Learn Arabic – Lesson 19

In this lesson, we will learn to differentiate between something “general”, and something “particular”.

We have previously learned to say “This is a book”=Hatha Kitab= هذا كتاب. But what about “This (particular) book”?

This book=Hatha l-Kitab= هذا الكتاب. Consequently, adding the two letters ‘A’ & ‘L’ in Arabic ‘ال’ makes it a particular book.

However, until now “This book”=Hatha l-Kitab= هذا الكتاب is not yet a full Arabic sentence, as it still needs a predicate. So let’s now add a predicate to it, make it a sentence, and at the same time learn some now Arabic vocabulary.

This book is new=Hatha l-Kitab jadeed= هذا الكتاب جديد, where New=Jadeed= جديد.

That man is an engineer=Thalika l-Rajul mohandess= ذلك الرجل مهندس, where Engineer=Mohandess= مهندس.

This watch is beautiful=Hathihi l-Saah jamilah= هذه الساعة جميلة,where Beautiful=Jamil (for masculine nounds)=جميل and Jamilah=جميلة (for feminine nouns).

That nurse is from Japan=Tilka l-Mumarredah mina l-Yabaan= تلك الممرضة من اليابان, where Nurse=Mumarredah= ممرضة.

We have previously learned how Arabic nouns take a Dammah at the end when they come at the start of sentences and end with ‘u’. For isntance,when we say: The house is beautiful=Al-Baytu Jameelun= البيتُ جميل, notice how the letter ‘ت’ of بيت took a Dammah making it “Baytu”. And we also learned that after a preposition, the noun takes a Kassrah and therefore ends with ‘i’. For example, we say: In the house=Fi l-Bayti= في البيتِ, notice how the letter ‘ت’ this time took a Kassrah and became “Bayti”.

Now there is an exception to all these rules, and it’s when the Arabic word ends with a long ‘A’ or ‘Alif’= ا. What happens then? Simply nothing at all. The words ending with a long ‘A’ or ا take nothing at all, so no Dammah, no Fathah and no Kassrah. Let us look at some examples to make it easier on us:

This is America=Hathihi Amrica= هذه أمريكا, so nothing happens to the word أمريكا.

I am from America=Ana min Amrica= أنا من أمريكا, here the word “أمريكا” is coming after a preposition, but takes no Kassrah, actually it takes nothing at all above or below the ‘A’ ا.

Finally, let’s learn two more Arabic words, which force a Kassrah on the noun coming after them, making it ‘i’. The two words are: In front of=Amam= أمام || Behind=Khalf= خلف. So “in front of” in Arabic is “Amam”, and “Behind” is “Khalf”.

More examples:

The house is behind the masjid=Al-Baytu khalfa l-Masjidi= البيتُ خلفَ المسجدِ, where ‘Masjidu’ became “Masjidi’ after خلف.

I am in front of the teacher=Ana amama l-Moderressi= أنا أمامَ المدرسِ, where “Moderressu” became “Modarressi” after أمام.