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The English Analogy

In English, we have the word “he”, “him”, and “his”. All three of these are in fact the same word, but that word changes depending on how it’s used in a sentence. For example, you will say “I hit him”, but you will never say “I hit he” nor “I hit his”.

If “he” is becoming subject, you will say “He ate.” If it is becoming object, you will say “I hit him.” And if it is becoming possessive, you will say “His son.” The word being used is the same, but its form changes based on how you use it in a sentence, and this is called grammatical inflection.

The word HE in different grammatical cases

He ate

I hit him

His son

Can you think of some other English words that inflect like this or similar to this?

Informative & Non-Informative Sentences

A sentence is a group of words divided into two piles. One of the piles of words is the thing about which something is being claimed. And the other pile is the claim itself. For example, “my youngest son is sleeping quietly” is a sentence. The first pile of words is “my youngest son” and the second is “sleeping quietly”, because “my youngest son” is the thing about which something is being claimed and “sleeping quietly” is the actual claim. This type of sentence is called جملة خبرية (informative sentence).

There is one other type of sentence. It also has two piles of words, but the second is not really a claim about the first. For example, “can I play, too?” is a sentence and the two piles of words are “can I” and “play, too”. However, nothing is being claimed. This is called جملة إنشائية (non-informative sentence).

A non-informative sentence is actually just an informative one with one of the following things done to it.

arabic phrases

When we talk about speech in Arabic, we typically divide it into three categories:

· words
· phrases
· sentences

There are many types of phrases in the language – over a dozen, in fact. Each of these are introduced slowly and gradually as a student studies sentences and grammatical structures. They are studied as needed and as encountered.

Two types of phrases, however, are of fundamental importance and they are very productive in the language. These are:

· the adjectival phrase (a noun and an adjective describing it)
· the possessive phrase (two nouns, one “belonging” to the other)
The Adjectival Phrase

What is the English Equivalent?

Examples of this type of phrase in English include “the ferocious lion”, “the slow children”, “an unfortunate accident”.

Overview of Words

As mentioned in the introduction to the grammar section, words in Arabic are divided into three categories. The following is a more detailed treatment of this.

· اسم pl. أسماء (noun): This category is defined as those words that impart a single meaning on their own and do not afford a tense. Roughly speaking, this is equivalent to what we know in English as nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs.
· فعل pl. أفعال (verb): This category is defined as those words that impart a single meaning on their own and afford a tense. This is exactly what we in English know as verbs.
· حرف pl. حروف (particle): This category is defined as those words that do not impart a meaning on their own . Roughly speaking, this is equivalent to what we know in English as prepositions, conjunctions, articles, and other particles.

How we Study Grammar

Arabic grammar is centered around a single topic; grammatical inflection. Anything studied in the language is studied only because it relates to this issue. It is a feat of staggering genius on the part of medieval grammarians that almost all aspects of the language are covered just by concentrating on the issue of grammatical inflection. We start with this topic, and it branches out to cover the entire language.

The following is a breakdown of how we approach and study grammar. This approach allows us to cover all the core issues.

1. some basics
a. words – a look at the different types of words in the language and how they’re divided and categorized
b. phrases – a close look at some of the more common phrasal structures, serving to introduce some key concepts and terminology
c. sentences – a look at the different types of sentences as preparation for more advanced topics

practice verbs

Arabic
English
نصَر ينصُر
to help
كتَب يكتُب
to write
بلَغ يبلُغ
to reach
رسَب يرسُب
to fail (e.g. a test)
بسَط يبسُط
to spread; to be spread out

Arabic
English
ضرَب يضرِب
to hit
حمَل يحمِل
to carry
حفَر يحفِر
to dig
خزَم يخزِم
to thread together (e.g. pearls)
سدَل يسدِل
to (let something) hang downward

