; An English Guide to Classic Qur'anic Arabic: 3.2 - Required 4 Properties of a Noun

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3.2 - Required 4 Properties of a Noun



 

Section 3.2 – Four Properties Required to Define a Noun اِسْمٌ

 

As in the English language, simply put, a Noun is used to define a name, a place, or a thing. In Arabic, to define a Noun and be able to use it, the following four properties are required:

 

i.       Vowel إِعْرَابٌ (e’raa-bun) of the Noun has to be known. This specifies whether a Noun is flexible مُعْرَبٌ (mu-ra-bun) or inflexible مَبْنِيٌّ (mab-niyyun) and defines its position in a sentence as to whether it is a subject, object, an adjective, etc.

 

ii.      Its capacity وُسْعَتٌ (wus-atun) needs to be known. This means it has to be defined whether it is a definite Noun مَعْرِفَةٌ (maa’ri-fa-tun) or an indefinite Noun نَكِرَةٌ (naki-ra-tun).

 

A definite Noun points to a specific name, place, or a thing whereas an indefinite Noun points to a common name, place, or thing. For example, “Zaid” (Zaid-un) زَيْدٌ would be the name of a specific man, whereas “a man” رَجُلٌ raju-lun or ra-jul would be any man. Also, “a man” can be made into a definite Noun by saying “the man”. This is done in Arabic by adding alphabets ا alif and ل lam, as inاَلرَّجُلُ ar-raju-lu. Note that raju-lun became ar-raju-lu. This is because when (ا) and (ل) are added in front of a Noun, the harakah on the last alphabet is lightened/reduced. Here since tanween at the end is a double dammah, one of the dammahs was dropped. Note that alphabet (ر) is a sun alphabet, so (ل) in front is not pronounced

 

iii.    Its genderجِنْسٌ (jin-sun). has to be known. This means, one has to know whether it is a Masculine مُذَكَّرٌ (mu-dhak-ka-run) or Feminine مُوْنَّثٌ (mu-an-nath-un) gender.

 

iv. Its quantity عَدَدٌ (ada-dun). has to be known. This means whether it is a single مُفْرَدٌ (muf-ra-du). a dual مُثَنّٰى mu-than-na or a plural جمْعٌ (jam-aa).  Unlike English, Arabic has a separate way of counting and writing a quantity of two, and it is not part of a plural. Plural جمْعٌ jam-un is always more than two. Dual مُثَنّٰى mu-than-naa is a quantity of two only and singleمُفْرَدٌ is a quantity of one only.

 

In the next sections, we will define each one of these four properties of Noun in detail.

 

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