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It solved the issue fundamentally.

.kÉq«∏c ÉcGQOEG o¿ÉqªY ¬ocQóJ
tu-drik-u-hu ¬ammaan-u √idraak-an kulliyy-an.
Amman realizes it fully.

.kádÉq©a káªgÉ°ùe ɪgÉ°S
saaham-aa musaahamat-an fa¬¬aalat-an.
They (two) participated effectively.

5.3.3.5 (al-Haal Expressing a condition
«É—G).
THE CIRCUMSTANTIAL ACCUSATIVE
or circumstance that occurs concurrent with or ongoing at the time of the action
of the main verb, a participle is often used to describe that condition
(al-Haal ). The participle agrees with the noun it modifies in number and gender,
but is in the accusative case and usually indefinite. The active participle is widely
used in this function, but occasionally the passive participle or a verbal noun is
used. For more on this topic see Chapter 11, section 2.3.1.

(1) Using active participles:

.kGôqNÉàe s∞°üdG nπNO .kÉ°VΩe √nój „aQ
n
C
daxal-a l-Saff-a muta√axxir-an. rafa¬-a yad-a-hu mu¬tariD-an.
He entered the classroom late. He raised his hand objecting.

.¢ùjQÉH ¤EG nÚ¡qL’àe n„¦’«dG nIôgɤdG n¿hQOɨj
yu-ghaadir-uuna l-qaahirat-a l-yawm-a mutawajjih-iina √ilaa baariis.
They are leaving Cairo today heading for Paris.
Noun inflections: gender, humanness, number, definiteness, and case 175


.p¢ù«FôdG p¤Éq«“ k“bÉf káª∏c oôjR’dG ≈¤dCG
√alqaa l-waziir-u kalimat-an naaqil-an taHiyyaat-i l-ra√iis-i.
The minister gave a speech transmitting the greetings of the president.

(2) Using passive participles:

.kIQ’Yòe r¤µ˜b
qafaz-at madh¬uurat-an.
She jumped, frightened.

(3) Using a verbal noun:

. . .m«GD’°S ≈∏Y Gk OQ n«Ébh
q
wa-qaal-a radd-an ¬alaa su√aal-in. . .
(And) he said, replying to a question. . .

5.3.3.6 THE ACCUSATIVE OF PURPOSE (al-maf¬uul li-√ajl-i-hi ¬∏LC™ «’©˜ŸG) OR
(al-maf¬uul la-hu ¬d«’©˜ŸG) in order to show the motive, purpose, or reason for an
action. It is usually used with an indefinite verbal noun.

.má«∏°SCG øY kÉã«H ká∏ªM tø°»J o¤G’¤dG
al-quwwaat-u ta-shunn-u Hamlat-an baHth-an ¬an √asliHat-in.
The forces are launching a campaign searching for weapons.

.¬d kÉÁôµJ Ég’eÉbCG m«É‘¤à°SG pá∏˜M n«“N
xilaal-a Haflat-i stiqbaal-in √aqaam-uu-haa takriim-an la-hu
during a reception they gave in his honor

.p«Éª©dG „e kɦeÉ°†J kÉ©°SGh kÉHGô°VEG p¿óŸG o∞∏ଂ r¤ó¡°T
shahad-at muxtalif-u l-mudun-i √iDraab-an waasi¬-an taDaamun-an ma¬-a
l-¬ummaal-i.
Various cities witnessed a widespread strike in solidarity with the workers.

5.3.3.7 (al-tamyiiz
This accusative is
µ««ªàdG).
THE ACCUSATIVE OF SPECIFICATION
used on nouns in order to delimit and specify the application of a statement. It
usually answers the question, “In what way?” It includes comparative and
superlative expressions as well as counted nouns between 11 and 99, which are
accusative and singular.

.k“©ah k™’b n‘GP oø∏©f
nu-¬lin-u dhaaka qawl-an wa-fi¬l-an.
We announce that in speech and in action.
176 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic


.káeÉ®ah kÉgÉL m᪰UÉY nÈcCG râfÉc
kaan-at √akbar-a ¬aaSimat-in jaah-an wa-faxaamat-an.
It was the greatest capital in fame and splendor.

.káq«°SÉe’∏HOh kGQòM nÌcCG GóH ró¤a
fa-qad badaa √akthar-a Hidhr-an wa-dibluumaasiyyat-an.
It seemed more cautious and diplomatic (˜greater in caution and diplomacy™).

kGóq∏› nøjô°»Y ˜ kÉeÉY nô°»Y ná°ùªN ióe ≈∏Y
fii ¬ishriina mujallad-an ¬alaa madaa xamsat-a ¬ashr-a ¬aam-an
in twenty volumes68 for fifteen years

.kÉãMÉH nÚK“K pácQÉ°»Ã
bi-mushaarakat-i thalaathiina baaHith-an
with the participation of thirty researchers

69
5.3.3.8 nawaasix Arabic grammar
ï°SG’¦dG: CONVERTERS TO ACCUSATIVE.
THE
has a special category for words (verbs and particles) that shift one or more
elements of a clause into the accusative case. There are three groups of these,
each of which is composed of a typical word and what are termed its “sisters”:
kaan-a and its sisters, √ inna and its sisters, and Zann-a and its sisters.70

(1) kaan-a and its “sisters” (kaan-a wa-√axawaat-u-haa É¡JG’NCGh ¿Éc)71 This set
of verbs has the effect of shifting the predicate (xabar) of an equational
sentence from the nominative case to the accusative case. According to
Hasan (1987, I:545) there are thirteen of these verbs, the most common in
MSA are:

to not be72
lays-a n¢ù«d
Saar-a to become nQÉ°U
baat-a to become n¤ÉH
to become ní‘°UCG
√aSbaH-a

Zall-a to remain sπX
68
See Chapter 15 for further discussion of numerals and counting.
69
“The al-nawaasikh group of words in Arabic is defined by the Arab grammarians according to for-
mal criteria; specifically, the role played by these words in inflection. Thus, words classified as
belonging to the al-nawaasikh category have the effect of inducing one or two elements of the
nuclear sentence to ˜fall™ from the nominative to the accusative case” (Anghelescu 1999, 131).
70
Hasan 1987, 1:543ff. and 630ff. has thorough descriptions of the nawaasix category in Arabic.
71
See also Chapter 36 in this book.
72
In addition to the verb lays-a there are certain negative particles that have similar meanings and
effects, including maa and laa. See Hasan 1987 1:593ff. for more on these particles.
Noun inflections: gender, humanness, number, definiteness, and case 177


baqiy-a to remain, to stay n»¤H
daama and maa daama to continue to be n„¦GO Ée „¦GO
maa zaal-a to continue to be; to still be; n«GR Ée
to not cease to be

to become ≈°ùeCG
√amsaa

These verbs all denote existential states of being (or not being), becoming,
and remaining. They take accusative complements. That is, the predicate of
the underlying equational predication is accusative.

