Verbs: transitive/intransitive; active/passive

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by mujahid7ia, Nov 15, 2006.

  1. mujahid7ia Junior Member

    NY, USA
    English/USA
    Hi all

    What are the relationships between لازم intransitive verbs and معلوم known/active verbs and متعدي transitive verbs and مجهول unknown/passive verbs?

    I was told that لازم verbs are usually معلوم where I would have thought the opposite was true: when a verb is intranstive and there is no object, the object is technically "unknown" مجهول, and that a transitve verb has an object which is "known" معلوم ... but the opposite seems to be true. I am a little confused about this.

    I'm not really sure that the thread title is accurate.

    Thanks
     
  2. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    I'm a little confused myself :confused: Could you give us some examples ?

    What I could think of is verbs like :
    istayqztu استيقظت I wake up. This is an intrasitive verb in the active mode معلوم . I can't imagine it in a passive form مجهول . Same goes with the verb "mashaytu" مشيت I walked.

    On the other hand, transitive verbs, like akala أكل, shariba شرب... can very well be used in both active and passive modes.

    Could I be of any help ? If I misunderstood your question, please let me know.
     
  3. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    I'm not sure what your question is.

    لازم and متعدي refer to intransitive and transitive verbs, respectively.

    As for the other terms, I am familiar with مبني للمعلوم and مبني للمجهول, but these have nothing to do with the object but with the subject. Namely, they refer to whether the agent of a verb is known or unknown, respectively - and they correspond to the active and the passive voice in English, respectively.

    أنا أنام - I sleep. (فعل لازم، ومبني للمعلوم)

    أنا أكتب رسالة - I write a letter. (فعل متعدي، ومبني للمعلوم)

    تُكتَب الرسالة - The letter is (being) written. (فعل مبني للمجهول)
     
  4. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    Right - it's impossible in Arabic (as in English).
    In English terms, yes, but I'm not so sure about Arabic.

    Look at my last sentence above. Normally the verb كَتَبَ is متعدي but I think that when it's مبني للمجهول it can't be formally considered متعدي because a فعل متعدي takes at least one مفعول به but here we only have a نائب فاعل. What do you think?

    More info here.

    In any case, I think for the purposes of our discussion this technicality is not so important, the point being that a فعل متعدي can be used passively, whether or not it continues to be formally considered a فعل متعدي. (I was just interested in the formal classifications out of personal curiosity.)
     
  5. Abu Bishr Senior Member

    Afrikaans, South Africa
    Hi Guys

    The following is a brief explanation on the points raised in this thread. I say "brief" because in the Arabic grammar literature it is treated in much greater detail.


    Verbs from the point of view of having a direct object are of two types:

    (a) laazim (intransitive i.e. does not take a direct object), and is so called because the the action or quality "yalzamu al-faa-'il" (i.e. stays with and sticks to the agent) not surpassing the agent to go on to a maf'uul bihii; this category is, furthermore, of three types: singly transitive , doubly transitive and triply transitive (i.e. having a single, two or three objects respectively); we also regard as intransitive verbs which take indirect objects (i.e. verbs that extend to their objects via prepositions)

    (b) mut'addii (transitive i.e. takes a direct object), and is so called because the action or quality "yata-'addaa al-faa-'il" (i.e. surpasses the agent) to go on to a maf'uul bihi.

    Having said this I wish to make three points:

    (1) Generally, only verbs which have direct objects can be used in the passive voice, since the passive by definition means "to drop the al-faa-'il (agent or subject of verbal sentence) and then putting the al-maf-'uul bihii (direct object) in its place, which then becomes the naa-ib al-faa-'il (deputy agent). The verb, though, is still transitive for the naa-ib al-faa-'il is originally the al-maf'uul bihii. It is for this reason that the naa-ib al-faa-'il is also called the "al-maf-'uul allathii lam yusamma faa-'iluh" (the object whose agent is not named or mentioned in the sentence). I say "generally", because an exception to the rule is the case when an intransitive verb has an indirect object (i.e. the action is extended to the object via a preposition), for it can be used in the passive, e.g. "nuthira fil-mas'alah" (the problem / question was looked into), "ukhtulifa fil-mas'alah" (the issue was differed concerning i.e. there existed a difference of opinion on the issue), etc.

