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Kan, kontu, kunto, kanou

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by mini91, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. mini91

    mini91 Senior Member

    When exactly are these words used? Would it change in plural and singular and feminine and masculine? eg: Ana kunto 7azina? . Also what is the word for were?

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
  2. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    The transliteration is not the best, but these are forms of the verb "to be" kaana كان in the past tense.

    أنا كنتُ حزينة ana kuntu 7aziinatan means "I was sad (f.)". (Although I think حزين is stronger than "sad" - I just don't know the best English word.)

    Since you apparently want a conjugation, here you go:

    كنتُ kuntu (I was)
    كنتَ kunta (You (s.m.) were)
    كنتِ kunti (You (s.f.) were)
    كان kaana (He was)
    كانت kaanat (She was)
    كنّا kunna (We were)
    كنتم kuntum (You (pl.m.) were)
    كنتنّ kuntunna (You (pl.f.) were)
    كانوا kaanu (They (pl.m.) were)
    كنّ kunna (They (pl.f.) were)

    I omitted the dual forms because I always forget how to conjugate them (كانا is probably "they (two, m.) were", كنتا "you (two, m./f.) were"?).

    And since you have interest in the Lebanese colloquial, here they are:

    كنت kinet (I was)
    كنت kinet (You (s.m.) were)
    كنتي kinti (You (s.f.) were)
    كان keen (He was)
    كانت keenet (She was)
    كنّا kinna (We were)
    كنتو kintu (You (pl. m.&f.) were)
    كانوا keenu (They (pl. m.&f. were)

    These forms are similar in other colloquial Arabics, however the typically Lebanese features are the raising of long [aa] to [ee]* and the fronting of to **.

    As to how this verb is used, it's used generally in the same senses that the English verbs "was,were" are used.

    * If you're curious, the raising of fus7a [aa] to Lebanese [ee] occurs in non-emphatic environments (i.e., not around ص، ض، ط، ظ and sometimes ر).
    ** Also, if you're curious, the fronting of fus7a short to Lebanese short occurs in closed syllables (form XuX >XiX), in non-emphatic (not around ص، ض، ط ، ظ and sometimes ر). These are not hard-and-fast rules, but some common observations/generalizations.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
  3. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Very good ya Mizo :) You only forgot one letter:

    هما كانا --> masculine
    هما كانتا -->feminine
    أنتما كنتما --> masc. & fem.
  4. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    Thanks ;).
  5. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    You're welcome. :)
  6. mini91

    mini91 Senior Member


    Wow!! Thank you very much clevermizo!! Yes just to let you know that I knew the meaning of "Ana kunto 7azinatan" and was thinking of an example. Also thank you very much for the added Lebanese equivalents! :)

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