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?”

Master’s, Completed

التَّسليم root: س-ل-م / verbal noun of form II / definition: submitting, submission Yesterday I submitted my dissertation and, with it, completed my master’s degree in Advanced Arabic! The dissertation deadline was actually today, so I wasn’t scrambling to finish like I thought I might be. I realised I was thankfully cruising through to submissionContinue reading “Master’s, Completed”

Arabic Observations: Arabic Plurals

الجَمْع root: ج-م-ع / noun / definition: the plural I’m back from my little Venice getaway and straight back to working on my dissertation. Well… I mean, of course I took a day’s rest because, you know… jet lag, or something. I think those few days away from my laptop were worth the extra stressContinue reading “Arabic Observations: Arabic Plurals”

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”

Another Small But Useful Phrase: جاء في

تَقرير 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’sContinue reading “Another Small But Useful Phrase: جاء في”

Dictionary Finds: أيِس

وَثائِقي 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 myContinue reading “Dictionary Finds: أيِس”

Leaving Amman

مُغادَرة 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.

Dictionary Finds: لا تدمري

اِكتِشاف root: ك-ش-ف / verbal noun of form VIII / plural: اِكتِشافات / definition: a discovery, find There are certain words and phrases you’ll come across in the Arabic dictionary that’ll stick with you for some reason or other, despite you never having heard them uttered or seen them written down elsewhere. For me, theContinue reading “Dictionary Finds: لا تدمري”

Arabic Observations: More Word Twins

مَزيد root: ز-ي-د / noun / definition: more Over two years ago, I wrote about a phenomenon which I like to call “word twins” in an Arabic Observations post. In summary: […] there are some Arabic words you’ll find that have essentially the same meaning, but they differ by a single letter. Sometimes it’ll beContinue reading “Arabic Observations: More Word Twins”

Immersed in Amman

اِنْغِماس root: غ-م-س / verbal noun of form VII / definition: immersion There must be something in the air in Amman that is infusing me with wakefulness—after walking around downtown Amman late last night, having an almost-all-nighter in our apartment, and sitting through intense classes from 9am-3:30pm today, I really should be more tired atContinue reading “Immersed in Amman”

To Amman!

سَفَر root: س-ف-ر / verbal noun of form III / definition: travel Apologies in advance for a very tired post (forgive any typos!) but I’ve spent the first half of the day travelling by train and tube for over three hours (with a packed-to-the-weight-limit suitcase and two bags) and the rest shopping for home decorContinue reading “To Amman!”

Arabic Observations: Distance and the Future

مَسافة root: س-و-ف / noun / plural: مَسافات / definition: distance Have you ever had those moments when you finally make the connection between two words from the same root? I mean, I knew مَسافة (“distance”) and سَوفَ (the particle indicating future tense) were both from the root س-و-ف, but they’d clearly been floating aroundContinue reading “Arabic Observations: Distance and the Future”

Affinity to Quadriliterals

اِنْجِذاب root: ج-ذ-ب / verbal noun of form VII / definition: affinity, attraction I have such an affinity to Arabic quadriliterals (four-letter roots). Are there really that many in the dictionary that they can’t be ignored, or are my eyes just drawn to them whenever they’re present on the page? Either way, I usually taskContinue reading “Affinity to Quadriliterals”

Arabic Observations: “Diamonds” and the Definite Article

قِراءة root: ق-ر-ء / verbal noun of form I / definition: reading As I was doing my reading for yesterday’s literature class, I came across a familiar word: الأَلماس. I instantly recalled that it meant “diamond”… but then I remembered another word for “diamonds” that I had learnt: الماس. So, I headed to the HansContinue reading “Arabic Observations: “Diamonds” and the Definite Article”

Reading Arabic Literature: Snippets From This Week

أُسبوع root: س-ب-ع / noun / plural: أَسابيع / definition: week Conveniently for this reading literature series, I’ve just started Arabic literature classes at university this term—which means lots more reading for me and lots more vocabulary for these posts!