January 20, 2020 0

Arabic Grammar: The ‘Five Names’ الأسماء الخمسة

Arabic Grammar: The ‘Five Names’ الأسماء الخمسة


SabaaH al-kheir! Right now, we’re going to talk about ‘The Five Names, or ‘Five Nouns’ in Arabic. As they’re called, الأسماء الخمسة This is a very small group of nouns that show their case endings in Formal Arabic as long vowels attached to the end of the word, when they’re in an إضافة, or when they take most possessive pronoun suffixes. You know some plural case endings, where the ‘waaw’ or the ‘yaa’ can change to something else because of the case, but all of these nouns are singular, and this operation pretty much only happens in the singular, as we will see. So, luckily for us, there is kind of some vowel harmony here, because we know that a a normal singular noun on a–if it is in the مرفوع case, if it’s the subject of a جملة اسمية, for example, is going to take a ‘Damma,’ or two, and here, we attach a ‘waaw’ to the end of these words. So if I we’re talking about أب, or أخ, two words that you probably know, ‘dad,’ or ‘brother,’ and I had it in an إضافة, I would say أخو. Similarly in the منصوب, we can expect a ‘fatha,’ or two, and we have an ‘alif’ here. So the sound is the same ‘a.’ ‘aa.’ Short ‘a,’ long ‘a,’ basically. And as you might expect with the مجرور on a normal singular noun, we would have some combination of one ‘kasra,’ or two, and instead we have a long ‘yaa’ attached to it. Again, that’s only when we see these words in إضافات, or if they have almost all pronoun suffixes, possessive suffixes, attached to them. So for example, if I wanted to say ‘I saw your brother at the office, ‘I saw,’ رأيتُ ‘your brother.; Now, ordinarily, if we didn’t know any better, we could just take the word أخ and add a ‘kaaf.’ But because أخ is one of these special nouns, I need to demonstrate the case, which is منصوب because the brother is the object of the verb ‘saw,’ right? So it would turn out رأيت أخاك في المكتب. Because I have that pronoun suffix, it’s obligatory in formal, written Arabic to include that ‘alif. Let’s take another example. If I wanted to say ‘I spoke with his father,’ I could do it this way: تكلّمت مع… ‘I spoke with his father.’ Now here, I have a preposition, so I know that after a preposition in Arabic, I’m going to have a noun in مجرور, which means I’m going to take أب and then put it in a special مجرور case, which means I’m going to add a ‘yaa.’ And the ‘yaa’ is going to be what changes. تكلّمت مع أبيه. ‘I spoke with his father.’ If we change that to an إضافة, if we wanted to say, ‘whose father?’ Well, I spoke with Adam’s father. I would say: تكلّمت مع أبي آدم. So instead of attaching that pronoun suffix, I would keep the ‘yaa,’ the ‘yaa’ is important, and just add whatever noun completed my إضافة at the end. One final example. If I wanted to say ‘He is the father-in-law of Maryam.’ These two nouns, You know أب and أخ, حم’ means a ‘male in-law,’ a father-in-law, فم in its form means ‘mouth.’ Notice that it loses the ‘miim’ when we have it in these different forms, and ذو has to do with possession. We’ll talk a little bit about that in a minute. But if I wanted to say ‘he is Maryam’s Father-in-law,’ he’s the father-in-law of Maryam, هو… well here, I have a جملة اسمية, there are no verbs. There are no prepositions. So it would be in مرفوع. هو حمو مريم. And because this is an إضافة, I see that case ending on the noun here. فم, a word that might be less familiar to you than أب or أخ, means ‘mouth,’ and you’ll notice that it’s sort of distinctive in that the ‘miim’ that we see when it’s not an in إضافة or in a possessive construct… Excuse me. Yes, the ‘miim,’ when it’s not in a possessive construct is cut off when it’s in an إضافة, or when it is attached to a pronoun suffix. So we say فو فا في, in these particular situations. We could classicize a little bit. There’s an expression in Arabic, That essentially means ‘don’t say bad things.’ جنِّب فاك قول السوء. Sort of ‘make your mouth avoid the saying of bad,’ if we wanted to translate it literally. جنّب فاك, so it comes from a root that means ‘avoiding,’ but in this case. It’s a Form II verb meaning ‘prevent’ or ‘make someone or something avoid’ things. So, ‘don’t say bad things,’ essentially. جنّب فاك قول السوء. And because فم, ‘mouth,’ here is the object of جنّب, it needs to be منصوب, so we have our ‘alif’ there. Note that the first person singular ending, when we attach a ‘yaa’ to the end of a word, swallows up these endings. That’s the one exception. That’s why I said *most* pronoun suffixes, but not absolutely all of them. If I wanted to say ‘my brother likes ice cream,’ I could say it like this: أخي يحبّ البوظة. If we were following these rules, we might expect أخو plus a ‘yaa,’ but that doesn’t happen. The ‘-ee’ sound is strong enough that it swallows up the ‘waaw.’ Another way to think of it is that Arabic in general really does not like the vowel combinations of ‘ui’ and ‘ew,’ neither which sound particularly pleasant right? ‘Ui kind of sounds like you bumped the corner of a counter with your solar plexus, and ‘ew’ kind of sounds like you stepped on something cold and wet. They’re unpleasant vowel combinations generally, right? They’re not as easy on the ears. So أخوي? Not going to happen. Our final word, the final ‘name in our ‘five names, الأسماء الخمسة, isذو, and ذو is unique in a couple of ways. ذو is a word that we’re only ever going to see in an إضافة a construct. It kind of means ‘having,’ or ‘possessing,’ and serves a function similar to other words that you know to express possession, like عند or لِـ, but ذو is typically reserved for physical attributes, like having blonde hair or blue eyes, for example or abstract qualities. Someone who has a lot of administrative experience, or has great knowledge, something like that. So if we wanted to say ‘Do you know the man who has black hair?’ ‘the man with the black hair?’ We could express it using ذو. هل تعرف الرجل, ‘do you know the man,’ now here, الرجل is the object of تعرف ‘do you know the man,’ so it’s منصوب, we would add a ‘fatha’ there if we were vocalizing our entire sentence, and then because الرجل is منصوب ذا… الشعر الأسود. ‘Do you know the men possessing black hair?’ You’ll notice that I’ve put a little asterisk here. That’s because ذو is unique among these أسماء خمسة, these five names in that it also changes depending on the Number and gender of what it’s describing. We have separate versions of ذو for feminine singular, for masculine plurals, for feminine plurals. For now the important thing is to recognize it, but if you’re curious There is a separate video on the vagaries and idiosyncrasies of ذو, and how it works. The important thing for now though, to recognize it when you see it, and to know that it is one of these ‘five names,’ all of which function in the same similar or regular pattern. If you need a refresher on when exactly a noun is going to be مرفوع or منصوب or مجرور, we have separate videos on all of those case endings that you can go back and watch.

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