Lesson One Nouns and Adjectives Grammatically Arabic nouns and adjectives may be either deﬁnite or indeﬁnite. I There is no indeﬁnite article equivalent to the English ‘a’, ‘an’. However, the large majority of nouns and adjectives have tanw¯n ı (the addition of the sound n to the ﬁnal vowel of a word) to indicate that the word is indeﬁnite: ajrun a reward a adh¯ bun a punishment a kit¯ bun a scripture, document ayatun ¯ a sign, verse rahmatun . a mercy a qur’¯ nun a recitation However, you will come across a considerable number of words ı that do not take tanw¯n when they are indeﬁnite. At this stage you can only learn what these words are by experience. Two examples are: akharu ¯ other awwalu ﬁrst ı You must remember that it is impossible to add tanw¯n to words that are shown as not taking it (either in the text or in the vocabularies), and any attempt to do so is incorrect. ’ D A noun may be made deﬁnite in one of two ways: . by being preceded by the deﬁnite article, equivalent to the English ‘the’. . by being followed by the genitive of possession. We shall deal here only with the deﬁnite article; on () see Lesson . Traditional wisdom tells us that the deﬁnite article is (al ) preﬁxed inseparably to a word, and that is the way that it has always been written: al-baladu the town a al- adh¯ bu the punishment a In fact, the deﬁnite article is in essence simply a l¯ m (l ) but as Arabic phonetic theory holds that words cannot begin with an a unvowelled consonant, the vowel a ( fatha) is added to the l¯ m to . give al. Theory also holds that this a vowel is not an integral part of the deﬁnite article and is required only when no other vowel precedes the l. In eﬀect this means that the added vowel is used only at the beginning of a sentence. In other places the vowel a ( fatha) is replaced by a ‘joining sign’ . (wasla), which tells you to . link the l of the deﬁnite article to the ﬁnal vowel of the preceding word. In short, you will ﬁnd at the beginning, and elsewhere in the sentence/verse. The use of the two can be seen in: a ı al-kit¯ bu l-mub¯nu This is the ﬁrst of two pieces of manipulation required by the deﬁnite article. The second initially appears more complicated, but you will soon get used to it. The sooner you do so the better, because until you have mastered it, you will not be able to read or pronounce correctly. Lesson One . When it precedes half of the letters of the alphabet, the l of the deﬁnite article is pronounced as l. These letters are: . In Arabic terminology this group of letters is known as ‘the moon letters’ (because the word for ‘moon’ begins with one of them). u With such letters a suk¯ n is written over the l of the deﬁnite article: al-yawmu the day a al-kit¯ bu the document . For words beginning with all the other letters of the alpha- bet the pronunciation of the l is assimilated to the sound of the following consonant. These letters are: . They are known as ‘the sun letters’ (the word for ‘sun’ beginning with one of them). With such letters a shadda is written over the letter after the (i.e. the letter to which the a l¯ m is assimilated). This is a clear indication of the doubling of the sound of the following letter. al-rahmatu (ar-rahmatu) the mercy . . u u al-ras¯ lu (ar-ras¯ lu) the messenger The correct form of pronunciation is the one given in brackets. However, most systems of transliteration retain the spelling of the article with l and expect the reader to make .ı the correct assimilation. Thus one normally sees al-Rah¯mu ‘the Compassionate’, which has to be read and pronounced .