Arabic
English
سمِع يسمَع
to hear
علِم يعلَم
to know
شرِب يشرَب
to drink
نهِم ينهَم
to have an insatiable appetite
ثرِم يثرَم
to have gaps between the teeth

Arabic
English
فتَح يفتَح
to open; to decide
ذهَب يذهَب
to go; to have an opinion
نفَع ينفَع
to benefit
فرَع يفرَع
to surpass
شغَف يشغَف
to infatuate

Arabic
English
كرُم
to be noble
سهُل
to be easy
شرُف
to be eminent/well-bred
طلُق
to be cheerful
شكُس
to be malicious

Arabic
English
حسِب يحسِب
to consider/deem
وثِق يثِق
to put one’s confidence in
ورِم يرِم
to be swollen
وعِق يعِق
to be curmudgeonly
وكِم يكِم
to be offensive

common verbs

Arabic
English
أتى يأتي
to come
أخَذ يأخُذ
to take
أكَل يأكُل
to eat
أمَر يأمُر
to command
بحَث يبحَث
to (re)search
بدَأ يبدَأ
to begin
بدَل يبدُل
to replace
برَز يبرُز
to emerge
بسَط يبسُط
to spread (something)
بعَث يبعَث
to dispatch
بقِي يبقى
to remain
بكى يبكي
to cry
بلَغ يبلُغ
to reach
بنى يبتي
to build
بان يبين
to become clear
تبِع يتبَع
to follow
ترَك يترُك
to leave/abandon
تمّ يتِمّ
to complete
تاب يتوب
to repent
ثبَت يثبُت
to be firmly established

Exercise: translate the following into Arabic
· she began to eat solid foods when she reached the age of one
· he sent many men to build it before it was finally complete
· stay with me, otherwise I will just keep following you
· I was ordered to take these
· don’t cry over me
· it is abandoned

Arabic
English
جرَح يجرَح
to wound
جرى يجري
to flow (literally or abstractly)
جعَل يجعَل

travel

Airplane
طائِرة / طَيّارة
Airport
مَطار
Arrival
وُصول
Customs
المَجارِك
Departure
مُغادَرة
Flight
طَيَران
Luggage
مَتاع
Passport
جَواز [السفر]
Seat (e.g. on an airplane)
مَقْعَد
Suitcase
حَقيبة [السفر]
Terminal
مَحَطّة الطَيَران
Ticket
تَذْكِرة
Visa
تَأْشيرة
Places

English
Arabic Singular
Elevator
مِصْعَد[ة]
Entrance
مَدْخَل
Exit
مَخْرَج
Hotel
فُنْدُق
Hotel Room
غُرْفة الفُنْدُق
Mosque
جامِع
Parking
مَوْقِف السَيّارات
Restaurant
مَطْعَم
Restroom
حَمّام
Reception
اسْتِقْبال
Shop
دُكّان
Stand (e.g. taxi stand)
مَوْقِف
Stop (e.g. bus stop)
مَحَطّة
Taxi
أُجْرة
Washing Machine
غَسّالة
Wudu Places
مَواضِئ
Other Expressions

English
Arabic Singular
Currency Exchanger
صَرّاف
Current Time
الساعة المَحَلِّيّة
Discount
تَخْفيض
How Much is This?
كَمْ هذا؟
Office
مَكْتَب
Snack
وَجْبة [خفيفة

Types of Buildings English

Building
بِنايَة
بِنايات
Floor / Story
طَبَقة
طابِق
طِباق
طَوابِق
Apartment
شَقَّة
شُقَق
House
بَيْت
بُيوت
Estate / House
دار
دور/دِيار
Mansion / Castle / Palace
قَصْر
قُصور
Restaurant
مَطْعَم
مَطاعِم
Hotel
فُنْدُق
فَنادِق
University
جامِعَة
جَامِعات
College
كُلِّيَة
كُلِّيات
Bank
مَصْرِف
مَصارِف
Library / Bookstore
مَكْتَبَة
مَكاتِب
Office
مَكْتَب
مَكاتِب
Museum
مَتْحَف
مَتاحِف

