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Lesson Transcript

Marḥaban ǧamīʿan, ʾanā Carole! Hi everybody! I’m Carole.
Welcome to ArabicPod101.com’s Al-ʿarabiyyah fi ṯalāṯi daqāʾiq. The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn Arabic.
In the last lesson, we learned how to ask "Where" questions in Arabic.
This time, we are going to ask questions with the interrogative word "When?"
Let’s go! Hayya Binā!
Imagine you want to ask when your roommate is coming back home. You will ask him Matā taʿūdu ʾilā al-manzil?
[slowly] Matā taʿūdu ʾilā al-manzil?
So let’s break down this answer:
First we had-
Matā, which is the basic translation of "When" in Arabic.
taʿūdu is the verb "to come back", in the 2nd person present indicative.
Then ʾilā , which is "to".
And finally al-manzil which is "home."
So, all together it is Matā taʿūduʾilā al-manzil?
"When will you come back home?"
For a woman, you should say Matā taʿūdīna ʾilā al-manzil?
So in Arabic, "When" is generally translated as the word Matā. For example, if you want to ask "When were you born?" Matā wulidta?
As in English, the interrogative word is placed in the 1st position, then the verb, and the subject is included in the verb.
A better way of saying "When were you born?" is by asking about the year someone was born, fī ʾayyati sanatin wulidta?
So let’s have a look at another example:
How can you say "When did you arrive?"
It is really simple since it is exactly the same pattern - Matā waṣalta?
First we have Matā, which is "When"
The second word is waṣalta which is the verb arrive or waṣala in the 2nd person past indicative tense.
Have you noticed a difference between the sentences Matā taʿūdu ʾilā al-manzil? and Matā waṣalta?
The first one is talking about a future action (by using the present indicative form– "When are you coming back home?" or “when do you come back home?” Whereas the 2nd one is referring to the past "When did you arrive?"
The conclusion is that you can use the interrogative word Matā to talk about any moment, whether past or present.
If you want to ask a question about duration as in "Since when have you been working?" Then you will have to say Munḏu matā taʿmalu?
Here too, it’s exactly the same as in English, because "since" is Munḏu. So Munḏu matā means "Since when?"
Let’s see how to ask "Until when?" in Arabic. It is very easy because you can translate it directly. It becomes-ʾilā matā ?
So for example, if you want to ask a friend "Until when will you work?" It will be ʾilā matā sataʿmalu?
For a woman, you ask ʾilā matā sataʿmalīna?
To answer the previous question, ʾilā matā sataʿmalu? rather than ʾilā we can use ḥattā followed by the time, to imply a period of time.
For example, you could answer-
saʾaʿmalu ḥattā al-masāʾ.
I will work till the evening.
Now it’s time for Carole’s Tips
We learned before that in order to form the future indicative of a verb, it is enough to add sa before the present indicative verb.
but sometimes, the present and the future can both be expressed using the present indicative, as in-
Matā taʿūdu ʾilā al-manzil?
Matā sataʿūdu ʾilā al-manzil?
They both imply the future but one means literally “when do you come back home?”, and the second means “when will you come back home?”.
Ok, so in this lesson, we learned how to correctly use the interrogative Arabic word for "When", Matā, and also its different variations.
In the next lesson we’ll learn more about asking questions with "Who" in Arabic.
I’ll be waiting for you in the next Al-ʿarabiyyah fi ṯalāṯi daqāʾiq.
ʾilā al-liqāʾi qarīban!


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