Dialogue - Standard Arabic

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Vocabulary

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إذاعة (Standard) [إذاعَة] ʾiḏāʿah podcast, broadcast
سلسلة (Standard) [سِلسِلَة] silsilah series
نحو (Standard) [نَحو] naḥū Arabic grammar
شاملة (Standard) [شامِلَة] šāmilah comprehensive, full
انقسم (Standard) [انقَسَم] inqasam to divide
متقدمة (Standard) [مُتَقَدِّمَة] mutaqaddimah advanced
متنوعة (Standard) [مُتَنَوِّعَة] mutanawwiʿah miscellaneous, various
المقبلة (Standard) [المُقبِلَة] al-muqbilah next

Lesson Notes

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Grammar

The Focus Of This Lesson Is an Overview of Arabic Sentence Structure and an Introduction to all the Following Lessons in This Series

في هذه السلسلة, سوف نتعلم أساسيات تكوين الجملة العربية وأقسام الجملة الأساسية في اللغة العربية.

fī haḏihi al-silsilah, sawfa nataʿallam ʾasāsiyyāt takwīn al-ǧumlaẗi al-ʿarabiyyaẗi ūʾaqsāmi al-ǧumlah al-ʾasāsiyyah fī al-lluġah al-ʿarabiyyah.
"In this series, we will learn the basics of Standard Arabic sentence formation and the basic parts of speech of Arabic language."


 

 

 

1. Vowelling

In this first lesson, we will give you an introduction to the grammar we are covering in this series, and explain a very crucial part of Arabic, which is vowelling.

Vowelling is the reason non-native Arabic speakers find it difficult to read Arabic. Because native Arabic speakers know how every word is pronounced already, they can read Arabic even if it isn't vowelled, which is actually usually the case. The only vowelled text Arabic native speakers read is probably the Quran.

This is an example of unvowelled text:

هبة ذهبت إلى المدرسة.

"Heba went to school."

If you look at this text, you will notice that there are many consonants in a row in each word. Theoretically, it should be pronounced like this:

hba zhbt ila 'lmdrsh.

 

Of course that's not how it's pronounced. It's just that the hidden vowelling gives a sentence its necessary short vowels.

هِبَة ذَهَبَت إلى المَدرَسَة.

Notice the vowelling. Each sign on top of or at the bottom of the sentence indicates a certain short vowel that separates each consonant from the following one. So in reality, that's how this text is pronounced:

heba zahabat ila 'al madrasah.

 

Does that mean that Arabic has no vowels aside from the vowelling signs? Of course not. Arabic has three vowel sounds, but they are long vowels, and can sometimes be used as consonants, such as when they are the first letter in a word.

There are three main long vowels in Arabic:

1-ا

2-و

3-ي

So the difference between short vowels and long vowels is basically in the length of the vowel. Notice the difference in pronunciation between the two following words:

bal بَل  meaning "but," or "instead"

baal بال meaning "mind"

You give 1 count for the short vowel, versus 2 counts for the long vowel.

 

There are two uses for vowelling as far as Arabic speakers are concerned:

1: Initial-medial letter vowelling

This is the vowelling of the initial and medial letters of a word. This vowelling determines the MEANING of the word.

 

2: Final letter vowelling

This is the vowelling of the final letter of a word. This vowelling determines the position of the word in the sentence. From now on, we will call this type "final vowelling." It can only be one of four signs:

fathah (an a sound as in "sad") بَ

kasrah (an i sound as in "hill") بِ

dammah (an u sound as in "parachute") بُ

sukuun (a sign that indicates that there is no vowelling sound for a letter) بْ

Final vowelling is dropped (not pronounced) only if the word in question is the last word in a sentence, or if the word is said independently (not in a sentence, just on its own).

 

So what can you do as a non-native? You have to learn the most common forms of words in Arabic; because more than 99% of words in Arabic-verbs or nouns or adjectives-follow certain forms, that can be formed and recognized easily if you follow a set of rules. For example, you can read a lot, until you get used to the these common forms. Until then, use vowelled text to help you read and pronounce each word correctly. Of course, all our content has a vowelled version for your convenience.

Now that we know the difference, in this series we will be focusing on number 2, which is the final letter vowelling in most of the lessons, but we will also introduce some of the most common vowelling patterns in the most used Arabic parts of speech (POS).

