وحال اعتقادهم بأنه عميل مزدوج لم يكونوا ليسمحوا له بالعودة إلى إيران

theazure

New Member
Polish- Poland
ومن المحتمل أيضا، مثلما يعتقد الكثير من المدونين، أن أميري لم يكن سوى عميل مزدوج أرسلته إيران لنشر معلومات مضللة، لكن هذا ا يبدو غير محتمل نظرا لتأكيد المسؤولين الأميركيين على أن معظم المعلومات التي قدمها جرى التحقق من صحتها. وحال اعتقادهم بأنه عميل مزدوج لم يكونوا ليسمحوا له بالعودة إلى إيران
What does this construction mean?
Could you give me more examples?
 
  • jack_1313

    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    Had they [i.e. the Americans] believed he was a double agent, they would not have allowed him to return to Iran.
     

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    What does this construction mean?
    This is the construction for لام الجحود; it consist of: كون منفي + لام الجحود + فعل مضارع منصوب also the خبر كان is omitted. It is used to express extreme denial of something. In this case it's saying if the Americans though he was a double agent then they would never have allowed him to return.

    I have to point out that there is something off with this sentence وحال اعتقادهم بأنه عميل مزدوج لم يكونوا ليسمحوا له بالعودة, I just can't put my finger on it - the first part just doesn't work with the second part but I don't know if there is a grammatical reason for this.

    Could you give me more examples?
    Quran: مَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُضَيِّعَ أَجْرَكُمْ
    Hadith: ما أصابك لم يكن ليخطئك وما أخطأك لم يكن ليصيبك

    I don't remember any poetry with this construction right now but I'm sure you would find a lot as it's a fairly common construction.
     

    Sun-Shine

    Senior Member
    Arabic (Egypt)
    I have to point out that there is something off with this sentence وحال اعتقادهم بأنه عميل مزدوج لم يكونوا ليسمحوا له بالعودة, I just can't put my finger on it - the first part just doesn't work with the second part but I don't know if there is a grammatical reason for this.
    I agree.
    I waited for someone to say that.
    To me the word حال is not suitable.
    لم يكونوا ليسمحوا له بالعودة إلى إيران means that he already returned to Iran.
    حال seems odd here.
    To use حال then we change لم يكونوا ليسمحوا to لن يسمحوا but this means that he hasn't returned to Iran yet.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I also found the sentence odd. "Not allowing" is not the same as "preventing," which is what I think is meant here. But putting that aside, the bigger issue for me is حال. For me, حال implies "right away" or "as soon as," so what the sentence is saying is:

    If they had suspected that he was a double agent, they would have prevented him from returning to Iran right away.
    or
    As soon as they suspected he was a double agent, they would have prevented him from returning to Iran.

    It seems quite unlikely that they would have been able to thwart his plans as soon as the suspicion arose.
     

    Sun-Shine

    Senior Member
    Arabic (Egypt)
    For me, حال implies "right away" or "as soon as," so what the sentence is saying is:

    If they had suspected that he was a double agent, they would have prevented him from returning to Iran right away.
    I don't think that would work in Arabic and "right away" means حالا / في الحال which differ from "حال" here.

    As soon as they suspected he was a double agent, they would have prevented him from returning to Iran.
    Yes, "حال" here means as soon as but if you translated this into Arabic you will find it odd.
     

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    I believe that حال here means في الوقت الذي and not حالا.

    Still, the use is seems off to me. This is how I would translate it: Once they believe that he is a double agent, they would never have allowed him to return. Even in English this seems off to me. In my opinion there is a discrepancy between the first and second part - possibly in the overall tense of the action (not the verb in specific), but I just can't put my finger on what it is exactly.

    In my humble opinion, it should either be: حال اعتقادهم بأنه عميل مزدوج سيمنعونه من العودة = once they believe he is a double agent they would prevent him from returning; or, لو أنهم اعتقدوا أنه عميل مزدوج لم يكونوا ليسمحوا له بالعودة, If they believed that he was a double agent, they would never have allowed him to leave.


    I also have a problem with the word اعتقد in this context, I think the author of this piece means ظنّ but I may be wrong here because I don't really know what author means, I'm only making assumptions based on context.
     
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    jack_1313

    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    Regardless of whether the usage is correct or not, it seems pretty clear to me from the context that َحال is being used to mean في حال. If this usage is an error, it's not really surprising to me that an author would make such a mistake.

    Edit: Ok, the Arabic text is a translation of a New York Times article and the original English sentence was "And had they believed that he was a double, it’s unlikely that he would have been allowed to return to Iran".
     
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    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    I rewrote my post several times because I wasn't sure whether حال meant في حال or في الوقت الذي. Based on the English original, he should have used لو.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    It sounds like حال is a dreadful calque on “in the case of” :eek:. This is most unfortunate, since, if I’m right, حال already has a very different meaning in Arabic. :(
     

    Sun-Shine

    Senior Member
    Arabic (Egypt)
    It sounds like حال is a dreadful calque on “in the case of” :eek:. This is most unfortunate, since, if I’m right, حال already has a very different meaning in Arabic. :(
    Here it means بمجرد أن ، في حال ، ما إن ، فور .
    am I right ?
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Here it means بمجرد أن ، في حال ، ما إن ، فور .
    am I right ?
    Those don't all mean the same thing.

