أي - اسم موصول

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by Josh_, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    I have a book on i3raab and on one of the pages about the اسم موصول there appears this sentence:

    يَسُرُّني أيُهُم هُوَ قادِمٌ
    I have been looking at this sentence for an hour and I just don't get it. When I read this sentence I want to read it as يسرني أنه هو قادم I am happy that he/it is coming. But obviously there is a reason why it is the way it is. Anyway, here is the grammatical analysis given in the book:

    يسرني : فعل مضارع للمعلوم مرفوع بالضمة ، النون حرف وقاية ، الياء ضمير في محل نصب مفعول به.
    أيهم : أي اسم موصول فاعل مرفوع بالضمة ، هم مضاف إليه.
    هو : ضمير منفصل مبني على الفتح في محل رفع مبتدأ.
    قادم : خبر مرفوع بالضمة.
    ــــــ : (وجملة هو قادم . . . صلة موصول)ـ

    Most of my questions revolve around the اسم موصول . I was unaware that أي could be an اسم موصول . Is this common? To tell the truth I'm actually not sure of why it can be an اسم موصول . For example can I use it as a substitute for الذي in a sentence such as الكتاب الذي قرأته l-- الكتاب أي قرأته ? That just seems strange to me, but perhaps because I am not used to it.

    Anyway, back to the original discussion. I was wondering why the plural pronominal suffix هم is attached to the relative pronoun when there is (apparently) no plural referent in the sentence. And lastly, what is the meaning of the sentence if it is not "I am happy he/it is coming?"

    Thank you for any help.
  2. Wadi Hanifa

    Wadi Hanifa Senior Member


    The meaning of the sentence is "it would please me whoever it is who comes". Compare to the Quranic phrase: "ليبلوكم أيّكم أحسن عملا". So, it's not merely a substitute for الذي, but rather a special اسم موصول that means "whoever, whomever, whichever, etc.".
  3. asadxyz Senior Member


    أَيّ: أداةٌ تَاتِي على سِتَّةٍ أَوْجُهٍ:
    -1 الاسْتِفْهام،
    -2 التَّعَجُبٌ.
    -3 الشَّرط.
    -4 الكَمَال.
    -5 المَوْصُول.
    -6 النِّداء، وهَاكَهَا مُرتَّبَةً على هذا النَّسَق.
    أَيّ المَوْصُولَة: تأتي بمعنى " الَّذِي" وهي و "الذي" عَامَّتَان تَقَعَان على كلِّ شَيْءٍ، ولا بُدَّ لَها كَغَيْرها مِن أَسماءِ المَوْصُول مِن صِلةٍ وَعَائِدٍ وقدْ يُقدَّر العَائدُ وهِيَ مُعْرَبَةٌ تَعْتَرِيها الحَرَكاتُ الثَّلاثُ، إلاَّ في صورةٍ واحدةٍ تكُونُ فيها مَبْنِيَّةً على الضمِّ(هذا قولُ سيبويه، وعليه أكْثر النحاة البصريين وعند الخليل ويونس، والأخفش والزجَّاج والكُوفيين أن "أيّ" الموصولة مُعِرَبَةٌ مطلقاً أُضِيفَتْ أمْ لمْ تُضف، ذُكِرَ صدرُ صِلتِها أم حُذِفَ كالشَّرْطِية والاستِفْهَامِية. ) وذلِكَ إذا أُضِفَتْ وحُذِفَ صَدْرُ صِلَتِها نحو: {ثُم لَنَنْزِعَّن مِنْ كُلِّ شِيعَةٍ أَيُّهُمْ أَشَدُّ عَلى الرَّحْمَنِ عِتيّاً} (الآية "69" من سورة مريم "19" ) والتَّقْدِير: أَيُّهُمُ هُوَ أَشَدُّ.
    ولا تُضَافُ المَوْصُولَةُ إلى مَعْرَفَةٍ وقد تُقْطَعُ عَنٍ الإِضافِة مع نِيِة المُضَاف إليه، وإذْ ذَاكَ تُنَوَّن نحو "يعْجِبُني أيٌّ هو
    يُعَلِّمني". ولا تُسْتَعملُ الموصولة مُبْتَدأً، ولا يَعْمَلُ فيها إلاَّ عَامِلٌ مُسْتَقبلٌ مُتَقَدِّمٌ عَليَها كَما فِي الآية.
    Ref:Mo3jamul-qawaidul Arabia by Dr Abdul Ghani Aldakkar​
  4. Abu Bishr Senior Member