 

2. Sentence Order and Its Significance in a Lecture

 

 

Listening to a lecture involves a lot of listening skills. It's a lot of input and you are likely to hear a lot of words you don't understand and sentences that might seem inverted. Inverted sentences are commonly used in lectures, because the teacher or the presenter is trying to highlight a certain part of the sentence that isn't usually found in the beginning of a sentence.

In Arabic, the only indicator for the importance of a certain part of a sentence is sentence order. This means that if a part of a sentence comes first in the sentence order, that indicates that this part is the more important part of the sentence, and the main focus of this sentence. Let's see examples of this in the dialogue:

 في هذه السلسلة, سوف نتعلم أساسيات تكوين الجملة العربية.

fi hazihi al silsila, sawfa nata'allamu asaasiyyaat takwiin aljumla al 'arabiyyah.
"In this series, we will learn the basics of the Arabic sentence formation."

 

In the normal sentence order, the verb sentence  سوف نتعلم, usually come first in a complex sentence. However, if we want to highlight or stress a certain part of the sentence that happens not to be a noun/verb sentence, which in this case is في هذه السلسلة , we can put it in the beginning of the sentence and move the noun/verb part to be the second part in the sentence. It's a lot like English, really. That's also the case in:

 

 في نهاية هذه الدروس, ستكون قادراً على تكوين جمل طويلة.

fi nihaayati hazihi al duruus, satakuunu qaadiran 'ala takwwini jumalin taweelah.
"By the end of this series, you will be able to form long sentences."

 

We did the same thing here. In this sentence, the time of the action is the focus of the sentence, that's why it came first in sentence order.

In addition, in many noun sentences, the order of the subject and the object can also be switched! Imagine a sentence saying "Happy John is." instead of "John is happy."

The reason this shift in order is possible in Arabic, although it doesn't have subject/object markers, is the final letter vowelling we were just talking about. The final vowelling can tell you what the position of a word is in a sentence even if the sentence order was inverted. This is widely used in literary works to stress certain parts or to rhyme sentences.

Last but not least, here's a list of the grammar points we will be introducing in the next 24 lessons:

 

Lesson

Content

Arabic

2

Noun sentence and its final vowelling rules.

الجملة الإسمية و إعرابها

3

Verb sentence, transitive and intransitive verbs, subject/ object final vowelling rules

الجملة الفعلية و إعرابها

4

Verb forms in Arabic and what words fall under the verb root rule in Arabic

الأزمنة و الأوزان

5

The present verb form and its final vowelling rules.

الفعل المضارع  و إعرابه

6

Past verb form and its final vowelling rules

الفعل الماضي  و إعرابه

7

Irregular imperative/negative imperative and its final vowelling rule

الفعل الأمر و صيغة النَهي  و إعرابهما

8

Past continuous: past state and its final vowelling rules

أخوات كان  و إعرابهم

9

 Vocative and its final vowelling rule

أخوات إن  و إعرابهم و النفي بلم

10

Negation form and different kinds of calendar systems

لن و أنواع و أسماء الشهور

11

Masculine plural form for nouns and adjective

جمع المذكر السالم

12

Feminine plural form for nouns and adjective

جمع المؤنث السالم

13

Irregular (neutral) plural form for nouns ONLY

جمع التَكسير

14

Relative pronouns and feminine color adjectives

الإسم الموصول و الألوان المؤنثة

15

Adjectives and its final vowelling rules

النعت و إعرابه

16

Apostrophe and its final vowelling rules

المضاف إلية   و إعرابه

17

Adverbs for verbal sentences and their final vowelling rules

الحال  و إعرابه

18

Passive voice and its final vowelling rules

نائب الفاعل  و إعرابه

19

Adverbs of place and their final vowelling rules and the final vowelling rules of the word following them

ظرف المكان  و إعرابه

20

Adverbs of time and their final vowelling rules

ظرف الزمان  و إعرابه

21

Prepositions, and the final vowelling rules of the word following them

حروف الجَر

22

Subject type agent nouns and their final vowelling rules

إسم الفاعل

23

Object type agent nouns and their final vowelling rules

إسم المفعول

24

Conditional particles and the final vowelling rules of the word following them

أدوات الشرط

25

Gender rules for cardinal numbers and the final vowelling of the word following them

تمييز الأعداد

 

 

Examples from the dialogue:

 

في نهاية هذه الدروس, ستكون قادراً على تكوين جمل طويلة و متقدمة باللغة العربية الفصحى.

fī nihāyaẗi haḏihi al-durūs, satakūnu qādiran ʿalā takwīni ǧumalin ṭawīlaẗin wa mutaqaddimah billuġah al-ʿarabiyyah al-fuṣḥā.
"At the end of these lessons, you will be able to form long and advanced sentences in Modern Standard Arabic."

