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ARABIC ONLINE

        اللّغة العربيّة    

Arabic Online

 

• Welcome!

• Varieties of Arabic

• Alphabet

• Pronunciation
• Words
• Vowels
• Reading out

• Syllables and stress

• Rules of Pause

• Writing of Letter 'alif

• Roots

• Sibawayh's phonology

• Historical phonology

• Nouns

• Irregular Nouns

• Declension

• Noun Gender

• Feminine Markers

• Singular Nouns

• Dual Nouns

• Plural Nouns EDITED

• Masculine Plural Nouns EDITED

• Feminine Plural Nouns

• Irregular Plural Nouns
• Articles

• Case Inflection

• Case Endings

• The Six Nouns

• Noonation

• Adjectives

• Genitive Construction

• Am/Is/Are Sentences

• Verbs

• Irregular Verbs

• Verb Forms

• Perfective Verbs

• Perfective Conjugation

• Irregular Perfective Conjugation

• Imperfective Verbs

• Imperfective Conjugation

• Irregular Imperfective Conjugation

• Moods

• Subjunctive Mood

• Jussive Mood

• Mood Signs

• Energetic Mood

• Imperative Mood

• Passive Voice

• Passive Perfective Verbs

• Passive Imperfective Verbs

• Passive of Irregular Verbs

• Subject Pronouns

• Object Pronouns

• Demonstratives

• Relative Pronouns

• Sentences

• To Have

• Incomplete Verbs

• Frozen Verbs

• Verb-Like Particles

• Negation

• Present Negative

• Past Negative

• Future Negative

• Negation+Exclusion Style

• Interrogation

• Yes/No Questions

• Interrogative Pronouns

• Polite Request

• Introductory Particles

• Infinitival/Indefinite maa

• Prepositions

• Conjunctions

• Adverbs

• Inactive Particles

• Ablative Particles

• Vocative Particles

• Exclamatory Style

• Praise & Disparagement

• Derived Nouns

• Verbal Nouns

• Active Participles

• Passive Participles

• Participle-like Adjectives

• Comparatives

• Place-nouns

• Time-nouns

• Tool-nouns

• Attributives

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Nouns

Number of Nouns

Plural Nouns (continued)

Feminine Plural Nouns

The feminine plural جَمْعُ الْمُؤَنَّثِ الْسَّاْلِمِ is the second type of the regular (suffixal) plural. It is quite more common than the masculine plural.

The primary use of the feminine plural is to pluralize nouns and adjectives with feminine markers in addition to some masculine derived nouns and masculine nouns referring to objects.

Feminine plural nouns have the following ending that is inflected for two cases and two states:

 

Feminine Plural Endings

Case

 Indefinite State

Definite/Construct State

Subject

(Raf")

-aat(un)

-aat(u)

Object

(Nasb & Jarr)

-aat(in)

-aat(i)

   

The t of these endings is always pronounced, so it is an "open" t. Other nonstandard versions in Classical Arabic included a "tied" t (-aa(tun), -aa(tin), -aa(tu), and -aa(ti)) with pronunciation similar to that of the feminine -a(t).

 

When adding the feminine plural ending to nouns with additional -a(t), the -a(t) is removed.

Examples, click on the Arabic word to hear it:

Stem Noun: mu"allim مُعَلِّم  = "teacher"

One male teacher

mu"allim(un)

مُعَلِّمٌ

One female teacher

mu"allima(tun)

مُعَلِّمَةٌ

2< female teachers (subject)

mu"allimaat(un)

مُعَلِّمَاْتٌ

2< female teachers (object)

mu"allimaat(in)

مُعَلِّمَاْتٍ

 

The pronunciation and state inflection of the feminine plural ending is similar to that of singular nouns. On the other hand, the case inflection of the feminine plural ending is similar to that of the dual and masculine plural endings in that it involves only two cases (the nasb and jarr marking is identical).

 

Stem Noun: mu"allim مُعَلِّم  = "teacher"

Raf" (subject)

Female teachers are here.

mu"allimaat(un)

مُعَلِّمَاْتٌ

Nasb (object)

I saw female teachers.

mu"allimaat(in)

مُعَلِّمَاْتٍ

Jarr (possession/object of preposition)

This is a female teachers' class.

