Lesson 17 - الدَّرْسُ السَّابِعَ عَشَرَ
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- In this section we will learn about a new form of Arabic nouns In-Shā’-Allâh (God willing).
- In Arabic, nouns are divided in two categories that do not exist in the English Language. In Arabic nouns are either Rational or Irrational.
- Rational Nouns are those which refer to human beings. They are also called intelligent i.e., عَاقِلٌ. Besides human beings, angels, Jinn (in Islam), the devil and such are included in this class. Some examples of rational nouns are (doctor, boy, man) - i.e. رَجُلٌ، وَلَدٌ، طَبِيبٌ.
- Irrational Nouns are those which refer to non human beings. They are also called non-intelligent i.e., غَيْرُ عَاقِلٍ. Irrational nouns refer to non living objects, animals, concepts and non human beings like trees and plants etc. Some examples of irrational nouns are: tree, notebook, book - i.e. كِتَابٌ، دَفْتَرٌ، شَجَرَةٌ.
- In the singular form there is no difference between these two groups, however, there is a very important difference in the plural form of these two groups. The plurals of Rational Nouns are treated as Plural, whereas the plurals of irrational nouns are treated as feminine singular. This concept takes some practice to understand and we will cover some examples below In-Shā’-Allâh (God willing):
- Below we can see how the pronouns that relate to the singular rational nouns are changed in plural form, e.g. /Hādhā/ هَذَا (this) becomes هَؤُلاءِ (these) in plural form.
- هَذَا وَلَدٌ (this is a boy) if changed to plural will become هَؤُلاءِ أَوْلادٌ (these are boys)
- هُوَ رَجُلٌ (he is a man) will become هُمْ رِجَالٌ (they are men)
- ذَلِكَ مُدَرِّسٌ (that is a teacher) will become أُولَئِكَ مُدَرِّسُونَ (those are teachers)
- هِيَ طَالِبَةٌ (she is a student) will become هُنَّ طَالِبَاتٌ. (they are students)
- We can compare this to the plural of Irrational Nouns. We can see below that despite the nouns being plural, the pronouns that relate to these nouns are singular feminine - this does not change the plural word itself, only how the plural is treated and includes adjectives - i.e. an adjective following an irrational noun will be feminine singular:
- هَذَا كَلْبٌ (this is a dog) if changed to plural will become هَذِهِ كِلابٌ (these are dogs).
- هُوَ حِمَارٌ صَغِيرٌ (he is a small donkey) will become هِيَ حَمِيرٌ صَغِيرَةٌ (they are small donkeys)
- Let’s look at some examples to understand this rule further:
This is a new student, he is from Belgium
These are new students, they are from Belgium
This is a new book, it is from Belgium
These are new books, they are from Belgium