 

Sample Sentences

 

 

في هَذا البَيْت, الكُلُّ حُرٌّ في حَيَاتِه.

fī haḏā al-bayt, al-kullu ḥurrun fī ḥayaātih.
"In this house, each person is free to live their own life."

 

أَستَمِعُ إلى أَرابيكبود101 عَلى اللآي فون الخاص بي.

ʾastamiʿu ʾilā ʾarābīkbūd101 ʿalā al-lʾāī fūn al-ḫāṣ bī.
"I listen to ArabicPod101 on my Iphone."

 

Cultural Insights

One Region, Many Dialects: The Dialects of Arabic and their Relation to MSA

 

The different dialects of Arabic might sound intimidating at first, but you have to be able to speak Modern Standard Arabic plus one dialect, preferably a widely understood dialect like Egyptian or Levantine, to be able to live comfortably in the Arab world. Modern Standard Arabic will help you understand the road and train signs, as well as news on TV and in the newspapers, because all of that is in Modern Standard Arabic regardless of the country you're in. It's hard to say what the closest dialect to Standard Arabic is, but many agree it's either the Gulf dialects like Saudi, or Levantine dialects, like Syrian.

Useful expression:

اللَهجَة الشامِيَّة

"Levantine dialect"

 

اللَهجَة المِصرِيَّة

"Egyptian dialect"