    Afrikaans, South Africa
    Hi Josh

    Almmost all classical grammar textbooks deal with أي and how in certain contexts it can function as an اسم موصول . Now, you must understand that Medieval Arabic Linguistics is an attempt to describe the production data that was collected from the ancient Arabs and then try to make sense of this data. Among the production data that they collected were poetry verses such as the following:

    إذا ما لقِيْتَ بنيْ مالِك * فَسَلِّمْ على أيُّهم أفضَلُ

    [When you meet Banu Malik, then greet he who is best (amongst them)]

    where the second half could be interpreted as meaning: فسَلِّم عَلَى الذي (هو) أفضَل . Obviously the grammarians had to try and account for this structure, and some of them concluded that it must be اسم موصول for two reasons: (1) it does not make sense to regard it as any of the other types of أي , and (2) it seems to fit the category of word called اسم موصول grammatically and semantically. As for grammatically, it is often followed by a clause that is either wholly or partially stated just as a relative pronoun is followed by a relative clause (stated fully or partially). As for semantically, it can be replaced with الذي without losing any of the original meaning.

    There is a Qur'anic verse that is often quoted as an example of أيّ as an اسم موصول , namely:

    ثم لَنَنْزِعَنَّ مِنْ كُلِّ شِيْعَةٍ أَيُّهُمْ أَشَدُّ عَلَى الرَّحْمنِ عَتِيّاً

    where أيّهم is taken to be an اسم موصول which is indeclinable (in this case) and therefore does not show the fatHah on account of being the direct object of the verb لَنَنْزِعَنَّ .

    It should be mentioned, however, that the above view is that of the famous 8th century Arabic grammarian, of Persian origin, Sibaway. Others maintain that أيّ in the Qur'anic verse is استفهامية (interrogative) instead. A famous grammarian by the name of az-Zajjaj is reported to have said: "It is clear to me that Sibawayh erred in only two places, and this one of them". Another grammarian, al-Jarmi, says: I left Basra, and I have not heard since I left the trench on my way to Mecca anyone (i.e. of the Arabs whom they took as informants) say: لَأَضْرِبَنَّ أَيُّهُمْ قَائِمٌ with a Dammah on the yaa' of أيُّهم " implying thereby that Sibawayh had erred in his analysis.

    The upshot of this is that the issue is by no means a conclusive one, and some later scholars have sided with Sibawayh and others against him on this issue. Of the scholars that have sided with Sibawayh is the famous Andalusian scholar, Ibn Malik (a 13th century grammarian) who devoted 5 lines of his famous thousand verse didactic poem on Arabic grammar to أيّ as an اسم موصول (relative pronoun). The first line is as follows:

    "أيّ" كـ"ما" وأُعْرِبَتْ مَا لم تُضَفْ * وصَدْرُ وَصْلِهاَ ضَمِيْرٌ انحَذَفْ

    [ أيّ is like ما (which also functions as a relative pronoun), and is declinable as long as it is not muDaf (to anything) and the initial part of its relative clause is not a Damir (personal pronoun) that has been elided (otherwise it will be indeclinable)]

    I hope that this sheds some light on the issue at hand.
  5. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    I don't have much to add after all the great answers :thumbsup:
    Just a few quick answers to some of Josh's questions:
    It's not very common, but it's not rare either. It depends on the فصاحة of the writers.
    (It just occured to me that a colloquial equivalent of this sentence can be:
    حانبسط باللي حييجي منهم
    7anbeset belli 7ayiigi menhom)
    No, you can't say الكتاب أي قرأته as you can notice from all the examples given, "ayy" is always followed by a pronoun, or a word (i.e. not by verbs) and it carried a meaning of choosing or مفاضلة like أيهم، أينا، أي الناس ...
    The meaning is inferred هم is a pronoun عائد على مجهول in this sentence standing by itself, but maybe in a longer context it could be better understood to whom it refers.
  6. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Thank you guys for your help. I understand. I guess why I was having trouble was because the lack of a clear definition for أي . In the book on i3raab from which I got the sentence all that was said was that the relative pronouns are of two types: those that refer to masculine, feminine, and plural (الذي، التي , etc.) and those that do not change (من، ما، ذا، أي، أل، ذو ). So the author just lumped أي in there with the rest without any explanation.

Share This Page