ليست عربيتي جيدة جدا

suma

Senior Member
USA
English, USA
Anatoli said:
Here's a phrase from Ultimate Arabic:

ليست عربيتي جيدة جدا، كان العمل يأخذ معظم وقتي عندما كنت في السعودية ولكن عندي المزيت من الوقت اﻵن
(My attempt to type in Arabic, could be typos :eek: )
I see beginner/intermediate level Arabic students struggle with this alot, i.e. the use of the posessive (nisbah), which we do alot in English: "My Arabic is not so good" "my french stinks", "my jump shot needs work", "her pound cake is the best."

but in Arabic, using the nisbah like this just doesn't seem to work, instead an alternate structure is called for. right? anyone agree?
 
  • elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    suma said:
    I see beginner/intermediate level Arabic students struggle with this alot, i.e. the use of the posessive (nisbah), which we do alot in English: "My Arabic is not so good" "my french stinks", "my jump shot needs work", "her pound cake is the best."

    but in Arabic, using the nisbah like this just doesn't seem to work, instead an alternate structure is called for. right? anyone agree?
    Yes, I agree. I would say something like لا أتقن العربية جيداً. Nevertheless, in colloquial Palestinian Arab we do use a possessive, except that for some odd reason the subject is plural: عربياتي مش مناح.

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    eac

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    suma said:
    I see beginner/intermediate level Arabic students struggle with this alot, i.e. the use of the posessive (nisbah), which we do alot in English: "My Arabic is not so good" "my french stinks", "my jump shot needs work", "her pound cake is the best."

    but in Arabic, using the nisbah like this just doesn't seem to work, instead an alternate structure is called for. right? anyone agree?
    I thought a nisbah was an adjective made up of a noun + a ي , e.g. اجبار 'compulsion' + اجباري = ي 'compulsory' ? Does it also mean a possessed noun?
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    You're very right, I was wondering about this myself. I think suma mis-chose the word. The yaa2 here is yaa2 'l-milkiyya ياء الملكية not yaa2 'lnisba ياء النسبة .

    suma said:
    but in Arabic, using the milkiyya/possessive like this just doesn't seem to work, instead an alternate structure is called for. right? anyone agree?
    I don't understand very much your "doesn't seem to work". If we're going to change some linguistic rules because they don't seem to work for beginners and/or intermediate level students, I don't think there would be much left of any language.

    As for alternatives, the only alternative -in MSA- for the ياء الملكية is the word خاصة khaSSa, but still it takes the pronouns, including the yaa : السيارة خاصته، السيارة خاصتي، السيارة خاصتنا .
    If you have a "better alternative", you're welcome to propose it, though I don't promise you it can replace the use of pronouns.
     

    suma

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, USA
    cherine said:
    I don't understand very much your "doesn't seem to work".
    What I mean is the tendency of beginner students to too literally translate their speech into the target language, rather than thinking of it in the Arabic way, which comes only with much time and exposure to authentic speech and print material.

    As in "Her French is near native" , i.e. Arabic (MSA mostly) rarely uses the possessive pronouns for non-tangible things like "her French", "his jump shot", "my math skills are..."

    "My skills in math..." sounds more like Arabic.
    compare:
    مهاراتي الرياضية
    مهاراتي في الرياضيات
    لستُ ماهراً في الرياضيات
    أنا مش ماهر في الرياضيات

     
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