Arabic Grammar – Preliminary Matters: Point 1 – Letters, Words and Sentences


The Arabic Language and Its Sciences

Language in general: is what every nation of people uses to express by it what they mean or intend. There are many languages and they are different from each other in so far as each particular language is standardized by its agreed upon meaning. That is to say, one meaning which preoccupies the minds of a single nation of people, because each nation of people express themselves with expressions that are different from another.

The Arabic Language is the words that the Arabs use to express their intentions. It (the Arabic Language) has come to us by way of transmission, by way of the Noble Qur’an and Hadith which have preserved it for us, as well as by way of reliable sources from among the prose and poetical works of the Arabs.

The Arabic Sciences

When the Arabs became fearful of the ruination of the Arabic Language after they began intermingle with foreigners, they started to write it down in in dictionaries and they firmly establish its rules in order to preserve it from errors.  These rules or principles are known as the Arabic Sciences.

The sciences of Arabic language are sciences through which the aim is the preservation of the tongue and the pen from mistakes.  They are thirteen sciences: الصَّرْفُ (morphology), الإعراب  (analyzing and parsing sentences / word inflection), الرّسم the basic rules for writing words, الْـمَعَانِـي rhetoric, الْـبَدِيع methaphors, العَرُوض prosidy, الْقَوَافِي  rhyme, قُرْضُ‮ ‬الشِّعْر recitation of poetry, الإنشاء composition and style, الـخِطَابَة speech delivery,  تاريخ الأدب‮ ‬literary history and متن اللغة the core text of the language.  The most import of these is morphology and the analysis and parsing of sentences and words.

Preliminary Matters: Point 1 Letters, Words and Sentences

The first matter undoubtedly is that the Arabic language consists of words and words consists of the letters of the alphabet.  The alphabet in the Arabic language is twenty eight (28).  The first of them is hamzah (أ) and the last of them is yaa (ي) and they are of two (2) kinds Shamsiyyah and Qamariyyah.  Ash-Shamsiyyah is that in which the the laam (ل) of the definite article (ال) is not apparent with the rest of the word, but rather its sound is concealed; and standing in its place is a vowelized letter that is the same as the first letter of the noun to which the definite article is attached.  like when you say: الشَّمْسُ and sometimes pronounce it saying: أَشْشَمْسُ. As for al-Qamariyyah, the sound of the definite article is clearly expressed with it – like when you say: الْقَمَرُ.

There are fourteen (14) Shamsiyyah letters.  They are:

ت ث دذرزس ش ص ض ط ظ ل ن‮

There are fourteen Qamariyyah letters:

‮ ‬اب ج ح خ ع‮ ‬غ‮ ‬ف ق ك م ه و‮ ‬ي

Each of the letters are sound except, alif (ا), waaw (و) and (ي).  They are characterized this way, because change occurs in them in under certain conditions.

الـْحَرَكَاتُ (The Vowels)

There are three vowels which make the pronunciation of the letters possible.  They are ḍammah (ــُـ) which stands in relationship with the letter waaw (و), the fatḥah (ــَـ) which stands in relations with alif (ا), the kasrah (ــِـ), which stands in relations with yaa (ي).  Sukuun (ــْـ) is affixed to every letter except soft alif, because by its nature it is silent and vowelless.

حُرُوفُ‮ ‬اللِّينِ‮    ‬(The Soft Letters = ا, و, ي) and الـْمَدّ (The Letters of Elongation)

حَـرْف الْـعِلَّةِ (the weak letter) is called حَـرْفُ‮ ‬اللِّينِ (the soft letters = ا, و, ي) when it occurs vowelless and coming after it is a sound letter and at the same time it is prceded by a vowel related to it – like found in the words طُـول and حِـيل or unrelated to it like found in the words نَـوْم and خَـيْر.  And in regards to the first case mentioned it is also called حَـرْفُ‮ ‬مَـدِّ (a letter of elongation), because the sound is lengthen with the expression of it. The exception is alif = ا.  It can only be حَـرْفُ‮ ‬مَـدِّ (a letter of elongation), since nothing precedes it except a letter bearing a vowel related to it – like when you say: مَـالَ wherein the alif = ا is  حَرْفُ مَدِّ (a letter of elongation) only.  In the example of  the words طُول and جِيل, the waaw = و and the yaa = ي respectively are each حَـرْفُ‮ ‬مَـدِّ (a letter of elongation) and حُـرُوفُ‮ ‬اللِّينِ (the soft letters), because the sound is lengthen with the expression of them.  In the example of the words نَـوْم and خَـيْر, the waaw = و and the yaa = ي respectively are each حَـرْفُ‮ ‬لِِـينِ (a soft letter) only, because the sound of each of them is not lengthened.

الْكَلَمَةُ (The Word) and الْكَلاَمُ (Speech)

In the Arabic language, الْـكَلِمَةُ (the word) is an expression that demonstrates a singular meaning and in the Arabic language, there are three kinds of words: الاِسْمُ (the noun / name), الفِعْلُ (the verb / action), الحَرْفُ (the particle /  letter).

As for الْكَلاَمُ (speech), it is composed of either two or more words that have a relationship and that conveys complete information in that its speaker upon completion of his statement does not have to say more and the one who is listening does not have to hear more.

When we say الْكَلاَمُ (Speech) here, what we mean is الْكَلاَمُ‮ ‬الْعَرَبِيُّ (Arabic Speech).  As for foreign languages such as Berber and Turkish, they have their own rules and are therefore, they are not considered الْـكَلاَم (Speech) as defined by the Arabs.

As mentioned previously above, الْـكَلاَم (Speech) in the Arabic language is composed of two nor more words such as two nouns – like when you say: الْمَسْجِـدُ قَـرِيبٌ (The masjid is near by) or a verb and noun – like when you say: قَـامَ‮ ‬زَيْـدٌ‮ ‬(Zaid stood up) or الْـكَلاَم (Speech) can consist of more words than this – like when you say: الْمَدِينَةُ‮ ‬بَعِيدَةٌ‮ ‬مِنْ‮ ‬هُنَا (The city is far from here) or ذَهَبَ‮ ‬مُحًمَّدٌ‮ ‬إِلَى كَانُو أَمْسًا (Muhammad went to Kano yesterday).

Each of these of these word constructs is called الـْجمْلَةٌ (the sentence) or the word construct which conveys a complete idea.

and The Meaning of الْـكَلاَمُ(Speech) in the Arabic Language

Section 2 – الْـمْتَعَدِّي‮ ‬ (The Transitive Verb) ‮ ‬واللاَّزِم(and Intransitive Verb)

Published in: on August 2, 2010 at 15:35  Leave a Comment  

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