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Arabic Language Blog

Archive for August, 2017

What is the Active Participle in Arabic? (I) Posted by on Aug 31, 2017

The active participle (AP) is known as اِسمُ الفَاعِل in Arabic. It is one of many Arabic noun types that are derived from active verbs. Depending on how it is used in phrases or sentences, AP can be classified into two forms: adjectival (i.e. like an adjective) noun and non-adjectival noun (i.e. the doer or…

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A Lebanese song: (Lawn ʕyoon-ak) – The colour of your eyes Posted by on Aug 30, 2017

Today, we’re looking at the lyrics of a popular song by Nancy Ajram, a Lebanese singer. The song (video below) is in the Colloquial Lebanese Arabic.     مَـا فِيِّ أَعِيشْ إِلَّا مَعَكْ I can’t live, but with you..  مَا فِيِّ أَكُونْ إِلَّا إِلَكْ I can’t be, but for you  مَـا فِيِّ أَعِيشْ إِلَّا مَعَكْ…

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MSA and Egyptian Pronunciation Differences [Consonants] Posted by on Aug 24, 2017

Egyptian Arabic (EA) differs from Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) in certain aspects of grammar, word-formation, and pronunciation. Differences in pronunciation can be in producing consonants, vowels, clustering (i.e. how many consonants can occur in a cluster), and stress. For this time round, let’s look at the differences in the pronunciation of consonants. In listening to…

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The formation process of place nouns in Arabic Posted by on Aug 23, 2017

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In a previous post, we learnt about one feature that makes Arabic one of the few, most efficient languages in the world, and that feature is derivation: its productivity in terms of word formation. In today’s post, we’re looking at a specific aspect of this derivation process, and that aspect is the formation of place…

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The Inception of Dotting and Diacritics in Arabic Posted by on Aug 17, 2017

During the early days of Islam, Arabic scripts had neither dots nor diacritics. As illustrated in the Table (1), a word with neither of these typographic features had multiple meanings. Figuring out what it meant depended primarily on Arabs’ intuition, memory, and the context. By the time of fourth Caliphate, Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib,…

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