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    Mamnoo’ Min As-Sarf

    Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

    Most nouns show they’re majruwr with kasra. But there’s a special class of nouns that shows this with fatha! They are called Mamnoo’ Min As-Sarf in Arabic, which literally means something like “not on the pattern.” We illustrate a few examples of these, and give you a starter list of words like this.

    Badal: Something that Stands in for Something Else

    Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

    Badal–something that stands in for something else. The badal passes on the grammar to the next word. The rules for badal are three: the badl must be an ismul-ishaara, and the word following it (which it displaces the grammar onto) must be a common noun that’s definite (usually with alif-lam).

    The Nominal Sentence

    Saturday, April 26th, 2008

    The simplest Arabic sentence is the nominal sentence. It has a mubtada (a first part), and a khabr (a description of that first part). They must match in number and gender, and the mubtada must be definite and marfoo’. The khabr can also be more complicated than this. We explain and expound through some basic sentences.

    Some Arabic Patterns

    Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

    Arabic has a very distinct quality to it–while at first, it appears to be complex and difficult, that complexity is removed by use of patterns. Almost everything in Arabic follows patterns–and if you know how to spot the patterns, you can get an idea of what the word means, even if you don’t understand everything. We discuss a few patterns–doers, places, verbs, things like that.

    Inna and It’s Sisters

    Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

    Inna and it’s sisters–lakinna, li’anna, ka’anna, anna, and la’ala–all follow the same grammatical parttern: the mubtada (which becomes ismu-inna, or ismu-sister) becomes mansoob, and the khabr (which becomes khabru-inna, or khabru-sister) remains untouched. Inna is a form of emphasis, used to draw attention to something–the same way you say “indeed” or “verily” in English.

    Non-Human Plurals Act Like Feminine Singulars

    Saturday, January 19th, 2008

    In Arabic grammar, the non-human plural acts like feminine singular grammatically–in terms of pronouns, adjectives, verb conjugation, every aspect. (Human plural are unaffected–it’s only non-human plurals.)

    The Calling Ya

    Saturday, January 12th, 2008

    The “calling ya” is the ya you use to call someone–eg. “ya Ahmad,” or “ya Allah.” The one called either becomes mansoob (in the possessive case), or marfoo’ in the regular case.

    Amma and Fa

    Saturday, December 15th, 2007

    In Arabic, how do you mention a group, but also talk about specific individuals (or sub-groups) within that group? Enter amma (أمَّا) and fa (فَ). Amma singles out a sub-group or individual, and fa mentions something about them. You can translate amma as “as for,” and fa as “then,” or “therefore,” or “thus.”

    The Number System From 3-10

    Saturday, December 8th, 2007

    The Arabic number system from 3 to 9 follows a few simple rules: the ‘adad (number) can take any case, and is opposite in gender to the ma’duwd (counted object); the ma’duwd is plural and majruwr. Some examples clarify these rules. The opposite-gender applies to all numbers with 3-9 (eg. 13-19, 233-239) and not just 3-9.

    Thahaba and Kharaja

    Saturday, November 24th, 2007

    Two common verbs in Arabic are thahaba (he travelled) and kharaja (he exited). You use thahaba with ila (to), and kharaja with min (from). Unlike English, you can’t mix and match the two prepositions.

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