Arabic Diptotes: Adjectives Posted by aziza on Feb 19, 2011 in Grammar
In this post, I explain diptotes (الممنوع من الصرف) in relation to adjectives. There are some adjectives that are diptotes, i.e. they do not take nunation (تنوين) when indefinite, and that are marked by (ـُ) for the nominative case and with (ـَ) for both accusative and genitive cases.
All adjectives that have the pattern (أفعل) are diptotes; e.g. many of the adjectives related to colors (أسود) ‘black’, (أبيض) ‘white’, (أصفر) ‘yellow’, (أزرق) ‘blue’, or physical description (أصلع) ‘bald’, (أشقر) ‘blond’, etc.
اشتريت قميصاً أزرقَ.
I bought a blue shirt.
تكلمت مع ولدٍ أشقرَ.
I talked to a blond boy.
All Feminine adjectives that have the pattern (فعلاء) are diptotes; e.g. many of the adjectives related to colors (سوداء) ‘black’, (بيضاء) ‘white’, (صفراء) ‘yellow’, (زرقاء) ‘blue’, or physical description (صلعاء) ‘bald’, (شقراء) ‘blond’, etc.
اشتريت سيارةً زرقاءَ.
I bought a blue car.
تكلمت مع بنتٍ شقراءَ.
I talked to a blond girl.
All adjectives that have the pattern (فعلان) are diptotes; e.g. (غضبان) ‘angry’, (جوعان) ‘hungry’, (عطشان) ‘thirsty’.
قابلت سائلاً جوعانَ فأعطيته بعض الطعام.
I met a hungry beggar, so I gave him some food.
بعد النتيجة، كان الطالب فرحانَ.
After the results, the student was happy.
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مرحبا يا عزيزة
the correct use of the triptotic versus diptotic case endings is quite complicated and even in reputable textbooks one can often find many mistakes.
It is for example true that all adjectives of the form فَعْلان whose feminine form is فَعْلَى are diptotic. But adjectives of the form فَعْلان whose feminine form is فَعْلانَة are triptotic! Therefore the Arabic word تَعْبان for “tired” is according to this rule triptotic; see Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon, Book I, page 307.
Could you provide the literal translation of the Arabic term for diptote? It seems to me to read “Forbidden from ..(something).” I always am curious about such things.
in Arabic grammar صَرْف means “inflection”. Hence الممنوع من الصرف means literally “the forbidden from the inflection”.