Lesson Transcript

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INTRODUCTION
Becky: Hi everyone, and welcome to ArabicPod101.com. This is Intermediate Season 1 Lesson 1 - Reviewing Modern Standard Arabic Sentence Structure. My name is Becky.
Hany: مرحبا I'm Hany.
Becky: In this lesson, we’ll do an overview of Modern Standard Arabic sentence structure and an introduction to all the lessons in this series. The conversation takes place in the car.
Hany: It's between classmates.
Becky: The speakers are friends, so they will use both formal and informal Arabic. Okay, let's listen to the conversation.
DIALOGUE
: على إذاعة أرابيكبود101 على الآيباد.
مقدمة أرابيك بود101 دوت كوم: مرحباً بكم في سلسلة دروس النحو الشاملة لأرابيك بود 101 دوت كوم.
مقدمة أرابيك بود101 دوت كوم: في هذه السلسلة, سوف نتعلم أساسيات تكوين الجملة العربية وأقسام الجملة الأساسية في اللغة العربية.
مقدمة أرابيك بود101 دوت كوم: في نهاية هذه الدروس, ستكون قادراً على تكوين جمل طويلة و متقدمة باللغة العربية الفصحى.
مقدمة أرابيك بود101 دوت كوم: تنقسم كلمات اللغة العربية لثلاث أنواع: أسم و فعل و حرف.
مقدمة أرابيك بود101 دوت كوم: فلنستمع معاً إلى المحادثات المتنوعة في كل درس من الدروس المقبلة.
الزملاء: يبدو أن هذه السلسلة مهمة جداً إذا كنا نريد تعلم اللغة العربية الفصحى.
الزملاء: أجل, أليس كذلك؟ متى سيكون الدرس التالي؟
الزملاء: الإسبوع القادم على الأرجح!
Becky: Listen to the conversation with the English translation
: (Listening to ArabicPod101.com on the iPad)
ArabicPod101.com presenter: Welcome to the intensive Standard Arabic grammar series by ArabicPod101.com
ArabicPod101.com presenter: In this series, we will learn the basics of Standard Arabic sentence formation and the basic parts of speech in the Arabic language.
ArabicPod101.com presenter: At the end of these lessons, you will be able to form long and advanced sentences in Modern Standard Arabic.
ArabicPod101.com presenter: Arabic words fall into three main classes—noun, verb, and particle.
ArabicPod101.com presenter: Let's listen to the various dialogues in the following lessons of this series.
Classmates: This series seems very important if we want to learn Modern standard Arabic.
Classmates: Yes, right? When will the next lesson be?
Classmates: Probably next week!
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Becky: Hany, could you clarify, once and for all, the question about the Arabic dialects for our listeners?
Hany: Sure. Arabic has a standard version, which is sometimes known as MSA and it’s what we are going to teach in this series.
Becky: MSA stands for Modern Standard Arabic.
Hany: On the other hand, there are also many regional dialects, which are actually spoken.
Becky: That sounds very intimidating.
Hany: Right, but if you are able to speak Modern standard Arabic + 1 dialect, preferably a widely understood dialect like Egyptian or Levantine, you’ll be able to live comfortably in the Arab world.
Becky: Why is it important to study MSA, if it’s not actually spoken?
Hany: Because Modern Standard Arabic will help you understand the road and train signs, and news on TV and in the newspapers, regardless of the country you're in and also because we study it at school.
Becky: Which is the closest dialect?
Hany: It's hard to say what the closest dialect to Standard Arabic is, but people seem to agree that the gulf dialects like Saudi, or Levantine dialects, like Syrian, are quite close.
Becky: Can you give us the Arabic name for a couple of dialects?
Hany: Sure for example اللَهجَة الشامِيَّة
Becky: which is the “Levantine dialect"
Hany: And mine is اللَهجَة المِصرِيَّة
Becky: Which is the "Egyptian dialect” -Okay, now onto the vocab.
VOCAB LIST
Becky: Let’s take a look at the vocabulary from this lesson. The first word is..
Hany: إذاعة [natural native speed]
Becky: podcast, broadcast
Hany: إذاعة[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Hany: إذاعة [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Hany: سلسلة [natural native speed]
Becky: series
Hany: سلسلة[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Hany: سلسلة [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Hany: نحو [natural native speed]
Becky: Arabic grammar
Hany: نحو[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Hany: نحو [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Hany: شاملة [natural native speed]
Becky: comprehensive, full
Hany: شاملة[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Hany: شاملة [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Hany: انقسم [natural native speed]
Becky: to divide
Hany: انقسم[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Hany: انقسم [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Hany: متقدمة [natural native speed]
Becky: advanced
Hany: متقدمة[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Hany: متقدمة [natural native speed]
Becky: Next we have..
Hany: متنوعة [natural native speed]
Becky: miscellaneous, various
Hany: متنوعة[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Hany: متنوعة [natural native speed]
Becky: And last...
Hany: المقبلة [natural native speed]
Becky: next
Hany: المقبلة[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Hany: المقبلة [natural native speed]
KEY VOCAB AND PHRASES
Becky: Let's have a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson. The first phrase is..
Hany: في نهاية
Becky: meaning "At the end of"
Hany: This expression consists of 2 words – fi, literally means "in," and nihayat, meaning "the end." This expression has to be followed by a noun
Becky: Can you give us an example using this word?
Hany: Sure. For example, you can say.. في نهاية المحاضرة, سألت الأستاذ سؤالاً.
Becky: ..which means “At the end of the lecture, I asked the professor a question.”
Becky: Okay, what's the next phrase?
Hany: قادر على
Becky: meaning "able to"
Hany: This expression consists of 2 words - qaadir, which is an adjective meaning "able" and ala, which is a preposition meaning "to". Note that this expression has fewer usages than "can", which in Arabic is استطيع. It is used with more important abilities and privileges.
Becky: So it translates better to "able to". Can you give us an example using this word?
Hany: You can say.. أنا قادر على الوصول إلى حل.
Becky: .. which means "I'm able to reach a solution." Okay, now onto the lesson focus.

