hwhatting wrote:Well, my actual location is Beirut - I'm changing locations relatively often due to work, and I'm just too lazy to change my board profile.
I'm learning MSA from a book - the German edition of the Arabic text book from the French (insert language) sans peine series. Also Lebanese by picking up things here and there - not very succesfully, because almost everybody speaks English or French, so I'm not really forced to practice. And, honestly, I'm not investing enough time in either Standard Arabic or Lebanese.
I trust you're taking the opportunity to enjoy what is quite possibly the finest cuisine in the world during your stay?
As for lack of practice - maybe you could pretend you don't speak English and French?
Maknas wrote:Is there any difference between the forms you describe the same way? Like between all of the ones you mark as reflexive or stative?
There are plenty of differences! The descriptions I gave were pretty generic, and most forms have several diffirent kinds of meanings. So while Form VI (tafāʕala) often forms the reflexive for the reciprocal Form III (fāʕala), as in ḍaraba
"he hit" > ḍāraba
"he fought with" > taḍārabū
"they fought each other", it can also mean "to imitate", as in jahula
"he was ignorant" > tajāhala
"he pretended to be ignorant". Again, I'll try to devote a few posts to describing each form in detail (the statives alone would merit their own post - and yes, they do have different meanings).
It's interesting that so many forms are counted as 'official'. I say this because Hebrew 'officially' is said to have seven binyanim, but in reality there is a large number of "minor binyanim" that are either nonproductive or have only limited productivity, and they usually replace a more common form - ie, roots that have a form in the stative minor binyan pa`el tend not to have a pa`al/qal form.
Well, these are all 'offical' in the sense that they represent the only forms a verb can take in the language! Fundamentally, there are three 'types' of verbs in Arabic - faʕala, faʕila and faʕula (as mentioned earlier, Arab grammarians distinguish six, but the distinction is based on the vowels they take in the imperfect stem, and really doesn't affect meaning, at least for our purposes).
Most verbs will take one or the other - kabura
"he became big" - *kabara and *kabira don't exist (I'm wondering if your pa`el/pa`al example above is a similar phenomenon). There are some exceptions, of course (see ħasaba/ħasiba/ħasuba in my previous post). However, when a stem is derived, it will take one of these forms, with predictable vowels in the perfect/imperfect/verbal noun/participles. Hell, even the quad-consonant verbs work like Form II (faʕʕala) verbs, with the second and third radicals taking the place of the centre geminate!
Granted, there is also an anomolous verb, ليس laysa
, used to negate nominal sentences, but I think it's safe to view it as an exception, rather than its own wazn!
Also, "I can probably count the number of times I've encountered them on one hand", was probably a poor turn of phrase on my part; a better explanation would be to say that they (forms XI-XV) belong to the same register of writing/speech as words like "perfidious" and "prolix" in English.
In addition, the minor binyanim tif`el and shif`el, which are productive, tend to be analyzed as just prefixed roots (eg, the verb shichtev "revise" is said not to be a separate binyan of katav "write", but rather a amended root SH-K-T-B).
There are a few verbs in Arabic of the *safʕala/šafʕala/zafʕala
type as well, they even have their own nominal pattern, sifʕālun
: masara "he pleased" > samsara "he acted as a broker" > simsārun "middleman", ʕawwaza "he enchanted" > šaʕwaza "he conjured", ħallaqa "he flew in circles" > zaħlaqa "he slid, trundled". If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say these (probably along with the shif`el verbs you mention) came from borrowings from neighbouring Semitic languages that didn't make the /s/ > /h/ change in their pronouns/verb augments, as Arabic in Hebrew did - if I had to guess, I'd say either East Semitic (Akkadian, Babylonian, etc.), or an ancestor of the Modern South Arabian languages.
There are also a few verbs of the tafʕala
type in Arabic as well - nabula "he was high strung", tanbala "he was lazy".
Additionally, you could probably make the case for fawʕala
as well: jawraba "he put on socks" from jirābun
"sheath", saṭara "he drew a line, set boundaries" > sayṭara "he dominated".
