Lesson 4 – الدَّرْسُ الرَّابِعُ
The Cases – الإعْرَابُ
- An important part of learning any language is to learn the grammar. Grammar is the study of how words combine to form sentences. For example, we may learn that:
- A word is written differently in the past tense as compared to the future tense.
- A word referring to a person may be different depending on the gender (male or female) of the person being called.
- A sentence starting with a verb (action word - e.g. run, eat, drink) has different rules to a sentence starting with a noun (object, place or thing - e.g. cat, door, man).
- Whilst the examples above are simple, one has to make an effort to understand grammar as this is a very important part of the language and becomes more complicated later on - in particular relating to verbs. Your emphasis should be to focus on the rules - e.g. what happens in each circumstance and over time the terms used for each rule will become easier (both in Arabic and English) - In-Shā'-Allâh (God willing).
- This should be balanced with an effort to increase your vocabulary and general understanding of the language. Our goal will be to help you to take the rules gradually and understand how they relate to each other so that you can begin to understand the language In-Shā'-Allâh (God-Willing).
- Cases of the nouns in the Arabic Language:
- A noun in Arabic grammar has three 'cases' which are called nominative, accusative and genitive cases (we will cover the Arabic terms for these a bit later).
- Something will cause a word to be in one of these 'cases'. For example, where a sentence begins with a subject noun, the noun will be in nominative case.
- There will be a consequence of a word being in a certain 'case'. In each of these cases the last letter of the word will change to a different vowel - e.g. if the noun is in genitive case as a result of a certain rule, the last letter of that noun will change from a /đammah/ to a /kasrah/ (this is assuming that it is not already carrying the same vowel in which case no change will occur).
- See below for a summary of the cases and the signs used for each of these cases:
- A word being in the nominative case will end (originally) with a /đammah/ or /đammatain/.
- A word being in the accusative case will end (originally) with a /fatħah/ or /fatħatain/.
- A word being in the genitive case will (originally) end with a /kasrah/ or /kasratain/.
- At this stage it is important to understand the principle that there are causes of a word changing to a certain case and consequences of a word being in a certain case - i.e. the change in the form or ending of the word.
- The rules of what causes a word to be in each case and what consequences arise in each case will be discussed and repeated throughout the course, there are many such rules and these are an important part of learning the Arabic language. Below you will find a summary of the terms used for each of the cases and the consequences.
Arabic term (Transliteration)
A word in this case ends (originally) in a /đammah/ ,/đammatain/
A word in this case ends (originally) in a /fatħah/,/fatħatain/
A word in this case ends (originally) in a /kasrah/,/kasratain/
- In the next part of the lesson we will learn about some prepositions used commonly in the Arabic language In-Shā'-Allâh (God willing). We will also learn the rules for their application.