Arabic Grammar – 190

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Denominal nouns (continued)
Nouns in other suffixes

Following are some other derivative suffixes that can be seen sometimes in Arabic nouns.


The abstractive –a⋅t was added to words ending with the relative suffix –iyy to produce words such as barriyya·tuṋ {بَرِّيّةٌ} “wilderness,” from barriyyuṋ {بَرِّيٌّ} “wild,” from barruṋ {بَرٌّ} “land, wilderness.” On the model of such words many other words were formed in later Arabic, such as ʔinsȃniyya·tuṋ {إنْسانِيّةٌ} “humanity,” from ʔinsȃniyyuṋ {إنْسانِيٌّ} “humane,” from ʔinsȃnuṋ {إنْسانٌ} “a human being.” In the end the ending –iyya⋅t became an independent suffix that can be added to any noun in order to create abstracts, such ʔimkȃniyya·tuṋ {إمْكانِيّةٌ} “possibility,” which comes directly from ʔimkȃnuṋ {إمْكانٌ} “being possible.” Sometimes such abstracts in –iyya⋅t were made out of phrases, e.g. mȃhiyya·tuṋ {ماهِيّةٌ} “quiddity” comes from mȃ huwa {ما هُوَ} “what is?”


This is an uncommon abstractive that can be seen in e.g. karȃhiya·tuṋ {كَراهِيةٌ} “hatred.” The ending –(i)a in foreign place names was commonly rendered –iya⋅t in CA, e.g. Sȗriya·tu {سُوْرِيةُ} “Syria” and Rȗmiya·tu {رُوْمِيةُ} “Rome.” In vernacular speech this ending was pronounced –iyya⋅t already in the Abbasid era.


Another uncommon abstractive that can be seen in e.g. kibriyȃʔu {كِبْرِياءُ} “grandeur.” It is also another common way for rendering foreign –(i)a in CA, e.g. ʔ·al-kȋmiyȃʔu {الْكِيْمِياءُ} “alchemy” from Greek χημεία khēmeía.


This rare suffix is likely to have originated from the fusion of two suffixes –aw & –(a)t. It has a singulative meaning in e.g. ʕankabȗtuṋ {عَنْكَبُوْتٌ} “a spider (masc./fem.),” from the mass noun ʕankabuṋ {عَنْكَبٌ} “spider(s) (masc./fem.)” (the variant ʕankaba⋅tuṋ {عَنْكَبةٌ} “a spider (fem.)” is less common), an augmentative meaning in e.g. ṭȃɣȗtuṋ {طاغُوْتٌ} , a variant of ṭȃɣiya·tuṋ {طاغِيةٌ} “transgressor, tyrant,” and an abstractive meaning in e.g. ǵabarȗtuṋ {جَبَرُوْتٌ} “might” and malakȗtuṋ {مَلَكُوْتٌ} “kingship.”


Normally the suffix –ȃt (with the dialectal variant –ȃ⋅t) is an inflectional ending of sound feminine plural nouns, but a few singular nouns have it. Only one example is common sulaħfȃ·tuṋ {سُلَحْفاةٌ} “a turtle (masc./fem.).” Another example is ʕankabȃ·tuṋ {عَنْكَباةٌ} “a spider.” This suffix should not be confused with the endings *–aw-a⋅t > –ȃ⋅t and *–ay-a⋅t > –ȃ⋅t commonly found in words from roots III=w/y, like *ħayawatun > ħayȃ·tuṋ {حَياةٌ} “a life” and *fatayatun > fatȃ·tuṋ {فَتاةٌ} “a young woman.” (It is likely that the suffix –ȃt itself arose from a fusion of –aw/–ay & –(a)t, but even so, it is still etymologically different from the ending –ȃ⋅t found in words of roots III=w/y.)


This very rare suffix represents a fusion of –iy & –(a)t. One example is barrȋtuṋ {بَرِّيْتٌ} , a rare CA variant of barriyya·tuṋ {بَرِّيةٌ} “wilderness.”



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