.kÉNqQ’e n¢ù«d pÜÉàµdG o∞qdD’e .kGóL ÉHGòL n¢ù«d
qk
D
mu√allif-u l-kitaab-i lays-a mu√arrix-an. lays-a jadhdhaab-an jidd-an.
The author of the book is not a historian. It is not very attractive.

.pº∏—G Gòg øe kGAµL n¿Éc .s»e’«dG º¡sªg ní‘°UCG
kaan-a juz√-an min haadhaa l-Hulm-i. √aSbaH-a hamm-a-hum-u
l-yawmiyy-a.
It was a part of this dream.
It became their daily concern.

.máq«HQhCG m᪰UÉY nÈcCG râfÉc
kaan-at √akbar-a ¬aaSimat-in √uurubbiyyat-in.
It was the largest European capital.

.káq«M râdGR Ée oáq«‘©°»dG oáYɦ°üdG
al-Sinaa¬at-u l-sha¬biyyat-u maa zaal-at Hayyat-an.
Folk handicraft is still alive.

√inna and her sisters (√inna wa-√axawaat-u-haa É¡JG’NCGh
(2) ¿EG ):
˜verily; indeed; that™
√inna q¿EG
˜that™
√anna q¿CG
laakinna ˜but™ qøµd
li-√anna ˜because™ q¿C™
la¬alla ˜perhaps™ sπ©d
These particles are subordinating conjunctions which require that the sub-
ject of the subordinate clause (also called the complement clause) be in the
accusative case.73


73
For more on √inna and her sisters, see Chapter 19 on subordinating conjunctions.
178 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic


.º¡˜b’j r¿CG o„«£à°ùj ™ Gk óMCG q¿EG n¤∏Éb
qaal-a √inna √aHad-an laa ya-staTii¬-u √an yu-waqqif-a-hum.
It said that no one could stop them.

láq«ŸÉY lá¨d náYGQµdG q¿CG
√anna l-ziraa¬at-a lughat-un ¬aalamiyyat-un
that agriculture is a world language

nÚãMÉ‘dG øe Úd«∏b qøµd
laakinna qaliil-iina min-a l-baaHith-iina
but few of the researchers

p¤G’¦°ùdG pπ°†aCG øe ÉàfÉc pør«J’NC™ G pør«à¦°ùdG q¿C™
li-√anna l-sanat-ayni l-√axiirat-ayni kaan-ataa min √afDal-i l-sanawaat-i
because the last two years were among the best years
(3) Zann-a and her sisters (Zanna wa-√axawaat-u-haa É¡JG’NCGh øX): The verb
Zann-a ˜to suppose, believe™ is another one of the nawaasix. It has the effect
of making both the subject and the predicate of an equational clause accu-
sative.74 This category includes verbs of “certainty and doubt” (Anghelescu
1999, 132). Hasan breaks this category down into two parts: √af ¬aal al-
quluub75 Ü’∏¤dG «É©aCG or √af ¬aal qalbiyya áq«‘∏b «É©aCG (verbs of perception or
cognition) and √af¬aal al-taHwiil πj’«àdG «É©aCG (verbs of transformation).76
Hasan gives complete lists; here are some examples.77
(3.1) Verbs of perception:
to suppose, believe Zann-a qøX
.kÉ‘gGP kGójR tøXCG
√a-Zunn-u Zayd-an dhaahib-an.
I believe Zayd [is] going.78

to consider, deem ¬add-a to perceive, deem, see ra√aa
qóY iCGQ
i¬tabar-a79
to find, deem wajad-a to consider
óLh ÈàYG
74
One of these accusatives may take the form of an object pronoun suffix on the verb.
75
Which Hasan explains as having to do with psychological perceptions: in particular, emotions and
intellect (1987, II:4, note 4).
76
As explained by Hasan, verbs that have to do with transformation of something from one state to
another (Ibid., note 5).
77
See especially Hasan™s chart of Zann-a and her sisters (1987, II:10). Note also the discussion in
Bohas, Guillaume, and Kouloughli 1990, 34“36.
78
Example from Bohas, Guillaume, and Kouloughli 1990, 34.
79
The verb i¬tabar-a ˜to consider™ is not included in older lists of √af¬aal al-quluub, but that is likely
due to the fact that its usage is more modern and recent rather than traditional. Its meaning and
its effect on the sentence components show that it is certainly a member of this category. I thank
my colleague Amin Bonnah for this insight.
Noun inflections: gender, humanness, number, definiteness, and case 179


.kG’‘c kÉq«®jQÉJ kGRÉ‚EG nI’£ÿG √òg GhÈàYG
i¬tabar-uu haadhihi l-xuTwat-a √injaaz-an taariixiyy-an kabiir-an.
They considered this step a great historical accomplishment.

.k᪡e µcôŸG ná‘àµe Èà©fh
wa-na-¬tabir-u maktabat-a l-markaz-i muhimmat-an.
We consider the library of the center important.

.m¤É«‘∏°S ôNB™G ¢†©HdG √Gôj m¤É«HÉ©jEG ¢†©‘dG √Gôj Ée
maa ya-raa-hu l-ba¬D-u √iijaabiyyaat-in ya-raa-hu l-ba¬D-u l-√aaxar-u
salbiyyaat-in.
What some see [as] positives others see [as] negatives.

(3.2) Verbs of transformation: These verbs signify changing a thing into some-
thing else, changing its state or appearance, or designating one thing as
something else.

to convert Sayyar-a to take, adopt (as) ittaxadh-a
’°U ò®JG
to make ja¬al-a to leave tarak-a
π©L ‘ôJ
.pᤣ¦ª∏d kGOhóM nô¡¦dG Ghò®JGh
wa-ttaxadh-uu l-nahr-a Huduud-an li-l-mantiqat-i.
They took the river [as] borders of the region.

.kÉM’à˜e nÜÉ‘dG n‘ôJ
tarak-a l-baab-a maftuuH-an.
He left the door open.

5.3.3.9 THE NOUN FOLLOWING THE laa OF ABSOLUTE OR CATEGORICAL NEGATION
(laa l-naa¬yat-u lil-jins-i ¢ù¦©∏d á«aɦdG ™).80 In this construction the noun is devoid of
the definite article or nunation. It carries only the accusative marker fatHa.

