Verbal Nouns of Hollow Roots

مَصْدَر root: ص-د-ر / noun / plural: مَصادِر / definition: verbal noun, source Back in June, when we looked at the different types of Arabic roots, we mentioned that hollow roots are those with either و or ي as the middle letter. Like ق-و-ل and غ-ي-ر. Verbal nouns (مصادر) derived from hollow roots sometimes followContinue reading “Verbal Nouns of Hollow Roots”

The Verb يتسبّب and its Prepositions

مُتَنَوِّع root: ن-و-ع / active participle of form V / definition: various In one of the examples in Arabic Observations: Words with Antonymic Meanings, we saw how changing the preposition following a verb could produce two completely opposite meanings. While the meaning of the form V verb تَسَبَّبَ / يَتَسَبَّبُ doesn’t change that drastically, it stillContinue reading “The Verb يتسبّب and its Prepositions”

Form I Active Participles of Geminate Roots

مُضَعَّف root: ض-ع-ف / passive participle of form II / definition: doubled, geminate As we saw in the post Arabic Roots: the Different Types, geminate roots are those whose final two letters are the same. Like م-س-س or ح-ر-ر. When it comes to the form I active participle of geminate roots then, we might expect itsContinue reading “Form I Active Participles of Geminate Roots”

What’s the Difference Between ابن and بن?

اِبْن root: ب-ن / noun / plural: أَبْناء or بَنون / definition: son Having finished my master’s, I took myself to the Tate Modern last week and wandered around the galleries and the exhibitions I’d booked to see. I was clearly inspired by the trip because I picked up my paintbrush again a few eveningsContinue reading “What’s the Difference Between ابن and بن?”

Meanings of منذ

رِحْلة root: ر-ح-ل / noun / plural: رِحلات / definition: a trip My mini summer getaway is just around the corner… and my dissertation deadline is almost just as close. I’ll try not to stress just yet, but with roughly 10,000 words left to write, I’m sure that the adrenaline will come in handy whenContinue reading “Meanings of منذ”

Active Participles of Defective Roots

مُمارَسة 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’veContinue reading “Active Participles of Defective Roots”

Seats of the Hamza (ء)

هَمْزة 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, atContinue reading “Seats of the Hamza (ء)”

Arabic Roots: the Different Types

نَوْع 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 makingContinue reading “Arabic Roots: the Different Types”

Passive Form I Quadriliteral Verbs

رُباعي 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.

The Causative بـ

ذاكِرة 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 solitaireContinue reading “The Causative بـ”

The Case of امّحق: Form VII Assimilation

مُماثَلة root: م-ث-ل / verbal noun of form III / definition: assimilation (phonology) There’s less than three weeks until my study abroad module begins which means I’ll be jetting off very soon for a relaxing break an intensive period of Arabic study in Jordan. It really can’t come soon enough because I’ve forgotten almost allContinue reading “The Case of امّحق: Form VII Assimilation”

The False/Adjective إضافة

إضافة root: ض-ي-ف / verbal noun of form IV / definition: addition, genitive construction So we all know the إضافة, right? It’s a construction where nouns are put together, with certain rules, to indicate possession. Well… Did you know we can actually use adjectives inside إضافة constructions? I know this probably sounds contradictory to everythingContinue reading “The False/Adjective إضافة”

The Meaning of لم يكن لـ

إبْداعي root: ب-د-ع / adjective / definition: creative I was tempted to write another literature-inspired post this week (especially considering I just completed my first piece of creative writing Arabic homework which was so fun to do!), but how long can we go without some good old grammar?! A long while ago, when I wasContinue reading “The Meaning of لم يكن لـ”

“Once Upon a Time” in Arabic

قِصّة root: ق-ص-ص / noun / plural: قِصَص / definition: story Once upon a time… It’s the typical opening of the stories I’m sure most of us used to read when we were younger. But what’s the Arabic equivalent of this phrase? And how does it make sense grammatically?

Diminutives in Arabic

صَغير root: ص-غ-ر / adjective / definition: small A diminutive is a modified word used to express smallness. Think of the English word duckling, derived from duck. In Arabic, the diminutive is referred to as التَّصغير—a verbal noun meaning “to make smaller”. So how can we recognise and form diminutives in Arabic?

Using عدم

عَدَم root: ع-د-م / noun / definition: nonexistence, absence, lack The word عَدَم is a noun meaning “nonexistence”, “absence”, or “lack (of)”. When it’s used in an إضافة with a following noun, it can often be translated as a prefix like non-, un-, or dis-. Let’s look at some examples…

Using مهما

فَصْل دِراسيّ root: ف-ص-ل / noun phrase / definition: academic term, semester It’s officially the final week of term 1 and I’m in that position where, on one hand, I can’t believe a whole term has passed and, on the other hand, I wish I could fast forward past this final wave of deadlines andContinue reading “Using مهما”

Form I Verb Vowelling Patterns

حَرَكة 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 letterContinue reading “Form I Verb Vowelling Patterns”

What Does مما كان عليه Mean?

حالة 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 beingContinue reading “What Does مما كان عليه Mean?”