase / definition: active participle


If you’d asked me a week ago, I’d have told you that I lead a somewhat minimalist life—I hate having *things* cluttering up spaces around me which could very well be left empty. (This is, of course, ignoring my book-filled shelves and surfaces—books are entirely different to things.)

But packing up my stuff to move to university—which starts in less than three weeks!—has made me question that. Because all of a sudden, my room is populated with two stuffed suitcases, kitchen pots and utensils, and a scattering of half-packed bags plopped on the floor.

Anyway, anyway… I digress.

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Step-by-Step Arabic Literature Translation #8

سيرة

root: س-ي-ر / noun / plural: سِيَر / definition: biography


For this post in the literature translation series, we’ll be going word-by-word through a non-fiction excerpt, taken from بغداد: سيرة مدينة (Baghdad: Biography of a City) by the Iraqi writer نجم والي (Najem Wali).

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How to Say “Both” in Arabic

اِثنانِ

root: ث-ن-ي / noun / definition: two


We might know of some different ways to say “all of“, but do we know how to say “both” when we’re dealing with dual nouns in Arabic? Let’s take a look at how it’s done!

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The Grammar of Using Arabic Numbers

عَدَد

root: ع-د-د / noun / plural: أَعْداد / definition: number


I remember learning the grammar for using Arabic numbers at university. It seemed fairly simple as there were essentially three sets of rules: one for the numbers 3-10, one for 11-99, and another for whole hundreds, thousands, etc.

But when I looked a little deeper, I realised that there were a few little exceptions and special cases! Well, now’s a good a time as ever to delve into the details…

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Root Exploration: ع-ر-ق

زَمَن

root: ز-م-ن / noun / plural: أَزمان / definition: stretch of time


It’s been a long time since our last post in the Root Exploration series. (In all honesty, though, it hasn’t felt long at all to me since I explore roots in the dictionary every day!)

I’ve had a few roots written down in my notes that I’d like to explore in this series but today I sat here—glasses on, laptop on desk, sweet sunshine outside the window to my right—and typed three letters into my Hans Wehr app: ع-ر-ق.

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