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Lesson Transcript

Intro

Hi everybody! Nora here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Arabic questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: Where are the personal pronouns in Arabic?
Explanation
In one of the previous lessons, we’ve already discussed what the sentence structure is like in Modern Standard Arabic. In this lesson, we’ll show you what Arabic personal pronouns look like independently.
In English, subject personal pronouns precede verbs, like in this sentence: "I ate the cake."
In Arabic it’s possible to use the independent personal pronoun أنا (ana), meaning "I," before the verb. For example, "I ate a cake" can be translated as ʾanā ʾakaltu al-kaʿk.
أَنا أَكَلتُ الكَعك.
However it’s common to omit ana because it’s already included as the suffix tu in the verb akaltu. So the sentence could look like this:
أَكَلتُ الكَعك.
ʾakaltu al-kaʿk
For beginners, it might seem like there’s no indication as to who the subject is, but in fact, the subject is included inside the verb itself. So, the addition of an independent personal pronoun is a bit redundant.
Nevertheless, it’s important to know them, let's take a look at independent personal pronouns in Modern Standard Arabic:
أَنا
“I”
ʾanā
أَنتَ
“you”
ʾanta
أَنتِ
“You” (feminine)
ʾanti
أَنتما
“You” (dual feminine and masculine)
ʾantmā
أَنتُم
“You” (plural masculine)
ʾantum
أَنتُنَّ
“You” (plural feminine)
ʾantunna
هُوَ
“He”
huwa
هِيَ
“She”
hiya
هُما
“They” (dual feminine and masculine)
humā
هُم
“They” (plural masculine)
hum
هُنَّ
“They” (plural feminine)
hunna
These are used when it’s necessary to stress who or what the subject is, as is the case for compound sentences and long sentences with many subjects and events. They’re also a must with “nominal descriptive sentences.” This is because for adjectives, conjugation affixes can't give complete information about a subject, like whether it’s in the first, second, or third person.
Let's observe the following sentences:
هُم أمريكيون.
hum amrekiyuun
"They are American."
We’re talking about a group of American males in the third person, so we use the pronoun hum.
Another example is:
هِيَ مُتعَبَة.
hiya mutʿabah
"She is tired."
Here we’re talking about a female in the third person, so we used the pronoun hiya.

Outro

If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below!
Bye! إلى اللقاء (ʾilā al-liqaāʾ)

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