Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Arabic demonstrative pronouns dual and plural

                                                      بِسمِ اللهِ الرَّحمانِ الرَّحِيم

الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على نبينا محمد وآله وصحبه

الدرس السادس

In the previous chapter alhamdulillah we learned about the demonstrative pronouns. [ذَ‌ٰلِكَ] means “that” and [هَـٰذَا] means “this”.  Now read this ayah,
بِسمِ اللهِ الرَّحمانِ الرَّحِيم
الم . ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ....
familiar ?? chapter 2:1  When you see the translation mostly you will find it translated as this.
[1. Alif, Lam, Meem. 2. This is the Book about which there is no doubt . . . .   ]

Now with basic understanding of Arabic many including me will have doubt that when its written [ذَ‌ٰلِكَ] in the ayah then why its translated as “this book” instead or “that book”.
I am not an Arabic scholar or a mufassir to answer this but i am sure that there should be some  hikmah behind this. I found 2 answers on this.

  1. the 'dhalika' refers to the name of the surah, "Alif Lam Meem" per Ghamidi. To quote Shehzad Saleem :
The demonstrative pronoun ‘ذَ‌ٰلِكَ’ in ‘ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ’ refers to the name of the sūrah mentioned in the previous verse. It is common in Arabic to refer to entities mentioned previously by demonstrative pronouns as ‘ذَلِكَ’ and ‘تِلْكَ’. In the Qur’ān, examples of this usage can be seen in the following verses:

تِلْكَ آيَاتُ اللَّهِ نَتْلُوهَا عَلَيْكَ بِالْحَقِّ وَإِنَّكَ لَمِنْ الْمُرْسَلِينَ تِلْكَ الرُّسُلُ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى (٢: ٢٥٢)

    2.When the Quran was being revealed, it was revealed verbally, and not in a book form. And when talks about something which is not present amongst them but will come into formation later, in the Arabic language that thing cannot be called 'haza' (this), but rather has to be called 'dhalika' (that)!
         The correct literal translation of 'dhalikal kitaab' would indeed be 'that Book'; and since the Book referred to in the Aayah is, without an iota of a doubt, the Holy Quran, the eminent translators have, in trying to stay closest to the meaning of the Holy Quran have translated it 'this Book', ie: the Glorious Quran.

Asking questions is not wrong in Islam, What is discouraged in Islam is if one asks questions for the sake of asking, or arguing to ridicule the Truth with absolutely no intention of obeying or following when the Truth is made clear to them, etc. But if one asks questions to clarify and seek knowledge so that one may better follow the deen; such seeking of the Knowledge of Truth is absolutely encouraged in Islam.

Coming back to the course… Please memorize the below table for Arabic demonstrative pronouns. this is important as we have learned other tables in previous chapters.

read it like this
Hadh`a, Hadh`ani, ha`ulaaee . . .  . . hadh`ihi, hataani, ha`ulaaee

(This - These)


These two
These two

(That - Those)
Read below like this
Dhalika, dhanika, ulaaika . . . . .  thilka, tanika, ulaaika.


Those two
Those two

Now lets put these above tables into practice, and learn some more basic arabic sentences.
In chapter 3 you have learned how to make the dual and plural of some words. can you guess the meaning of   [ هَذَا مُدَرِّسٌ]

You should know how to make the plural of [مُدَرِّسٌ].   So the simple sentence using demonstrative pronouns for plural form would be  “these teachers”. i.e.
                                [Ha`ulaaee mudarisoon]    . . . .  . . . . .  .. . . . . [ هَؤُلاءِ مُدَرِّسُونَ]
If you are good at the tables like above, then you will immediately realize that we have to use plural form of “this”  which would be [هَؤُلاءِ]

Now lets practice some of it. You’ll have to translate from Arabic to English and English to Arabic.  use the above table for demonstrative pronoun. and  If you are unable to make dual / plural form for the people. please read chapter 3 again.