.m–LGh ≈∏Y nôµ°T ™ .n‚dP ˜ s‚°T ™
laa shukr-a ¬alaa waajib-in. laa shakk-a fii dhaalika.
Don™t mention it. There™s no doubt about that.
(˜There is no thanking for a duty.™)

.É¡pFɨdE™ QÈe ™ .pIOÉjµdG p¢†©H p„aO øe n„fÉe ™
n
laa mubarrir-a li-√ilghaa√-i-haa. laa maani¬-a min daf ¬-i ba¬D-i l-ziyaadat-i.
There is no excuse for its elimination. There™s no objection to paying
a bit more.
80
See also Chapter 37, section 2.1.6.
180 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic


.pᤣ¦ŸG ˜ n„¦“°S ™h QGô¤à°SG ™ º¡pfhO øe
n
min duun-i-him laa stiqraar-a wa laa salaam-a fii l-minTaqat-i.
Without them there is no stability and no peace in the region.

both cardinal and ordinal, including eleven.81 No
5.3.3.10 THE TEENS NUMBERS,
matter what their function in a sentence, these compound numbers always have
both parts marked with fatHa:

.kɪgQO nô°»Y ná°ùªN o¬o¦ªK nIô°»Y n„°ùàdG p±ô¨dG ˜
thaman-u-hu xamsat-a ¬ashar-a dirham-an. fii l-ghuraf-i l-tis¬-a ¬asharat-a
Its cost is fifteen dirhams. in the nineteen rooms

.kGÎe nô°»Y náK“K o¬od’W o≠∏‘j
ya-blugh-u Tuul-u-hu thalaathat-a ¬ashar-a mitr-an.
Its length reaches thirteen meters.

5.3.3.11 “SEEMING”: Verbs that denote
AS THE COMPLEMENT OF VERBS OF
appearing or seeming also take accusative complements.

.p¬p©ªà› ˜ kIRQÉH káq«°ü®°T hó‘j n¿Éc
kaan-a ya-bduu shaxsiyyat-an baarizat-an fii mujtama¬-i-hi.
He had seemed [like] a prominent personality in his society.

.ÉgpôªY øe m’ãµH nô¨°UCG hó‘J .kGóL ɤ«àY hó‘j
qk
ta-bduu √aSghar-a bi-kathiir-in min ¬umr-i-haa. ya-bduu ¬atiiq-an jidd-an.
She appears much younger than her age. It looks very ancient.

5.3.3.12 LESS FREQUENT ACCUSATIVES: Further instances of the use of the accusa-
tive case in MSA are noted in most teaching texts and traditional grammars, but
few or none appeared in the corpus of text studied for this book. Some of the
most important include:

(1) kam accusative singular noun: A singular accusative, indefinite noun is
used after the question word kam ˜how much, how many?™

?p¤CGôb k“°üa ºc ?p¥ó¦˜dG ˜ káaôZ ºc
kam faSl-an qara√-ti? kam ghurfat-an fii l-funduq-i?
How many chapters did you How many rooms [are there] in
(f.) read? the hotel?

81
The only exception to this is the cardinal numeral “twelve” which occurs in both the nominative
and the genitive/accusative cases. See Chapter 15 on numerals and numerical expressions.
Noun inflections: gender, humanness, number, definiteness, and case 181


(2) Exclamation of astonishment: maa √af¬al-a! !π©aCG Ée (maa l-ta¬ajjub
–q©©àdG Ée): The accusative is used in the ˜adjectival verb™ construction
on the noun following the exclamation of wonder, astonishment or surprise
maa √af¬al-a! In this expression, the word maa is followed by “an elative in
the accusative of exclamation,” (Cantarino, 1974, II:210), and then a noun
in the accusative case. Note that this form of the elative is identical with
a Form IV verb, and that it is described this way in some texts and called
fi¬l al-ta¬ajjub.82

!nô¶¦ŸG nπªLCG Ée
maa √ajmal-a l-manZar-a!
How lovely the view is!

The noun may be replaced by a pronoun suffix:

! o¬n∏ªLCG Ée
maa √ajmal-a-hu!
How lovely it is! 83

(3) Vocative first term of construct: The accusative case is used with the voca-
tive particles yaa or √ayy-u-haa if the addressee is the first term of an √iDaafa
or noun construct, or if the noun has a pronoun suffix:

! p¬q∏dG nó‘Y Éj ! ¦O“H n¢VQCG Éj
yaa ¬abd-a llaah-i! yaa √arD-a bilaad-ii!
O Abdallah! (lit: ˜servant of God™) O, earth of my country!

! É¡JnòJÉ°SCGh pá©eÉ·G nÜ“W Éj
yaa Tullaab-a l-jaami¬at-i wa-√asaatidhat-a-haa!
O students and professors of the university!

Even without the vocative particle, a noun in construct or with a pronoun
suffix, understood as the addressee, is put into the accusative:

. . . p¤G’ª°ùdG ˜ ¦òdG ÉfÉHCG
√ab-aa-naa lladhii fii l-samawaat-i . . .
Our Father who [art] in heaven . . .

(4) Nouns following exceptive expressions (al-istithnaa√ Aɦãà°S™G) in non-nega-
tive clauses: In clauses using an exceptive expression such as maa ¬adaa, or


82
See Abboud and McCarus 1976, Part 2:272. See also Cowan 1964, 177. In this book, see Chapter 25
on the Form IV verb, section 9.
83
For more examples see Cantarino 1974, II, 210“13.
182 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic


√illaa, the noun following the exceptive is in the accusative case if the clause
does not contain a negative.

.kGó«°TQ q™EG o„«ª·G nô°†M
HaDar-a l-jamii¬-u√ illaa rashiid-an.
Everyone came except Rashid.

.nÚª°SÉj q™EG p¤É‘dÉ£dG uπc „e oâªq∏µJ
takallam-tu ma¬a kull-i l-Taalibaat-i √illaa yaasamiin-a.
I spoke with all the [female] students except Yasmine.

This is the case in particular with time-telling, where the word √illaa is used to
express how many minutes are lacking until a particular hour, e.g.:

.kÉ©HQ q™EG oá°ùeÉÿG oáYÉ°ùdG
al-saa¬at-u l-xaamisat-u √illaa rub¬-an.
It is 4:45 (˜five [o™clock] less a quarter [of an hour]™).

.kÉã∏K q™EG oá©HÉ°ùdG áYÉ°ùdG
al-saa¬at-u l-saabi¬at-u √illaa thulth-an.
It is 6:40 (˜seven [o™clock™] less a third [of an hour]™).

5.3.3.13 OTHER ACCUSATIVES: The accusative case is used in other constructions
besides the ones mentioned, but these are infrequent in MSA. For more extensive
discussion and listings, especially for literary and classical syntax, see Cantarino
1975, II:161“248; Wright 1967, II:44“129 and in Arabic, Hasan 1987, II:3“430.