    (2) From a Balaaghah perspective, a transitive verb can be used in the intransitive sense, if the speaker wishes to focus on the action itself, rather than the action in relation to the object, e.g. "Allaahul-lathii yu'tii" (God is the One that gives), or "Allaahu ya'lamu wa antum laa ta'lamuun" (God knows and you know not).

    (3) "Laazim vs. Muta'addi" is looking at the verb from the perspective of it taking a direct object or not, and "ma'luum vs. majhuul" is looking at the verb from the perspective of mentioning or dropping the agent of the verb in the sentence, and the form and structure (active or passive) of the verb in each case.

    Ps. I'm sorry but the computer that I'm using does not type Arabic characters.
     
  6. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    I know what you mean, but "indirect object" does not usually refer to an object of a preposition but to an object that is indirectly acted upon, to or for whom the action is done (but the "to" or "for" is not explicitly expressed).

    أعطيت الولد التفاحة - I gave the boy the apple.
    In this sentence, الولد is an indirect object.

    Thus, verbs that take indirect objects are by definition transitive because it is impossible to have an indirect object without a direct object.

    But I agree with you that verbs that need a preposition before their object(s) are intransitive.
     
  7. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Actually elroy, the verb أعطى is one of the doubly transitive (فعل متعد إلى مفعولين ) Abu Bishr was talking about. Both nouns are منصوب and take a fatHa.

    On that note, I did want to comment on the triply/trebly transitive verbs. ًThis is a very limited set of verbs. In fact, as far as I know, there are only seven such verbs called أخوات أرى sisters of 2ara: أخبر، أرى، أعلم، أنبأ، حدّث، خبّر، نبّـأ . And it seems to me that a situation in which three direct objects are used is rare. I have not encountered any, anyway.
     
  8. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    I know that. Yet in "English grammar terms" it has an indirect object. I just wanted to point out that using "indirect object" to refer to an object of a preposition is misleading.

    Had Abu Bishr not inserted an explanation in parentheses and given examples of what he meant, I would have rejected his statement because verbs with indirect objects are transitive.

    You are right about the triply transitive verbs. See my link for more information.
     
  9. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    :confused:I guess I'm not following because you said " In this sentence, الولد is an indirect object."
     
  10. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    In English terms. In Arabic it's just a مفعول به, of course.
     
  11. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
  12. Abu Bishr Senior Member

    Afrikaans, South Africa
    Hi Guys

    Maybe I need to explain my use of the term "indirect object" for what is traditionally called a "prepositional phrase" (pp) governed by a verb.

    I'm aware of how "indirect object" is used in English, but because its literal meaning is very close to the meaning I have in mind, I thought of reappropriating the term for the prepositional phrase governed by a verb. This is how I came to use it for that purpose.

    Normally, when I explain a verb I would say that it governs one item in raf' (nom.) and a number of items in naSb (acc.). Now, one of the items that it governs in naSb is the object. However, its governance of the object is either direct, like in: "qara'tu risaalatan" or indirect via a preposition, like in: "qara'tu fil-kitaabi". Thus, I regard the pp as connected to the verb like any of its other dependents governed by it in naSb. Moreover, the noun governed by the prep. would have been manSuub had it not been for the prep. Hence, the pp could be regarded as another type of maf'uul (object) along with the other five. To use an analogy: the verb and agent / subject are like wife and husband respectively, and the manSuubaat related to it are like their children / dependents born from the verb (the mother). Here I put them as if in an equation: VERB + AGENT + DEPENDENTS (muTlaq, bihii, fiihi, lahuu, ma'ahuu, pp). The following example contains the whole family:

    "qara'a zaydun wa 'amran al-kitaaba al-yawma amaama l-mudarrisi qiraa'atan sarii'atan raghbatan fil-'ilm fil-faSli"

    (Zayd read with 'Amr the book today in front of the teacher a fast reading out of a desire for knowledge in the classroom)

    qara'a = VERB

    zaydun = AGENT

    'amran = maf'uul ma'ahuu

    al-kitaaba = maf'uul bihii

    al-yawma = maf'uul fiihi (tharf zamaan)

    amaama = maf'uul fiihi (tharf makaan)

    qiraa'tan = maf'uul muTlaq

    raghbatan = maf'uul lahuu

    fil-faSli = prepositional phrase (pp)