I gave it to female teachers.

mu"allimaat(in)

مُعَلِّمَاْتٍ

 

It looks like the feminine plural ending developed as follows:

-(a)atoona -aatun

-(a)ateena -aatin

 

 

The feminine plural ending is added to nouns with feminine markers whether they refer to female humans or not.

For example,

Feminine Plural

Singular

kalimaat(un)

كَلِمَاْتٌ

kalima(tun)

a word (fem.)

كَلِمَةٌ

kalimaat(in)

كَلِمَاْتٍ

bawwaabaat(un)

بَوَّاْبَاْتٌ

bawwaaba(tun)

a gate (fem.)

بَوَّاْبَةٌ

bawwaabaat(in)

بَوَّاْبَاْتٍ

muhaawalaat(un)

مُحَاْوَلاْتٌ

muhaawala(tun)

an attempt (fem.)

مُحَاْوَلَةٌ

muhaawalaat(in)

مُحَاْوَلاْتٍ

musaa"adaat(un)

مُسَاْعَدَاْتٌ

musaa"ada(tun)

a help (fem.)

مُسَاْعَدَةٌ

musaa"adaat(in)

مُسَاْعَدَاْتٍ

 

Nouns used as female names can take the feminine plural ending even if they are masculine themselves.

 

Feminine nouns without feminine markers are irregularly pluralized.

 

Examples:

 

Irregular Plural

Singular

huroob(un)

حُرُوْبٌ

harb(un)

a war (fem.)

حَرْبٌ

niraan(un)

نِيْرَاْنٌ

naar(un)

a fire (fem.)

نَاْرٌ

turuq(un)

طُرُقٌ

tareeq(un)

a route/way (fem.)

طَرِيْقٌ

 

However, adjectives that modify feminine nouns without feminine having markers can take the feminine plural ending.

 

Fa"laa'< feminine adjectives do not take the feminine plural ending but are pluralized irregularly through the structure fu"l(un). However, this is often breached and the feminine plural ending is often added to such adjectives.

 

Examples:

 

Plural

Singular

humr(un)

حُمْرٌ

hamraa'<

red (fem.)

حَمْرَاْء

"umy(un)

عُمْيٌ

"amyaa'<

blind (fem.)

عَمْيَاْءُ

 

 

Fa"laa feminine adjectives do not take the feminine plural ending but are pluralized irregularly through the structure fu"aalaa.

 

Examples:

 

Plural

Singular

"utaashaa

عُطَاْشَىْ

"atshaa

thirsty (fem.)

عَطْشَىْ

sukaaraa

سُكَاْرَىْ

sakraa

drunk (fem.)

سَكْرَىْ

 

 

Some basic feminine nouns, including ones with feminine markers, do not take the feminine plural ending or have altered figures when they take it.

 

Examples:

 

Plural

Singular

'ummahaat(un)

أُمَّهَاْتٌ

'umm(un)

a mother (fem.)

أُمٌّ

'ummahaat(in)

أُمَّهَاْتٍ

banaat(un)

بَنَاْتٌ

bint(un)

a daughter/girl (fem.)

بِنْتٌ

banaat(in)

بَنَاْتٍ

'akhawaat(un)

أَخَوَاْتٌ

'ukht(un)

a sister (fem.)

أُخْتٌ

'akhawaat(in)

أَخَوَاْتٍ

sanawaat(un)

سَنَوَاْتٌ

sana(tun)

a year (fem.)

سَنَةٌ

sanawaat(in)

سَنَوَاْتٍ

shifaah(un)

شِفَاْهٌ

shafa(tun)

a lip (fem.)

شَفَةٌ

shiyaah(un)

شِيَاْهٌ

shaa(tun)

shaah(un)

shaa'(un)

a goat (masc./fem.)

شَاْةٌ

شَاْهٌ

شَاْءٌ

milal(un)

مِلَلٌ

milla(tun)

a denomination (fem.)

مِلَّةٌ

 

The last three plurals are irregular plurals.