Places in a Building

English
Arabic Singular
Arabic Plural
Room
غُرْفَة
غُرَف
Kitchen
مَطْبَخ
مَطابِخ
Washroom
مَغْسَل
مَغاسِل
Bathroom
حَمّام
حَمّامات
Lavatory / Toilet
مِرْحاض
مَراحيض
Reception
إِسْتِقْبال

Bedroom
غُرْفَة النَوْم
غُرَف النَوْم
Dining room/table
سُفْرَة
سُفَر
Yard
حَديقَة
حَدائِق

Common Items in a Building

English
Arabic Singular
Arabic Plural
Window
شُبَاك
شَبابيك
Door
باب
أَبْواب
Carpet / Rug
سَجّادَة
سَجاجيد
Table
طاوِلَة
طاوِلات
Bed
سَرير
سُرُر
Chair
كُرْسِيّ
كَراسِيّ
Book

Body Parts

Head
رَأْس
رُؤوس
Hair
شَعْر
شُعور
Forehead
جَبْهَة
جِباه
Forelock
ناصِية
نَواصٍ
Brain
دِماغ
أَدْمِغَة
Ear
أُذُن
آذان
Eyebrow
حاجِب
حَواجِب
Eye
عَيْن
ناظِرَ(ة)
باصِرَة
عُيون
نَواظِر
بَواصِر
Eyelid
جُفْن
جُفون/أَجْفان
Eyelash
هُدُب
أَهْداب
Nose
أَنْف
آناف
Nostril
مَنْخِر
مَناخِر
Cheek
وَجْنَة
خَدّ
وَجَنات
خُدود
Moustache
شارِب
شَوارِب
Mouth
فَم
أَفْواه
Lip
شَفَة
شِفاه
Tooth
سِنّ
أَسْنان
Tongue
لِسان
أَلْسِنَة
Jaw
شَدْق
أَشْداق
Beard
لِحْيَة
لُِحى
Throat
حَلْق
حُلوق/أَحْلاق
Neck
جيد
جُيود/أَجْياد
Shoulder
مَنْكَب
مَناكِب
Wing
جَناح
أَجْنِحَة
Chest / Breast
صَدْر
صُدور
Heart
قَلْب
قُلوب
Lung
رِئَة
رِئون/رِئات
Stomach
بَطَن
مِعْدَة
بُطون
مِعَد
Liver
كَبِد
كُبود/أَكْباد
Back
ظَهْر
ظُهور
Arm
يَد
أَيْدِي
Armpit
إِبْط
آباط
Elbow
مِرْفَق
مَرافِق
Wrist
مِعْصَم
مَعاصِم
Hand
يَد
أَيْدِي
Finger
إِصْبَع
أَصابِع
Joint / Knuckle
مَفْصِل
مَفاصِل

Fruits

Apple
تُفّاح
تَفافيح
Apricot
مِشْمِشْ
مِشْمِشْ
Avocado

Banana
مَوْز

Blackberry

Blueberry
تُوْت أَرْضِيّ

Cantaloupe
بَِطِّيْخ أَصْفَر

Carrot
جَزَر

Cherry
كَرَز
كَرَزات
Clementine

Coconut
جَوْز هِنِدِيّ

Cranberry
تُوْت بَرِّيّ

Cucumber
قِثّاء

Date
تَمْر
تُمُوْر
Grape
عِنَب
أَعْناب
Grapefruit

Guava

Fig
تِيْن

Honeydew
مَنّ

Kiwi

Kumquat
بُرْتُقال ذَهَبِيَ

Lemon

Lime

Loquat

Mango

Mulberry
تُوْت

Orange
بُرْتُقال

Papaya

Peach
خَوْخ

Pineapple
أناناس (no ة)
(none)
Plum
بَرْقُوْق

Pomegranate
رُمّان (no ة)
(none)
Pomelo
بُرْتُقال هِنْدِيّ

Raspberry
تُوْت شَوْكِيّ

Strawberry
فَرَاوْلة (borrowed; silent Aleph)
(none)
Tamarind
تَمَر هِنْدِيّ
تُمُوْر
Tangerine
يُوْسُفِيّ (no ة)

