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اسم فاعل governing foll. noun in the accusative vs. genitive

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by Abu Talha, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. Abu Talha

    Abu Talha Senior Member

    I've been trying to figure out the use of the اسم فاعل as a verb. It turns out that there are varying opinions on how this is used in Classical and colloquial Arabic, i.e., whether this denotes a tense, or is independent of tense or aspect, or denotes a progressive nature, etc. Here are some links:

    بتكذب / the present simple and progressive in different dialects of Arabic
    Enclitic pronouns and active participles.
    http://books.google.com/books?id=_E...arabic participle progressive studies&f=false
    Here is an anecdote about Harun ar-Rashid and the difference between ana qaatilun ghulaamaka and ana qaatilu ghulaamika: http://books.google.com/books?id=B9...q=reckendorf arabic syntax participle&f=false
    The point seems to be that the former gives a future meaning while the latter gives a past meaning.

    However, I've found reports where the active participle of سأل is used with a "going to" meaning with both the accusative object and a genitive attached pronoun:
    Wright says that the اسم فاعل of directly transitive verbs "admit of being construed , in so far as they have verbal power, wither with the accusative or with the genitive, provided they have the meaning of the imperfect (المضارع, historical imperfect, present, future)". http://archive.org/stream/WrightsArabicGrammar2Of2/WrightArabicGrammarVol2#page/n38/mode/1up

    So my question is if you wanted to say, "I am eating the apple." to denote an action that you are doing right now, would you prefer "the apple" in the accusative or the genitive? Do you think it likely that the accusative is the default and that the genitive would only be used to avoid having to stick in a إيا for a pronoun, or a helper vowel between the tanween and a definite noun? That is, is the reason for choosing the genitive purely ease in speech and not to give any different meaning?

    So, while both are possible, would you prefer to say:

    ana aakilun tuffaa7atan in the accusative for the indefinite
    hum aakiluuna 't-tuffaa7a for the plural verb and definite noun,
    ana aakilu 't-tuffaa7ati in the genitive for the singular verb and definite noun and not ana aakiluni 't-tuffaa7ata.

    Similarly, for "I am beating X"/"I am going to beat X":

    ana Daaribun zaydan
    ana Daaribuka vs ana Daaribun 2iyyaaka.

    It's a long post but you don't need to go through all the links, and any intuition you can give would be appreciated. And thanks for reading!
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  2. shafaq Senior Member

    If I am going to reply a question like "What are you doing?" or intend to clarify what I am doing; I would say "أنا آكل تفاحـًة ana aakilun tuffaa7atan" but;

    if I am going to clarify what or who am I; I would like to say "أنا آكل التفاحة ana aakilu 't-tuffaa7ati"
  3. Abu Talha

    Abu Talha Senior Member

    Thanks Shafaq. I found a paper by the Arabic Academy in Jordan. It surveys many of the different opinions held by the grammarians and mufassireen. It's a little difficult reading for me so I haven't been able to follow the authors arguments and conclusions completely but it is an interesting read nevertheless. Here it is in case anyone is interested:


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