; An English Guide to Classic Qur'anic Arabic: 4.1A Descriptive Compound

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4.1A Descriptive Compound



 

A. Descriptive Compound الْمُرَكَّبُ التَّوصِيْفِيْ al-mu-rak-ka-but Tau-si-fee

 

A Descriptive Compound is that in which a quality or a descriptive Noun (an adjective) is associated with another Noun. For example, intelligent man, scholarly woman, black pen, etc. The Noun that is described is called a مَوْصُوْفٌ (mau-soo-fun) and the quality/ description is called an adjective صِفَّةٌ (Sif-fa-tun).  Following rules apply:

 

Rule no. 1: It is required that صِفَّةٌ Sif-fa-tun follow the Mau-soof in all 4 requirements for a Noun. It should have the same wus-at, jins, adad,and flexibility. If a مُوْصُوْفٌ mau-soo-funis a definite Noun, male, single and Nominative, then, صِفَّةٌ sif-fa-tun also has to have the same properties.

 

Rule no. 2: the described مُوْصُوْفٌ (mau-soo-fun) comes before the adjective صِفَّةٌ(sif-fa-tun) which is the opposite of English language usage where adjective comes first and described مُوْصُوْفٌ (mau-soof-un) after it.

 

Rule no. 3: An additional rule you should be aware of is that in numbers (adad) part of the properties, if the مُوْصُوْفٌ(mau-soof-un) is a non-intelligent being, then صِفَّةٌ Sif-fa-tuncan be used as a singular. In this case مُوْصُوْفٌ (mau-soof-un) could be, for example, a definite Noun/ plural/ female/ Accusative نَصْبٌ (nas-bun) and its صِفَّةٌ (Sif-fa-tun) could be a definite Noun/ single/ female/ accusative. For example, اَبْوَابٌ مَفَاتِيْحٌ ab-waa-bun ma-faa-tee-hun meaning open doors can also be اَبْوَابٌ مَفْتُوْحَةٌ ab-waa-bunmaf-too-ha-tun.

 

Following are a few examples:

 

1.     A scholarly man رَجُلٌ عَالِمٌ ra-ju-lunaa-li-mun Note that raju-lun is an indefinite Noun, masculine, singular and flexible in the state of Nominative. Therefore, عَالِمٌ (aa-li-mun) is also indefinite, masculine, singular, and Nominative. If we were to say “the scholarly man”, since we are making it a specific person, the proper translation would be اَلرَّجُلُ العَالِمُ ar-rajul-ulaa-li-mu. The word for man was made definite by adding اَلْ(al) which also replaces the tanweento a single dammahand therefore the صِفَّةٌ(sif-fa-tun) has to be a definite and an اَلْ(al) was added to it to make it definite.

 

2.     Two scholarly women would be إِمْرَأتَانِ صَالِحَتَانِ(Im-ra-ata-ni Sa-le-ha-ta-ni).  Note that, إِمْرَأتَانِ (meaning two women) is a مُثَنّٰى (mu-than-na) dual for إِمْرَأةٌ (meaning a single woman).  صَالِحَتَانِ is a مُثَنّٰى (mu-than-na) dual for صَالِحَةٌ. So, both صِفَّةٌ (Sif-fa-tun) and (Mau-soo-fun) are indefinite, female, مُثَنّٰى(mu-than-na) dual and both are Nominative.

 

 

3.     Good kids would be translated as اَلْاَطْفَالُ الْطَيِّبُوْنَ al-at-faa-lul tay-yi-boo-na. The (mau-soof) اَلْاَطْفَالُ al-at-faa-lu is plural for طِفْلٌ tif-lun meaning a child and الْطَيِّبُوْنَ is plural for طَيِّبٌ tay-yi-bunmeaning good. So, both (mau-soof) and صِفَّةٌ (Sif-fa-tun) are definite by اَلْ, male, plural, and are in Nominative.

 

Some examples of Descriptive Compounds with their meaning are given in Table 9 below.

 

Table 9 - Descriptive Compound Examples

 

Phrase/Incomplete Compound

Arabic Version

Transliteration

Properties of صِفَّةٌ Sif-fa-tun and Mau-soof-un

Truthful Muslim (single)

مُسْلِمٌ صَادِقٌ

Mus-li-mun Saa-diq-un

Male, single, common Noun in Nominative رَفْعٌ (raf-un) state

مُذَكَّرٌ، مُفْرَدٌ ، .نَكِرَةٌ ، رَفْعٌ

Two Truthful Muslims (mu-than-na) dual

مُسْلِمانِ صَادِقَانِ

Mus-li-maa-ni Sa-di-qaa-ni

Male, dual, common Noun in Nominative رَفْعٌ (raf-un) state

مُذَكَّرٌ، مُثَنَّىٰ ، .نَكِرَةٌ ، رَفْعٌ

Truthful Muslims (plural)

