February 2, 2020 0

Arabic Grammar: Passive Participles اسم المفعول

Arabic Grammar: Passive Participles اسم المفعول


Ahlan wa sahlan! Right now, we’re going to talk about passive participles in Arabic. What we call in the language اسم المفعول. A passive participle is sort of the opposite of an active participle. When we say a passive participle, we mean a word derived from a verb that is ‘the person or thing that the verb is being done to.’ For example if I said in English ‘the letter is written,’ written could be considered an… a passive participle, as opposed to ‘a writer,’ which would be an active participle. Both of them returning to the verb ‘to write.’ The opposite of اسم المفعول, the passive participle, is called in Arabic اسم الفاعل, and there’s a separate video on اسم الفاعل that you can go and review if you like. I put them here just so you can compare the two Notice that they’re both named for the وزن, the pattern that we use to create those participles from a Form I verb. So you can compare with the conjugated present tense verbs, too, if you like, or you can find a chart online, or any good Arabic text book will have one. But basically, we just apply this وزن, this particular set of short vowels and consonants, and we can create a new word. So, for example, a Form I verb يطبخ meaning ‘to cook,’ or ‘he cooks,’ in this conjugation, but if I want to talk about something being ‘cooked’ like ‘cooked’ or ‘uncooked’ food, I could take the جذر, the three-letter root, and then apply this وزن that I have right here, and I wind up with مطبوخ which means ‘cooked.’ Another Form I verb that you probably know يكتب. Again, I just extract that three-letter جذر and I put it into this وزن and I get مكتوب, which means ‘written.’ In context, often in Arabic, مكتوب can refer specifically to fate, ‘that which is written in the book of life,’ and in certain colloquial Arabics, مكتوب is a perfectly normal word for a letter, ‘a thing that is written.’ You’ll notice that with Forms II through X here, the only difference most of the time between the active participle and the passive participle is a vowel shift. Where we have a ‘kasra’ on the second to last letter of the جذر in اسم الفاعل, we have a ‘fatha’ on the second to last letter of اسم المفعول. So if you have اسم الفاعل kind of memorized as a pattern and you should, then it should be a very short and easy logical jump. You basically, if you know one, already know the other; you just have to remember that that vowel shift occurs. So let’s take another example, a Form II verb, يفضِّل in the present tense, it means something like ‘to prefer.’ If we take this جذر, and we know it’s a Form II verb, because we have the ‘shadda’ here, and we have the vowel pattern with the ‘Damma, ‘fatha,’ and ‘kasra,’ so I can recognize it as Form II, and then I put it into my Form II اسم مفعول وزن, I get مفَضَّل Which you might recognize as a word you know–it means ‘favorite.’ If I were talking about ‘my favorite book,’ or ‘my favorite TV show,’ I could say كتابي المفضَّل ‘my favorite book,’ etc. Another example, there is a Form VIII verb, انتظر that’s in the past, meaning ‘wait.’ ‘To wait for something.’ Now, if we take it, and we put it into its اسم مفعول pattern here, we get منتَظَر And مُنتَظَر kind of means ‘awaited,’ or perhaps in English, in most contexts, a more elegant, usual way would be to say ‘expected,’ or ‘anticipated,’ so for awaiting results of a test, or if we’re awaiting a response from an individual, or something, منتظَر might be an adjective that we could apply in those situations. One other important function of اسم المفعول in Arabic is to serve as اسم المكان For Forms II through X. There’s a separate video on اسم المكان in Form I that you can go and watch. It’s basically a place name. We can create a word meaning ‘the place where such-and-such a verb happens.’ So in Form I, there’s a distinct pattern, مَفعَل, which you can go and learn about elsewhere, but اسم المفعول is used for these derived forms, so a word that you may have heard me say before comes from the verb ابتدأ, meaning ‘to begin,’ and that’s a Form VIII verb, so if we put it into اسم المفعول, we get a word that means kind of ‘place of beginning.’ مُبتَدَ. And more specifically, the beginning of a nominal sentence, a جملة اسمية in Arabic is called المبتدأ, because that’s where the sentence begins, with that noun. Or another nice example is from the verb استشفى which means ‘to seek a cure.’ Well if we’re sick, and we seek a cure, where do we go? We go to the مستشفى. We go to the ‘hospital,’ perhaps. Some أوزان, because of the way that they affect the meaning of the جذر, don’t tend to create productive اسماء مفعول. For example, Form VII is already passive, by its very in nature. We can take an active Form I verb and make it passive by putting it into Form VII. So we don’t tend to see productive اسماء مفعول in Form VII–it would sort of be doubly passive in a way that rendered it meaningless. Similarly in Form IX, since Form IX has to do with ‘being or becoming’ certain things, ‘being or becoming blue,’ ‘being or becoming squinty-eyed,’ something like that, we don’t really have a productive اسم المفعول in those patterns. The really important takeaway here as with اسم الفاعل is that you can really create an اسم مفعول from any verb that you know, with the exceptions that we just mentioned. And that kind of increases your net vocabulary, if you think about it, if you think of all the verbs that you know, and can use, it increases your effective vocabulary by 10 or 20 percent, let’s say. So that’s a really, really compelling reason to get these patterns under your belt, to get comfortable with them, and to start to seek them out and recognize them in Arabic language content that you expose yourself to. Because the more practice that you get with that, the more you will become comfortable with creating your own effective vocabulary on the fly, and the more quickly you will be able to recognize the meaning of a word with the help of the pattern that the word is in. So Definitely spend some quality time thinking about these concepts, on just observing, seeing where you can find them out and about in the real world.

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