December 14, 2019 0

Arabic Grammar: 14. Imperative verbs

Arabic Grammar: 14. Imperative verbs


Masaa’ al-kheir! Right now I want to teach you how to give people orders using the imperative, or what we call in Arabic فعل الأمر. Now to build an imperative in formal Arabic, We use a slightly modified form of the مجزوم case, that modified present tense verb conjugation. In this video I’m going to go ahead and assume that you have a working knowledge of the مجزوم case and how it works and what makes it special. If you need a refresher, feel free to take a moment to go back and watch the video on the مجزوم case before continuing here. So we form an imperative in Arabic by taking the مجزوم version of a present tense verb and lopping off any subject prefix that it has. So for example if I wanted to say to someone ‘speak!’ speak Arabic, say, instead of English. I would take this verb for speaking, يتكلّم, suppose that I’m speaking to one grammatically masculine individual, addressing them. I suppose in that case it would be تتكلّم and because it’s مجزوم it has a ‘sukuun’ at the end, this is formal Arabic, ‘fuS7a,’ that we’re talking about here. Now what I would do is drop that subject prefix, and I would be left with تكلّم and that is how I would say to a grammatically masculine individual, “speak!” تكلّم! تكلّم العربية! If you look over here, you’ll see a chart with all of the different verb forms, and we’ve done this same thing to them. We’ve set it up in مجزوم—that’s why they all have ‘sukuun’ at the end–and we’ve dropped any subject prefix, and we wound up with our imperative. All of these imperatives, again, are for masculine singular. Now if we were conjugating this verb for any other subject, and went through the same process, we would wind up with a correctly-conjugated imperative for any other subject. There are only five different subjects that we would need to worry about in Arabic, if we’re addressing someone, or a group of someones, in the second person. We would have أنتَ and أنتِ, masculine and feminine singular, أنتم and أنتنّ masculine or feminine plural, and أنتما, the dual. You might not see the dual so much in speech, or hear it rather, but you would read it in certain contexts. For example a novel. You might read an imperative given that way. So if we wanted instead to say “you, [grammatically feminine individual], speak Arabic!” We could go through the same process. تتكلّمي, And here at the end, we don’t have the ‘nuun’ that we would expect on the مرفوع conjugation, we just have the ‘yaa,’ and then we drop the ‘taa’ once again, and we wind up with again تكلّمي! “you, grammatically a feminine person, تكلّمي العربية For example I have a handy chart on these suffixes that we might expect. Again, you can you can engineer it either way. You can work through the مجزوم and drop the prefix, or you could just take this stem and add one of the suffixes. So [all of you, everybody], تكلّموا I’ve just added that ‘y’all’ suffix, for أنتم. I want to draw your attention to something over here, which is that in certain verb forms, IV, and VII-X, we’ve actually done something that might seem a bit strange, we’ve added back kind of a helping a vowel at the beginning of the verb conjugations. This may seem a little bit strange and arbitrary, until you remember that in formal Arabic we aren’t allowed to begin a word with a consonant that has a ‘sukuun’ on it. And if we drop the prefix of any of those present-tense verbs, then what we’re going to wind up with is –as you can see–a letter with a ‘sukuun’ on it. So we wanted to say to someone ‘respect yourself!’ using the verb احترم, well if I want to conjugate it for أنتَ in مجزوم Masculine singular second person, I have –my pen isn’t working so well–تحترم… but then if I drop this ‘taa,’ I’m left with a ‘7aa’ that has a ‘sukuun’ on it, and that can’t be done. Not in formal Arabic. So a solution is to just add an ‘alif’ with a ‘kasra’ at the beginning, and that allows me to maintain consistency and conform to the rules of Arabic. Notice that these four forms, VII through X, have a ‘kasra,’ and form IV has a ‘fatha’ instead. So if it wanted to say to someone ‘send! send a letter!’ using that verb, يرسل،ترسل، it doesn’t matter what the conjugation is, I would drop that first prefix, and then I would have just a ‘raa’ with a ‘sukuun,’ which, again, isn’t allowed, so I have to add that ‘alif.’ أرسل الرسالة! ‘send the letter!’ I also want to bring your attention to this little asterisk up here on form I. Form I. Oh, excuse me; form I also obeys the same rule. We have to add a helping the vowel at the beginning. But the vowel can take different forms depending on the verb. If we have a form one verb conjugate in the present tense, the middle vowel might be any of the three vowels that we have in Arabic. It could be ‘fatha,’ or ‘Dhamma,’ or ‘kasra,’ and this vowel at the beginning is going to change depending on which one of those it is. If the middle vowel is a ‘fatha’ or a ‘kasra,’ we’re going to maintain this ‘kasra’ here at the beginning, but if the middle vowel is a ‘Dhamma,’ then we’re going to add a ‘Dhamma’ at the beginning. That was a lot of words, so I’m going to share some examples. So if I want to say ‘Go! go to the party!’ or ‘go to your room!’ or something like that, I would take تذهب for example, and then I have a ‘fatha’ here, and with a ‘fatha’ I’m going to add an ‘alif’ with a ‘kasra.’ اِذهبْ Same thing if I have a verb Whose middle vowel in form I is a ‘kasra.’ I want to replicate that ‘kasra.’ So if I want to say ‘sit down!’ تجلس That verb for sitting has a ‘kasra’ here, so I’m going to have a ‘kasra’ at the beginning as well. اِجلس or اِجلسي اِجلِسوا! ‘sit down all of you!’ But if I have a verb whose middle vowel in the present tense in form I is a ‘Dhamma,’ like say تطبُخ, that verb for cooking, I have a ‘Dhamma’ here, so I have to have a ‘Dhamma’ as my first vowel as well. اُطبُخ! ‘Hurry up and cook’! And that is pretty much it! Now you know how to boss people around in Arabic!

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