Arabic Grammar – 28 (from old website)

Click to view table of contents

Nouns

Gender of Nouns

Feminine Markers (continued)

3. Shortened ʔalif

‑ȃ

ـَـاْ

‑a·y

ـَىْ

The last feminine marker is the least specific to feminine nouns. It is the “shortened ʔalif الأَلِفُ المَقْصُوْرَةُ (see §II.12.). Nouns that end with a shortened ʔalif are called “shortened nouns.”

The final hamza·t of the extended ʔalif ـاء is dropped in the modern spoken dialects, and in those dialects the extended ʔalif is not distinguished from the shortened ʔalif ـا .

Just like the ـاء , the ـا / ـى can be a feminine marker only when the ـا / ـى  is fourth letter or beyond in a word (i.e. the word has four letters or more). If the ـا / ـى is third letter, then it is an original letter of the word and cannot be a marker.

Terminal ـا  can be altered from a terminal root-letter w, and terminal ـى  can be altered from a terminal root-letter  y. A terminal weak letter is turned to ـا / ـى only if it is preceded by a short A vowel:

aW ‑aa

aY a·y

Thus, a terminal shortened ʔalif will be found in words that have the following ending:

al

ـــَـــلْ

Where l is a variable final root-letter, and a is fixed and additional (an a is always additional because it is not a letter to begin with).

This ending is common in verbal nouns, passive participles, time and place nouns, tool nouns, and irregular plurals; and in none of these it is a suffix.

The ‑ȃ/‑a·y ـَاْ / ــَىْ ending

Original form

Found in

‑aw/‑ay

ـَـو/ــَي

Suffixed to the three-letter stems of faʕla·y and fuʕla·y feminine adjectives

(feminine marker)

Suffixed to few verbal noun stems

(feminine marker)

Arabized loanwords

(feminine marker)

Suffixed to few irregular plural stems

(augmentative suffix, NOT feminine marker)

‑aw ــَوْ

Part of verbal noun stems

Part of passive participle stems

Part of the ʔafʕal agent noun stem

Part of time/place noun stems

Part of tool noun stems

Part of irregular plural stems

(part of the stem, NOT feminine marker)

‑ay ــَيْ

1) Shortened Nouns with Less than Four Letters

Mostly verbal nouns, nouns structured as verbal nouns, or irregular plural nouns. The ending ‑ȃ/‑a·y is part of the stem.

Verbal nouns are masculine unless a tied tȃʔ is attached to them, which is uncommon in this case. Irregular plurals are feminine unless referring to male humans.

Thus, unless irregular plurals, shortened nouns with less than four letters are masculine with rare exceptions (I found two exceptions.)

Examples, click on the Arabic word to hear it:

Shortened ʔalif NOT a feminine marker

Young man (masc.)

fata·y فَتَىْ

Range (masc.)

mada·y

مَدَىْ

Dew (masc.)

nada·y

نَدَىْ

Approval (masc.)

riaa

رِضَاْ

Stick/cane (fem.)

ʕaaa

عَصَاْ

Millstone (fem.)

raħa·y

رَحَىْ

Forces

(fem. irregular plural)

qiwa·y

قِوَىْ

Puppets

(fem. irregular plural)

duma·y

دُمَى

As usual, verbal nouns are commonly used as female personal names although they are masculine grammatically.

Examples:

Female personal name Lama·y

لَمَىْ

Female personal name Huda·y هُدَىْ
Male personal name Riaa رِضَاْ

2) Shortened Nouns with Four Letters or More

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

I. Derived nouns & irregular plurals

Derived Nouns with four letters or more, like those with less than four letters, are masculine. Derived nouns that can end with a non-suffix ‑ȃ/‑a·y are verbal noun structures that begin with an additional m‑ (“mīmic” verbal nouns), passive participles, time and place nouns, tool nouns, and the ʔaal agent noun stem.

Examples, click on the Arabic word to hear it:

Shortened ʔalif NOT a feminine marker

Meaning

(masc. verbal noun)

maʕna·y

مَعْنَىْ

Meeting

(masc. verbal noun)

multaqa·y

مُلْتَقَىْ

Meeting place

(masc. place noun)

Given

(masc. passive participle)

muʕṭa·y مُعْطَىْ

Purified

(masc. passive participle)

munaqqa·y

مُنَقَّىْ

Chosen

(masc. passive participle)

muṭafa·y مُصْطَفَىْ

(Night) club

(masc. place noun)

malha·y

مَلْهَىْ

Winter resort

(masc. place noun)

mašta·y

مَشْتَىْ

Passive participles are commonly used as male personal names.

Adjectives of the structure ʔaal have two situations:

  • When ʔaal is functioning as a comparative structure, it will modify both masculine and feminine nouns, and the feminine version of it fuʕla·y will work as a feminine superlative adjective.

  • When ʔaal is not functioning as a comparative structure, it will be exclusively masculine. It will have the feminine version faʕlȃʔ when it denotes a color or bodily characteristic, and the version ʔaala·t in other rare cases.

ʔAal adjectives can end with ‑ȃ/‑a·y That is original and not a feminine marker when the final root-letter is w or y.

Examples, click on the Arabic word to hear it:

Shortened ʔalif in ʔaal adjectives

Higher

(masc./fem. comparative adj.)

