هل عندك مقاس أكبر

Qureshpor

Senior Member
Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
هل عندك مقاس أكبر ؟

Do you have a bigger size?

نعم. هذا هو المقاس الأكبر

Yes. This is the bigger/biggest size.


Is the answer context based? Does it mean both bigger and biggest? If yes, how does one remove the ambiguity?

Why could n't the shop keeper just say...

هذا هو مقاس أكبر

This is a bigger size/Here is a bigger size (?)
 
  • Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    It could be a context based answer meaning "yes, this is the bigger size", but the salesperson could also mean that this is the biggest size and there is no bigger size.

    If you want him to say "this is a bigger size" literally I would go for هذا مقاسٌ أكبر because the pronoun seems redundant to me, actually it sounds very strange and unnatural.
     

    Josh_

    Senior Member
    U.S., English
    The shop keeper could very well say هذا مقاس أكبر.

    Yes, as Maha said, it could be context based. The context, in this case, may be environmental. The customer asks if there is a bigger size. The shop keeper comes back, holding the item in his/her hands and says "this is the bigger size" meaning "this particular item that I am holding in my hands is the bigger size of the item you asked about." In this case the definite article "the" is referring to the bigger sized item in the shop keeper's hands rather than the "biggest item."
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    But does n'tهذا (هو) المقاس الأكبر also mean, " This is the biggest size"?
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    May I take this opportunity to thank everyone for their kind assistance.

    The two sentences are part of a conversation between a lady customer and a lady shop-assistant in a large store. In summary, my view is that if the shop assistance had meant that she had a bigger size, she would, more than likely, have replied in the following manner.

    هل عندك مقاس أكبر

    نعم عندنا مقاس أكبر

    But when she shows the customer a dress and says..

    نعم. هذا هو المقاس الأكبر

    She could only have meant: "Yes, (and/but) this is the biggest size" [and we don't have any bigger ones]

    Of course, she could have said.

    هذا أكبر مقاس (عندنا
     

    lukebeadgcf

    Senior Member
    English – US
    But does n'tهذا (هو) المقاس الأكبر also mean, " This is the biggest size"?

    I've struggled with this distinction myself. I think the problem lies in the cross-linguistically divergent usage of these superlative and comparative forms. Personally, I think the confusion arises from the English. If comparing two, different-sized cups for example, we might say:

    I prefer the bigger/smaller one

    Morphologically, we are using the comparative form, and this is the more idiomatic form to use in our language in this context. But semantically, there is an element of "superlativity"--if you will--in our statement. What we mean is:

    I prefer the biggest/smallest one (of the two).

    In Arabic, comparative adjectives cannot be definite and superlative adjectives cannot be indefinite, so you can see how expressing "the bigger one" might pose a challenge. So when Arabs want to express the latter, they say, as per your example:

    المقاس الأكبر (lit. the biggest size)

    But depending on context, we may translate this in English as "the bigger size," since Arabic does not have a separate form to express this. The superlative is permitted here because it denotes an extreme of a defined group (the two sizes in question), and by that logic it is semantically correct, even though it might baffle our English brains.

    Let me know if that makes sense.
     

    Ustaath

    Senior Member
    Arabic - levantine
    we would use word order to try to make that distinction , one in the definite and the other not:
    المقاس الأكبر the bigger size ( but see Luke's explanation !)
    أكبر مقاس the biggest size ( always that meaning)'.
    Sample:
    عندك مقاس اكبر
    هذا المقاس أكبر
    هل هذا أكبر مقاس؟
    لا , يوجد قياس واحد أكبر منه تفضلي
    شكرا, يعني هذأ أكبر مقاس
    صحيح
     
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    Josh_

    Senior Member
    U.S., English
    Yes, I believe I understand what you're saying, Luke. I liked your explanation.

    I also have struggled with the distinction, or more rather, I have struggled (and still do) with the whole concept of the Arabic اسم التفضيل thing vis-à-vis the English comparative/superlative and how they can be reconciled.

    Going along with your cross-linguistic usage point, I believe part of the problem (which I mentioned here) is that we are dealing with (1) two different systems in two unrelated languages and (2) a resulting limitation in language, at least on the part of English, that does not allow us to meaningfully talk about the Arabic system without invoking the language of the English system.

    (1) English has a three-tiered system -- a positive/comparative/superlative hierarchy.

    Arabic, on the other hand, has a two-tiered system -- صفة/اسم التفضيل*ـ (adjective/noun of excellence or preeminence).

    As I said in the other thread, both systems function differently in form and meaning. How they differ in form is readily apparent, but as for how they differ in meaning that may take quite a bit of explanation (which I would tackle if I ever started a thread on this topic -- something I would like to do, as I mentioned in that other thread). Suffice it to say, we would not be having so much difficulty at explanation in this thread if they did not differ in meaning.

    (2) Concerning the limitation in language I mentioned (and related to the paragraph above about the difference in meaning) what I mean by that is that it would be very difficult (if not impossible) to talk about the two-tiered Arabic system without using the language of the three-tiered English system; that is, without using -er, -est, more, most, etc. in order to describe meaning. This necessarily results in some mislabeling and confusion in that we shoehorn the Arabic system into the English system and (erroneously) treat it as a three-tiered system like English (which it is not as I have mentioned).

