January 19, 2020 0

Arabic Grammar: 24. Defective Verbs in Form I

Arabic Grammar: 24. Defective Verbs in Form I


Marhaba! In this video. I’m going to talk about الفعل الناقص, what we sometimes refer to in English as ‘defective verbs.’ These are verbs where a last letter of the root is a vowel, either a ‘waaw’ or a ‘yaa.’ As you probably know by this point Vowels in Arabic are a little bit slippery. They’re shapeshifters. They can change form or disappear entirely depending on the circumstances. And that’s exactly what we’re going to examine here. In this video, I’m only going to look at form I defective verbs. That’s because the derived forms 2 through 10 are a little bit more regular, and we’re going to have a separate video on those, so that we can examine them as a set. So in form I الفعل الناقص has three main conjugation patterns depending on the vowel in the verb stem. I’ve conjugated these past tense forms here for both هو And أنا so that we can see the difference. as you can see the vowels that we have here change form depending on the conjugation, so Take this verb, مشى, which means ‘walk,’ ‘he walked,’ or أنا مشَيتُ ‘I walked,’ a pretty basic verb, right? In the past tense conjugated for هو we’ve got an ‘alif maksuura’ that turns into a ‘yaa’ in first and second person past tense conjugations. That’s very predictable. The great thing about each of these paradigms is that once we know one verb that fits into that template we can apply it to any other verb that looks the same way. So: ‘alif maksuura’ in the past turns into a ‘yaa’ for first and second person conjugations. Same thing if we were talking about ‘anta’ or ‘anti: مشَيتَ /مَشَيتِ . And in the present tense it also turns into a ‘yaa.’ هو يمشي، أنا أمشي Etc. Second pattern: we have a regular ‘alif’ for هو That turns into a و with all the first and second person conjugation patterns. هو دعا، أنا دَعَوتُ, and then it also turns into a ‘waaw’ in the present. هو يدعو، أنا أدعو etc. Our third version, our third paradigm– دعا means ‘call,’ or ‘invite,’ by the way. Third paradigm: we’re using نسي which means ‘to forget,’ a very useful verb– where we have a ‘yaa’ for the هو in past tense, that Stays a yaa For the أنا and انت conjugations and then turns into an ‘alif maksuura’ in the present tense. هو ينسى، أنا أنسى، etc. Again, it can seem very random and arbitrary, but the great thing is that once we know just one verb each of these categories, we can apply it to any other verb. We have another verb بَكى which means ‘to cry,’ That also has an ‘alif maksuura’ at the end. So I know that I can use exactly the same set of rules as I can for مشى. If I want to talk about myself crying in the past I can say: بَكيتُ, same deal. If I want to talk about the present tense For هو, I know that I’m going to have a ‘yaa’ for that vowel that’s the last letter of the جذر. For دعا there’s another word, بدا a very useful verb which means ‘to seem,’ ‘to appear to be.’ بدا, I see that alif in the past tense, I know that I can say بَدَوتُ for myself, that’s a little bit strange. We don’t encounter it much. ‘I seemed to be X,’ but in terms of conjugation, it works. And In the present tense, I’m going to keep that ‘waaw’ Same idea. يدعو, يبدو Same pattern. One last example for the last pattern. We have a verb, بقِيَ, which means ‘to remain or stay,’ or sometimes ‘survive’ بقيَ So in the past tense I remember نسي, and I can say بَقَيتُ and In the present tense because I know that it has an ‘alif maksuura,’ and يَنسى has an ‘alif maksuura’ in the present tense conjugation. I can be confident in conjugating this verb يَبقى With an ‘alif maksuura’ as well. Okay. Once we know these correspondences we can apply them across the… Excuse me, across the board, on any other verb that fits that paradigm. So, we use normal prefix and suffix endings for past and present tense verbs that are ناقص, there are a couple of little wrinkles, little idiosyncrasies that I do want to bring your attention to. First is that For the past tense feminine third-person singular conjugation. هي We’re going to drop that vowel entirely. The reason is that we can’t have two ‘sukuuns’ next to each other in consecutive letters in formal Arabic, so if we wanted to say ‘she walked,’ for example, you might be tempted to say ‘mashayt,’ But the problem would be that We would have a ‘sukuun’ on the ‘yaa,’ and a ‘sukuun’ on the ‘taa,’ and that’s a no-no in Arabic. We can’t do that. So the solution is just to drop the ‘yaa’ And say مَشَت. Same thing with the others. هي دَعَتْ or هي نَسَتْ, we drop the vowel entirely, which might be a relief at this point, right? The other thing is that if we’re conjugating for most conjugations that have a suffix in the present tense, We’re also going to drop that vowel. So if we’re talking about So that’s for هي in the past tense, but if we’re talking about هم ‘all of them,’ for example, in the present tense, you know that typically we add a ‘yaa,’ and then an ‘-uun’ the end in a present tense مرفوع conjugation. So if we were saying ‘they all are walking,’ We’re not going to keep the ‘yaa,’ you might think okay, ‘yamshiiuun,’ There’s not a problem with that. But the truth is that ‘eww’ sound is not loved by Arabic. So we’re just going to skip it and say يَمشون or يَدعون We’re not going to have two ‘waaws’ there, that would just look a little bit silly. Or ينسون The one exception to this is dual conjugations, where we are going to keep that vowel. So for example, just one example, if we were saying ‘they walked,’ the two of them. هما يمشيان is what we would say. So just for the dual, in formal Arabic, otherwise we’re going to drop those vowels in the present tense for any conjugation that has a suffix like that. One other thing that I want to mention is that if we’re creating an active participle, an اسم فاعل out of a فعل ناقص like this It’s going to fall into a category of words we call منقوص Same جذر as ناقص, right? منقوص. So they’re ‘defective nouns,’ or really ‘defective nouns and adjectives,’ but we call it الاسم المنقوص which take a special set of case endings. We had a separate video on this that you can go and watch it you’d like to learn more. But just so you know, typically, in the indefinite, If an اسم فاعل is masculine from one of these verbs, then it’s going to take special case endings, where even in the مرفوع We’re going to add كسرة تنوين. You might expect ماشي To fit that فاعل pattern and that would be true only if it were definite or if it were منصوب. But in مرفوع and مجرور, we would say ماشٍ, like ‘a walker,’ ‘one who is walking,’ or ‘someone who is calling.’ We could possibly see داعٍ or ‘a forgetter, one who forgets’ could be ناسٍ Once again, there’s a video on that, on how that works, and when we can expect it that you can go and view it at your leisure, but if you encounter these somewhere, and especially if you see that a helpful editor has put that in there, then it’s likely that what you’re looking at is… likely, not one-hundred-percent, it’s likely that it’s an اسم فاعل From a فعل ناقص, a verb that fits into this special paradigm. As is usual in a case like this, rather than attempting to remember all of these different particularities in the abstract, what I would recommend is that you pick a verb that you already know, or pick one of these new verbs that that you like, that appeals to you emotionally, and just make that your template, really get to know مشى/يمشي or بقي يبقى and make that your referent for any other defective verb that you might come across. That’s going to be a slightly easier way to do it most of the time. And as you can see the ناقص has its quirks, more than a few, but we get a ton of verbs that fall into this category in Arabic, and it’s well worth knowing how to use them capably and confidently.

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