Learning Arabic Through Poetry

شِعْر root: ش-ع-ر / noun / plural: أَشْعار / definition: poetry In the course of my language learning journey, I’ve found that going through Arabic texts and looking up each unfamiliar word is a really great way to pick up vocabulary. And what helps is if you encounter those pieces of vocabulary in interesting contexts.

How to Use the Arabic Phrase “مِن قِبَلِ”

فاعِل root: ف-ع-ل / noun / definition: subject (e.g. of a verb) It’s no coincidence that I included “مِن قِبَلِ” in the very first Small but Useful Arabic Phrases That You Need To Know post. And because this phrase is so helpful, I thought it was worth making a post explaining how and when to useContinue reading “How to Use the Arabic Phrase “مِن قِبَلِ””

Two Ways to Say “Not Yet” in Arabic

طَريقة root: ط-ر-ق / noun / plural: طَرائِق or طُرُق / definition: way, method Don’t you just love adding variety to your foreign language lexicon? (For reference, the only correct answers here are ones synonymous with the word “yes”.) Well, seeing as you do… I now present you with a new synonyms post: two waysContinue reading “Two Ways to Say “Not Yet” in Arabic”

Arabic Headline Analysis #4

عُنْوان root: ع-ن-و-ن / noun / plural: عَناوين / definition: title, headline This week, we’re embarking on another Arabic Headline Analysis—exploring the vocabulary and grammar of a recent news headline and concluding with the resulting translation. Our Arabic headline this week is taken from an article posted on the Project Syndicate website. I really recommendContinue reading “Arabic Headline Analysis #4”

كان Plus a Past Tense Verb

اَلْماضي root: م-ض-ي / noun / definition: the past, past tense Ever heard of the term “pluperfect”? (Yes? No? Possibly…?) Well, seeing as the Hans Wehr dictionary uses this word (on page 993, to be specific), we’ll have to find out what it means and how it works.

Three Arabic Verbs for “to Think”—and How They Differ

فِعْل root: ف-ع-ل / noun / plural: أَفْعال / definition: verb Memory is an odd thing. People’s names, for one, seem to slip from my mind like sand through an hourglass. Yet, when the idea for this post came to mind, I could very clearly remember that I had noted down the differences between threeContinue reading “Three Arabic Verbs for “to Think”—and How They Differ”

Step-by-Step Arabic Literature Translation #3

قَصِيدَة root: ق-ص-د / noun / plural: قَصائِد / definition: poem You may remember me mentioning Badr Shakir al-Sayyab previously, when I used a quote from a poem of his to exemplify one of the Four Synonyms for “to Begin to” in Arabic. And—unsurprisingly, I suppose, considering my dissertation was centred around his poetry—al-Sayyab’s works wereContinue reading “Step-by-Step Arabic Literature Translation #3”

The Attached لا Prefix

مُتَّصِل root: و-ص-ل / adjective, active participle of form VIII / definition: attached, adjoining So you think you know “لا”? Well, of course you do. It’s one of the first words we all learnt. But did you know that the Arabic “no” can also be used in some cases as an attached prefix? Hold ontoContinue reading “The Attached لا Prefix”

The Difference Between حوالي and تقريباً

فَرْق root: ف-ر-ق / noun / plural: فُروق / definition: difference Two small words, carrying the same meaning but differing in grammar: حَوالَي and تَقريباً. So what’s the difference… and why does it matter?

Arabic Books on My Bookshelf

رَفّ root: ر-ف-ف / noun / plural: رُفوف / definition: shelf While you can see eight neatly-arranged books on my tiny bedside tea shelf in the photo above, in reality, the term “bookshelf” in the title is somewhat metaphorical. Yes, some of these books are arranged on one of my actual bookshelves. But others migrateContinue reading “Arabic Books on My Bookshelf”

(Over) Seven Ways to Say “Except” in Arabic–Plus the Grammar

كَثْرة root: ك-ث-ر / noun / definition: large quantity, abundance On The Arabic Pages‘ Instagram this week, I asked everyone what type of post they wanted to see next: an addition to synonyms series or another grammar explanation. It was a 50/50 divide. So, why not hit two birds with one stone and go through aContinue reading “(Over) Seven Ways to Say “Except” in Arabic–Plus the Grammar”

Arabic Headline Analysis #3

بِيئَة root: ب-و-ء / noun / plural: بِيئات / definition: environment I hadn’t realised how long it’s been since I last did an Arabic Headline Analysis which—for those of you who don’t know—is where we go through a news headline in Arabic word-by-word to understand the vocabulary and grammar. Seeing as this week’s choice isContinue reading “Arabic Headline Analysis #3”

Grammar Book: Arabic for Nerds 2

تَوْصِيَة root: و-ص-ي / verbal noun of form II / plural: تَوصيات / definition: recommendation So I finally gave in: I ordered the grammar book that’s been sitting in my Amazon basket for months. And while I can’t actually put this hefty 800-ish-page book on my already-overburdened bookshelf for fear of a catastrophic collapse, IContinue reading “Grammar Book: Arabic for Nerds 2”

Six Ways to Say “All of” in Arabic

مُفْرَدات root: ف-ر-د / noun, plural / definition: vocabulary It’s time to add another post to the synonyms series! I know, I know, it’s very hard to maintain any trace of composure with this level of excitement surging through your neurons, but please remain in your seats—we have learning to do: this week we’ll beContinue reading “Six Ways to Say “All of” in Arabic”

Step-by-Step Arabic Literature Translation #2

رِوايَة root: ر-و-ي / noun / plural: روايات / definition: novel Note: this is part two of the previous Step-by-Step Arabic Literature Translation, so if you haven’t read that one yet, you might want to start with that first! We’ll keep this introduction short because it’s safe to assume this will be a very longContinue reading “Step-by-Step Arabic Literature Translation #2”

Step-by-Step Arabic Literature Translation

أَدَب root: ء-د-ب / noun / plural: آداب / definition: literature The shift from simplified pieces of writing in Arabic textbooks to your first encounter with an Arabic novel can will be intimidating. You’ll likely note (amidst your “mild” panic at the sheer amount of words between your hands that you’ll have to mentally decipher)Continue reading “Step-by-Step Arabic Literature Translation”

Another Use of أصبح

اِسْتِخْدام root: خ-د-م / verbal noun of form X / plural: اِستِخْدامات / definition: use Previously, in this post, I mentioned that the verb أَصبَح / يُصبِح can mean “to become”. For example, “the man became a doctor” or “the situation became dire”—i.e. one thing becoming something else. But there’s another use of أصبح too.

Three Meanings of حتّى

مَعْنَى root: ع-ن-ي / noun / plural: مَعانٍ / definition: meaning, sense I might be stating the obvious here, but learning those Arabic words with multiple meanings is really advantageous. I mean, learning a single word that you can use in numerous contexts to give rise to different meanings? Yes, please.

How to Say “No Longer” in Arabic

جُمْلَة root: ج-م-ل / noun / plural: جُمَل / definition: sentence, (grammatical) clause With some constructions, you won’t realise how often you’ll need to use them until after you learn them—and then you wonder why you hadn’t learnt them earlier! For me, this was one of them: creating sentences using “no longer” in Arabic.

Four Synonyms for “to Begin to” in Arabic

مُرادِف root: ر-د-ف / noun, active participle of form III / plural: مُرادِفات / definition: synonym About a month ago, I posted Four Common Words for “to Become” in Arabic. And now we can add some more variety to our Arabic mental lexicons again—this time with four common Arabic words for “to begin/start to”!