January 9, 2020 0

Arabic Grammar: Constructing Regular Feminine Plurals in Arabic

Arabic Grammar: Constructing Regular Feminine Plurals in Arabic


Ahlan wa sahlan! Right now we’re going to talk about sound feminine plurals and again, we’re using ‘sound’ in the sense of
‘regular’ or ‘correct.’ In Arabic we say جمع المؤنّث. Sound feminine plurals. Once again,
nouns referring to human females, groups of women, tend to be highly regular in
Arabic. And these are the sorts of nouns that we ordinarily make feminine, we
have sort of two separate forms; we could say طالب to refer to a male student,
طالبة by adding ‘taa marbuuTa’ to refer to a female student. أستاذ, أستاذة.
And to make them plural, what we do is we take the ‘taa marbuuTa,’ and we
replace it with ‘alif-taa.’ So طالبة واحدة, one female student, طالبة طالبة طالبة, a
طالبات group of أستاذة أستاذة أستاذة، أستاذات. Many but not all
non-human feminine nouns can be made plural in the same way. For example جامعة, a college or university, if we’re talking about a group of three or more,
we can say جامعات, or بناية, بنايات. One important exception to this rule
is actually the word for ‘woman’ and ‘women,’ which is highly irregular. We actually
say امرأة, امرأة واحدة, one woman, and the plural is نساء, which as you can see
doesn’t really share much at all in terms of root. This is kind of a preview
of what we will be talking about a little bit later on, جمع التكسير, ‘broken
plurals.’ This is actually an exceptionally irregular example, but
Arabic enjoys an abundance of irregular plural forms, so we’ll be working on them
more soon.

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