Arabic Class

is Learning Arabic by teaching it

Verbs in Arabic – the beginning of an overview

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Having a good feeling of how the verbs work in Arabic has eluded me for almost a year now. Time to end that and dive into the subject for real. Again, as always, I’m not an expert in Arabic – so please correct me if you see any mistakes and don’t rely on this information too much.

There are only two tenses: present and past tense. Pretty much all shapes of the words can be made out of two stems per verb: one for the past tense, and one for the present tense. Usually, both of these stems are given when a word is given – on this site I’ve given only the past tense stem so far and will give both from now on. Starting with explaining the past tense seems to be the rule – presumably because it’s easier.

There is no infinitive. The stem of a verb is the same version as singular male. It is always this stem that is given in word lists. So “to study” is given as, درس (darasa), which really means “he studied”.

There is also something with groups of verbs – but it is as of yet unclear to me if knowledge of those is actually required or is just a help later on when things get more complicated. An example is the fact that درس (darasa), “to study”, is related to درّس (darrasa, “to teach”). I’ll look in to it more and dedicate a separate post to it.

Also, the plural of things or abstracts uses the female versions of the verb in the singular shape. Just keep it in mind for now, and more on that later.

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Written by klaasvanschelven

February 2, 2008 at 10:47 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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