 

Etymologies

'ummun (mother), bantun (daughter), 'akhtun (sister).

Another word for "a daughter" in Standard Arabic is 'ibna(tun) اِبْنَةٌ . A possible common ancestor of bantun and 'ibnatun is bnatun.

 

 

The feminine plural ending is also added to masculine derived nouns that do not refer to male humans.

Many of these are verbal nouns, for example:

Feminine Plural

Singular

'i"laanaat(un)

إِعْلانَاْتٌ

'i"laan(un)

an announcement (masc.)

إِعْلانٌ

'i"laanaat(in)

إِعْلانَاْتٍ

'ijtimaa"aat(un)

اِجْتِمَاْعَاْتٌ

'ijtimaa"(un)

a meeting (masc.)

اِجْتِمَاْعٌ

'ijtimaa"aat(in)

اِجْتِمَاْعَاْتٍ

muqtarahaat(un)

مُقْتَرَحَاْتٌ

muqtarah(un)

a proposition (masc.)

مُقْتَرَحٌ

muqtarahaat(in)

مُقْتَرَحَاْتٍ

mashroo"aat(un)

مَشْرُوْعَاْتٌ

mashroo"(un)

 a project (masc.)

مَشْرُوْعٌ

mashroo"aat(in)

مَشْرُوْعَاْتٍ

 

Masculine place and time nouns can also take the feminine plural ending:

Feminine Plural

Singular

mataaraat(un)

مَطَاْرَاْتٌ

mataar(un)

an airport (masc.)

مَطَاْرٌ

mataaraat(in)

مَطَاْرَاْتٍ

maqarraat(un)

مَقَرَّاْتٌ

maqarr(un)

a location, a residing place (masc.)

مَقَرٌّ

maqarraat(in)

مَقَرَّاْتٍِ

mamarraat(un)

مَمَرَّاْتٌ

mamarr(un)

a passageway (masc.)

مَمَرٌّ

mamarraat(in)

مَمَرَّاْتٍ

 

Masculine agent nouns with an augmentative -a(t) are pluralized by the feminine plural ending:

 

Feminine Plural

Singular

"allaamaat(un)

عَلاَّمَاْتٌ

"allaama(tun)

an erudite (masc.)

عَلاَّمَةٌ

"allaamaat(in)

عَلاَّمَاْتٍ

rahhaalaat(un)

رَحَّاْلاْتٌ

rahhaala(tun)

an experienced traveler (masc.)

رَحَّاْلَةٌ

rahhaalaat(in)

رَحَّاْلاْتٍ

 

 

Some masculine nouns that refer to objects and have too many letters (five or more) or assume complex structures are pluralized via the feminine plural instead of the irregular plural.

 

Examples,

Feminine Plural

Singular

hammaamaat(un)

حَمَّاْمَاْتٌ

hammaam(un)

a bath (masc.)

حَمَّاْمٌ

hammaamaat(in)

حَمَّاْمَاْتٍ

'istablaat(un)

إِصْطَبْلاتٌ

'istabl(un)

a stable (masc.)

إِصْطَبْلٌ

'istablaat(in)

إِصْطَبْلاتٍ

tilifōnaat(un)

تِلِفونَاْتٌ

tilifōn(un)

a telephone (masc.)

تِلِفونٌ

tilinaat(in)

تِلِفونَاْتٍ

 

 

The feminine plural ending can sometimes be added to collective nouns (irregular plural nouns) as an augmentative suffix.

 

Examples,

 

Feminine Plural

Singular

rijaalaat(un)

رِجَاْلاتٌ

rijaal(un)

men (masc.)

رِجَاْلٌ

rijaalaat(in)

رِجَاْلاتٍ

buyootaat(un)

بُيُوْتَاْتٌ

buyoot(un)

houses, families (masc.)

بُيُوْتٌ

buyootaat(in)

بُيُوْتَاْتٍ

 

When -aatun / -aatin is added to "men" the meaning becomes "prominent men:" and when it is added to "families" the meaning becomes "prominent families."

The irregular plurals can also take the dual and masculine plural endings as augmentative suffixes, but all these are rare cases.

