Form I Verb Vowelling Patterns


root: ح-ر-ك / noun / plural: حَرَكات / definition: vowel

Have you ever come across some information about Arabic, long after you began studying, and you’re just like: how did I not know this before?!

Well, that’s how I felt reading Arabic for Nerds‘ post “What does the vowel on the second root letter of an Arabic verb tell us?“—where I found out that the short vowel on the middle root letter of form I past tense verbs (like the fatha of كَتَبَ or the kasra of تَعِبَ) is often related to the general meaning of the verb.

Continue reading “Form I Verb Vowelling Patterns”

What Does مما كان عليه Mean?


root: ح-و-ل / noun / plural: حالات / definition: state, case, condition

In the post Treasures in Translation, I used a quote from an article to illustrate a cool translation point—the quote being:

وما ينذر بالسوء أن درجة حرارة الأرض أصبحت الآن أعلى مما كانت عليه خلال عصر الهولوسين

…and the translation point being وما ينذر بالسوء (“ominously”).

But there’s another interesting phrase in the quote above—and in many other texts you’ll come across—and that is: مما كانت عليه.

Continue reading “What Does مما كان عليه Mean?”

Reading Arabic Literature: Vocabulary Finds


root: ص-ف-ح / noun / plural: صَفَحات / definition: a page

I brought so many books with me to university and I really thought I’d be spending a lot more time reading Arabic literature during this degree. Alas, my novels have been banished to the dark corner underneath my desk for around two months now.

Two days ago though, I sat myself down with موسم الهجرة إلى الشمال (which we previously looked at in our literature translations) and actually read a chapter. So I thought I’d share with you some of my vocab finds…

Continue reading “Reading Arabic Literature: Vocabulary Finds”

Listening Resource for Arabic Dialects


root: ع-م-م / noun / definition: the colloquial language

So I’m now seven weeks into this master’s course and we’ve just had our first عامية lesson. It sort of feels like being transported back to the first year of undergrad, except that the stakes are a bit higher now because in a matter of weeks, I need to have absorbed enough عامية to be able to speak it for my final oral exam of the term.

(Arabic oral exams, for me, are already nightmarish—so I can’t say that the thought is not already stressing me out. *I remind myself that it’s all part of the learning process…*)

Continue reading “Listening Resource for Arabic Dialects”

Forming “Too X to X” Constructions in Arabic


root: ب-ع-د / adjective / definition: far, distant

How do we form constructions like “too far away to see” or “too young to understand” in Arabic? Let’s take a look!

Continue reading “Forming “Too X to X” Constructions in Arabic”

Arabic Vocabulary Resource for Students


root: و-ر-د / noun / plural: مَوارِد / definition: resource

It’s reading week already—which means this year is going entirely too fast and I’m mildly wildly panicking about what I’m going to do next September. At least, though, I finished writing the first essay that I actually enjoyed researching so far this year.

Anyway, today I thought I’d share a great Arabic vocabulary resource which will no doubt come in handy for us students.

Continue reading “Arabic Vocabulary Resource for Students”

What Does إذ Mean and How Do We Use It?


root: س-ب-ب / noun / plural: أَسْباب / definition: reason, rationale

So many milestones! It’s been two years now since my first post on this blog, where I was pretty much writing for an audience of one (thanks Mum <3).

In this time, I’ve received so many messages from you guys—blog readers and fellow Arabic students—telling me how much you love the content. I had no idea where this little project was heading at the start, but I’m so glad that it’s been useful for so many.

Continue reading “What Does إذ Mean and How Do We Use It?”

Three Arabic Words for “Obstacle”


root: ص-ع-ب / adjective / definition: difficult

Last week’s Wehr Wednesdays post included an Arabic word meaning “obstacle”, which is just one of those words that you’ll use frequently when writing Arabic essays or the like. So I thought why not look at three of the most common Arabic translations for it here?

Interestingly, all three begin with ع—I wonder if that’s because the ع poses an obstacle in the way of mastering Arabic pronunciation… The word صعب (“difficult”) has an ع too, in the middle.

Continue reading “Three Arabic Words for “Obstacle””

How to Form Words with the “Re-” Prefix in Arabic


root: ش-ك-ل / verbal noun of form II / definition: forming, formation

I’ve never been great when it comes to time perception. But I do know that it feels like ages since we last had a grammar post on here (the last was Quadriliteral Active Participles in Arabic, it seems).

I can’t stay away from grammar for too long, so in this post, I’m going to go through two ways to form words that have the “re-” prefix in English—like rebuild, recycling, and reintegrated.

Continue reading “How to Form Words with the “Re-” Prefix in Arabic”

The Online Dictionary for Arabic Dialects


root: ل-ه-ج / noun / plural: لَهْجات / definition: dialect

I can’t believe we officially hit the 200th-post mark with Wehr Wednesdays #99, where we looked at the phrase ضاح للشمس—a phrase which has been allocated to the “I love this bit of vocab and I can’t explain why” section of my brain (where the verb طفِق also resides, that’s another mightily cool one for me).

My brain was just about to wander off to calculate how many hours I’ve possibly spent on all these posts but we have something more important to discuss, because a new Arabic resource has recently been added to my favourites bar! And anything that’s earned a place up there, alongside the Hans Wehr, has to be shared.

Continue reading “The Online Dictionary for Arabic Dialects”