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Lesson 90 – الدَّرْسُ التِّسْعُونَ

Introduction to Morphology - مُقَدِّمةٌ لِعِلْمِ الصَّرْفِ

Subject of Morphology – مَوْضُوعُ عِلْمِ الصَّرْفِ

  • Aŝ-ŝarf الصَّرف is an Arabic original noun which means changing, modifying, or transforming. Therefore the morphology الصَّرْف is the linguistic science which studies the changes of the Arabic word when transforming it from a derivative to another. To understand the difference between the morphology الصَّرْف and the syntax النَّحْو let’s study the following example:
  • If we study the above mentioned sentence morphologically we notice the following:
    1. The morphological analysis of the verb (شَاهَدْنا) is that it is consists of two words: (شَاهَد) and(نا) and (شَاهَد) is a verb of the stem (فاعَل) which is derived from the root (شَهِدَ) and augmented with (alif) in the second position, while (نا) is a pronoun which is not studied in the morphology (because it is not derived).
    2. (مُدَرِّس) is an active participle derived from the augmented stem (دَرَّسَ) which means to teach. And this stem is augmented with double consonant in the middle, and derived from the root (دَرَسَ) which means to study.
    3. (مَدْرَسَة) is a feminine noun of place on the pattern (مَفْعَلَة), derived from the non-augmented verb (دَرَسَ) to study
    4. The morphology studies each word separately, i.e. isolated from the context. Therefore the subject of the morphology is the single words, not the structures.
    5. The morphology does not study the declension or the non-declension of the word, i.e. it does not study the grammatical signs on the last letters of the words.
    6. When we study the above mentioned example in syntax النَّحْو we learn the following:

a)    (شَاهَدْ) is verb in the past. It is indeclinable on sukūn because it is attached to the pronoun (نا) and (نا) is the doer of the verb, it is in place of nominative case, and it is indeclinable on sukūn.

b)    (الْمُدَرِّسَ) is a direct object in the accusative case, so it is signed with fatħah on its last letter.

c)    (في) is a preposition indeclinable on sukūn, and (الْمَدْرَسَةِ) is a genitive noun signed with kasrah on its last letter.

d)    The syntax does not study the single words. Therefore if you find a single word in the syntax lessons there should be something latent or virtual to make a sentence or structure.

e)    The syntax النَّحْو studies the signs of the final letters of the words, i.e. it studies the changes which happen because of the position in the sentence or because of the effect of each word towards another.

·         There will be some common topics that can be studied in both morphology and syntax. E.g. the morphology studies the changes which happen to a word when expressing different genders and numbers. Morphology studies these changes as types of derivatives or changes of the single words which have other meanings. Consider the following examples: 

Example

Translation

Gender/number ending

مُهَنْدِسٌ

An engineer

Singular masculine

مُهَنْدِسَةٌ

A female engineer

Singular feminine

مُهَنْدَسَانِ

Two engineers

Dual masculine

مُهَنْدِسَتَانِ

Two female engineers

Dual feminine

مُهَنْدِسِونَ

Engineers

Plural masculine

مُهَنْدِسات

Female engineers

Plural feminine

  • The above mentioned changes are also studied in the Arabic syntax, but from another aspect; that the endings affect the grammatical signs of the declension cases. Consider the following explanation:

Example

Translation

The sign of accusative case

Reason

ساعَدْتُ الْمُهَنْدِسَ

I helped the engineer

Fatħah

Singular masculine

ساعَدْتُ الْمُهَنْدِسَةَ

I helped the female engineer

Fatħah

Singular feminine

ساعَدْتُ الْمُهَنْدَسَيْنِ

I helped the two engineers

Yā’

Dual masculine

ساعَدْتُ الْمُهَنْدِسَتَيْنِ

I helped the two female engineers

Yā’

Dual feminine

ساعَدْتُ الْمُهَنْدِسِينَ

I helped the engineers

Yā’

Plural masculine

ساعَدْتُ الْمُهَنْدِساتِ

I helped the female engineers

Kasrah

Plural feminine

  • There are many grammatical topics which are not studied in the morphology as follows:

Noun

واشنطن

جُورج

إسحاق

إسماعيل

إِبراهيم

Type

Proper name of city

Proper foreign name

Proper ancient non-Arabic name

Proper ancient non-Arabic name

Proper ancient non-Arabic name

Meaning

Washington

George

Isaac

Ismail

Ibrahim

  • Therefore the morphology studies the variable nouns and verbs, because the variable words can be transformed from one form to another.
  • To study the Arabic verbal or nominal patterns, our grammarians use certain measure (مِيزَان) consisting of the root of the verb (فَعَلَ). The letters of this root will be used to measure any Arabic noun or verb to study its pattern, by replacing the letters of any word with the letters of (فَعَلَ), and adding to this all the augmented letters or vowels. Consider the following example:

Picture

Word

Meaning

Measure

Type of pattern

Root

Madinaharabic.com lesson image

مَكْتَبةٌ

Library

مَفْعَلةٌ

Feminine noun of place

كَتَبَ

Madinaharabic.com lesson image

مَدْرَسةٌ

School

دَرَسَ

Madinaharabic.com lesson image

مُدَرِّسٌ

Teacher

مُفَعِّل

Active participle of the verb (دَرَّس)

دَرَسَ

Madinaharabic.com lesson image

مُدَرِّبٌ

Trainer

Active participle of the verb (دَرَّب)

دَرَبَ

 

 

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