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  Arabic Online

ARABIC ONLINE

        اللّغة العربيّة    

Arabic Online

 

• Welcome!

• Varieties of Arabic

• Alphabet

• Pronunciation
• Words
• Vowels
• Reading out

• Syllables

• 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

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• Passive Voice

• Passive Perfective Verbs

• Passive Imperfective Verbs

• Passive of Irregular Verbs

• Subject Pronouns

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• 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

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• Infinitival/Indefinite maa

• Prepositions

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• Adverbs

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• Exclamatory Style

• Praise & Disparagement

• Derived Nouns

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Irregular Verbs

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.

There are four categories of weak verbs depending on the position of the weak letter in the root (first, middle, final letter, or more than one letter).

 

I. Doubled Verbs

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.

Examples:

Doubled Verbs

Original Form

Verb

مَدَدَ madd(a) مَدَّ
madad(a)  (he) extended (tr.)
عَدَدَ "add(a) عَدَّ
"adad(a) (he) counted (tr.)
مَرَرَ marr(a) مَرَّ
marar(a) (he) passed (intr.)
اِشْتَدَدَ 'ishtadd(a) اِشْتَدَّ
'ishtadad(a) (he) intensified (intr.)
اِحْمَرَرَ

'ihmarr(a)

اِحْمَرَّ

'ihmarar(a)

(he) became red(der)
أَحْبَبَ 'ahabb(a) أَحَبَّ
'ahbab(a) (he) loved
اِسْتَعْدَدَ 'ista"add(a) اِسْتَعَدَّ
'ista"dad(a) (he) prepared (intr.)
اِطْمَأْنَنَ

'itma'ann(a)

اِطْمَأَنَّ

'itma'nan(a)

(he) became reassured

 

Notice that doubled verbs are two types:

  • Verbs with an omitted short vowel from between the doubled consonants (-CvCvC- → -CvCC-).

  • Verbs that have a displaced-back, rather than omitted, short vowel (-CCvC- → -CvCC-).

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:

Doubled Verbs

when second and third root-letters identical

Form I

fa"?l(a)

fa"l(a)

فَعلَ

Form IV

'af"al(a)

'afa"l(a)

أَفْعَلَ

Form VII

'infa"al(a)

'infa"l(a)

اِنْفَعَلَ

Form VIII

'ifta"al(a)

'ifta"l(a)

اِفْتَعَلَ

Form X

'istaf"al(a)

'istafa"l(a)

اِسْتَفْعَلَ

 

Verbs forms that are always doubled verbs are the following:

Doubled Verbs

Form IX

'if"alal(a)

'if"all(a)

اِفْعَلََّ

Form XI

'if"aalal(a)

'if"aall(a)

اِفْعَاْلَّ

Form QIV

'if"allal(a)

'if"alall(a)

اِفْعَلَلَّ

 

 

II. Mithaal Verbs

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

Root

Verb

Y B S

ي ب س

yabis(a)

يَبِسَ

(he) hardened (intr.)

W J D

و ج د

wajad(a)

وَجَدَ

(he) found

W " D

و ع د

wa"ad(a)

وَعَدَ

(he) promised

W Q "

و ق ع

waqqa"(a)

وَقَّعَ

(he) signed

W S L

و ص ل

waasal(a)

وَاْصَلَ

(he) continued (tr./intr.)

Y N "

ي ن ع

'ayna"(a)

أَيْنَعَ

(he) ripened (intr.)

W L W L

و ل و ل

walwal(a)

وَلْوَلَ

 (he) howled

 

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.

 

III. Hollow Verbs

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:

مَوِتَ

mawit(a)

(He) died

 

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)

 

  • The second step depends on the identity of the vowel preceding the w or y. The rule is that the weak letter and the short vowel preceding it will become the long vowel that corresponds to the short vowel.

-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)

 

مَاْتَ

maat(a)

(He) died

 

 

More examples:

 

Hollow Verbs

Original Form

(not used)

Verb

قَوَلَ

qaal(a)

قَاْلَ

qawal(a)

(he) said

قَوَدَ

qaad(a)

قَاْدَ

qawad(a)

(he) drove, led

سَيَرَ

saar(a)

سَاْرَ

sayar(a)

(he) moved on, walked

بَيَعَ

baa"(a)

بَاْعَ

baya"(a)

(he) sold

نَوِمَ

naam(a)

نَاْمَ

nawim(a)

(he) slept

خَوِفَ

khaaf(a)

خَاْفَ

khawif(a)

(he) feared

اِنْقَوَدَ

'inqaad(a)

اِنْقَاْدَ

'inqawad(a)

(he) became driven, led

اِخْتَيَرَ

'ikhtaar(a)

اِخْتَاْرَ

'ikhtayar(a)

(he) chose

أَمْوَتَ

'amaat(a)

أَمَاْتَ

'amwat(a)

(he) made/caused to die

اِسْتَقْوَمَ

'istaqaam(a)

اِسْتَقَاْمَ

'istaqwam(a)

(he) straightened (intr.)

