Arabic Grammar – 27 (from old website)

Click to view table of contents

Nouns

Gender of Nouns

Feminine Markers (continued)

2. Extended ʔalif

‑ȃʔ

ـَــاْء

The second feminine marker in Arabic singular nouns is a terminal weak ʔalif (a long A vowel ‑ȃ ـَاْ ) followed by a consonant ʔalif or hamza·t (a glottal stop ʔ ء ).

This ending is called an “extended ʔalifالأَلِفُ الْمَمْدُوْدَةُ because the presence of the final hamza·t allows for the long A to be fully pronounced rather than shortened. Nouns that end with an extended ʔalif are called “extended nouns.”

Being a “marker” means that the ـاء is suffixed to stems, so it is composed of “additional letters” and not any “original letters” (i.e. not any letters that belong to the root of the word).

Because true nouns in Arabic must have a minimum of three original letters, the ـا must be fourth letter or beyond in a noun (i.e. the noun must have more than three letters) in order for the two letters of the ـاء to be additional and thus a feminine marker. If the ـا is a third letter, then one of the two letters of the ـاء must be an original letter. (That is the ء .)

However, this does not mean that if the ـاء is fourth letter or beyond the ـا will always be an additional feminine marker. This is because derived nouns, including ones with five letters or more, commonly end with ـاء that is not a feminine marker.

Derived nouns, or verbids, are nouns that are derived from verbs (particularly perfective verbs). Most nouns in Arabic are derived nouns. Derived nouns are several classes (verbal nouns, participles, agent nouns, time and place nouns, and tool nouns) and each class has its standard patterns or structures in which roots can be plugged.

Some of the derived noun structures, particularly those of verbal nouns, emphatic active participles, and tool nouns commonly have the following ending:

Common ending of verbal nouns

(Case-ending removed)

‑ȃl

ـَاْل

Where l is a variable final root-letter, and the ȃ is fixed and additional.

The problem arises when the final root letter is hamza·t ‑ȃʔ, because the ending will look just like the feminine marker although it is not one.

A similar problem arises when the final root letter is a weak letter (w or y). In such case, the final weak letter is always turned to hamza·t in Arabic:

ȃW ȃʔ

ȃY ȃʔ

These endings look like the feminine marker ‑ȃʔ, but they are not feminine markers.

Derived nouns that have these endings are masculine nouns unless a feminine marker (i.e. the tied tȃʔ ‑a·t) is attached to them following the ‑ȃʔ. (There are specific cases in which some participle adjectives can be feminine without adding a tied tȃʔ , those are covered in the adjective section.)

The ȃʔـَاْء ending

Original form

Found in

‑ȃw/‑ȃy

ــَـاْو/ــَـاْي

Suffixed to the three-letter stem of the faʕlȃʔ feminine adjective

(feminine marker)

Suffixed arbitrarily to some Arabized loanwords and nouns of more than three original letters

(feminine marker)

Suffixed to few irregular plural stems

(augmentative suffix, NOT feminine marker)

ȃʔ

ــَـاْء

  • Part of verbal noun stems

  • Part of emphatic active participle stems

  • Part of tool noun stems

  • Part of irregular plural stems

(part of the stem, NOT feminine marker)

ȃw ــَـاْو
ȃy ــَـاْي

Here is the algorithm for nouns ending with ‑ȃʔ:

1) Less than five letters

Usually those are verbal nouns or nouns structured as verbal nouns. The ‑ȃʔ is not a suffix. Such nouns are almost always masculine unless a feminine tȃʔ is attached following the ‑ȃʔ. Very few of such words will be feminine on their own (I could only find one so far).

Examples, click on the Arabic word to hear it:

Extended ʔalif NOT a feminine marker

Water

(masc.)

ma مَاْء

Air

(masc. verbal noun)

hawȃʔ هَوَاْء

Medication

(masc. verbal noun)

dawȃʔ

دَوَاْء

Affliction

(masc. verbal noun)

balȃʔ بَلاء

Call

(masc. verbal noun)

nidȃʔ

نِدَاْء

Call upon (praying) (masc. verbal noun)

duʕȃʔ دُعَاْء

Heaven

(fem.verbal noun)

samȃʔ سَمَاْء

Blood

(fem. irregular plural)

dimȃʔ

دِمَاْء

Buckets

(fem. irregular plural)

dilȃʔ

دِلاء

Irregular plurals are always feminine, unless they refer to male humans where they can be masculine.

Although verbal nouns ending with ـاء are masculine, it is common to see them used as female personal names. Rarely they are used as male personal names.

Examples:

Female personal name Sanȃʔ

سَنَاْء

Female personal name Duʕȃʔ دُعَاْء
Female personal name Hanȃʔ

هَنَاْء

Male personal name iyȃʔ ضِيَاْء

2) Five letters or more

In nouns with five letters or more, there are two possibilities:

I. Derived nouns & irregular plurals

Derived nouns with five letters or more are nothing different from the ones with less than five letters— they are all masculine.

Examples:

Extended ʔalif NOT a feminine marker

Finding the way

(masc. verbal noun)

ʔihtidȃʔ

اِهْتِدَاْء

Beginning

(masc. verbal noun)

ʔibtidȃʔ اِبْتِدَاْء

Seeking highness

(masc. verbal noun)

ʔistiʕlȃʔ

اِسْتِعْلاء

Builder

(masc. emphatic active participle)

bannȃʔ

بَنَّاْء

Very giving

(masc./fem. emphatic active participle)

miʕṭȃʔ

مِعْطَاْء

Very neat (classical)

(masc. emphatic active participle)

wuȃʔ

وُضَّاْء

Irregular plurals are always feminine unless they refer to male humans where they can be masculine as well. It is possible for the ‑ȃʔ suffix to appear attached in irregular plural structures (ʔafʕilȃʔ & fuʕalȃʔ), but in that case it will NOT be a feminine marker. Irregular plurals that end with ‑ȃʔ usually refer to humans, and they are usually masculine.