 

۩ Summary

The feminine plural ending is added to:

  • Feminine nouns (and adjectives) with feminine markers (-a(t), -aa'<, & -aa).

  • Feminine adjectives without feminine markers (q.v.)

  • Nouns used as female names regardless of their gender.

  • Nouns with non-feminine (augmentative) suffixes -a(t), -aa'<, or -aa.

  • Arbitrarily, some masculine derived nouns (mostly verbal nouns).

  • Some nouns referring to objects and which have too many letters or are too complex to fit into an irregular plural structure.

  • Few irregular plural nouns as an augmentative suffix.

 

 

Irregular nouns

For description of irregular noun types, you may click here

 

I. Shortened Nouns

Shortened nouns are nouns that end with a long A vowel  (-aa  ـا / ـى ).

 

۩ Shortened Nouns With Three Letters

The weak 'alif of the ending will be changed back to its origin (either w or y) when attaching the feminine plural ending. This form of 'alif :  ـاwill be changed back to w, and this one: ـى  will be changed back to y. The short A vowel preceding the weak 'alif will remain intact.

-aa  -aW-fem. plu. ending

-aa  -aY-fem. plu. ending

 

Endings of Triliteral Shortened Nouns

Singular

Feminine Plural

 Subject

 Object

-aa

ـَاْ

-awaat(un)

ـَوَاْتٌ

-awaat(in)

ـَوَاْتٍ

-aa

ـَىْ

-ayaat(un)

ـَيَاْتٌ

-ayaat(in)

ـَيَاْتٍ

 

۩ Shortened Nouns With More Than Three Letters

The weak 'alif  will be always changed to y when attaching the feminine plural ending, regardless of its origin.

-aa  -aY-fem. plu. ending

 

Endings of Triliteral Shortened Nouns

Singular

Feminine Plural

 Subject

 Object

-aa

ـَاْ

-ayaat(un)

ـَيَاْتٌ

-ayaat(in)

ـَيَاْتٍ

-aa

ـَىْ

 

A final weak 'alif of any Arabic word with more than three letters takes this figure ـى  regardless of its true origin. This suits well the rules of declension. However, there is one exception, which is when the letter preceding the final weak 'alif in such words is y ; in that case, the 'alif takes the figure ـا even though the rules still stand.

Examples:

Feminine Plural

Singular

shathawaat(un)

شَذَوَاْتٌ

shathaa

female name (fem.)

شَذَاْ

shathawaat(in)

شَذَوَاْتٍ

hudayaat(un)

هُدَيَاْتٌ

hudaa

female name (fem.)

هُدَىْ

hudayaat(in)

هُدَيَاْتٍ

thikrayaat(un)

ذِكْرَيَاْتٌ

thikraa

reminiscence (fem.)

ذِكْرَىْ

thikrayaat(in)

ذِكْرَيَاْتٍ

dunyayaat(un)

دُنْيَيَاْتٌ

dunyaa

lowest/nearest (fem.)

دُنْيَاْ

dunyayaat(in)

دُنْيَيَاْتٍ

mustashfayaat(un)

مُسْتَشْفَيَاْتٌ

mustashfaa

 hospital (masc.)

مُسْتَشْفَىْ

mustashfayaat(in)

مُسْتَشْفَيَاْتٍ

 

 

II. Extended Nouns

Extended nouns are nouns that end with a long A vowel followed by a terminal glottal stop or hamza(t)  (-aa'<  ـَاْء ).

۩ Extended Nouns With Four Letters or Fewer

In extended nouns with four letters or fewer, the final hamza(t) ء is always an original letter. When attaching the dual ending, the ء will be changed back to its origin (w or y) if the ء itself is not the origin.

-aa'<  -aa'-fem. plu. ending

-aa'<  -aaW-fem. plu. ending

-aa'<  -aaY-fem. plu. ending

 

Endings of Extended Nouns With Four Letters or Fewer

Singular

Feminine Plural

 Subject

 Object

-aa'<

ـَاْء

-aa'aat(un)

ـَاْءَاْتٌ

-aa'aat(in)

ـَاْءَاْتٍ

-aa'<

ـَاْء

-aawaat(un)

ـَاْوَاْتٌ

-aawaat(in)

ـَاْوَاْتٍ

-aa'<

ـَاْء

-aayaat(un)

ـَاْيَاْتٌ

-aayaat(in)

ـَاْيَاْتٍ

Unlike the shortened 'alif whose figure denotes its origin, the origin of the hamza(t) of an extended 'alif cannot be told from its written figure.