ı as ar-Rah¯mu. This convention is followed in this book. a Note that in the Qur’¯ n when the deﬁnite article is preﬁxed to a word beginning with lam, only one lam is written. Thus al-laylu ’ ‘the night’ is written .This is not normally the case in modern Arabic. With reading practice you should soon become accustomed to these rules for reading and pronouncing the deﬁnite article. Whatever you do, you must not forget that if a word has the ı deﬁnite article, it cannot also have tanw¯n. (Words cannot be deﬁnite and indeﬁnite at the same time.) T A a All¯ hu ‘God’ is a combination of the deﬁnite article and the word a il¯ hun ‘a god’, with the dropping of the initial hamza of the noun. Literally, it means ‘the God’, though that is not a natural English expression and will not be used in this book. Note that a in some versions of the Qur’¯ n All¯ hu is written without any a indication of the long vowel. There are two genders in Arabic: masculine and feminine. The simplest working rule is to treat words as masculine unless you have a reason for treating them as feminine. As you proceed, you will ﬁnd that words may be feminine because of form, meaning, category or convention. From the outset you will encounter a small number of words that are feminine through meaning, such as umm(un) ‘mother’, or through convention, such as ard(un) ‘earth’. . However, the ﬁrst important group of feminine words that you have to deal with are those that take the ending -atun when indeﬁnite [also occasionally atu]. A couple of these have already been mentioned. Here are examples of the deﬁnite and indeﬁnite feminine forms together: a al-¯ yatu ayatun ¯ al-rahmatu . rahmatun . Lesson One There are a few masculine words with this ending, but the only common one is ı khal¯fatun. In the Qur’¯ n this word has a the strict sense of ‘successor’ or ‘viceroy’. In later times this was generalized to ‘caliph’. This ending in -atun is the one most commonly used to form a feminine adjective from a masculine one: m. ı ı kab¯run / al-kab¯ru f. ı ı kab¯ratun / al-kab¯ratu m. ı ı shad¯dun / al-shad¯du f. ı ı shad¯datun / al-shad¯datu An adjective used attributively follows the noun and must agree with the noun in four things: . Deﬁniteness . Gender . Number . Case You should now be able to deal with the ﬁrst two: .ı al-fawzu l- az¯mu the great victory a al-yawmu l-¯ khiru the last day a ı qur’¯ nun mub¯nun a clear recitation a rahmatun w¯ si atun . a widespread mercy Number and case will be dealt with shortly. - The rule about agreement in deﬁniteness is crucial, because a deﬁnite noun followed by an indeﬁnite adjective is a complete sentence—a subject and a predicate—not requiring a verb. Arabic is thus able to manage without a verb for ‘to be’ in the present ’ tense. Hence many sentences are complete though they have no verb. a ı All¯ hu az¯zun God is mighty a All¯ hu qawiyyun God is strong a ı All¯ hu qawiyyun az¯zun God is powerful and mighty Note that in this last example it is necessary to link the adjectives in English by using ‘and’. This is not necessary in Arabic, though the particle (wa-) ‘and’ could be used. Single letter words in Arabic cannot be written separately, so wa- is linked to the following word, as will be seen in later lessons. The vocabulary that accompanies each lesson is intended to include all the words you need to understand the examples in the text of the lesson and to do the translation exercise that follows it. To make progress you will have to learn the vocabulary of each lesson as you come to it, and you should learn all the forms that are given: with nouns (and adjectives) you should learn the singular and the plural together; with verbs you should learn three forms— the perfect, imperfect and masdar—together (see Lesson ). . a Because of the limits of Qur’¯ nic vocabulary, one often ﬁnds only a singular form or a plural form of a word in the Qur’¯ n, a though the corresponding plural and singular may be common elsewhere. Two good examples of this are the plural man¯ ﬁ u, a a ‘beneﬁts’, commonly used in the Qur’¯ n, whilst the singular manfa atun is not found; and ardun, ‘earth’, even more common, . a. though its plurals ar¯ din and araduna do not occur. There are similar .