 

 

Similarly to the doubled verbs, transformed hollow verbs are two types:

  • Verbs that have an omitted green short vowel after the transformed w or y (-CvCvC- → -CvCC-).

  • Verbs that have a displaced-back rather than omitted green short vowel (-CCvC- → -CvCC-).

 

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:

  • Verbs that have an omitted short vowel after the weak letter (forms VII & VIII) always have a short A preceding the weak letter and thus will always transform it to a weak A.

  • Verbs that have a displaced-back short vowel (forms IV & X) will have a short I preceding the weak letter; the combination of the weak letter and the short I will become a long I.

  • Imperfective form I verbs are of the second type, with a displaced-back short vowel, but since the short vowel is variable (a , i or u), the final long vowel will be also variable (aa , iy or uw).

 

 

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.

 

Examples:

 

Hollow Verbs

(he) became one-eyed

"awir(a)

عَوِرَ

(he) squinted, had strabismus

hawil(a)

حَوِلَ

(she) walked seductively

rayidat

غَيِدَتْ

(she) became thin-wasted

hayifat

هَيِفَتْ

 

Other verbal forms derived from these verbs will also not transform.

 

Verb forms that transform when they are hollow verbs are the following:

Transforming Hollow Verbs

Form I

fa"?l(a)

fa"l(a)

فَعلَ

Form IV

'af"al(a)

'afa"l(a)

أَفْعَلَ

Form VII

'infa"al(a)

'infa"l(a)

اِنْفَعَلَ

Form VIII

'ifta"al(a)

'ifta"l(a)

اِفْتَعَلَ

Form X

'istaf"al(a)

'istafa"l(a)

اِسْتَفْعَلَ

 

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.

 

IV. Defective Verbs

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:

مَشَيَ

mashay(a)

(He) walked

 

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:

mashaa(a) mashaa

 

مَشَىْ

mashaa

(He) walked

 

Now lets take a stative verb:

بَقِيَ

baqiy(a)

(He) stayed, remained

 

The y is preceded by an i, so it will stay as it is, and the verb will not change.

 

Another verb:

رَضِوَ

radiw(a)

 

(He) approved

 

The w is preceded by an i, so it will transform into y.

رَضِيَ

radiy(a)

 

(He) approved

 

 

Other perfective defective verbs whose final w is transformed to y are:

 

Fa"iw(a) fa"iy(a)

شَقِيَ

قَوِيَ

رَضِيَ

رَجِيَ

حَفِيَ

حَظِيَ

لَوِيَ

حَوِيَ

حَلِيَ

 

 

There is only one perfective defective verb in Arabic in which the final y is transformed to w because it is preceded by u:

نَهُوَ

nahuw(a)

 

(He) reached mental maturity

 

This is an archaic classical verb. The original form is:

نَهُيَ

nahuy(a)

 

 

 

More examples on defective verbs:

Defective Verbs

Original Form

(not used)

Verb

دَعَوَ

da"aa

دَعَاْ

da"aw(a)

(he) called

عَلَوَ

"alaa

عَلاْ

"alaw(a)

(he) rose

رَمَيَ

ramaa

رَمَىْ

ramay(a)

(he) threw

أَبَيَ

'abaa

أَبَىْ

'abay(a)

(he) refused

نَسِيَ

nasiy(a)

نَسِيَ

nasiy(a)

(he) forgot

عَمِيَ

"amiy(a)

عَمِيَ

"amiy(a)

(he) was/became blind

شَقِوَ

shaqiy(a)

شَقِيَ

shaqiw(a)

(he) was/became miserable

سَرُوَ

saruw(a)

سَرُوَ

saruw(a)

(he) was/became honorable

غَنَّيَ

rannaa

غَنَّىْ

rannay(a)

(he) sang

عَلَّوَ

"allaa

عَلَّىْ

"allaw(a)

(he) raised

عَاْفَوَ

"aafaa

عَاْفَىْ

"aafaw(a)

(he) cured, saved from harm

اِسْتَلْقَيَ

'istalqaa

اِسْتَلْقَىْ

'istalqay(a)

(he) lied down

 

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.