It is possible, though not ideal, to keep the hamza(t) of the extended 'alif always without change when attaching the feminine plural ending. This is typical of Modern Standard Arabic.

Examples:

Feminine Plural

Singular

samaawaat(un)

سَمَاْوَاْتٌ

samaa'<

heaven (fem.)

سَمَاْء

samaa'aat(un)

سَمَاْءَاْتٌ

samaawaat(in)

سَمَاْوَاْتٍ

samaa'aat(in)

سَمَاْءَاْتٍ

wafaayaat(un)

وَفَاْيَاْتٌ

wafaa'<

female name

وَفَاْء

wafaa'aat(un)

وَفَاْءَاْتٌ

wafaayaat(in)

وَفَاْيَاْتٍ

wafaa'aat(in)

وَفَاْءَاْتٍ

 

۩ Extended Nouns With More Than Four Letters

In extended nouns with more than four letters, there is a chance that the hamza(t) ء of the extended 'alif is an additional letter (i.e. the extended 'alif is a suffix).

 

If the hamza(t) is an original letter, it will be changed back to its origin (w ,  y, or kept ' ) when adding the feminine plural suffix.

-aa'<  -aa'-fem. plu. ending

-aa'<  -aaW-fem. plu. ending

-aa'<  -aaY-fem. plu. ending

 

However, it is possible to always keep the hamza(t) unchanged when attaching the feminine plural ending. This is typical of Modern Standard Arabic.

Examples:

Feminine Plural

Singular

'inshaa'aat(un)

إِنْشَاْءَاْتٌ

'inshaa'<

construction (masc.)

إِنْشَاْء

'inshaa'aat(in)

إِنْشَاْءَاْتٍ

'ihdaayaat(un)

اِهْدَاْيَاْتٌ

'ihdaa'<

gifting (masc.)

اِهْدَاْء

'ihdaa'aat(un)

اِهْدَاْءَاْتٌ

'ihdaayaat(in)

اِهْدَاْيَاْتٍ

'ihdaa'aat(in)

اِهْدَاْءَاْتٍ

'i"tidaawaat(un)

اِعْتِدَاْوَاْتٌ

'i"tidaa'<

assault/aggression (masc.)

اِعْتِدَاْء

'i"tidaa'aat(un)

اِعْتِدَاْءَاْتٌ

'i"tidaawaat(in)

اِعْتِدَاْوَاْتٍ

'i"tidaa'aat(in)

اِعْتِدَاْءَاْتٍ

 

When the -aa'< is a feminine marker, the hamza(t) is always turned into w when attaching the feminine plural ending.

-aa'<  -aaW-fem. plu. ending

 

 

Feminine Plural

Singular

khadraawaat(un)

خَضْرَاْوَاْتٌ

khadraa'<

green (fem.)

خَضْرَاْء

khadraawaat(in)

خَضْرَاْوَاْتٍ

shaqraawaat(un)

شَقْرَاْوَاْتٌ

shaqraa'<

blonde (fem.)

شَقْرَاْء

shaqraawaat(in)

شَقْرَاْوَاْتٍ

moomiyaawaat(un)

مُوْمِيَاْوَاْتٌ

moomiyaa'<

mummy (fem.)

مُوْمِيَاْء

moomiyaawaat(in)

مُوْمِيَاْوَاْتٍ

 

In the language of the Koran, which is the source of Standard Arabic, fa"laa'< adjectives are never pluralized regularly but always through the irregular structure fu"l(un).

 

III. Defective Nouns

Defective nouns are nouns that end with a long I vowel (-iy ـِيْ ) whose terminal y belongs to the root.

Defective nouns take the feminine plural ending just as regular nouns.

