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واو العطف

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by yasmeena, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. yasmeena Senior Member

    Arabic (Lebanon)

    Maha mentioned this in another thread :

    May I ask why? I mean is it قاعدة لغوية ?

    I always notice التصاق الواو, but I think of it as a common mistake!

    I'm almost certain I've never learned this at school, nor later in advanced Arabic courses. That's weird. :confused:
  2. Abu Bishr Senior Member

    Afrikaans, South Africa
    Hi everybody

    I don't know the exact context of the previous discussion, but all I can say based on what is in this thread is that the التصاق الواو بالكلمة التي تليها might be a formatting rule, in that if you leave a space before and after the waw, you end up with numerous waws at the end of the lines. If, however, you close the gap between the waw and the word that follows it (which is what I understand by التصاق الواو ), then both the waw and the word go onto the next line, and the waw is not left stranded at the end of the previous line. This only happens in modern day typing. I've seen people who leave gaps and then they have to manually try to get stranded waws onto the next line.

    I hope that is what the question was all about.
  3. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    I can't remember ever coming across a specific rule about it either, but I was taught that the و is always attached to the following word. All my professors over the years have followed this rule (or guideline) and the majority of literature seems to support this also. So, I don't think it is a wide spread error.

    One thing to consider when wondering if the و should be attached or not is that none of the other one letter particles (e.g. ب، ل، ف ) are separated from the following word, so why should و? What would make it different?
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2008
  4. yasmeena Senior Member

    Arabic (Lebanon)
    That is excatly the question, Abu Bishr, thank you.
    You've got a point, but I think it is much more wide spread than being a mere formatting consideration.

    Hmmm, I've never thought of it this way. It makes sense. This also explains why nobody has ever bothered to mention it in class! Thank you Josh.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2008
  5. Abu Bishr Senior Member

    Afrikaans, South Africa
    Here is something else to consider. If you make a google image search for Arabic manuscripts then you will see on some of the images that Arab authors hardly observed spaces between words. This was not a problem because letters would not automatically join to previous words since the whole process is a manual process. Nowadays, when we type we have to observe spaces esp. with preceeding words otherwise your waw or whatever letter is going to join to the word before it.

    To illustrate my point let's take the following sentence:

    رجع مازن وسامر من المدرسة

    Now, let's drop the spaces in between:


    So spaces, then, ensure that words and letters that are not meant to join do not join. This because in Arabic a single letter has four ways of being written: (a) alone (b) initially (c) medially, & (d) finally.

    So it might be that spacing between Arabic words is a modern convention. I also have some old printed Arabic books, where spaces are apparently not observed either.

    The famous Egyptian printing press "Maktabah wa Matba'ah Mustafa al-Babi al-Halabi wa Awladhu biMisr" does not maintain spaces between words in the text written in the margins, but do so but very inconsistently in the text written elsewhere on the page. I think Arabic newspapers used to be the same. So with the printing press you could still manually choose which graphic representation of the letter you wanted. With typing you spaces became necessity because letters and words would join automatically.

    Coming back to the waw, it will never join with the letter or word after it whether or not you observe a space. However, it must be separated from the previous word by means of a space. Separating it from the word that follows by means of a space is therefore imho not necessary because it will never join to that word. However, if you do observe a space, you might end up with stranded waws at the of the lines like this:

    رجع مازن و
    سامر من المدرسة و
    في يد أحدهما عصفورة ...ـ


    Notice how the waws are stranded at the end. I have a Syrian friend who used to observe a space after the waw when typing, and after he finished typing a document he would then go back to see if there are any waws stranded and manually place them at the beginning of the following line. However, whenever he added something or did some to the text he had to go back and see if other waws have not been stranded at the ends of lines, and then remove extra spaces that he created because of having to shift the waw to the next line. Now, he does not observe the space after the waw, and he does not have that problem anymore.

    So this is my take on the situation.
  6. yasmeena Senior Member

    Arabic (Lebanon)
    That is interesting. Thank you again Abu Bishr.
  7. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    Arabic and English
    I don't know how modern it is; but in school the teachers thought it was a big deal and they told us that the waaw sticks to the following word like the baa', faa', laam and kaaf:

    والسيارة، بالسيارة، فالسيارة، كالسيارة، للسيارة.

    It was a rule I learnt at school; but I don't know how old it is.
  8. yasmeena Senior Member

    Arabic (Lebanon)
    Thank you Maha.
  9. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    I think the only reason some may find this puzzling is that if followed by another letter, و does not connect to it. But that shouldn't make a difference.

    و, like all other one-letter particles (حروف) in Arabic, is part of the word the follows it. Particles with two or more letters, on the other hand, are always separate words.

    The same applies to Hebrew, by the way, which is another Semitic language.
  10. yasmeena Senior Member

    Arabic (Lebanon)
    This is it. Thank you.
  11. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Yes, that really is the issue. و is a non-connecting letter and so I think that people erroneously assume that it is not attached to the word after it.

    Also, I sometimes wonder if other languages, in which 'and' is a separate word, have influenced this at all.

    Good point about Hebrew, which incidentally has a non-cursive script and as such none of the letters connect.
  12. ayed Senior Member

    What I would like to say is that there is no space between "waw" and the following word.That is, جاء محمد وعلي not جاء محمد و علي .Even in pronunciation. jaa'a Muhammed and Ali---> Jaa'a Muhammed ~ pause "and" Ali.
    Why? because the letter"waw" cannot stand by itself in this case.
  13. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    Arabic and English
    I wanted to say that based on my person experience, but I hesitated when I remembered that sometimes people may pause in the wrong places :)
  14. ayed Senior Member

    :D Thanks, Mahaodeh!
    Jaa'a Muhammed and ~"pause" Ali..
  15. yasmeena Senior Member

    Arabic (Lebanon)
    Thanks Ayed. I promise I will never leave my waw's floating around anymore. :)

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