5.4 Arabic declensions
Following the practice of Wright (1967, I:234 ff.) and Cowan (1964, 29ff.), this book
refers to the various inflectional classes of substantives as “declensions.” A
declension is a class of substantives (nouns or adjectives) that exhibits similar
inflectional markings for case and definiteness. Arabic nouns and adjectives fall
into eight declensions:84

1 three-way inflection (called “triptote” in many Arabic grammars)
2 dual

84
Note that Wright refers to declensions of “undefined” or “defined” nouns, referring to triptote
nouns as the first declension (236) and diptote nouns as the second declension (239). He does not
list other inflectional classes as declensions. Cowan (29) states that “there are three declensions in
Arabic” allotting the first declension to triptotes, the second declension to diptotes and the third
to the uninflectable and undeclinable substantives (32).
For ease of reference in this book, I have allotted declensional status not only to singular and
broken plural noun stems, but also to words that incorporate suffixes denoting dual and plural
number, since they inflect for case and definiteness in different ways.
Noun inflections: gender, humanness, number, definiteness, and case 183


3 sound feminine plural
4 sound masculine plural
5 diptote
6 defective
7 uninflectable (for case, but they show inflection for definiteness), and
8 invariable.

5.4.1 Three-way in¬‚ection: Triptote (mu¬rab Üô©e)
The triptote is the base category or declension one for Arabic nouns and adjec-
tives.85 The term “triptote” refers to words (nouns and adjectives) that take all three
short vowel case endings, each one differentiating a particular case (Damma, kasra
and fatHa). The triptote declension also allows nouns and adjectives to be marked
for indefiniteness with nunation.86 This is considered the base or complete declen-
sion because it shows the full range of inflectional markers for all three cases.87

5.4.1.1 THE CASE MARKERS:
(1) Nominative: The nominative suffix in the triptote declension is Damma
by itself (-u) for definite words or two Dammas/Damma with a tail or
o oo l
(-u-n) for indefinite words. Examples:

(1.1) Noun in the nominative case:

the honor/an honor al-sharaf-u/sharaf-un l±ô°T / o±ô°»dG
the secret/a secret al-sirr-u/sirr-un lô°S/ oô°ùdG
the ship/a ship al-safiinat-u/safiinat-un lᦫ˜°S / oᦫ˜°ùdG
(1.2) Adjective in the nominative case:

short (def.)/short (indef.) al-qaSiir-u/qaSiir-un ’°üb / o’°ü¤dG
l
new (def.)/new (indef.) al-jadiid-u/jadiid-un ójóL / ójó·G
l o
(2) Genitive: The genitive marker in the triptote declension is kasra by itself
(-i) `p `` for definite words or two kasras (-i-n) m``` for indefinite words. Note that
when kasra is written together with shadda, it may be written either below
the consonant or below the shadda.

85
The term mu¬rab means ˜fully inflectable.™
86
For more on nunation, see section 4.2 in this chapter.
87
Certain linguists have designated these cases differently in English. Beeston (1970, 51), for exam-
ple, refers to the cases as “independent status (nominative),” “dependent status (genitive),” and
“subordinate status (accusative).” See his Chapter 7 (“Syntactic markers of nouns”) for a brief but
comprehensive description of Arabic case marking.
184 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic


(2.1) Noun in the genitive case:

the honor/an honor al-sharaf-i/sharaf-in m±ô°Tp/p±ô°»dG
the secret/a secret al-sirr-i/sirr-in xô°S / uô°ùdG
the ship/a ship al-safiinat-i/safiinat-in mᦫ˜°S / pᦫ˜°ùdG
(2.2) Adjective in the genitive case:

short (def.)/short (indef.) al-qaSiir-i/qaSiir-in ’°üb p/ p’°ü¤dG
m
new (def.)/new (indef.) al-jadiid-i/jadiid-in ójóL / ójó·G
m p
(3) Accusative: The accusative marker in the triptote declension is fatHa by
itself (-a n ) for definite words or two fatHas to signal nunation ( -a-nk ) for
indefinite words. With the accusative form of nunation, a supporting √alif
is used, except with words ending in taa√ marbuuTa or in a hamza preceded
by √alif. This support √alif is visible in writing, but it is not pronounced; it
is only a seat for the two fatHas.
(3.1) Noun in the accusative case:
the honor/an honor al-sharaf-a/sharaf-an kÉaô°T / n±ô°»dG
the secret/a secret al-sirr-a/sirr-an kGqô°S / sô°ùdG
the ship/a ship al-safiinat-a/safiinat-an kᦫ˜°S / nᦫ˜°ùdG
the winter/a winter al-shitaa√-a/shitaa√-an kAÉà°T / nAÉà°»dG
(3.2) Adjective in the accusative case:

short (def.)/short (indef.) al-qaSiir-a/qaSiir-an Gk ’°üb / n’°ü¤dG
new (def.)/new (indef.) al-jadiid-a/jadiid-an Gk ójóL / ójó·G
n

5.4.1.2 DECLENSION ONE PARADIGMS:
(1) Singular masculine noun:

˜house™ bayt â«H

Definite: Indefinite:

oâ«‘dG lâ«H
Nominative al-bayt-u bayt-u-n

pâ«‘dG mâ«H
Genitive al-bayt-i bayt-i-n

nâ«‘dG kÉà«H
Accusative al-bayt-a bayt-a-n
Noun inflections: gender, humanness, number, definiteness, and case 185


(2) Plural noun:

˜houses™ buyuut ¤’«H

Definite: Indefinite:

al-buyuut-u buyuut-u-n
o¤’«‘dG l¤’«H
Nominative
al-buyuut-i buyuut-i-n
p¤’«‘dG m¤’«H
Genitive

al-buyuut-a buyuut-a-n
n¤’«‘dG kÉJ’«H
Accusative



(3) Feminine singular noun:

˜ship™ safiina ᦫ˜°S

Definite: Indefinite:

al-safiinat-u safiinat-u-n
oᦫ˜°ùdG lᦫ˜°S
Nominative

al-safiinat-i safiinat-i-n
pᦫ˜°ùdG mᦫ˜°S
Genitive

al-safiinat-a safiinat-a-n
nᦫ˜°ùdG kᦫ˜°S
Accusative



(4) Plural noun:

˜ships™ sufun ø˜°S

Definite: Indefinite:

al-sufun-u sufun-u-n
oø˜°ùdG lø˜°S
Nominative

al-sufun-i sufun-i-n
pø˜°ùdG mø˜°S
Genitive

al-sufun-a sufun-a-n
nø˜°ùdG kɦ˜°S
Accusative



(5) Masculine singular adjective:

˜short™ qaSiir ’°üb

Definite: Indefinite:

al-qaSiir-u qaSiir-un
o’°ü¤dG ’°üb
l
Nominative

al-qaSiir-i qaSiir-in
p ’°ü¤dG ’°üb
m
Genitive

al-qaSiir-a qaSiir-an
n’°ü¤dG Gk ’°üb
Accusative
186 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic


(6) Broken plural adjective:

˜short™ qiSaar QÉ°üb

Definite: Indefinite:

al-qiSaar-u qiSaar-un
oQÉ°ü¤dG lQÉ°üb
Nominative

al-qiSaar-i qiSaar-in
pQÉ°ü¤dG mQÉ°üb
Genitive

al-qiSaar-a qiSaar-an
nQÉ°ü¤dG kGQÉ°üb
Accusative




5.4.1.3 (al-√asmaa√ Within the triptote
á°ùªÿG Aɪ°SC™G):
al-xamsa
THE FIVE NOUNS
declension there is a subset of Arabic nouns from biliteral or even monoliteral
roots which show triptote case inflection in two ways: as a short vowel and as a
long vowel. The long vowel is used when the word is used as the first term of a
genitive construct (√iDaafa) or when it has a pronoun suffix.
The five nouns are:

father mouth fam
ÜCG ºa
√ab
brother possessor dhuu
±CG hP
√ax

father-in-law Ham ºM
(1) The five-noun paradigms: ˜father™ √ab ÜCG
(1.1) As an independent word:

Definite: Indefinite:

al-√ab-u oÜC™G l ÜC G
√ab-u-n
Nominative

al-√ab-i pÜC™G m ÜC G
√ab-i-n
Genitive


al-√ab-a nÜC™G kÉHCG
√ab-an
Accusative



(1.2) With pronoun suffix: “haa ˜her father™:


Ég’HCG
√ab-uu-haa
Nominative

É¡«HCG
√ab-ii-haa
Genitive

ÉgÉHCG
√ab-aa-haa
Accusative
Noun inflections: gender, humanness, number, definiteness, and case 187


(1.3) As first part of √iDaafa: ˜the father of Hasan™:


√ab-uu Hasan-in mø°ùM ’HCG
Nominative

√ab-ii Hasan-in mø°ùM »HCG
Genitive

√ab-aa Hasan-in mø°ùM ÉHCG
Accusative



Examples:

.kÉHCG ní‘°UCG o∞°S’j Ü™G
oC
al-√ab-u yuusuf-u
√aSbaH-a √ab-an.
He became a father. Father Joseph

.É¡«HCG pâ«H ¤EG râ‘gP .√ÉNCG oâdCÉ°S
dhahab-at √ilaa bayt-i √ab-ii-haa. sa√al-tu √ax-aa-hu.
She went to her father™s house. I asked his brother.

5.4.2 Two-way in¬‚ection: declensions two, three, four, and ¬ve
Certain Arabic noun declensions exhibit only two different case markers, or two-
way inflection. These declensions have a specific nominative inflectional marker
but they merge the genitive and accusative into just one other inflectional
marker.88 Technically, these nouns are considered to exhibit all three cases; it is
just that the genitive and accusative have exactly the same form.89
The declensions that have two-way inflection fall into two major categories, the
suffix declensions and the diptote declension. The suffix declensions are deter-
mined by number suffixes and include the dual, the sound masculine plural, and
the sound feminine plural, whereas the diptote declension includes words that
fall into particular semantic and morphological categories, as described below.

5.4.2.1 SUFFIX DECLENSIONS: THE DUAL (DECLENSION TWO), THE SOUND MASCULINE
PLURAL (DECLENSION THREE) AND THE SOUND FEMININE PLURAL (DECLENSION
Three sets of two-way inflections are based on dual and plural suffixes
FOUR).
rather than word stems. That is, once the suffix is attached to a word, it is the
suffix itself that determines how the word will be marked for case. These
number-marking suffixes in Arabic are all restricted to two case markings rather

88
Sometimes, in this latter category, the combined genitive/accusative inflection is referred to as the
“oblique” or essentially, non-nominative case marker.
89
Traditional Arabic grammatical theory evolved the concept that all nouns are marked for every
case, but that in some of them the case marker is “virtual” or “implied” (muqaddar) rather than
overt (Zaahir).
188 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic


than three. These suffixes carry two kinds of information: number (dual or plural)
and case (nominative or genitive/accusative).

(1) Declension two: The dual (al-muthannaa ≈¦ãŸG) As described in section 3.1
Arabic uses a suffix on the singular stem to mark the noun as being two in
number, or in the dual. The dual suffix has two case forms, and is not
inflected for definiteness.

p¿G -
-aani (nominative)
øj -
-ayni (genitive/accusative) pr
(1.1) Masculine dual noun:

˜two houses™ bayt-aani p¿Éà«H

Definite: Indefinite:

al-bayt-aani bayt-aani
p¿Éà«‘dG p¿Éà«H
Nominative

al-bayt-ayni bayt-ayni
pør«à«‘dG pør«à«H
Genitive

al-bayt-ayni bayt-ayni
pør«à«‘dG pør«à«H
Accusative


(1.2) Feminine dual noun:

˜two cities™ madiinat-aani p¿Éà¦jóe
Definite: Indefinite:

al-madiinat-aani madiinat-aani
p¿Éà¦jóŸG p¿Éà¦jóe
Nominative

al-madiinat-ayni madiinat-ayni
pør«à¦jóŸG pør«à¦jóe
Genitive

al-madiinat-ayni madiinat-ayni
pør«à¦jóŸG pør«à¦jóe
Accusative


(1.3) Masculine dual adjective:

˜big™ kabiir-aani p¿G’‘c
Definite: Indefinite:

al-kabiir-aani kabiir-aani
p¿G’‘µdG p¿G’‘c
Nominative

al-kabiir-ayni kabiir-ayni
pørj’‘µdG pørj’‘c
Genitive

al-kabiir-ayni kabiir-ayni
pørj’‘µdG pørj’‘c
Accusative
Noun inflections: gender, humanness, number, definiteness, and case 189


(1.4) Feminine dual adjective:

˜big™ kabiirat-aani p¿ÉJ’‘c
Definite: Indefinite:

al-kabiirat-aani kabiirat-aani
p¿ÉJ’‘µdG p¿ÉJ’‘c
Nominative

al-kabiirat-ayni kabiirat-ayni
pør«J’‘µdG pør«J’‘c
Genitive

al-kabiirat-ayni kabiirat-ayni
pør«J’‘µdG pør«J’‘c
Accusative




Examples:

p¿É°SôL pørjµcôe øe
jaras-aani min markaz-ayni
two bells from two centers

p¿ÉJ’‘c p¿Éà˜°UÉY pÚrJ’‘c pør«à¦jóe ˜
¬aaSifat-aani kabiirat-aani fii madiinat-ayni kabiirat-ayni
two big storms in two big cities

(1.5) Nuun-deletion with possessive pronouns and as first term of construct:
When a dual noun is the first term of a construct, or if it has a pronoun
suffix, the nuun of the dual suffix (and its short vowel kasra) is deleted.90

p¬rjnó«H pܵ—G »n«q°Tôe „e
bi-yad-ay-hi ma¬-a murashshaH-ay-i l-Hizb-i
in his two hands with the two nominees of the party

.pá°Só¦¡dGh u–£dG »à«∏c Gó«ªY nAɤ∏dG nô°†Mh
wa-HaDar-a l-liqaa√-a ¬amiid-aa kulliyyat-ay-i l-Tibb-i wa-l-handasat-i.
The two deans of the schools of medicine and engineering attended the
meeting.