-iY  -iY-fem. plu. ending

 

Endings of Defective Nouns

Singular

Feminine Plural

 Subject

 Object

-iy

ـِيْ

-iyaat(un)

ـِيَاْتٌ

-iyaat(in)

ـِيَاْتٍ

 

Examples:

Feminine Plural

Singular

qaadiyaat(un)

قَاْضِيَاْتٌ

qaadiya(tun)

a finalizing/finalizer (fem.)

→ a judge (fem.)

قَاْضِيَةٌ

qaadiyaat(in)

قَاْضِيَاْتٍ

daa"iyaat(un)

دَاْعِيَاْتٌ

daa"iya(tun)

Inviting/inviter (fem.)

دَاْعِيَةٌ

daa"iyaat(in)

دَاْعِيَاْتٍ

 

 

Extra Note: Man & Woman

 

The standard word for "a man" in Arabic is:

 

رَجُلٌ

 

rajul(un)

A man

 

This is an agent noun of the structure fa"ul(un); it literally means "a walker."

 

Other words for "a man" in Standard Arabic include:

 

اِمْرُؤٌ / مَرْءٌ

 

'imru'(un) / mar'(un)

A man

 

Etymology: mra'un

 

 

In modern spoken Arabic, words of the root R J L are used standardly:

 

 Man

("walker," active participle)

Used in Egypt and southern Levant with variable pronunciations

(e.g. "raagil" in Lower Egyptian [Cairo])

raajil

رَاْجِل

 Man

("very walker → very man" emphatic active participle)

Used in Arabia, Levant, Iraq, etc. with variable pronunciations

(e.g. "rejjaal" in Urban Syrian [Damascus])

rajjaal

رَجَّاْل

 

The standard classical word rajul(un) can still be heard today in some rare dialects with varying pronunciations (e.g. "rajil" in Palestinian Arabic).

 

The feminine form of this word, rajula(tun) رَجُلَةٌ = "a woman" was uncommon in Classical Arabic and it is not a standard word.

 

Rather, the standard word for "a woman" in formal Arabic is the feminine of 'imru'(un)/ mar'(un):

 

اِمْرَأَةٌ / مَرْأَةٌ

 

'imra'a(tun) / mar'a(tun)

A woman

 

Etymology: mra'atun

 

This word is used in many modern dialects (e.g. Arabia, Northern Levant, Iraq) with variable pronunciations (most commonly, "mara"). Another word that is common in modern Arabia is "hurma" حُرْمَة (plural:  "hareem" حَرِيْم).

 

Dialects that are derived mostly from classical Yemeni Arabic (Egyptian and South Levantine) use a non-Arabic word for "a woman":

 

سِتّ

 

sitt

 

A woman

 

This is not an Arabic word but a word that is commonly found in South Semitic languages (e.g. Ethiopian languages). It appears that this word was also used in Old South Arabian languages (ancient Yemeni languages spoken before Arabic).

 

Anyway, this word has found its way into modern Egyptian, Palestinian, and Lebanese Arabic. The plural is sittaat سِتَّاْت . This word is used in other modern dialects as a word for a "grandmother." This is found in dialects that started out as Yemeni-based dialects but deviated later (North Levantine).

 

The plural of rajul(un) is:

رِجَاْلٌ

 

rijaal(un)

Men

Note that rajul(un) cannot be regularly pluralized (cannot take -oona).

 

However, the words 'imru'(un), mar'(un), 'imra'a(tun), and mar'a(tun) cannot be pluralized at all.

 

This leaves the word for "a woman" without a plural. The plural word for "a woman" in Standard Arabic is:

 

نِسَاْءٌ

 

nisaa'(un)

Women

Another less common variant:

نِسْوَةٌ

 

niswa(tun)

Women

 

Both words do not have singulars (plurale tantum). These words are related to the following words:

 

A male human being

'ins(un)

إِنْسٌ

'insaan(un)

إِنْسَاْنٌ

 

The roots ' N S and N S are apparently cognates and they mean "man, human."

 

Etymologies

nsun  → 'insun (man/human)

nsaatun nisaa'un (women)

 

The root N S / N SH is common in Semitic languages (e.g. Akkadian nishoo (people), Aramaic 'anaash / 'eesh (man), Hebrew 'anōsh / 'eesh (man)).