 

Endings of Perfective Defective Verbs

(3rd Person Masculine Singular)

Form I

fa"iw(a)

-iy(a)

ـِيَ

fa"iy(a)

fa"uw(a)

-uw(a)

ـُوَ

fa"uy(a)

fa"aw(a)

-aa

ـَاْ

fa"ay(a)

-aa

ـَىْ

Other Forms

-aa

ـَىْ

 

 

Endings of Imperfective Defective Verbs

(3rd Person Masculine Singular)

Form I

-iw(u)

-iy

ـِيْ

-iy(u)

-uw(u)

-uw

ـُوْ

-uy(u)

-aw(u)

-aa

ـَىْ

-ay(u)

Forms V, VI & QII

-aa

ـَىْ

Remaining Forms

-iy

ـِيْ

 

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.

 

 

V. Enfolding Verbs

Enfolding verbsالْمُعْتَلُّ اللَّفِيْفُ  are verbs that have two weak letters in their roots. They are two types:

  • Verbs that have a middle and final weak original letters C-C-C

  • Verbs that have a first and final weak original letters C-C-C

Examples:

Enfolding Verbs

Original Form

(not used)

Verb

رَوَيَ

rawaa

رَوَىْ

raway(a)

(he) told, related

نَوَيَ

nawaa

نَوَىْ

naway(a)

(he) intended, planned

وَقَيَ

waqaa

وَقَىْ

waqay(a)

(he) protected

وَعَيَ

wa"aa

وَعَىْ

wa"ay(a)

(he) was/became aware of

وَشَيَ

washaa

وَشَىْ

washay(a)

(he) told on (somebody)

وَصَّيَ

wassaa

وَصَّىْ

wassay(a)

(he) left in will

(he) instructed

وَاْسَيَ

waasaa

وَاْسَىْ

waasay(a)

(he) consoled

اِحْتَوَيَ

'ihtawaa

اِحْتَوَىْ

'ihtaway(a)

(he) contained

اِسْتَوْلَيَ

'istawlaa

اِسْتَوْلَىْ

'istawlay(a)

(he) seized (intr.)

 

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.

Enfolding Verbs

Root: C-C-C

Treat as defective verbs

Root: C-C-C

Treat as Mithaal & defective verbs

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.

 

(He) took 'akhath(a) أَخَذَ
(He) ate 'akal(a) أَكَلَ
(He) commanded 'amar(a) أَمَرَ
(He) asked sa'al(a) سَأَلَ
(He) saw ra'aa رَأَىْ
(He) showed 'araa أَرَىْ

 

۞ أَخَذَ & أَكَلَ

These two verbs irregularly lose their first hamza(t)'s in the imperative.

 

Imperative Imperfective Perfective
خُذْ يَأْخُذُ أَخَذَ
khuth ya'<khuth(u) 'akhath(a)

 

Imperative Imperfective Perfective
كُلْ يَأْكُلُ أَكَلَ
kul ya'<kul(u) 'akal(a)

 

۞ 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.

 

Imperative Imperfective Perfective
mur مُرْ يَأْمُرُ أَمَرَ
Either in the beginning or in the middle of speech
... '<mur أْمُرْ ...

Only in the middle of speech

(preceded by other talking)

ya'<mur(u) 'amar(a)

 

Imperative Imperfective Perfective
sal سَلْ يَسْأَلُ سَأَلَ
Either in the beginning or in the middle of speech
... s'al اِسْأَلْ ...

Only in the middle of speech

(preceded by other talking)

yas'al(u) sa'al(a)

 

۞ رَأَىْ

This is a defective verb that is conjugated irregularly.

The root is :  ر أ ي R ' Y

The Supposed Conjugation of رَأَىْ
Imperative Imperfective Perfective
اِرْأَ يَرْأَىْ رَأَىْ
('i)r'aa yar'aa ra'aa

 

The Actual Conjugation of رَأَىْ
Imperative Imperfective Perfective
ra ... رَ...ه يَرَىْ رَأَىْ
Followed by other talking
rah رَهْ
Not followed by other talking yaraa ra'aa

 

۞ أَرَىْ

This a form IV defective verb that is conjugated irregularly.

The root is :  ر أ ي R ' Y

Imperative Imperfective Perfective
أَرِ يُرِيْ أَرَىْ
'ari yuree 'araa