These are all fairly rare though, and you could argue about how productive they really are. Moreover, as they *all* work like regular quad-consonant verbs, Arab grammarians treat them as such, and tend to view the prefix as one of the radicals, froming a seperate root (just as in SH-K-T-B).
That's interesting. I knew Hebrew was a lot more baroque than most Semitic languages, but I didn't realize it was by such a large margin. In Hebrew just about half the alphabet can trigger derivative vowel patterns (gzarot) in some situation.
I actually think Arabic might be the exception more than the rule here: Aramaic had very similar consonant mutations to Hebrew (and did some pretty wierd things with liquids/rhotics as well!), the various East Semitic languages are known for all kinds of wierd assimilations/dissimilations, most of the Ethiopean Semitic languages perform various transformations on their stems (Chaha being something of a "rock star" in this regard). There is also a mathmatical factor: Arabic has six vowels, Biblical Hebrew had fourteen
(!) - there is, after all, only so much you can do with six vowels!
I'd also venture to guess that some of the complexity arises from all the sound mergers in MH, as well as the loss of gemination and chronemic distinction in the vowels.
Basically, yes. Modern Hebrew's developed a number of ways of expressing the copula in the present tense.
The most common are the third person pronouns הוא, היא, הם, הן hu', hi', hem, hen, which agree with their subject.
We use the third person pronoun as a copula in Arabic as well, but only under certain circumstances. Also, compare هو، هي، هم، هنّ huwa, hiya, hum, hunna.
I have to admit that using "here" as a copula seems strange to me!
The primary meaning of בעל ba`al in modern Hebrew is "husband", but it is commonly seen in construct phrases with an abstract noun to meaning "possessor of X". To say someone is experienced, for example, you can say that they're בעל נסיון ba`al nisayon "a possessor of experience".
We actually use a special word, ذو /ðū/ for this purpose. Compare Arabic ذو اختبار /ðū ixtibārin/ "possessor of experince, experienced". You can also use أبو، أجو، ابن... "father of, brother of, son of" (along with their feminine counterparts) for similar purposes.
In the present tense, you just declined forms of the particle אין there isn't with present participles. As I said earlier: ('ani) 'eyneni yode`a "I don't know" ([ I ] there_isn't-I knowing-masc).
Interesting! This looks a lot like the "emphatic" and subjunctive particles in Arabic: أنا شاطرٌ /anā šāṭirun/ "I am smart", إنّني لشاطر /'innanī lašāṭirun/ "I am really smart", or perhaps more idiomatically, "daaammn
, I'm smart!"
How do the Arabic forms work? And do you know where the the forms lam/lan came from, since they look related to lā?
Okay, here goes (you really opened pandora's box on this one):
The particles lā, mā, lam, and lan are used to negate the various basic tenses in Arabic:
kataba "he wrote" > mā kataba "he didn't write" (mā + verb in perfect)
kataba "he wrote" > lam yaktub "he didn't write" (lam + verb in jussive) - this is preferred over the above
yaktubu "he writes" > lā yaktubu "he doesn't write" (lā + imperfect)
sayaktubu "he will write" > lan yaktuba "he will not write" (lan + subjunctive)
uktub! "write!" > lā taktub! "don't write!" (lā + jussive)
Existential sentences in the future or past use the above form + the verb kāna "to be":
kāna majnūnan "he was crazy" > lam yakun majnūnan "he wasn't crazy"
sayakūnu majnūnan "he will be crazy" > lan yakūna majnūnan "he won't be crazy"
Existential sentences in the present tense use the strange verb, ليس /laysa/ "not to be"
huwa majnūnun "he is crazy" > laysa majnūnan "he isn't crazy" (laysa + noun in accusative)
huwa majnūnun "he is crazy" > laysa bimajnūnin "he isn't crazy" (laysa + bi+noun in genitive) stylistic variant
fawqa-ṣ-ṣaħni milʕaqatun "there is a spoon on the plate" > laysat milʕaqatun fawqa-ṣ-ṣaħni "there is no spoon on the plate"
It gets worse: there are about a half-dozen formulae for negating nouns. Here are the ones I can think of:
šay'un "thing" > lā šay'a "nothing" (lā + noun in accusative construct)
wujūdun "existence" > ʕadamu-wujūdin (ʕadam in construct + noun in genitive)
'axlāqun "morality" > ʕadīmu-l-'axlāqi "immoral" (ʕadīm in construct + noun in emphatic genitive)
mumkinun "possible" > ɣayru-mumkinin "impossible" (ɣayr in construct + noun in genitive)
It doesn't have to. The most common form is just מה mah. But remember what I said earlier about the third person pronouns being used as copulas? When they are used after mah, yes, they agree with their referent and attach to mah: מהו mahu "what is (masc)?", מהי mahi "what is (fem)?", מהם mahem "what are (masc)?", מהן mahen "what are (fem)?"