Examples:

Extended ʔalif NOT a feminine marker

Friends

(masc. irregular plural)

ʔaṣdiqȃʔ

أَصْدِقَاْء

Happy

(masc. irregular plural)

suʕadȃʔ

سُعَدَاْء

Bosses/chiefs

(masc. irregular plural)

zuʕamȃʔ

زُعَمَاْء

Enemies

(masc. irregular plural)

ʔaʕdȃʔ

أَعْدَاْء

In the last example, the ‑ȃʔ is not a plural suffix but part of the stem ʔafʕȃl.

II. Faʕlȃʔ, loanwords & nouns of four/five-letter roots

Nouns (usually adjectives) of the following structure are feminine:

faʕlȃʔ

فَعْلاء

This is the only standard structure in which the ‑ȃʔ ending is a feminine marker.

The faʕlȃʔ structure is mostly used to indicate a color or bodily characteristic of the feminine referent (e.g. blond, brunette, blind, mute, deaf, lame, etc.).

Examples, click on the Arabic word to hear it:

Extended ʔalif as a feminine marker

Red (fem. adj.) ħamrȃʔ حَمْرَاْء
Yellow (fem.adj.) afrȃʔ صَفْرَاْء
Gorgeous (fem.adj.) ħasnȃʔ

حَسْنَاْء

Blonde (fem.adj.) šaqrȃʔ

شَقْرَاْء

Haggish (fem. adj.) šamṭȃʔ

شَمْطَاْء

Desert (fem.) aħrȃʔ صَحْرَاْء

The last word is literally an adjective but is used customarily as a noun, which is possible for any adjective in Arabic.

The ‑ȃʔ feminine marker appears also in the diminutive form of faʕlȃʔ:

fuʕaylȃʔ

فُعَيْلاء

Extended ʔalif as a feminine marker

Little red (fem. adj.) ħumayrȃʔ

حُمَيْرَاْء

Little yellow (fem. adj.) ufayrȃʔ

صُفَيْرَاْء

Little gorgeous (fem. adj.) ħusaynȃʔ

حُسَيْنَاْء

Little blonde (fem. adj.) šuqayrȃʔ

شُقَيْرَاْء

Little haggish (fem. adj.) šumayȃʔ

شُمَيْطَاْء

Little desert (fem.) uħayrȃʔ

صُحَيْرَاْء

The faʕlȃʔ structure belongs to a category called in Arabic the “active-participle-like adjectives” which are basically the active participle structures whose primary function is as nomina agentis (agent nouns). There is no clear-cut distinction between participles and agent nouns in Arabic as both can function in place of the other.

The masculine form of faʕlȃʔ is:

ʔaal

أَفْعَل

The masculine form serves as a comparative structure when it is not denoting a color or a bodily characteristic, and in that case, it will have another feminine form fuʕlȃ.

Both faʕlȃʔ and ʔaal belong to a category of nouns called the nomina diptota (Arabic: “the forbidden to declension nouns.”) Nouns in this category undergo special declension characterized by inflection for only two states instead of three (the absolute state lacks nunation thus becoming identical to the construct state) and by two cases instead of three in the absolute state (the ǵarr marking becomes identical to naṣb marking in the absolute state).

Aside from faʕlȃʔ, the ‑ȃʔ feminine marker appears in few nouns that are mostly Arabized loanwords or word salads that became single words of four-letter or five-letter roots. The ‑ȃʔ was added to such words arbitrarily.

Examples:

Extended ʔalif as a feminine marker

Green beans (sing. fem.) fȃṣȗliyȃʔ

فَاْصُوْلِيَاْء

White beans (sing. fem.) lȗbiyȃʔ

لُوْبِيَاْء

Mummy (sing. fem.) mȗmiyȃʔ

مُوْمِيَاْء

Physics(sing. fem.) fȋzyȃʔ

فِيْزْيَاْء

Chemistry (sing. fem.) kȋmyȃʔ

كِيْمْيَاْء

Mosaic(sing. fem.) fusayfisȃʔ

فُسَيْفِسَاْء

Gender of nouns ending with extended ʔalif

Less than five letters

Derived nouns: masculine

Irregular plurals: feminine

Five letters or more

Derived nouns: masculine

Irregular plurals: masculine/feminine

Faʕlȃʔ adjective: feminine

Others: feminine

Proper names

Usually used for females

PreviousNext

Advertisements

اترك رد

إملأ الحقول أدناه بالمعلومات المناسبة أو إضغط على إحدى الأيقونات لتسجيل الدخول:

WordPress.com Logo

أنت تعلق بإستخدام حساب WordPress.com. تسجيل خروج   / تغيير )

صورة تويتر

أنت تعلق بإستخدام حساب Twitter. تسجيل خروج   / تغيير )

Facebook photo

أنت تعلق بإستخدام حساب Facebook. تسجيل خروج   / تغيير )

Google+ photo

أنت تعلق بإستخدام حساب Google+. تسجيل خروج   / تغيير )

Connecting to %s