    Observe, that none of the nouns or phrases mentioned here after the verb can exist independently of the verb. The verb defines each one of them and assigns to each a place or grammatical function (to use Chomsky's terms). This includes the pp (or jaarr wa majruur). In fact, a harf jarr (preposition) is called such because it "yajurru ma'naa al-fi'l 'alaa alism allathii ba'dahuu" (draws the meaning of the verb onto the noun that follows it). In other words, the verb is related to this noun via the preposition. Because of this, some grammarians call this noun "maf'uul bihii ghayr SariiH" (an implicit object) and which I've on occasion called "indirect object". At the same time it is by no means uncommon for people to appropriate existing terms with specific definitions for other meanings providing they explain what they are doing, and show awareness of the original definition.

    I hope all of this makes sense.
     
  13. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    Still, you can't go around using fundamental, well-known grammatical terms in unconventional ways and not expect confusion to result. :)
     
  14. Abu Bishr Senior Member

    Afrikaans, South Africa
    I've just edited my previous post. It's my mistake for I assumed that the point would not be taken up. Anyhow, that is how I sometimes use the term "indirect object". Afterall, in English you use "for" or "to" before it both of which are prepositions, which sort of prompted me to use it for that purpose. The real problem is that it is very difficult to find English equivalents for Arabic terms and often you have to make up ones or use existing ones but for different meanings. See how different Howell & Wright are in their translation of Arabic grammatical terms. The same applies to Michael Carter who often refuse to use existing English terms for fear of trying to impose a foreign system or foreign terminology on Arabic grammatical theory or Arabic grammatical terminology. This might lead to, he claims, a distortion of Arabic grammatical theory as understood by its original practitioners i.e. viewing Arabic grammar through western eyes. I suppose both sides of this question can be debated and have been debated as is the case with all other issues for which you have supporters and critics. I'll therefore leave it at that.
     
  15. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    No, an object preceded by "for" or "to" in English is not - formally speaking - an indirect object.

    I bought my brother a present. - indirect object
    I bought a present for my brother. - object of a preposition

    The main reason I "took up" this matter was to avoid confusion. As I said in my first post, I knew what you meant and agreed with the point you made.
     
  16. Abu Bishr Senior Member

    Afrikaans, South Africa
    Hi Elroy

    The following quote the definition that I follow of an indirect object:

    Transitive verbs take a direct object, while intransitive verbs take an indirect object (usually they need a preposition before the noun). Transitive verb: to eatI ate an apple. (direct object)Intransitive: to sleepI was sleeping in the bed. (indirect object)


    See this link http://www.ielanguages.com/linguist.html.

    The following definition is taken from "Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics" by P.H. Matthews:

    [Indirect Object (IO): An object whose semantic role is characteristically that of a recipient, e.g. to your sister in He blew a kiss to your sister; also in most accounts, your sister in He blew your sister a kiss.]

    There is, thus, justification for my definition and explanation in my previous posts.
     
  17. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    I've seen such definitions before but I do not agree with them.

    An object of a preposition is just that - regardless of what the preposition is. Indirect objects are not preceded by prepositions.

    This is my view. Other views obviously vary.
     
  18. mujahid7ia Junior Member

    NY, USA
    English/USA
    Thanks for all the responses; I haven't read through them yet.

    Reading my question, now I'm not even sure what I was asking :)

    I guess I basically wanted to know if a verb's being intransitive or transitive had anything to do with it's being passive or active. After I read all the responses I'll see what I understand :)

    EDIT: Oh and the title has a lot more clarity now. Thank you, whoever changed it.
     
  19. mujahid7ia Junior Member

    NY, USA
    English/USA
    OK, thanks everyone it seems rather clear now.

    So, does doubly or triply transitive simply refer to the number of objects of that verb?
     
  20. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    Yes - that's right.
     
  21. mujahid7ia Junior Member

    NY, USA
    English/USA
    Thank you.
     

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