October 10, 2019 0

Arabic Grammar: Expressing ‘to have’ in Arabic

Arabic Grammar: Expressing ‘to have’ in Arabic


Marhaba! Right now we’re going to talk
about how to express the idea of the verb ‘to have’ in Arabic. In Arabic we
don’t really have a conjugated verb. We’re unlikely to use a conjugated verb
to express the idea of ‘having’ a possession.
Instead we use different particles to which we attach suffixes. And those
suffixes are virtually identical to the possessive suffixes of Arabic. If you
need a refresher on those before we continue, you might want to go back and
watch the video that we have about possessive suffixes and how to use them,
but that knowledge will come in very handy as you’re trying to express these
ideas. One of the most common ways you’re likely to hear possession expressed in
Arabic is through the particle عند plus one of those suffixes. So for example if
I wanted to say ‘he has a new book,’ I would take عند and then I would think
okay I need the هو, the he- him possessive suffix, which is ه, and so
I’m going to write it as عنده عنده كتاب جديد he’
has.’ If I wanted to say ‘she has a new book,’ instead of using ه I would use the
هي particle the هي suffix, possessive suffix ها and I would wind up with عندها كتاب جديد And if I wanted to talk about myself, ‘I have a new book,’ instead I would
use ي, the أنا possessive suffix, and I would
wind up with عندي. Another particle… Oh it’s, before we continue, it’s
important to remember that عند, to express possession in this way, we can
only use it for human possessors, right? people possessing things. I wouldn’t talk
about a city or a building or a dog, we have different ways to express that
which we’re going to get to. Another common way you hear possession expressed
is through the particle لِـ which has kind of an overlapping meaning with عند, but
we tend to use it, for for one thing in more formal contexts, and to express
abstract relationships, especially familial relationships, where the
possession is figurative, rather than literal, right? We don’t carry around our
family members in our pockets, but we possess them we ‘have’ them in a certain
sense. So if I wanted to say ‘I have one son,’ for example again I would take لِـ
and then I would need to add the أنا possessive suffix ‘yaa,’ and then I would
wind up with لي ابن واحد. If I wanted to say
they have one son,’ that would change things a’ little bit: instead, we add هم, right, لهم ابن واحد Or if I want to say ‘we
have one son,’ instead I would take that نحن suffix, ‘nuun-alif,’ and wind
up with لنا ابن واحد. The pronunciation of this possessor can
change a little bit in dialects, for example in Egyptian we tend to put some
stress on the the first syllable, and add kind of an ‘ee’ sound, so it would sound
more like ‘leena,’ and in Shaami, in Levantine dialect, we would actually add
a little glottal stop at the beginning, so it would sound more like ‘illna,’ but
the way we’re going to form these possessive constructions is essentially
the same from dialect to dialect right? We’re using exactly the same technique
if you will. If we’re talking about a place or an institution, again we can’t
use عند, because I عند is only for people, so instead we’re going to use في
plus exactly the same suffixes. For example, if we want to say this town, this city, has beautiful
buildings, I might say هذه المدينة this town, في plus that suffix
right, and Medina is feminine, we know that because of the ‘taa marbuuTa’ here,
so I know that I’m going to need to use the feminine suffix ها
so I’m going to wind up with فيها بنايات جميلة, right literally ‘in it
or at it at this city are beautiful buildings,’ right but I can’t use عند
because a city is not a person. Or if I want to say ‘my house has four rooms,’ I could
say بيتي and again بيت right this we have
this ‘yaa’ of possession, my house, but بيت is masculine it doesn’t have a ‘taa marbuuTa,’ so I’m going to take في and then I’m going to add that masculine
third-person suffix ه and wind up with فيه أربع غرف. ‘In my house, at my house are
four rooms,’ but I can’t use عند, عند I’m probably not going to use لِـ
because they’re physical things.

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