January 27, 2020 0

Arabic Grammar: Dual and Feminine Plural possessive pronouns in Modern Standard Arabic

Arabic Grammar: Dual and Feminine Plural possessive pronouns in Modern Standard Arabic

Ahlan wa sahlan! We’re going to talk a little
more now about possessive pronouns, possessive suffixes in Arabic. In the
last video, you saw the most commonly used suffixes, including the ones that
occur in Levantine and Egyptian dialect. Right now we’re going to talk about some
forms that occur fairly exclusively in formal Arabic: in writing, newspapers,
books, or in very formal monologue contexts, you might say. You know, formal
speeches delivered by heads of state, things like that. We have two issues to
deal with. One is the dual form: in Arabic, we do have dual forms, and we’ll be
addressing those more later. These are the pronouns: هما, third-person, and
أنتما, second person. And as you can see, the possessive suffixes are fairly
linear from those: هما and كما, and we also have the third person and second
person feminine plural. We use these only to refer to groups of women, female human
beings. We wouldn’t use it to refer to a group of جامعات, for example
universities, even though they are grammatically feminine. These are
exclusively for people. We have أنتنّ, ‘you,’ as a group, or ‘y’all,’ we would say in
some colloquial varieties of English, and هنّ, referring to ‘them,’ again
exclusively women. And our sexes are كن and هن. So if I wanted to ,’talk about, for some reason, ‘their book,’ referring to exactly two people, ‘the book
of those two,’ I would say كتاب plus our suffix هما: كتابهما. Or if I were going to talk about the students of Smith, for example and their
university, or the students of Mount Holyoke, and their university, it would be
appropriate in a formal context to use this, and say جامعتهن. Again, we have a
‘taa marbuuTa,’ here, so when we’re adding هن we’re going to convert our ‘taa
marbuuTa’ to a ‘taa’ and write it like that.

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