Seats of the Hamza (ء)


root: ه-م-ز / noun / plural: هَمَزات / definition: the letter ء, the glottal stop

This is a post I’ve been meaning to make for a while—for my own sake as well as yours, fellow Arabic nerds.

I’m sure we’ve all noticed that the hamza (ء) sometimes appears independently in a word and, at other times, it appears on one of the following letters: ا / و / ى (the so-called seats).

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Four Words for “Contradiction” in Arabic


root: ق-ط-ر / noun / plural: قِطارات / definition: train

I’m back in London as of Sunday and I’m relieved. It feels much less… claustrophobic. The two-hour train journey here was neither fun nor productive though, because although I had planned to get some dissertation reading done on the journey, I only managed about five pages before my travel sickness overwhelmed me and I succumbed to staring into space for the rest of the journey.

Ah well.

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Arabic Roots: the Different Types


root: ن-و-ع / noun / plural: اَنْواع / definition: type

I’ve thought about writing a book about Arabic grammar for a long time. Just because I love it so much. I thought that maybe I’d start off with a small one about Arabic verbs, focusing on the forms perhaps, but when I start making plans about what I’d include, the plan for the “small book” soon spirals out of control because there’s just so much I can’t bear to exclude!

The conclusion is that I’m sticking to writing blog posts for the time being. But keep an eye out…

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Passive Form I Quadriliteral Verbs


root: ر-ب-ع / adjective / definition: quadriliteral

Quadriliterals… we meet again. And this time, we’re looking at how to transform form I quadriliteral verbs from active to passive.

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The Causative بـ


root: ذ-ك-ر / noun / definition: memory

Ahh, finally, a grammar post! My brain feels at least somewhat refreshed now that I’ve had a week of doing nothing (except what we can call passive learning: watching Lebanese and Iraqi TV series and having الجزيرة on in the background every day while I play solitaire in the kitchen).

In today’s post we’re going to look at an interesting function of the preposition بِـ when it follows some verbs.

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Another Small But Useful Phrase: جاء في


root: ق-ر-ر / verbal noun of form II / plural: تَقارير / definition: report

With my last deadline until September out of the way as of Monday, my brain has finally had time to do… nothing. And it’s really needed that break to be honest—since we started semester two way back in January, it’s been non-stop: 11 consecutive weeks of class, 4 weeks in Jordan, and then 4 weeks of deadlines/exams.

No wonder I’m exhausted.

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Some Form VI Verbs for “to Compete with One Another”


root: ن-ف-س / verbal noun of form III / plural: مُنافَسات / definition: competition

Form VI verbs typically refer to some sort of exchange, or mutual action. And competition, by nature, involves mutual participation.

So let’s explore some of the form VI verbs that mean “to compete with one another”, and the roots they’re derived from…

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Dictionary Finds: أيِس


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.

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Eight Ways to Say “to Die” in Arabic

The Dead Sea, Jordan


root: و-ف-ي / noun / plural: وَفَيات / definition: death

There’s life… and there’s death. And we have to know how to talk about both in Arabic. So I thought I’d compile a (non-exhaustive) list of words and phrases we can use to talk about the latter.

(On a side note: a pat on the back for my subconscious as, when I chose the photo at the top of the post, I hadn’t made any conscious connection between what was in it and today’s topic… it’s the Dead Sea. Obviously a part of my brain is always working behind the scenes to add more coherence to my blog than I can consciously process!)

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Leaving Amman


root: غ-د-ر / verbal noun of form III / definition: leaving

The sun, the great balcony view, the sleepy Ramadan atmosphere… all of that is behind me now, as I type this post from my home in London, where it has been grey and cloudy (or maybe just metaphorically?) since my return.

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