singular :    هَذِهِ طَالِبَةٌ   [this is a female student]
dual       :   هَـٰتانِ طَالِبَتان
plural     :   هَؤُلاءِ طَالِبَاتٌ
singular :  هَذَا مُهَنْدِسٌ
dual       :  these two are engineers
plural     :  those are engineers     
singular  : تِلكَ مُدَرِّسَةٌ
dual        : those two are female teachers
plural      : those are female teachers
singular   :  ذَ‌ٰلِكَ فَلاحٌ
dual         : those two are farmers
plural       : those are farmers
singular   :  That is a female colleague
dual         :  تانِكَ  زَمِيلَتان
plural       :   those are female /collegues

How do you translate “this is a book” ?
Now how would you tell “these are two books” ?
                                             هَـٰذَانِ كتابانِ
Ok …. now translate “these are books”  i.e plural form of above.
i am sure  you will translate it as unless you already know some Arabic.
                 [هَؤُلاءِ كِتابون]

But this is wrong.  In English if you want to make plural its simple.  Just add ‘s’ at the end.  Book - books. table - tables.  except for few exceptions like man - men.   

Already we have learned 2 ways of making plural in Arabic:
  1. Sound masculine plural :    [مُدَرِّسٌ / مُدَرِّسُونَ]
         this can be used only with some words that refer to male people.
  1. Sound feminine plural : [طَالِبَةٌ / طَالِبَاتٌ]
          this can be used only with most words that refer to female people and some feminine words like  [سيارة / سيارات] means [ car / cars ]

However, many Arabic words cannot be made plural in either of these ways. They are made plural by following different patterns.

Patterns of Plurals

قَلَمٌ ــ أَقلَامٌ
Pens - Pen
بُيُوتٌ ــ بَيتٌ
House - Houses
Pattern - 1
Pattern - 2
وَلَدٌ ــ أولَادٌ
Boys - Boy
بُنُوك ــ بَنكُ
Bank - Banks

These plural patterns are known as broken plural because the word is ‘Broken apart’  and different long and short vowels are arranged around the letters.
Notice in pattern 1: alif is added at 1st and after 2nd letter of noun.  
example 3 letters of [ ق ل م ] is changed to [ ا ق لا م ]  
And in pattern 2 : [ ب ي ت ] is changed to [ بُ ي و ت ]

لَون - Colour
ألوان - Colours
طَبَقَ - Plate
أطبَاقٌ - Plates
كُوب - Cup
أكواب - Cups
قَلبٌ - Heart
قُولوب - Hearts
سَيف - Sword
سُيُوف - Swords

Arabic is indeed is very logical language.its easy to apply some logic to most of Arabic grammar. But for making plural  only experience allows you to predict from the singular of the noun what the broken plural form is likely to be. At the outset it is impossible to make such predictions

More patterns below :

Just focus on how the format of plural is made. many of the plural fall into these few patterns. Don’t worry if you are not able to get plural for the first time. Advice is to learn the plural as you learn new words. In Arabic dictionary the plural form will be mentioned next to the word itself.

عَبدٌ - Servant
عِبَادٌ - Servants
قرنٌ - Horn
قُرونٌ - Horns
فاكِهَة - Fruit
فَواكِهٌ - Fruits
رَجُلٌ - Man
رِجالٌ - Men
قَريَة - Village
قَريَ - Villages
إمرَاةٌ - A woman
نِسَاءٌ - Women
بِنتٌ - Girl
بَنَاتٌ - Girls
اِسمٌ - Name
أَسمَاءٌ - Names

The final thing pending in this chapter is that modern standard Arabic treats all non-human plurals as feminine singular.  There is no exception to this.

Example, its wrong for “these are swords” in Arabic:
     هَؤُلاءِ سُيُوف
since it has to be feminine singular, correct way is
هَذِهِ سُيُوف
Although [هَؤُلاءِ] is plural of [هَذِهِ / هَذَا], it is only used when talking about people. Arabic divides plural into
  1. humans.
  2. non-humans.
In other words you should use the same words with non-human plural as you do with a feminine singular word.  example :
: these are swords:  هَذِهِ سُيُوف
: where are my pens ?  they are on the table : use هي [feminine singular]
أين أقْلامِي ؟  هي علي المائدة .               
We have not learned about preposition { on /  علي } yet. Insha-allah its going to come in coming chapters.

So the summary about what we have learnt is:
  1. demonstrative pronouns  for dual and plural.
  2. dual and plural for people / human.
  3. dual and plural of non-humans.
  4. some new Arabic nouns. Please memorize them.

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