(2) Declension three: The sound masculine plural ( jam¬ mudhakkar saalim
„É°S ôcòe „ªL): The sound masculine plural has two forms, much like the

90
The nuun of the dual can be considered a form of nunation, and since nunation cannot occur on a
noun that is the first term of a genitive construct or on a noun with a suffixed possessive pro-
noun, the nuun of the dual suffix (and the sound masculine plural) is likewise deleted. The dual
category is discussed at greater length in Chapter 15. Characteristics of the genitive construct, or
√iDaafa are discussed in Chapter 8.
190 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic


dual. Note that the long vowel in the suffix (-uu- or -ii-) is what changes
when the case changes. The final short vowel ( fatHa /-a/) remains the same
in both the nominative and the genitive/accusative. This fatHa is not a case
ending, but rather part of the spelling of the suffix. In pause form it is not
pronounced.
Note: This form of plural is used only to refer to human beings.

correspondents (nominative) muraasil-uuna n¿’∏°SGôe
correspondents (genitive/accusative) muraasil-iina nÚ∏°SGôe
Muslims (nominative) muslim-uuna n¿’ª∏°ùe
Muslims (genitive/accusative) muslim-iina nÚª∏°ùe
(2.1) Sound masculine plural noun:

˜citizens™ muwaaTin-uuna ¿’¦WG’e
n
Definite: Indefinite:

al-muwaaTin-uuna muwaaTin-uuna
n¿’¦WG’ŸG n¿’¦WG’e
Nominative

al-muwaaTin-iina muwaaTin-iina
nÚ¦WG’ŸG nÚ¦WG’e
Genitive

al-muwaaTin-iina muwaaTin-iina
nÚ¦WG’ŸG nÚ¦WG’e
Accusative



(2.2) Sound masculine plural adjective:


˜many™ kathiir-uuna n¿h’ãc
Definite: Indefinite:

al-kathiir-uuna kathiir-uuna
n¿h’ãµdG n¿ h’ãc
Nominative

al-kathiir-iina kathiir-iina
nøj’ãµdG nøj’ãc
Genitive

al-kathiir-iina kathiir-iina
nøj’ãµdG nøj’ãc
Accusative



Examples:

Údóà©ŸG Ú˜q¤ãŸG øe
n¿’q«ª°SQ n¿’‘bGôe n n
muraaqib-uuna rasmiyy-uuna min-a l-muthaqqaf-iina l- mu¬tadil-iina
official observers from the moderate intelligensia
Noun inflections: gender, humanness, number, definiteness, and case 191


nÚq«fɦ‘∏dGh nÚqj ô°üŸG nøj ôµ˜ŸGh nÚãMÉ‘dG øe lOóY
¬adad-un min-a l-baaHith-iina wa-l-mufakkir-iina l-miSriyy-iina wa-l-lubnaaniyy-iina
a number of Egyptian and Lebanese researchers and intellectuals

(2.3) Nuun-deletion with possessive pronouns and as first term of construct:
When a noun pluralized with the sound masculine plural suffix func-
tions as the first term of a construct, or if it has a pronoun suffix, the nuun
(and its short vowel fatha) of the suffix is deleted (similar to what occurs
with the dual suffix above 5.4.2.1(1.5).91 The long case-marking vowels /-uu-/
or /-ii-/ are then left as the remaining part of the suffix.

póa’dG ’‘bGôe pá©eÉ·G p »LqônpNnJoe øe
muraaqib-uu l-wafd-i min mutaxarrij-ii l-jaami¬at-i
companions of the delegation from the graduates of the university

.nâj’°üàdG ¬«‘NÉf øe –∏£à°S
o
p
sa-ta-Tlub-u min naaxib-ii-hi l-taSwiit-a.
It will ask its electors to vote.

(3) Declension four: The sound feminine plural ( jam¬ mu√annath saalim
„É°S åfD’e „ªL). The sound feminine plural is also restricted to two
case markers. Unlike the dual and sound masculine plural, where the
case marking shows up on the long vowel of the suffix, the case marking
for the sound feminine plural occurs at the end of the suffix, just as nor-
mal triptote short vowel case marking would occur. However, the sound
feminine plural is restricted to only two of the short vowels: Damma and
kasra. It cannot take fatHa. The genitive/accusative form takes kasra or
kasrataan.

(3.1) Sound feminine plural noun:


˜elections™ intixaabaat ¤ÉHÉ®àfG

Definite: Indefinite:

al-intixaabaat-u intixaabaat-u-n
o¤ÉHÉ®àf™G l¤ÉHÉ®àfG
Nominative

al-intixaabaat-i intixaabaat-i-n
p¤ÉHÉ®àf™G m¤ÉHÉ®àfG
Genitive

al-intixaabaat-i intixaabaat-i-n
p¤ÉHÉ®àf™G m¤ÉHÉ®àfG
Accusative


91
See also Chapter 8, 1.2.1.4.
192 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic


(3.2) Sound feminine plural adjective: This form of the adjective is used only to
refer to groups of female human beings:


˜Egyptian™ miSriyyaat ¤Éjô°üe

Definite: Indefinite:

al-miSriyyaat-u miSriyyaat-u-n
o¤Éjô°üŸG l¤Éj ô°üe
Nominative

al-miSriyyaat-i miSriyyaat-i-n
p¤Éjô°üŸG m¤Éj ô°üe
Genitive

al-miSriyyaat-i miSriyyaat-i-n
p¤Éjô°üŸG m¤Éj ô°üe
Accusative



Examples of feminine plural accusative/genitive:

.m¤ÉKOɬ iôLCG .m¤Éq«¦Á ɦ°ùd .ká©°SGh ¤™G› íà˜j
o
m
√ajraa muHaadathaat-in las-naa yamaniyyaat-in. ya-ftaH-u majaalaat-in
waasi¬at-an.92
He held talks. We are not Yemeni (f.pl.).
It opens wide fields.

.±GôWC™G „«ªL „e m¤™É°üJG ¦ô©j
yu-jrii ttiSaalaat-in ma¬-a jamii¬-i l-√aTraaaf-i
He is in contact with (˜implementing contacts™) with all sides.

.m¤GôNCɦe s∞°üdG nø∏NO ¤Éq«Hô©dG pAÉ°ù¦dG oá£HGQ
p
daxal-na l-Saff-a muta√axxiraat-in. raabiTat-u l-nisaa√-i l-¬arabiyyaat-i
They (f.) entered the classroom late. the Arab women™s club

5.4.2.2 DECLENSION FIVE: DIPTOTE (al-mamnuu¬ min-a l-Sarf ±ô°üdG øe ´’¦ªŸG): The
term “diptote” refers to an inflectional category or declension of Arabic nouns
and adjectives that are formally restricted when they are indefinite:

• They do not take nunation.
• They do not take kasra (the genitive marker).