Lesson focus

Becky: In this lesson, we’ll do an overview of Arabic sentence structure, briefly introduce the following lessons in this series, and talk about how a lecture is structured.
Hany: That’s right. We will also introduce you to the grammar we are covering in this series, and explain a very crucial part of Arabic, which is VOWELLING.
Becky: Vowelling is the reason non-native Arabic speakers find it difficult to read Arabic. Because native Arabic speakers know how every word is pronounced already, they can read Arabic even if it isn’t vowelled, which is actually usually the case.
Hany: The only vowelled text Arabic native speakers read is probably the Quran.
Becky: Hany, how would you explain vowelling?
Hany: Sure. As our listeners will surely already know, Arabic isn’t pronounced as it is written, since the written version has only consonants. The hidden vowelling gives a sentence its necessary SHORT vowels, which are the signs on top or at the bottom of a word, when this word is vowelled. They can also be called diacritics.
Becky: Does that mean that Arabic has no vowels aside from the vowelling signs?
Hany: No – Arabic has three vowel sounds, but they are LONG vowels, and can sometimes be used as consonants, such as when they are the first letter in a word.
Becky: Which are these three main long vowels?
Hany: They are ا,و,ي
Becky: So the difference between short vowels and long vowels is basically in the length of the vowel.
Hany: Right, notice the difference in pronunciation between the two following words, bal بَل and baal بال
Becky: The first means “but” or “instead”, while the second means “mind”. Ok, now let’s see the vowelling in more detail. Listeners, we recommend reading the lesson notes while you are listening to this, so that you can see which characters we are talking about.
Hany: There are two uses for vowelling as far as Arabic speakers are concerned, Initial-medial letter vowelling and Final letter vowelling.
Becky: the first one, the Initial-medial letter vowelling, is the vowelling of the initial and medial letters of a word.
Hany: This vowelling determines the MEANING of the word.
Becky: The Final letter vowelling is the vowelling of the final letter of a word.
Hany: This vowelling determines the POSITION of the word in the sentence and it can only be one of four signs - the first is fathah بَ
Becky: which is an a sound as in “sad”
Hany:The second is kasrah بِ
Becky: which is an i sound as in “hill”
Hany: the third is dammah بُ
Becky: which is a u sound as in “parachute”
Hany:the last one is sukuun بْ
Becky: this sign indicates that there is no vowelling sound for a letter.
Hany: Final vowelling is dropped, or not pronounced, only if the word in question is the last word in a sentence, or if the word is said independently.
Becky: When you’re a beginner, you need to learn the most common words in Arabic, because more than 99% of words follow certain forms that can be recognized easily if you follow a set of rules.
Hany: For example, you can read a lot until you get used to the common forms.
Becky: Listeners, until then, use vowelled text to help you read and pronounce each word correctly. Of course, all our content has a vowelled version for your convenience!
Hany: In this series we will be focusing on the final letter vowelling in most of the lessons.
Becky: Now let’s see how sentences in an Arabic lecture are usually organized. Even just listening to a lecture in your own language involves a lot of listening skills. Let’s see how to make it easier in the case of an Arabic lecture.
Hany: First of all, you should know that the teacher or whoever is giving the lecture will most often use inverted sentences.
Becky: This is because they are probably trying to highlight a certain part of the sentence that isn’t usually found at the beginning of the sentence. In Arabic, the only indicator for the importance of a certain part of a sentence is sentence order. This means that the part of the sentence that comes first is the more important, and the main focus of this sentence. Hany, can you pick up some examples from the first dialogue?
Hany: Sure, for example في هذه السلسلة, سوف نتعلم أساسيات تكوين الجملة العربية.
Becky: which means “In this series, we will learn the basics of Arabic sentence formation.”
Hany: In the normal sentence order, the verb sentence سوف نتعلم, meaning “we will learn”, should come first. However, if we want to highlight or stress a certain part of the sentence, we can put it at the beginning of the sentence, in this case في هذه السلسلة, meaning “in this series”
Becky: Are there any other examples in the dialogue?
Hany: Yes, في نهاية هذه الدروس, ستكون قادراً على تكوين جمل طويلة.
Becky: which means “By the end of this series, you will be able to form long sentences.” In this sentence, the time of the action is the focus of the sentence, and that’s why it came first in the sentence order. In addition, in many noun sentences, the order of the subject and the object can also be switched!
Hany: Try to imagine a sentence saying “Happy John is.” instead of “John is happy”.
Becky: But Arabic doesn’t have any subject or object markers, so how is that possible?
Hany: The reason this order shift is possible is the final letter vowelling we were just talking about.
Becky: So the final vowelling can tell you what the position of a word is in a sentence, even if the sentence order was inverted, right?
Hany: Right, and this is also widely used in literary works to stress certain parts or to rhyme sentences.
Becky: Ok, let’s wrap up this lesson with a couple of sample sentences.
Hany: في هَذا البَيْت, الكُلُّ حُرٌّ في حَيَاتِه.
Becky: "In this house, each person is free to live their own life."
Hany: أَستَمِعُ إلى أَرابيكبود101 عَلى اللآي فون الخاص بي.
Becky: "I listen to ArabicPod101 on my iPhone."

Outro

Becky: Okay, that’s all for this lesson. Thank you for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you next time! Bye!
Hany: شكرا