Tomato
طَماطِم

Watermelon
بَِطِّيْخ

Arabic to English

Arabic
English
شَمال
north
جَنُوْب
south
مَشْرِق
east
مَغْرِب
west
على
on, on top
فَوْق
above, over, up (also on top)
أَعْلى
higher, top of
قِمّة
top/peak/apex/pinnacle, brink
تَحْت
below, beneath/underneath, under, down
أَدْنى
lower (also bottom, closer)
أَسْفَل
bottom (also below, lower)
جانِب
beside
يَمِيْن
right (direction)
يسير
left (direction)
شِمال
left (direction)
أَيْمَن
right (as in right hand)
أَيْسَر
left (as in left hand)
أَمام
in front (no matter how far)
مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَيـ...
right in front / in view
وَراء
behind (no matter how far)
خَلْف
right behind
بَيْن
between
في
in
حَوْل
around
قَرِيْب
near
دانٍ/أَدْنى
close
بَعِيْد
far
أَقْصى
distant
مَرْأىً
eyeshot
مَسْمَع
earshot
هُنا
here
هُناك
there
أَيْنَ
where?

Intervals of Time

English
Arabic Singular
Arabic Plural
Second
ثانِية
ثَوانٍ
Minute
دَقيقة
دَقائِق
Hour
ساعة
ساعات
Day
يَوْم
أَيّام
Week
أُسْبوع
أَسابيع
Month
شَهْر
شُهور/أَشْهُر
Year
سَنة
عام
سَنَوات/سِنون
عَوام
Decade
عَقْد
عُقود
Century
قَرْن
قُرون

Times of Day

Arabic
English
سَحَر ج. أَسْحار
before dawn
فَجْر
dawn, twilight
إِشْراق
sunrise time
بُكْرة
early morning
ضُحى
mid-morning, before noon
غَداة ج. غَدَوات
morning
صَباح
morning (dawn to noon)
زَوال
noon
ظُهْر
noon, forenoon
عَصْر ج. عَصارٍ
afternoon
أَصيل ج. آصال
late afternoon
مَغْرِب ج. مَغارِب
sunset time
غَسَق
dusk, twilight
عِشاء/عَشِيّة
evening, nightfall
نَهار
day (morning to night)
لَيْل ج. لَيالي
night (night to morning)

Days of the Week

Arabic
English
يَوم الأَحَد
Sunday
يوم الإثْنَيْن
Monday
يوم الثُلاثاء
Tuesday
يوم الأَرْبِعاء
Wednesday
يوم الخَميس
Thursday
يوم الجُمُعة
Friday
يوم السَبْت
Saturday

Relative Times

Arabic

numbers

Consider the following grouping of numbers and try to become accustomed to this categorization. Notice that there is a lot of division based on putting 1 & 2 into one category, and 3 to 9 in another.

Group
Numbers
A
1, 2
B
3..10
C
11, 12
D
13..19
E
20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90
F
21, 22, 31, 32, 41, 42, 51, 52, 61, 62, 71, 72, 81, 82, 91, 92
G
23..29, 33..39, 43..49, 53..59, 63..69, 73..79, 83..89, 93..99
H
100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900
I
1000 onwards

For each of these groups, we want to consider the following:
· How do you construct the number – ordinal and cardinal?
· What is the grammatical gender of the number?
· What is the grammatical case of the number?
· What is the grammatical case of the counted word (by counted word we mean, for example, ‘men’ in the phrase ’22 men’)?
· Is the counted word going to be singular or plural?
Constructing the Numbers

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