Arabic Headline Analysis #8

مِقْرَعَة root: ق-ر-ع / noun / plural: مَقارِع / definition: door knocker In the photo above is the newspaper page, dated 1991, that was used to wrap up the ornate brass door knocker I bought from an artisan workshop on my last day in Agadir. The newspaper page is now folded up and nestled betweenContinue reading “Arabic Headline Analysis #8”

Case Endings of the Sound Feminine Plural

مُؤَنَّث root: ء-ن-ث / passive participle of form II / definition: feminine Most of us will have learnt that sound masculine plurals in Arabic have one of two endings: ـونَ when مرفوع, and ـينَ when منصوب or مجرور. But the sound feminine plural ending (ـات) doesn’t change in spelling. Instead, we use either damma/dammatayn (ـاتُ/ـاتٌ)Continue reading “Case Endings of the Sound Feminine Plural”

Reading Arabic Literature: An Interesting (?) Structure

تَرْكيب root: ر-ك-ب / verbal noun of form II / plural: تَراكيب / definition: (grammatical) construction If it seems like the last post in the Reading Arabic Literature series was almost a year ago… that’s because it was, unfortunately. (January, apparently?!) And this doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading any Arabic literature—because as you mightContinue reading “Reading Arabic Literature: An Interesting (?) Structure”

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”

Step-by-Step Arabic Literature Translation #11

مُواصَلة root: و-ص-ل / verbal noun of form III / definition: continuation This week we’re continuing on from last week’s literature translation where we went through the first part of our extract:

Step-by-Step Arabic Literature Translation #10

سِكّين root: س-ك-ك / noun / plural: سَكاكين / definition: knife As September swept in, I made a resolution to read more in both English and Arabic. Novels, specifically, because I miss getting lost in them as I used to. And I’ve now, for various reasons, found myself in a situation where I have multipleContinue reading “Step-by-Step Arabic Literature Translation #10”

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”

Root Exploration: م-د-ن

مُصابَة 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 soreContinue reading “Root Exploration: م-د-ن”

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”

Root Exploration: د-ل-ه-م

ضَحْك root: ض-ح-ك / verbal noun of form I / definition: laughter After two hours and countless retakes, my classmate and I finally managed to record 20 minutes of Arabic conversation today for an assessment. Yes, that’s two hours of attempts for 20 minutes of usable footage. Honestly though, most of the retakes started soonContinue reading “Root Exploration: د-ل-ه-م”

Step-by-Step Arabic Literature Translation #9

حَقيقة root: ح-ق-ق / noun / plural: حَقائِق / definition: reality, truth Well, well, well… it’s been quite a while since we had a literature translation post, hasn’t it? (On consulting the calendar, that “while” appears to be nearly six months—time must have taken a shortcut somewhere…) Time anxiety aside, in this post we’ll beContinue reading “Step-by-Step Arabic Literature Translation #9”

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 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”