The same is seen after the demonstrative pronouns. Alone the singular forms of "this" are זה zeh (masc) and זאת zot (fem), but when followed by a personal pronoun functioning as a copula, they become זהו zehu "this is (masc)" and זוהי zohi "this is (fem)".
So basically you can either say מה התשובה? mah hatshuvah? "what is the answer?" or מהי התשובה mahi hatshuvah.
We do the same thing in Arabic, compare: hāðā ħallun "this is a solution" > hāðā huwa
-l-ħallu "this is
the solution", and /mā ħallun?/ "what is a solution?" > /mā huwa
-l-ħallu?/ "what is
the solution?" In Arabic, though, the copula is obligitory when the subject is definate.
Heh, I've heard all sorts of things about what Modern Hebrew sounds like. I personally don't think MH sounds that much like German, but English spoken with an Israeli accent sounds somewhat French to me.
For some reason I'm seeing a picture of an "R", only upsidedown!
Out of curiosity, what "sorts of things" have you heard?
I'd like to study some Arabic sometime, though it really seems like you need to learn two separate languages in order to do that, MSA and a local spoken form. That and I have no idea which spoken form, yet.
I'd recommend you try Egyptian Arabic - see below.
Khvaragh wrote:Unless you decide (for some strange reason) to study Maghrebi Arabic, some of the dialects are not all that different from MSA, if anything, they're simpler.
It depends on what you mean by "simpler". While spoken Arabic has lost case inflection and, say, the dual verb forms/pronouns, complexities have arisen in other places. I would imagine that a highly synthetic verb like ʕambajībuhluh
"I'm giving it to him" would've sent the original Arabs running in terror.
I do agree, however, that a dialect would be easier to "jump into".
I often find myself switching back and forth between MSA and dialect because I know some words in one, but not in the other. If you decide to study Arabic, in addition to MSA, I would recommend the Egyptian dialect, which is probably the most widely understood (because of the before-mentioned media) and also IMO, not too dissimilar from MSA.
I agree with Egyptian being a good choice in terms of exposure. I do, however, think that there are plenty of dialects closer to MSA than Egyptian. Hell, there are times when Maltese
seems more like CA than Egyptian to me! As for the code-switching - I do it myself all the time! I'm actually notorious amongst my family for saying things like,"هل بتستطيع ان تجبلي قليلا من السكر؟"
dragonprince99 wrote:I started wondering about names of animals and body parts in Semitic languages and how these are done; they seem like two random groups of objects, but what I'm thinking is that they wouldn't seem to fit into the triconsonantal system very well, as they seem to be very noun-ish sorts of things that would be difficult to derive from a root. But perhaps I'm entirely wrong.
Maknas covered this pretty nicely, but a few extra points:
There are all kinds of examples of verbs being derived from body parts in Arabic رأس /ra'sun/ "head" > ra''asa "he put on his head" > tara''asa "he presided". Also, there are plenty of examples of animals derived from generic roots in Arabic - some examples:
'aħmaru "red" > ħimārun "donkey"
ħaṣuna "he was reliable, steady" > ħiṣānun "horse"
'aṣfaru "yellow" > ʕaṣfūrun "bird" (but see Maknas' tzipur example as well)
qaṭṭa "he cut, sharpened" > qiṭṭun "cat"
harra "he growled" > hirrun "cat" (Muhammad and his friends were cat people)
namila "he was pins and needles" > namlatun "ant"
Okay, that post was so long, it felt like my kids would have to finish it.