¯ gaps in the incidence of verb forms. These missing forms are listed in the General Vocabulary and occasionally used as examples. Lesson One V O S P a All¯ hu God a il¯ hun alihatun ¯ a god ajrun u uj¯ run reward ayatun ¯ ¯ a ay¯ tun sign, verse baladun a bil¯ dun town u ras¯ lun rusulun messenger rahmatun . mercy a adh¯ bun punishment fawzun victory a qur’¯ nun a Qur’¯ n, recitation a kit¯ bun kutubun scripture, docu- ment, book ı khal¯fatun a khulaf¯ ’u successor, viceroy, caliph ardun (f.) . earth ummun a ummah¯ tun mother yawmun a ayy¯ mun day ı am¯nun faithful, secure akhirun ¯ last, [next] ı shad¯dun a shid¯ dun strong, severe ı az¯zun mighty ’ S P .ı az¯mun great, mighty qawiyyun strong ı kab¯run big, great ı kar¯mun a kir¯ mun noble, generous ı maj¯dun glorious a w¯ si un wide, ample ı mub¯nun clear awwalu u awwal¯ na ﬁrst ¯a ul¯ (f.) akharu ¯ u akhar¯ na ¯ other a ukhr¯ (f.) ukharu E O . a ı al-kit¯ bu l-mub¯nu [:] . a ı kit¯ bun mub¯nun [:] . a ı kit¯ bun kar¯mun [:] . a ı qur’¯ nun mub¯nun [:] . a ı al-qur’¯ nu l-maj¯du [:] . a ı qur’¯ nun kar¯mun [:] . a ı qur’¯ nun maj¯dun [:] . a .ı al-qur’¯ nu l- az¯mu [:] Exercise One . a rahmatun w¯ si atun . [:] . a ayatun ukhr¯ ¯ [:] . a al-yawmu l-¯ khiru [:] . ı yawmun kab¯run [:] . a ı al- adh¯ bu l-shad¯du [:] . .ı yawmun az¯mun [:] . a ı adh¯ bun shad¯dun [:] . .ı ajrun az¯mun [:] . ı ajrun kar¯mun [:] . a .ı adh¯ bun az¯mun [:] . ı ajrun kab¯run [:] . u ı ras¯ lun am¯nun [:] . u ı ras¯ lun kar¯mun [:] . ı al-baladu l-am¯nu [:] . a il¯ hun akharu ¯ [:] . u ı ras¯ lun mub¯nun [:] . a al-awwalu wa-l-¯ khiru [:] . ua a al-¯ l¯ wa-l-¯ khiratu [:] . a ı All¯ hu az¯zun [:] . a All¯ hu qawiyyun [:] . a ı All¯ hu qawiyyun az¯zun [:] . ı al-qawiyyu l-am¯nu [:] Key to the Exercises Exercise One . The clear book. . A clear book. . A noble book. . A clear recitation. . The glorious recitation. . A noble recitation. . A glorious recitation. . The mighty recitation. . An ample mercy. . Another sign. . The last day. . A great day. . The severe punishment. . A mighty day. . A severe punishment. . A great reward. . A noble reward. . A mighty punishment. . A great reward. . A faithful messenger. . A noble messenger. . The secure town. . Another god. . A clear messenger. . The ﬁrst and the last. . The ﬁrst and the last. . God is mighty. . God is strong. . God is strong and mighty. . The strong and faithful one. Exercise Two . Other gods. . Many beneﬁts. . Many fruits. . The ﬁrst (previous) generations. . The settlements are doing wrong. . A wrongdoing settlement. . The Jews and the Christians. . The heavens and the earth. . Non-Arab and Arab. . The people who do wrong. . Unbelieving people. . A believer and an unbeliever. . Believing men. . The believing men and the believing women. . Believing men and believing women. . The ﬁrst and the last. . God is relenting. . Honoured servants. . A believing man. . Other days. . Heaven and earth (the heaven and the earth). . The Muslim men and the Muslim women. Exercise Three A . You are Muslims. . They are Muslims. . We are a temptation. . I am a warner. . A lofty garden. . You are the Relenting One. . You are wrongdoers. . You are the poor. . She is a wrongdoer. . He is a believer. . He is the gentle one. . You are believers. . I am God, the Mighty (the mighty God). . It is white. . He/it is strong. . You are the Mighty One. . It is a trial. . You are a warner. . You are ignorant ones. . I am the Relenting One.
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