Diptotes therefore, when indefinite, only exhibit two case-markers: final -u
(Damma) for nominative case and final -a ( fatHa) for both genitive and accusative.
They look identical in the indefinite genitive and accusative cases.


92
Note that the adjective agreeing with majaalaat-in shows the accusative as fatHataan because it is
triptote and belongs to declension one. Both majaalaat and waasi¬a are in the accusative, but they
are marked differently because they fall into two different declensions.
Noun inflections: gender, humanness, number, definiteness, and case 193


(1) Paradigms

(1.1) Singular diptote noun:

˜desert™ SaHraa√ AGô«°U

Definite: Indefinite:

al-SaHraa√-u SaHraa√-u
oAGô«°üdG oAGô«°U
Nominative

al-SaHraa√-i SaHraa√-a
pAGô«°üdG nAGô«°U
Genitive

al-SaHraa√-a SaHraa√-a
nAGô«°üdG nAGô«°U
Accusative


(1.2) Plural diptote noun:

˜presidents™ ru√asaa√ AÉ°SA
hQ
Definite: Indefinite:

oAÉ°SAhôdG oAÉ°SAhQ
al-ru√asaa√-u ru√assa√-u
Nominative

pAÉ°SAhôdG nAÉ°SAhQ
al-ru√asaa√-i ru√asaa√-a
Genitive

nAÉ°SAhôdG nAÉ°S AhQ
al-ru√saa√-a ru√asaa√-a
Accusative


(1.3) Singular masculine adjective

˜red™ √aHmar ôªMCG

Definite: Indefinite:

al-√aHmar-u oôªMC™G oôªMCG
√aHmar-u
Nominative

al-√aHmar-i pôªMC™G nôªMCG
√aHmar-a
Genitive

al-√aHmar-a nôªMC™G nôªMCG
√aHmar-a
Accusative


(1.4) Singular feminine adjective:

˜red™ Hamraa√ AGôªM

Definite: Indefinite:

al-Hamraa√-u Hamraa√-u
oAGôª—G oAGôªM
Nominative

al-Hamraa√-i Hamraa√-a
pAGôª—G nAGôªM
Genitive

al-Hamraa√-a Hamraa√-a
nAGôª—G nAGôªM
Accusative
194 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic


(1.5) Plural diptote adjective:

˜foreign™ √ajaanib –fÉLCG

Definite: Indefinite:

al-√ajaanib-u o–fÉLC™G o–fÉLCG
√ajaanib-u
Nominative

al-√ajaanib-i p–fÉLC™G n–fÉLCG
√ajaanib-a
Genitive

al-√ajaanib-a n–fÉLC™G n–fÉLCG
√ajaanib-a
Accusative



Examples of diptotes in context:

ôLɦN oá©HQCG oAGô°†N lá£∏°S
n
√arba¬at-u xanaajir-a salaTat-un xaDraa√-u
four daggers a green salad

o¢†«HCG lâ«H nOGó¨H pá¦jóe ¤EG
√ilaa madiinat-i baghdaad-a
bayt-un √abyaD-u
a white house to the city of Baghdad

.ɪ¡n¦«H n≥KhCG máb“Y ¤EG ¦qOD’«°S
sa-yu-√addii √ ilaa ¬alaaqat-in √awthaq-a bayn-a-humaa.
It will lead to a firmer relationship between the two of them.

(2) Categories of diptotes: Diptotes fall into categories based on their
word structure. The main ones are: diptote by virtue of pattern (singu-
lar patterns and plural patterns) and diptote by nature or origin:93

(2.1) Diptote by pattern:

(2.1.1) Diptote plural patterns: Certain noun and adjective plural patterns are
inherently diptote, including:

(a) fu¬alaa√ A“n©oa

Nouns: Adjectives:
ministers wuzaraa√ poor fuqaraa√
AGQRh AGô¤a
presidents ru√asaa√ strange ghurabaa√
AÉ°SDh Q AÉHôZ
princes honorable shurafaa√
AGôeCG AÉaô°T
√umaraa√
leaders zu¬amaa√ generous kuramaa√
AɪYR AÉeôc
93
See also section 3.2.3.2. in this chapter.
Noun inflections: gender, humanness, number, definiteness, and case 195


(b) fa¬aalil πpdÉ©na

Nouns: Adjectives:
spices; herbs tawaabil foreign
πHG’J –fÉLCG
√ajaanib
restaurants maTaa¬im relative(s)
ºYÉ£e ÜQÉbCG
√aqaarib
offices makaatib greatest
–Jɵe ôHÉcCG
√akaabir
peppers falaafil πa“a
(c) fa¬aaliil π«dÉ©na

Nouns:
crowds, throngs jamaahiir ’gɪL
topics mawaaDii¬ „«°VG’e
legends ’WÉ°SCG
√asaaTiir

(d) √af¬ilaa√ A“p©raCG with variant √afi¬laa√ A“r©paCG for geminate roots.

Nouns: Adjectives:
friends dear; strong
AÉbó°UCG AGqµYCG
√aSdiqaa√ √a¬izzaa√
Aq“bCG
few beloved AÉq‘MCG
√aqillaa√ √aHibbaa√
doctors AÉq‘WCG
√aTibbaa√

(2.1.2) Singular diptote patterns:

(a) Elative (comparative) adjectives and colors: The diptote pattern is used to
indicate the comparative state of the adjective and also for the basic color
names.94 Both the masculine and feminine forms of the elative are diptote:

(a.1) Masculine singular comparative adjective √af ¬al π©aCG:

better, preferable √af Dal green (m.)
π°†aCG ô°†NCG
√axDar
happier blue (m.)
ó©°SCG ¥QRCG
√as¬ad √azraq
fewer; less yellow (m.)
qπbCG ô˜°UCG
√aqall √aSfar

(a.2) The feminine singular adjective used for colors and physical traits
(fa¬laa√ A“©a):

red Hamraa√ blonde shaqraa√
AGôªM AGô¤°T
blue zarqaa√ deaf Tarshaa√
AÉbQR AÉ°TôW
94
For more description of comparative and superlative adjectives, see Chapter 10, section 4.2; for
more about color adjectives, see Chapter 10, section 5.1.
196 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic


(2.1.2.b) Nouns or adjectives that have a suffix -aa√ after the root consonants.
Nouns of the fa¬laa√ A“©na pattern. These words are usually feminine in
gender, e.g.,

desert SaHraa√ beauty; belle Hasnaa√
AGô«°U Aɦ°ùM
(2.2) Diptote by nature or origin: Certain categories of words fall into the
diptote camp by virtue of their etymology or meaning.

