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Irregularly behaving verbs in Arabic are:
۩ Doubled Verbs
Those are verbs that end with two identical consonants with no short vowel between them (-CC, no green short vowel).
۩ Weak Verbs
Weak verbs الأَفْعَاْلُ المُعْتَلَّةُ are verbs that have original weak letters (y or w). Or, in other words, verbs whose roots contain one or more weak letters.
Doubled verbs المُضَعَّفُ are verbs ending with two identical consonants with no vowel in between (-CC). This refers to any verb ending with a shadda(t) ّ over the final letter (indicates doubled consonants without a vowel in between). It is not necessary that the two letters be both original letters.
The missing short vowel in these verbs is nothing but the green short vowel that lies between the final two letters of any verb.
Notice that doubled verbs are two types:
Most doubled verbs are of the first type, except for form IV, X & QIV doubled verbs. The distinctive feature of this type is that the first copy of the doubled consonant is preceded by a vowel.
-CvCvC- → -CvCC-
(C: consonant, v: vowel)
In the second type, the first copy of the doubled consonant is not preceded by a vowel but rather by a consonant.
-CCvC- → -CvCC-
In this case, omitting the vowel between the two identical consonants would produce the cluster -CCC- which is unacceptable. Therefore, the green short vowel is not omitted but rather moved backward from between the two identical consonants. Doubled verbs of this type are those of forms IV, X & QIV.
In the imperfective, form I becomes of the second type because the imperfective structure of form I has the combination -CCvC- rather than -CvCvC-.
The conjugation of doubled verbs will often require reinserting a short vowel between the two doubled consonants (-CvCC- → -CvCvC-). This is termed in Arabic "untying" the shadda(t). For the forms with a displaced short vowel, the short vowel will be moved back forward to between the two doubled consonants (-CvCC- → -CCvC-).
These changes will happen in the 1st and 2nd person conjugations and with the 3rd person feminine plural conjugation of the perfective. For the imperfective, untying will be required only in the feminine plural conjugations.
Verbs forms that can be doubled verbs are the following:
Verbs forms that are always doubled verbs are the following:
The first category of weak verbs, Mithaal verbs المُعْتَلُّ الْمِثَاْلُ, refers to verbs whose first original letter is weak letter (w or y).
Most of the roots of these verbs begin with و w, rare ones begin with ي y (this is contrary to other Semitic languages such as Hebrew and the Old South Arabian languages, in which the initial w is often turned into y).
Verbs whose roots begin with 'alif أ ' are not weak verbs. They conjugate regularly and they are categorized as sound verbs (regular verbs), because this is the consonant 'alif (the hamza(t)) and not the weak 'alif (the vowel-denoting 'alif). The vowel-denoting 'ali can never be part of any root nor can it be the first letter of any word. The differentiation between the two varieties of 'alif was made in this section.
Note: weak letters at the beginning of a word (w or y) are always consonants not vowels, because a weak letter must be preceded by a corresponding short vowel and not followed by any vowel in order to become a vowel.
Examples of Mithaal verbs:
Mithaal verbs can exist in any verb form.
Mithaal verbs conjugate regularly in the perfective, but in the imperfective of form I, they will lose their first original letter (the weak letter) if the short vowel following the second root-letter is i, and sometimes if it is a.
Hollow verbs المُعْتَلُّ الأَجْوَفُ are verbs whose second original letter is a weak letter.
These verbs have either و or ي in the middle position of their roots, but not 'alif.
Verbs whose roots have 'alif أ ' in the middle position are not weak verbs. They conjugate regularly and they are categorized as regular verbs, because this is the consonant 'alif (the hamza(t)), and the weak 'alif can not be part of any root.
The trick with perfective hollow verbs is that, in the actual world, many of them change the second original letter (the w or y) to a weak 'alif, or vowel-denoting 'alif, so that the middle part of the verb will become a long A vowel (CaCvC → CaCC → CaaC).
Example, the form I hollow verb:
This form is the original form of the verb. It is never used, neither in classical Arabic nor in modern Arabic.
The transformation of hollow verbs occurs in two steps, the first of which resembles the transformation of doubled verbs, which is to change -CvCvC or -CCvC to -CvCC.
-CvWvC- → -CvWC-
-CvYvC- → -CvYC-
-CWvC- → -CvWC-
-CYvC- → -CvYC-
(W/Y: middle root-letter of a hollow verb)
-CaWC- → -CaaC-
-CaYC- → -CaaC-
-CuWC- → -CuWC- = -CooC-
-CuYC- → -CuWC- = -CooC-
-CiWC- → -CiYC- = -CeeC-
-CiYC- → -CiYC- = -CeeC-
Thus, the w or y will become a weak 'alif when they are preceded by a short A.
The example verb will become:
mawit(a) → mawt(a)→ maat(a)
Similarly to the doubled verbs, transformed hollow verbs are two types:
Forms I, VII & VIII make transformed hollow verbs of the first type, and forms IV & X make transformed verbs of the second type. Note that, in the imperfective, form I becomes of the second type.
Inasmuch as the short vowel preceding the weak letter in the perfective of these forms is always a short A, the weak letter will be always transformed to a weak A.
In the imperfective, on the other hand, there is a different situation. Since it is possible in the imperfective for short vowels other than a short A to precede the weak letter, the weak letter will not be always transformed into a weak A.