    In order to help avoid some of this confusion grammarians coined the term 'elative' to deal with the Arabic اسم التفضيل in English treatments of Arabic grammar, rather than describing it in terms of positive, comparative, and superlative.

    More on all of that in the forthcoming thread on اسم التفضيل (which I have resolved to undertake).
    ----------------

    Tying this into the thread topic, and trying to avoid the English language associated with comparative/superlative as much as possible:

    When the customer asks هل عندك مقاس أكبر؟ he/she is asking "do you have a size that excels (a certain size), in term of bigness/largeness" or "do you have a size that is preeminent in terms of bigness/largeness."

    The replies:

    هذا مقاس أكبر
    This is a size that excels in bigness.
    This is a preeminent size, in terms of bigness.
    (Indefinite structure equivalent to English comparative.)

    هذا المقاس الأكبر
    هذا أكبر مقاس
    This is the preeminent size (emphasis on the to indicate superlative meaning).
    This is the most preeminent size. -- Unavoidable use of English superlative term.
    (Definite structure equivalent to English superlative.)




    ____________________
    *Also called أفعل التفضيل.
     

    ayed

    Senior Member
    Arabic(Saudi)
    My hat is being raised for you, Josh.
    I think it relies solely on that context. An example:

    Suppose that Ali goes up to a nearby shop and asks the seller:

    Ali picks out, say, a pair of shoes and gives it a try. It is smaller and doesn't fit.

    Ali:" do you have a bigger one(size)?"هل لديكم مقاس أكبر implying "a size that is bigger than this.
    Seller:"Here is a bigger size" تفضل هذا مقاس أكبر
    or
    Seller:"Here is the biggest size(we have)"تفضل هذا هو أكبر مقاس لدينا
     
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    Kinan

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    it's not that confusing unless the seller makes it so.
    If she wants to say, this is a bigger size then هذا مقاس أكبر can do the job.
    And if she means it's the biggest size then هذا أكبر مقاس is used.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I've struggled with this distinction myself. I think the problem lies in the cross-linguistically divergent usage of these superlative and comparative forms. Personally, I think the confusion arises from the English. If comparing two, different-sized cups for example, we might say:

    I prefer the bigger/smaller one

    أفضل أكبر الكأسين
    أفضلأصغر الكأسين

    Morphologically, we are using the comparative form, and this is the more idiomatic form to use in our language in this context. But semantically, there is an element of "superlativity"--if you will--in our statement. What we mean is:

    I prefer the biggest/smallest one (of the two).

    In Arabic, comparative adjectives cannot be definite and superlative adjectives cannot be indefinite, so you can see how expressing "the bigger one" might pose a challenge. So when Arabs want to express the latter, they say, as per your example:

    المقاس الأكبر (lit. the biggest size)

    But depending on context, we may translate this in English as "the bigger size," since Arabic does not have a separate form to express this. The superlative is permitted here because it denotes an extreme of a defined group (the two sizes in question), and by that logic it is semantically correct, even though it might baffle our English brains.

    Let me know if that makes sense.

    Yes, I do follow where you are coming from. I shall look forward to Josh's new thread with eagerness.
     

    Josh_

    Senior Member
    U.S., English
    I've struggled with this distinction myself. I think the problem lies in the cross-linguistically divergent usage of these superlative and comparative forms. Personally, I think the confusion arises from the English. If comparing two, different-sized cups for example, we might say:

    I prefer the bigger/smaller one

    Morphologically, we are using the comparative form, and this is the more idiomatic form to use in our language in this context. But semantically, there is an element of "superlativity"--if you will--in our statement. What we mean is:

    I prefer the biggest/smallest one (of the two).

    In Arabic, comparative adjectives cannot be definite and superlative adjectives cannot be indefinite, so you can see how expressing "the bigger one" might pose a challenge. So when Arabs want to express the latter, they say, as per your example:

    المقاس الأكبر (lit. the biggest size)

    But depending on context, we may translate this in English as "the bigger size," since Arabic does not have a separate form to express this. The superlative is permitted here because it denotes an extreme of a defined group (the two sizes in question), and by that logic it is semantically correct, even though it might baffle our English brains.

    Let me know if that makes sense.
    I thought I'd say again that I liked your explanation. It was spot in. I was recently reading on comparatives and superlatives in an English grammar book (in the hopes of gaining some insight in preparation for my upcoming thread) when I came across a section entitled "Comparative Form but Superlative Meaning," in which they mention that forms may appear comparative, but are semantically superlative. In describing the the type of comparative that you mention here the author writes "comparatives used as suppletive variants of superlatives when there are only two members in a set."

    Yes, I do follow where you are coming from. I shall look forward to Josh's new thread with eagerness.
    I thought I'd mention that I am now in the process of preparing my discussion of the تفضيل structure (have been for about a week now) and hope to have it done and posted here on the forum within a week or two.
     
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