(2.2.1) Most feminine proper names, e.g.,

Fatima faaTima Zayna zayna
áªWÉa á¦jR
Aida Afaf
IóFÉY ±É˜Y
¬aa√ida ¬afaaf

(2.2.2) Proper names of non-Arabic origin: This includes a large number of
place names or names of geographical features in the Middle East
whose origins are from other Semitic languages or other (non-Semitic)
Middle Eastern languages. A salient characteristic of most of these
names is that they do not have the definite article.

Damascus dimashq Tunis tuunis
≥°»eO ¢ùf’J
Baghdad baghdaad Beirut bayruut
OGó¨H ¤h’H
Egypt miSr Lebanon lubnaan
ô°üe ¿É¦‘d
Mecca makka Tigris dijla
áµe á∏LO
Examples:

from Damascus min dimashq-a ≥°»eO øe
n
in Tunis fii tuunis-a ¢ùf’J ˜
n
to Egypt √ilaa miSr-a nô°üe ¤EG
Also, other non-Arab place names:95

Madrid madriid ójQóe
Paris baariis ¢ùjQÉH
Istanbul istaanbuul «’‘fÉ£°SEG

95
In MSA, names of places in other parts of the world, such as nyuu yuurk ‘Q’j ’«f (New York), waash-
inTun ø£¦°TGh (Washington), or istukhulm º∏¡µà°SG (Stockholm) are usually left uninflected, since
they are not readily accommodated into the Arabic inflectional class system.
Noun inflections: gender, humanness, number, definiteness, and case 197


A helpful rule of thumb with Middle Eastern place names in Arabic is
that if they carry the definite article, then they inflect as triptotes, e.g.:

Rabat al-ribaaT Khartoum al-xarTuum
•ÉHôdG „¦’WôÿG
Cairo al-qaahira Kuwait al-kuwayt
IôgɤdG âj’µdG
Examples:

from Cairo min-a l-qaahirat-i pIôgɤdG øe
in Khartoum fii l-xarTuum-i p„¦’WôÿG ˜
to Kuwait √ilaa l-kuwayt-i pâj’µdG ¤EG
.a(2.2.3) Certain masculine names: Certain Arabic masculine proper names are
diptote. These occur in the following categories:

(2.2.3.a) Derived from other Semitic languages: These include many names
mentioned in the Bible and in the Qur√an.
¯

Suleiman, Solomon sulaymaan Jonah; Jonas yuunus
¿Éª«∏°S ¢ùf’j
Jacob; James ya¬quub Abraham
Ü’¤©j º«gGôHEG
√ibraahiim

(2.2.3.b) Derived from verbs rather than adjectives:

Ahmad ˜I praise™ óªMCG
√a-Hmad-u

Yazid ˜He increases™ ya-ziid-u ójµj

5.4.3 (√asmaa√ Aɪ°SCG
naaqiSa
DECLENSION SIX: DEFECTIVE NOUNS AND ADJECTIVES
This inflectional class includes primarily
á°übÉf; al-ism al-manquuS ¢U’¤¦ŸG º°S™G).
words derived from “defective” roots, that is, lexical roots whose final element is
a semivowel rather than a consonant.
It includes masculine singular active participles from all forms (I“X) of defec-
tive verbs, verbal nouns from forms V and VI, and a set of noun plurals based pri-
marily on the diptote plural pattern CaCaaCiC. The characteristic feature of this
declension is that the final root consonant appears in the form of two kasras in
the nominative and genitive indefinite. In an ordinary written text, these short
vowels are not visible.96
Thus in this declension, the nominative and genitive inflections are identical;
the accusative shows inflection for fatHa or fatHataan.


96
The two kasras may be added into a printed text (in a newspaper article, for example) should there
be ambiguity about the meaning of the word.
198 A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic


5.4.3.1 SINGULAR DEFECTIVE NOUN:


˜lawyer™ muHaam-in97 m„¦É¬

Definite: Indefinite:

al-muHaamii muHaam-in
»eÉ™G m„¦É¬
Nominative

al-muHaamii muHaam-in
»eÉ™G m„¦É¬
Genitive

al-muHaamiya muHaamiy-an
n»eÉ™G kÉ«eɬ
Accusative




5.4.3.2 DIPTOTE DEFECTIVE PLURAL:98


˜caf©s™ maqaah-in √ɤe
m
Definite: Indefinite:

al-maqaahii maqaah-in
»gɤŸG m√ɤe
Nominative

al-maqaahii maqaahin
»gɤŸG m√ɤe
Genitive

al-maqaahiy-a maqaah-iy-a
n»gɤŸG n»gɤe
Accusative




Further examples:

Singular defectives:
club naad-in challenge taHadd-in
mOÉf ó“
x
judge qaaD-in singer mughann-in
m¢VÉb xø¨e
Plural defectives:
songs nights layaal-in
m¿ÉZCG m«É«d
√aghaan-in

√araaD-in99
lands chairs karaas-in
m¢VGQCG m¢SGôc
hands suburbs DawaaH-in
mOÉjCG ójCG
m m¬G’°V
√ayd-in √ayaad-in


97
Active participle from Form III defective verb Haamaa/yu-Haamii, ˜to defend, protect.™
98
Pattern CaCaaCiC.
99
In this (√-r-D) and the following three words, the defective ending has been added to a non-
defective root (y-d, l-y-l, k-r-s).
Noun inflections: gender, humanness, number, definiteness, and case 199


ɦjójCG øe n¤h’H »MG’°V ˜
fii DawaaHii bayruut-a
min √aydii-naa
from our hands in the suburbs of Beirut

.m„¦É¬ ’g
n .kÉ«eɬ n¿Éc
huwa muHaam-in. kaan-a muHaamiy-an.
He is a lawyer. He was a lawyer.

5.4.4 Declension seven: indeclinable nouns (al-ism al-maqSuur Q’°ü¤ŸG º°S™G)
Indeclinable nouns show no variation in case, only definiteness. They are chiefly
derived from defective lexical roots and include, in particular, passive participles
(m.) from all forms (I“X) and nouns of place from defective verbs.100 They normally
end with √alif maqSuura.


5.4.4.1 SINGULAR INDECLINABLE NOUN:

˜hospital™ mustashfan ≈˜°»à°ùe
k
Definite: Indefinite:

al-mustashfaa mustashfan
≈˜°»à°ùŸG k≈˜°»à°ùe
Nominative

al-mustashfaa mustashfan
≈˜°»à°ùŸG k≈˜°»à°ùe
Genitive

al-mustashfaa mustashfan
≈˜°»à°ùŸG k≈˜°»à°ùe
Accusative




5.4.4.2 PLURAL INDECLINABLE NOUN:

˜villages™101 quran kiôb

al-quraa quran
iô¤dG iôb
k
Nominative

al-quraa quran
iô¤dG iôb
k
Genitive

al-quraa quran
iô¤dG iôb
k
Accusative



100
For a detailed explanation of the phonological rules applying to indeclinable nouns and adjec-
tives, see Abboud and McCarus 1983, II:14“19.
101
Singular qarya ájôb.

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