The cases for the transformed imperfective hollow verbs are the following:
There are very scarce form I hollow verbs that do not transform and retain their original forms. These are mostly stative verbs denoting bodily characteristics.
Other verbal forms derived from these verbs will also not transform.
Verb forms that transform when they are hollow verbs are the following:
Transformed hollow verbs have complicated rules for conjugation. In the perfective of form I, the middle aa will be replaced by a short vowel that corresponds to the original weak letter, except in verbs whose original structure is fa"il(a), in which the middle aa will be always replaced by an i. This will happen with the 1st and 2nd person conjugations as well as with the 3rd person feminine plural. For the other verb forms, the aa will become a short vowel a in the mentioned conjugations.
In the indicative and subjunctive imperfective, the middle long vowel of the hollow verbs will be replaced by the corresponding short vowel in the feminine plural conjugations. Otherwise the verbs will conjugate regularly. In the jussive and imperative imperfective, the middle long vowel will be replaced by the corresponding short vowel in all conjugations.
Defective verbs المُعْتَلُّ النَّاْقِصُ are verbs whose last original letter is a weak letter.
The original weak letter can be either w or y. Verbs whose last original letter is 'alif أ are not weak verbs, because this is the consonant 'alif (the hamza(t)), and the weak 'alif can not be part of any root.
Just like the hollow verbs, the final w or y of these verbs can change based on the short vowel preceding it.
However, whereas the perfective hollow verbs always have a short A preceding the weak letter, the vowel preceding the final weak letter of defective verbs is changeable and is not always a short A like in the hollow verbs. Hence, the number of defective verbs that have weak letters transformed into weak A is evidently smaller than that of the hollow verbs.
Example, the defective verb:
This is the original form. The weak letter is preceded by an a, so it will transform to a weak A.
mashay(a) → mashaa(a)
Since it is impossible for a long vowel to be followed by any vowel, the final -a will be removed:
Now lets take a stative verb:
(He) stayed, remained
The y is preceded by an i, so it will stay as it is, and the verb will not change.
The w is preceded by an i, so it will transform into y.
Other perfective defective verbs whose final w is transformed to y are:
There is only one perfective defective verb in Arabic in which the final y is transformed to w because it is preceded by u:
(He) reached mental maturity
This is an archaic classical verb. The original form is:
More examples on defective verbs:
An important fact can be inferred from this table; the figure of the final, fake, weak 'alif is related to its origin. If the 'alif was originally w, it will look like this: ا ; this is called in Arabic the "standing" or "erect" 'alif. If the 'alif was originally y, it will look: ى ; this 'alif is sometimes called the "soft" 'alif.
However, in any Arabic word with more than three letters, the final weak 'alif will take this form ى regardless of its origin. When such an 'alif is transformed back to a weak letter, like what happens when conjugating defective verbs, it will be always transformed to y regardless of its true origin.
Now that we've came this far in Arabic, I think this is a good time to reveal a little secret of this language:
Arabic does not have a true weak 'alif AT ALL. All the weak 'alif 's are transformed from y's or w's (and sometimes from other things). Thus, there is no real long A vowel in Arabic.
Defective verbs can exist in any verb form except the forms that end with shadda(t) ّ (doubled consonants without vowel in between), namely forms IX, XI, and QIV. Form XV always ends with ى (oي in the imperfective) and hence always conjugates as a defective verb.
Inasmuch as it is preceded by a short A, the final weak letter of a defective verb will be transformed to a weak A in all the verb forms except form I verbs that have i or u vowels after their second root-letters.
The conjugation of defective verbs is a bit problematic. A major step in conjugating defective perfective verbs is to transform the final weak 'alif back to its origin. This will happen with the 1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person feminine plural, and 3rd person masculine dual conjugations. For the remaining conjugations barring the basic one (the 3rd person masculine singular), the final weak letter will be omitted.
In the indicative and subjunctive imperfective, the final weak letter will be omitted in the 2nd person feminine singular and in the masculine plural conjugations. A final weak 'alif will be transformed to y in the dual and the feminine plural conjugations.
In the jussive and the imperative, the final weak letter will be omitted in all conjugations except the dual and the feminine plural conjugations. In these conjugations, a final weak 'alif will be transformed to y.
Enfolding verbsالْمُعْتَلُّ اللَّفِيْفُ are verbs that have two weak letters in their roots. They are two types:
The first type الْمُعْتَلُّ اللَّفِيْفُ الْمَقْرُوْنُ enfolds the definitions of both hollow and defective verbs, yet it is always treated as a defective verb only, and the middle weak letter is treated as if it were a sound letter.
The second type الْمُعْتَلُّ اللَّفِيْفُ الْمَفْرُوْقُ enfolds the definitions of both Mithaal and defective verbs. These verbs get the dealing of both Mithaal and defective verbs together.
Where C is a sound consonant, and C is a weak consonant.
Irregularly Conjugated Verbs
These are six verbs, four regular and two defective verbs, that conjugate in different manners from the rest of regular and defective verbs. They all contain hamza(t)'s in their roots.
۞ أَخَذَ & أَكَلَ
These two verbs irregularly lose their first hamza(t)'s in the imperative.
۞ أَمَرَ & سَأَلَ
These two verbs also irregularly lose their first hamza(t)'s in the imperative; but they can keep it if they were not the first words in the sequence of speech.
This is a defective verb that is conjugated irregularly.
The root is : ر أ ي R ' Y
This a form IV defective verb that is conjugated irregularly.
The root is : ر أ ي R ' Y