Quadriliteral Active Participles in Arabic

اِسم فاعِل root: ف-ع-ل / phrase / definition: active participle If you’d asked me a week ago, I’d have told you that I lead a somewhat minimalist life—I hate having *things* cluttering up spaces around me which could very well be left empty. (This is, of course, ignoring my book-filled shelves and surfaces—books are entirelyContinue reading “Quadriliteral Active Participles in Arabic”

Step-by-Step Arabic Literature Translation #8

سيرة root: س-ي-ر / noun / plural: سِيَر / definition: biography For this post in the literature translation series, we’ll be going word-by-word through a non-fiction excerpt, taken from بغداد: سيرة مدينة (Baghdad: Biography of a City) by the Iraqi writer نجم والي (Najem Wali).

The Grammar of Using Arabic Numbers

عَدَد root: ع-د-د / noun / plural: أَعْداد / definition: number I remember learning the grammar for using Arabic numbers at university. It seemed fairly simple as there were essentially three sets of rules: one for the numbers 3-10, one for 11-99, and another for whole hundreds, thousands, etc. But when I looked a littleContinue reading “The Grammar of Using Arabic Numbers”

Root Exploration: ع-ر-ق

زَمَن root: ز-م-ن / noun / plural: أَزمان / definition: stretch of time It’s been a long time since our last post in the Root Exploration series. (In all honesty, though, it hasn’t felt long at all to me since I explore roots in the dictionary every day!) I’ve had a few roots written downContinue reading “Root Exploration: ع-ر-ق”

Two of My Favourite Arabic Blogs

مُدَوَّنَة root: د-و-ن / noun / plural: مُدَوَّنات / definition: a blog The Arabic Pages certainly isn’t the only blog out there focused on the Arabic language, and I’ve come across so many brilliant online resources since I started studying Arabic. My intention is to (eventually) make a list of all the best Arabic resourcesContinue reading “Two of My Favourite Arabic Blogs”

Step-by-Step Arabic Literature Translation #7

مُؤَلِّف root: ء-ل-ف / noun / plural: مُؤَلِّفون / definition: author, writer We’re adding to the literature translation series this week—it’s been a while!—with a short excerpt from عائد إلى حيفا (Returning to Haifa) by غسان كنفاني (Ghassan Kanafani).

Academic Pursuits

مَسْعى root: س-ع-ي / noun / plural: مَساعٍ / definition: pursuit, endeavour It’s been over a year since my last update about my language learning journey, where I wrote about all the uncertainties surrounding my return to the formal study of Arabic. And the reason I haven’t given any updates until now is that myContinue reading “Academic Pursuits”

Using كاد

مَشغولة root: ش-غ-ل / passive participle of form I, feminine / definition: busy I’ve finally got round to writing this post, as you can see, five or six months after I mentioned I would in Four Arabic Roots to Express the Phrase “on the Verge of”. But time’s not an issue for us Arabic learners, right?Continue reading “Using كاد”

How to Say “Post-” in Arabic

مَرْحَلة root: ر-ح-ل / noun / plural: مَراحِل / definition: stage, phase Don’t get confused, it’s not البريد (the post, mail) that we’re talking about this week—we’re actually looking at how to create words with the post- prefix, such as: postcolonial, postmodern, post-pandemic, etc.

Arabic Headline Analysis #6

شَهر root: ش-ه-ر / noun / plural: أَشهُر or شُهور / definition: month Seeing as it’s the first week of Ramadan (!رمضان مبارك)—and hopefully it still is by the time I finish this post—I’ve chosen a fitting headline to analyse in our latest addition to the series. Let’s begin our word-by-word vocabulary and grammar explanationContinue reading “Arabic Headline Analysis #6”

The Three Types of “If” in Arabic

إمْكانِيّة root: م-ك-ن / noun / plural: إمْكانِيّات / definition: possibility I intended for this week’s post to be a headline analysis or root exploration—neither of which we’ve had in a while. But then someone mentioned they’d like to see a post about the different types of “if” in Arabic, which happens to be oneContinue reading “The Three Types of “If” in Arabic”

Comparing بعض and بضع

تَحْديد root: ح-د-د / verbal noun of form II / definition: specifying The specifiers بَعْض and بِضْع are another example of the “same root letters, different sequence” phenomenon, as they have shared meanings. However, there’s some key differences between the meanings and grammar of these two words that we should know.

Meanings and Uses of غير

اِسْتِعْمال root: ع-م-ل / verbal noun of form X / plural: اِسْتِعْمالات / definition: use, application This week, it’s another grammar explanations post (yay!) which was requested through Instagram. And the question we’re going to answer is: what are the different meanings of the word غير and how can we use it?

An Indefinite Noun Followed by ما

نَكِرة root: ن-ك-ر / noun / definition: indefinite noun It doesn’t feel like we’ve had a grammar explanations post in a while—perhaps because the last two were focused on less-discussed verb forms (interesting stuff for fellow grammar nerds) rather than syntactic structures. So today, we’re going to look at what effect ما has on anContinue reading “An Indefinite Noun Followed by ما”

Arabic Observations: Time of Day and “to Become” Synonyms

وَقْت root: و-ق-ت / noun / plural: أَوْقات / definition: time The first post in the synonyms series was Four Common Words for “to Become” in Arabic. By definition, the verb “to become” is inherently linked to time—it indicates that something first wasn’t and then came to be afterwards. But the synonyms of “to become” inContinue reading “Arabic Observations: Time of Day and “to Become” Synonyms”