مُسْلِمُوْنَ صَادِقُوْنَ

Mus-li-moo-na Saa-di-qoo-na

Male, plural, common Noun in Nominative رَفْعٌ (raf-un) state

مُذَكَّرٌ، جَمْعٌ ، .نَكِرَةٌ ، رَفْعٌ

Truthful Muslimahs (single)

مُسْلِمَةٌ صَادِقَةٌ

Mus-li-ma-tun Sa-di-qa-tun

Female, single, common Noun in Nominative رَفْعٌ (raf-un) state

مُوْنَّثٌ، مُفْرَدٌ ، .نَكِرَةٌ ، رَفْعٌ

Two Truthful Mus-limahs (dual)

مُسْلِمَتَانِ صَادِقَتَانِ

Mus-li-ma-taa-ni Saa-di-qa-taa-ni

Female, dual, common Noun, Nominative رَفْعٌ (raf-un) state

مُوْنَّثٌ ، مُثَنَّى ، .نَكِرَةٌ ، رَفْعٌ

Truthful Muslimahs (plural)

مُسْلِمَاتٌ صَادِقَاتٌ

Mus-li-maa-tun Saa-di-qaa-tun

Female, plural, common Noun, Nominative رَفْعٌ (raf-un) state

مُوْنَّثٌ ، جَمْعٌ ، .نَكِرَةٌ ، رَفْعٌ

Old Book

كِتَابٌ قَدِيْمٌ

Ki-taa-bun Qa-dee-mun

Male, single, common Noun, Nominative رَفْعٌ (raf-un) state

مُذَكَّرٌ ، مُفْرَدٌ ، .نَكِرَةٌ ، رَفْعٌ

Two old books

كِتَابَانِ قَدِيْمَانِ

Ki-taa-baa-ni Qa-dee-maa-ni

Male, dual, common Noun, Nominative رَفْعٌ (raf-un) state

مُذَكَّرٌ، مُثَنَّى ، .نَكِرَةٌ ، رَفْعٌ

Old Books

كُتُبٌ قُدْمَاءٌ or

كُتُبٌ قَدِيْمٌ

Ku-tu-bun Qud-maa-un or

Kut-tu-bun Qa-dee-mun

Male, plural, common Noun, Nominative رَفْعٌ (raf-un) state

مُذَكَّرٌ ، جَمْعٌ ، .نَكِرَةٌ ، رَفْعٌ

Open doors

اَبْوَابٌ مَفْتُوْحٌ

Can also be

اَبْوَابٌ مَفْتُوْحَةٌ

 

Ab-wabun Maf-tu-ha-tun

Male, plural, common Noun, Nominative رَفْعٌ (raf-un) state

مُذَكَّرٌ ، جَمْعٌ ، .نَكِرَةٌ ، رَفْعٌ

Numbered days

اَيَّامٌ مَعْدَوْدَاتٌ

This can also be

 

اَيَّامٌ مَعْدَوْدَةٌ

Ayya-mun ma’doo-daa-tun Or

Ayya-mun Ma’doo-da-tun

Male, plural, common Noun, Nominative رَفْعٌ (raf-un) state

It is also allowed to use a single female for all plurals which are non-intelligent beings

مُذَكَّرٌ ، جَمْعٌ ، .نَكِرَةٌ ، رَفْعٌ

Straight path

صِرَاطٌ مُسْتَقِيْمٌ

Si-raa-tum mus-ta-qee-mun

Male, single common Noun, Nominative رَفْعٌ (raf-un) state

مُذَكَّرٌ ، مُفْرَدٌ ، .نَكِرَةٌ ، رَفْعٌ

Beautiful watch

اَلسَّاعَاتُ الْجَمِيْلَاَتُ

As-sa-aa-tul jam-ee-laa-tu

Female, plural, proper Noun, Nominative رَفْعٌ (raf-un) state

مُوْنَّثٌ ، جَمْعٌ ، مَعْرِفَةٌ ، رَفْعٌ

Two hardworking boys

اَلْوَلَدَانِ مُجْتَهِدَانِ

Al-wala-daa-ni muj-ta-hi-da-ni

Male, plural, proper Noun, Genitive جَرٌّ (jarr-un) state

مُذَكَّرٌ ، جَمْعٌ ، مَعْرِفَةٌ ، جَرٌّ

Small book

كِتَابً صَغِيْرً

Kita-bun Sa-ghee-run

Male, single, accusative, Nominative رَفْعٌ (raf-un) state

مُذَكَّرٌ ، مُفْرَدٌ ، .نَكِرَةٌ ، نَصْبٌ

Big Mosque

مَسْجِدٌ كَبِيْرٌ

Mas-ji-dun Ka-bee-run

Male, single, common Noun, Genitive جَرٌّ (jarr-un) state

مُذَكَّرٌ ، مُفْرَدٌ ، .نَكِرَةٌ ، جَرٌّ

 

 

 

 

 

 

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