Lesson 55 – الدَّرْسُ الخامِسُ وَالْخَمْسُونَ

The dual -  الْمُثَنَّى

Conditions of the dual, and how to form it – شُرُوط الْمُثَنَّى وَكَيْفِيَّة تَثْنِيَتِهِ

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  • We learnt in part 2 of this lesson that the Arabic dual is a declinable noun indicating two units of masculine or feminine singular noun, and it is formed by adding /ān/ or /ayn/  to its end, e.g.: (رَجُلانِ ، اِمْرَأَتَيْنِ).  We also  learnt that if the dual ending is removed we find the singular form with all letters and vowels, as we notice in the following examples:

Picture

Dual

Formation

Singular

English

Arabic

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كَلْبَانِ

/kalbāni/

كَلْب +ان

dog

كَلْبٌ

/kalbun/

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حِصَانَيْنِ

/ħiŝânayni/

حِصان +ين

horse

حِصانٍ

/ħiŝânin/

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قِطَّتَانِ

/qiŧŧatāni/

قِطَّة + ان

cat

قِطَّةٌ

/qiŧŧatun/

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بُرْجانِ

/burĵāni/

بُرْج + ان

tower

بُرْجٌ

/burĵun/

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مَدِينَتَيْنِ

/madīnatayni/

مَدِينَة + ين

city

مَدِينَةٍ

/madīnatin/

  • In all the above mentioned examples we can get the singular simply by omitting the dual ending; /ān – ayn/.
  • We will now learn that not all the words ending with /ān – ayn/ are necessarily dual, there are some words that have the dual ending but are not dual, rather they are a singular noun as in the following table:

Picture

English sentence

Arabic sentence

Noun

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This is my brother Uthman

هَذا أخِي عُثْمَانُ

عُثْمانُ

/uthmān/

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My father’s name is Sulaiman

اِسْمُ أَبِي سُلَيْمَانُ

سُلَيْمَانُ

/sulaymān/

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Muslims fast in Ramadan

يَصُومُ المُسْلِمُون فِي شَهْرِ رِمَضَانَ

رَمَضَانَ

/ramađân/

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Month Shaban is before Ramadan

شَهْرُ شَعْبَانَ قَبْلَ رَمَضَانَ

شَعْبَانَ

/shaξbān/

  • These above mentioned words are not dual, they indicate names of persons or months, so we cannot remove the /ān/ from their endings, otherwise the meaning will be different. This is what we mentioned earlier – i.e. that one of the conditions of a dual is the possibility of omitting the dual ending without changing the meaning of the word – i.e. only the quantity is changed by omitting the dual ending from two units to one unit.
  • The second condition of forming the dual is that the noun has to be a singular noun, i.e. not dual, it’s not possible to form a dual from another dual, see examples showing what is and is not possible:

Not possible

Possible

English

Arabic

Dual

English

Arabic

Two men

رَجُلانِ

رَجُلانِ

Man

رَجُل

Two muslims

مُسْلِمانِ

مُسْلِمانِ

Muslim

مُسْلِم

Two houses

بَيْتَانِ

بَيْتَانِ

House

بَيْت

Two books

كِتَابانِ

كِتَابانِ

Book

كِتاب

Two companies

شَرِكَتانِ

شَرِكَتانِ

company

شَرِكَة

Arabic

English

Explanation

رِجال

Men

We cannot form the dual from these words because they are broken plural

بُيُوت

Houses

مُسْلِمُون

Muslims

We cannot form the dual from this word because it is a sound masculine plural

شَرِكات

Companies

We cannot form the dual from this word because it is sound feminine plural

  • Another condition of forming the dual, is that it must be declinable noun (اسْم مُعْرَب ism muξrab) not indeclinable.
  • We learnt the indeclinable nouns earlier and we studied that they are divided in six categories, we studied these categories in many lessons as follows:

Indeclinable noun

Lesson number

English

Arabic

Demonstrative noun

اسْم الإشَارَة

24

Relative noun

الاسْم المَوْصُول

Questioning noun

اسْم الاسْتِفهام

25

Pronoun

الضَّميرُ

Conditional noun

اسْم الشَّرْط

Verbal noun

اسْم الفِعْل

  • none of the above mentioned indeclinable nouns can form the dual except the following:
    1-The following demonstratives:

Example

Dual

singular

English

Arabic

English

Arabic

These are two doctors

هَذَانِ طَبِيبان

هَذَانِ

This

هَذَا

These are two feminine doctors

هَاتَانِ مُمَرِّضَتَانِ

هَاتَانِ

This

هَذِهِ

  • You may remember that the demonstrative singular masculine noun is (هذا /hādhā) – meaning ‘this is’ - when we add the ending (ان /ān) to it, it indicates the dual masculine – i.e. ‘these two are’ The demonstrative singular feminine (هذه /hādhihī/) can also be dual , but with a certain change in its form (هاتان /hātāni/)
  • The following relative nouns can also form the dual, exceptionally from the indeclinable nouns:

Example

Dual

singular

English

Arabic

English

Arabic

Mohamed and Ali who succeeded

مُحَمَّدٌ وَعَلِيٌّ اللَّذَانِ نَجَحَا

اللَّذَانِ

Who 

الَّذِي

Fatima and Zaynab who succeeded 

فَاطِمَةُ وَزَيْنَبُ اللَّتَانِ نَجَحَتَا

اللَّتَانِ

Who 

الَّتِي

  • We notice here that the relative noun (الَّذِي ) is used after a singular masculine noun, while (اللذان) is used after a dual masculine noun. Despite the fact that the singular is otherwise an indeclinable noun, we add to it the dual ending (ان /ān/) to indicate the dual relative noun.
  • The same rule applies to (الَّتي) - it also comes after the feminine singular noun, and when we add (ان /ān) it becomes a dual feminine relative noun.

 

 










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