Three Arabic Verbs for “to Show”


root: ث-ل-ث / noun / definition: Tuesday

Tuesday feels a little sleepy this week but I have no time to nap. My weekend was spent packing up the things I had left in my university flat which involved an eight-hour round trip (actually, nine with the traffic on the way back) and no progress on my dissertation. But I was glad to be leaving.

I had a little taste of excitement yesterday though during one of my regular evening walks with my mum: we mostly speed-walked (and, at times, ran) through a thunderstorm and downpour, with me laughing most of the way, where our umbrellas did nothing to prevent us getting drenched from head to toe. Sometimes you just need a bit of lightning in your life, right?

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Active Participles of Defective Roots


root: م-ر-س / verbal noun of form III / definition: practice

So I got the chance to practise speaking Arabic today and it’s safe to say that I’m… rusty. I shouldn’t be overly surprised seeing as it’s somehow been three and a half months since my final Arabic oral exam in Jordan, and I’ve only had sprinklings of small talk since then.

It’s always frustrating to have to deliberately think before uttering a sentence. Is the grammar okay? Is that the best word for this context? Is there an easier way to phrase this? But no one ever got good at anything without practice anyway. I’ll persevere.

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Arabic Observations: The Essence of Failure


root: ف-ش-ل / noun / definition: failure

If you’ve studied Al-Kitaab, you’ll have learnt the word (well, one of the words) for failure: فَشَل.

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A Dissertation, More Poetry, and Moving Forward


root: ن-ه-ي / noun / definition: end, finish

This year has felt long in many ways, but as I approach my dissertation’s September deadline, I feel as though I’m being outpaced by time.

I’ll admit I’ve been a bit too laid-back about my dissertation until now (as panic starts to tap urgently on my door). Maybe I forgot how much I loved planning my undergrad dissertation, how much I loved the analysis, and how much I loved watching everything come together.

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Three Ways to Say “Seize the Opportunity” in Arabic


root: ح-ر-ر / noun / definition: heat

I’ve been making the most of the heat and sun these two days with (very) mini sunbathing sessions in the garden fuelled by several litres of water and regular respite inside the somewhat-cooler house. Living in the UK, I feel like I need to make the most of whatever sun we’re lucky enough to get.

(I’ve also been watching A Place in the Sun enviously for the past two weeks, wishing it was me house-hunting in the Mediterranean—one day إن شاء الله…)

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Root Exploration: م-د-ن


root: ص-و-ب / passive participle of form IV (feminine) / definition: afflicted, ill

After more than two years of successfully dodging Covid, it finally caught me—and my parents—out. At least there’s some solidarity.

That annoying cough is still plaguing me as I type this and, over the weekend, I was suffering the worst sore throat I can remember. Sense of taste and smell are gone too, I’m feverish, and, ooh, the relentless back pain between my shoulder blades was agony for the first few days.

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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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