January 18, 2020 0

Arabic Grammar: Verbs with Doubled Roots الفعل المضعف

Arabic Grammar: Verbs with Doubled Roots الفعل المضعف


Ahlan wa sahlan! Right now, we’re going to talk about verbs in Arabic that have two final root letters that are the same, that have a double consonant as their, as the end of their root. We call this in Arabic الفعل المضعّف, literally a ‘doubled root’ is what we’re saying. And you probably already know several of these. The verb for ‘like’ or ‘love,’ أحبّ has two ‘baas’ at the end of its root or the verb أحسّ, meaning ‘to feel,’ has ‘haa-siin-siin’ as its root, or the verb for ‘getting yourself ready,’ استعدّ Has ‘ayn and two ‘daals’ as its root. And as you can see in these situations, هو, conjugated for the past tense, these letters are often content to cohabitate together under one ‘shadda.’ But sometimes, there are irregularities. Some verbs that come from doubled roots are completely regular. In Forms II, III, V, and VI, nothing at all changes, and the conjugations, the vowels, remain exactly the same. You know a couple of these, like ‘to decide,’ قرّر, or ‘to specialize,’ تخصّص, And because of the patterns of these roots, The two ‘Saads’ and two ‘raas’ kind of separate and go their own separate ways, so nothing needs to change. However, in the other verb patterns, sometimes situations arise where because of the rules about how vowels work in formal Arabic, we actually need to separate those two root letters from each other. They can’t live under one ‘shadda’ together anymore. This is a great big chart. You can find it in other places, but what I want to draw your attention to is the situations where the last two root letters of this verb aren’t together. The verb is ظنّ meaning ‘to think,’ as in ‘to believe something to be true,’ so In the هو past tense conjugation, which we also have here, ظنّ, We have a ‘nuun’ with a ‘shadda,’ which really represents two ‘nuuns.’ However, if I wanted to say ‘I thought in the past tense,’ I would say ظَنَنْتُ. Where I would separate those ‘nuuns,’ put a ‘sukuun’ here, and then add a ‘Damma.’ The reason that this happens in فصحى, in Formal Arabic, is that there is a rule that says we can’t have two letters both with ‘sukuun’ on them, right next to each other in a word. And ostensibly, if we were to try to put these two ‘nuuns’ together under one ‘shadda’ with a ‘sukuun,’ They would both be there, and they would both have ‘sukuun.’ So for that reason, we need to separate them, and add that ‘fatha,’ so that we don’t violate this rule of phonetics in Formal Arabic. You could attempt to memorize all fourteen of these past tense conjugations, but there is a simpler way to do it, which is to recognize that all of the first-person and all of the second-person conjugations separate those last two root letters, and all of the third-person conjugations, except for one, keep the nuun, excuse me, the pair of ‘nuuns’, the doubled consonants, together under one ‘shadda.’ The only exception is the conjugation for هنّ, the feminine human plural that we would use for talking about a group of women, where again, because we have a conjugation with a ‘sukuun’ before the suffix, it wouldn’t quite work, and we would have too many ‘sukuuns,’ so we would wind up saying ظنَنَّ where again, we’ve kind of separated them, and because of the conjugation. we’ve actually added a third ‘nuun,’ which is now living with the second ‘nuun’ of the pattern. In the present tense were almost in the clear. The verbs work almost exactly as they do in all the other situations that we know. The only exceptions, again, are the feminine plural conjugations, where because the conjugation would require us to have too many ‘sukuuns,’ we actually have to change The order of where the ‘sukuun’ would be. We say تظنُنَّ, ‘you, feminine plural, think,’ or يَظْنُنَّ, ‘they, those women, think, or believe’ something. One, two, little wrinkles two little exceptions. in colloquial Arabic… Again, remember those rules are فصحى rules. In colloquial Arabic, we have a different, but simple way of resolving the same thing. Instead of saying ظنَنْتُ in Levantine or Egyptian Arabic, I would say instead ظَنَّيت and I would add an ـَي sound, I would add a ‘yaa’ at the end of that doubled consonant. This is pretty consistent for all of our ‘geminate’ or ‘doubled’ verbs in Arabic. If I wanted to say ‘I loved,’ in the past tense, but I got over that: حَبَّيت. And I would just add that ـَيـ sound to the end of my regular conjugation. Here the rule is very consistent. If there are third-person conjugations, they don’t have the ـَيـ before the conjugation suffix. We would say she, هي, ‘she liked, or ‘loved,’ or whatever it was, حَبَّت. Or هم حبّوا. But if it’s first-person or second-person, I need to add that ـَيـ before my past tense conjugation suffix. Other than that, all the rules are the same. It might seem intimidating that there is this exception, but realize that you have been using these verbs successfully for a long, long time. And all I’ve done is to present some exceptions where in formal writing, or formal speech, we would need to make some slight adjustments.

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