ʔaʕla·y

أَعْلَىْ
Nearer/lower

(masc./fem. comparative adj.)

ʔadna·y

أَدْنَىْ

Stronger

(masc./fem. comparative adj.)

ʔaqwa·y

أَقْوَىْ

Blind (masc. non-comparative)

ʔaʕma·y

أَعْمَىْ

Snake (fem. non-comparative) ʔaa·y أَفْعَىْ

The last word is an exception.

Irregular plurals are always feminine unless they refer to male humans where they can be masculine as well. It is possible for the ‑ȃ/‑a·y suffix to appear attached in irregular plural structures (faʕla·y & faʕȃla·y), but in this case it will NOT be a feminine marker.

Irregular plurals that end with ‑ȃ/‑a·y usually refer to humans.

Examples:

Shortened ʔalif NOT a feminine marker

Killed

(masc./fem. irregular plural)

qatla·y قَتْلَىْ

Wounded

(masc./fem. irregular plural)

ǵarħa·y جَرْحَىْ

Orphans

(masc./fem. irregular plural)

yatȃma·y

يَتَاْمَىْ

Widowed

(fem. irregular plural)

θakȃla·y ثَكَاْلَىْ

II. Faʕla·y, fuʕla·y, verbal nouns, and loanwords

Nouns and adjectives of the following structures are feminine:

faʕla·y

فَعْلَىْ

fuʕla·y

فُعْلَىْ

These are standard agent noun structures; the ‑ȃ/‑a·y ending in these structures is a feminine marker.

The masculine form of faʕla·y is faʕlȃn. They are both nomina diptota. They usually denote qualities that are related to “emptiness” or “fullness,” and they are common in female and male names, respectively.

Examples, click on the Arabic word to hear it:

Shortened ʔalif as a feminine marker

Thirsty (fem. adj.) ʕaṭšha·y

عَطْشَىْ

Happy (fem. adj.) faa·y

فَرْحَىْ

Widowed (fem. adj.) θakla·y

ثَكْلَىْ

Drunk (fem. adj.) sakra·y

سَكْرَىْ

Female personal name Layla·y

لَيْلَىْ

Female personal name Salma·y

سَلْمَىْ

Female personal name Naǵwa·y

نَجْوَىْ

The structure fuʕla·y differs from faʕla·y in only one vowel. However, this structure has a distinguished and an important function: it functions as a feminine superlative adjective.

Examples:

Shortened ʔalif as a feminine marker

Smallest

(fem. superlative adjective)

uɣra·y

صُغْرَىْ

Biggest

(fem. superlative adjective)

kubra·y

كُبْرَىْ

Highest

(fem. superlative adj.)

ʕulya·y

عُلْيَاْ

Lowest/nearest (fig. world)

(fem. superlative adjective)

dunya·y

دُنْيَاْ

Pregnant (fem. adj.)

ħubla·y

حُبْلَىَ

Female personal name

Lubna·y

لُبْنَىْ

The masculine form of fuʕla·y is ʔaal which is a “bisexual” comparative structure. When the definite article is added to ʔaal, it becomes the masculine superlative form.

Both fuʕla·y and ʔaal are nomina diptota (any noun ending with an additional ‑ȃʔ or ‑ȃ/‑a·y is a nomen diptotum).

The ‑ȃ/‑a·y ending of a verbal noun will be a feminine marker if the verbal noun achieves the following:

  • Has four letters or more.

  • Does not begin with an additional m‑ (not a “mīmic” verbal nouns).

Such verbal nouns with a suffixed feminine ‑ȃ/‑a·y are infrequentverbal nouns more commonly take the tied tȃʔ as a feminine marker. They are usually of the forms fiʕla·y and fuʕla·y and are commonly used as female personal names.

Examples:

Shortened ʔalif as a feminine marker

Memory (also name)

(fem. verbal noun)

ðikra·y

ذِكْرَىْ

Good news (also name)

(fem. verbal noun)

bušra·y بُشْرَىْ

These are also diptota because they end with a feminine ‑a·y.

The diminutive forms of structures carrying a feminine ‑ȃ/‑a·y also carry one. All the structures carrying a feminine ‑ȃ/‑a·y that have been mentioned so far share one diminutive form which is fuʕayla·y.

Finally, foreign nouns ending with an A sound (which are common) often end with a feminine ‑ȃ/‑a·y in Modern Standard Arabic (in Classical Arabic a terminal tied tȃʔ was also commonly used).

Examples, in modern Arabic:

Shortened ʔalif as a feminine marker

Music (fem.) mȗsȋqa·y

مُوْسِيْقَىْ

Athena/Athens (fem.) ʔAθȋnȃ أَثِيْنَاْ
Rome (fem.) Rōmȃ رومَاْ
Syria (fem.) Sȗryȃ سُوْرْيَاْ
America (fem.) ʔAmerikȃ أَمريكَاْ

Gender of nouns ending with shortened ʔalif

Less than four letters

Derived nouns: masculine

Irregular plurals: feminine

Four letters or more

Derived nouns: masculine

Comparative ʔaal: masculine/feminine

Irregular plurals: masculine/feminine

faʕla·y & fuʕla·y : feminine

Verbal nouns without m‑ prefix: feminine

Others: feminine

Proper names

Passive participles: males

Others: 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