 

 

In modern spoken Arabic, the following words are used for "men":

 

Used in Arabia, Levant, Iraq, North Africa etc. with variable pronunciations

rjaal

رْجَاْل

 Used mostly in Egypt

("riggaala" in Lower Egypt [Cairo])

rajjaala

رَجَّاْلة

 

Other rare forms include rajaajeel (Eastern to Central Arabia).

 

The words for "women" include:

 

Found in most dialects

niswaan

نِسْوَاْن

In Egypt

sittaat

سِتَّاْت

Mostly in Arabia

hareem

حَرِيْم

 

 

Extra Note: Modern Spoken Arabic

In modern spoken Arabic, the feminine plural declension is used similarly to Classical Arabic but without the terminal case/state inflected part:

-aat

However, some Arabian dialects preserve the state inflection; like Najdi Arabic (central Arabian Arabic):

Indefinite -aaten
Definite/construct -aat

 

Najdi dialect preserves the state inflection in singular nouns too; but it does not preserve any case inflection.

 

The feminine plural ending is overused in Syrian Arabic. It is added to many masculine nouns referring to objects and also to nouns referring to male humans in a way totally inadmissible in Classical Arabic.

 

For example,

 

Modern Urban Syrian

Standard Arabic

'ab

father

'abbahaat

fathers

أَبٌ - آبَاْءٌ

'akh

brother

'ekhwaat

brothers

أَخٌ - إِخْوَاْنٌ

rfee'<

male companion

ref'aat

male companions

رَفِيْقٌ - رُفَقَاْءُ

This is believed to be related to the Syriac substratum.

 

Since that the long A vowel is usually very changeable between the different dialects, the feminine plural ending will sound different from one place to the other. The spectrum of changeability extends between -ēt and -ōt, with these two themselves being very rare in the modern pronunciation.

 

Most commonly today, the long A will be pronounced either like the a in an American "man," or "can;" or it will be pronounced similar to the a in "father." The first pronunciation is typical of North Africa, southern Levant (Palestine and Lebanon), and northernmost Levant (northern Syria). These may be called the "E-regions." The second pronunciation is heard mainly in western and central Syria, in the Persian Gulf region and in some parts of southern Arabia (the "O-region"). A "normal" long A is generally heard elsewhere.

 

Examples from other Semitic languages:

 

 

Subject

Object

Akkadian "years"

shanaatum

shanaatim

Aramaic "queens"

malkhaat

Hebrew "daughters"

ylaadōt

 

In later western dialects of Aramaic (later dialects are called Syriac), the long A vowel becomes a long O like in Hebrew.

 

 

Exercise 1

Can you change the following singular nouns to feminine plural nouns in the subject case?

Friend (fem.)

صَدِيْقَة

Forum (masc.)

مُنْتَدَىْ

Female proper name

لَمَىْ

Gorgeous (fem. adj.)

حَسْنَاْء

Eliminating (elimination) (masc.)

إِقْصَاْء

Female proper name

رَاْنِيَة

 

 

Answers

 

Friends (fem.)

صَدِيْقَاْتٌ

Forums (fem.)

مُنْتَدَيَاْتٌ

Female proper name

لَمَيَاْتٌ

Gorgeous (fem. adj.)

حَسْنَاْوَاْتٌ

Eliminating (elimination) (fem.)

إِقْصَاْءَاْتٌ

Female proper name

رَاْنِيَاْتٌ

 

 

Exercise 2

Can you change the following feminine plural nouns to singular nouns?

 

Princesses (fem.)

أَمِيْرَاْتٌ

Female proper name

رَنَوَاْتٌ

Red (fem. adj.)

حَمْرَاْوَاْتٌ

Aggressions (fem.)

اِعْتِدَاْءَاْتٌ

 

 

Answers

 

Princess (fem.)

أَمِيْرَةٌ

Female proper name

رَنَاْ

Red (fem. adj.)

حَمْرَاْء

Aggression (masc.)

اِعْتِدَاْء

 

 

 

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