Arabic Grammar – 170

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Quadriradical stems (QⅠ, QⅡ & QⅣ)

The simplest quadriradical stem is Stem QⅠ (Q-stem) faʕlala, yufaʕlilu فَعْلَلَ، يُفَعْلِلُ (the last two radicals are not necessarily identical).

From Stem QⅠ were derived two middle-voice stems:

  • Stem QⅡ (tQ-stem) tafaʕlala, yatafaʕlalu تَفَعْلَلَ، يَتَفَعْلَلُ
  • Stem QⅣ (QR-stem) ʔ⋅ifʕalalla, yafʕalillu اِفْعَلَلَّ، يَفْعَلِلُّ

While Stem QⅠ is the simplest quadriradical stem, it is actually a derived stem. There are no real basic words with four-consonant-roots.

In this article I am not going to discuss in detail the various origins of quadriradical verbs, but in short:

  • The most basic quadriradical verbs are derived by reduplication from biradical roots or triradical roots Ⅱ=Ⅲ. They have a causative meaning. For example, zalzala, yuzalzilu زَلْزَلَ، يُزَلْزِلُ “shake the foundations of [object] (tr.)” comes from zalla, yazillu زَلَّ، يَزِلُّ “slip, stumble (intr.).” They can also be intensive, like alala, yualilu صَلْصَلَ، يُصَلْصِلُ “jangle (intr.)” from alla, yaillu صَلَّ، يَصِلُّ “jangle (intr.).”
  • Other quadriradical verbs are derived from nouns with more than three consonants, such as qaṭrana, yuqaṭrinu قَطْرَنَ، يُقَطْرِنُ “coat [object] with pitch (tr.)” from qairȃnuṋ قَطِرَاْنٌ “pitch,” and tamaðhaba, yatamaðhabu تَمَذْهَبَ، يَتَمَذْهَبُ “follow a doctrine (intr.)” from maðhabuṋ مَذْهَبٌ  “a doctrine.”
  • Others are triradical verbs belonging to unproductive stem types, such the s-stem saqlaba, yusaqlibu سَقْلَبَ، يُسَقْلِبُ “dash to the ground (tr.)” from qalaba, yaqlibu قَلَبَ، يَقْلِبُ “turn over (tr.)”
  • Others are triradical verbs disfigured by phonetic change, such as ħadlaqa, yuħadliqu حَدْلَقَ، يُحَدْلِقُ “gaze (intr.)” from the Stem Ⅱ ħaddaqa, yuħaddiqu حَدَّقَ، يُحَدِّقُ “gaze (intr.).”
  • Others are analogical formations and back-formations from unproductive triradical stems.
  • Others are ultimately derived from foreign words, such as qalnasa, yuqalnisu قَلْنَسَ، يُقَلْنِسُ “put cap on [somebody] (tr.),” from the noun qalansuwa·tuṋ/qalansiya·tuṋ قَلَنْسُوةٌ/قَلَنْسِيةٌ “a cap, headgear,” from the Latin calautica/calantica “a covering for the head of women which fell down over the shoulders” (Lewis & Short’s).

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