    بمجرد أن، ما إن، فور = This is how I understand حالَ ("as soon as," "right away").
    في حال = This seems to be how the author intended ("in the case of").

    Here is an example of حالَ used to mean "as soon as":

    سأرسلها إليك حال وصولي إلى تونس
    Obviously, this means "as soon as I arrive," not "if I arrive."
     

    Sun-Shine

    Senior Member
    Arabic (Egypt)
    Those don't all mean the same thing.

    بمجرد أن، ما إن، فور = This is how I understand حالَ ("as soon as," "right away").
    في حال = This seems to be how the author intended ("in the case of").

    سأرسلها إليك حال وصولي إلى تونس
    Obviously, this means "as soon as I arrive," not "if I arrive."
    Now I can understand.
    I wasn't lucky this time and I couldn't explain that. :eek:
    Thank you elroy.:)
     
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    jack_1313

    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    I just checked with our old friend Hans Wehr, and here's what he has to say about the matter:

    hala (prep.) during; immediately upon, right after; just at; in case of ..., in the event of ...; [bold added]
    This suggest that the use of حالَ to mean في حال has existed since at least the time of the Nazis. Personally, I don't find it particularly odd because it's in line with the way other prepositional phrases can be replaced with adverbial equivalents, e.g. مكانَ instead of في مكان. I'll leave it up to somebody else to trawl through the monolingual Arabic dictionaries :)
     

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    It sounds like حال is a dreadful calque on “in the case of” :eek:. This is most unfortunate, since, if I’m right, حال already has a very different meaning in Arabic. :(
    I have to disagree here, I have seen it with this meaning before. I can not say whether this is correct or not though.

    This suggest that the use of حالَ to mean في حال has existed since at least the time of the Nazis.
    I suppose you mean since Hans Wehr wrote his dictionary, because I don't think the Nazis had anything to do with it :D.

    Personally, I don't find it particularly odd because it's in line with the way other prepositional phrases can be replaced with adverbial equivalents, e.g. مكانَ instead of في مكان. I'll leave it up to somebody else to trawl through the monolingual Arabic dictionaries :)
    I can confirm that I've seen it written in this way, but I don't know how old the usage is or how correct. I tried looking in dictionaries and found that they mention this meaning of the word among others (which I already know) but don't really mention the preposition, so that was not very helpful. I found several examples for the different meanings of حال whether as a noun or a verb, but not one was relevant to our discussion.

    I tried to remember an example in the Quran or in poetry, but I just couldn't recall one. The problem with omitting the preposition is that it's an advanced grammatical subject and that linguists don't agree on how 'freely' we may omit prepositions. The result of my short two-hour research is hence inconclusive: I can't say for sure whether omitting the في in this case is correct or not.

    I would have to say that on a personal level, I would avoid omitting the preposition because it can be confusing; also I think that it's more likely to be wrong to omit the preposition because one of the conditions is that it should not be confused with other uses of the word without the preposition. This of course doesn't mean that no one uses it in this way, correct or not.
     

    jack_1313

    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    I suppose you mean since Hans Wehr wrote his dictionary, because I don't think the Nazis had anything to do with it :D.
    Actually, the Nazis had quite a bit to do with it. They funded the dictionary project for the purpose of translating Mein Kampf into Arabic (Edit: according to various internet sources like this one; I haven't actually done serious research on the subject), and Wehr himself was a member. But I suppose I could have been a bit kinder to him by not drawing attention to this point :p

    I can confirm that I've seen it written in this way, but I don't know how old the usage is or how correct.
    I don't specifically remember seeing it used this way, but I may not have noticed anyway because, as I said, it doesn't strike me as all that different from using مكانَ instead of في مكان or حينَ instead of في حين. Obviously, I rely more on grammar and context than you, Elroy, and Cherine do with your native ears, and by now I'm quite used to the fact that people write in all kinds of varied and weird ways and have perhaps developed more tolerance.

    The result of my short two-hour research is hence inconclusive
    Short!? I'd say that's a pretty diligent effort :)

    I would have to say that on a personal level, I would avoid omitting the preposition because it can be confusing
    I, like you, would prefer to just use لو as its function is specifically to introduce such hypothetical scenarios (I'd simply write لو اعتقدوا أنه عميل مزدوج، لما سمحوا له بالعودة إلى إيران).

    I think that it's more likely to be wrong to omit the preposition because one of the conditions is that it should not be confused with other uses of the word without the preposition
    I totally agree with you in principle: ambiguity should be avoided wherever possible. But in practice, Arabic writing is full of ambiguous words and phrases that require the reader to rely on context to deduce the most probable meaning (for a variety of reasons such as the fact that short vowels aren't written, punctuation has never been standardized, and there is just generally more tolerance of ambiguity in Arabic than in English). So I'm not convinced that the possibility of ambiguity is enough for us to rule a certain usage incorrect.
     
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    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Hello all,

    Sorry if my short post went unnoticed and wasn't clearly formulated. When I said:
    I don't know if it's incorrect, but I noticed several instances of using حال with the meaning of إذا or عند/عندما.
    I did mean exactly that: I don't know if it incorrect; i.e. I'm not sure whether we can really say it's wrong with the several instances I've seen and heard it used with this meaning.

    Obviously, I rely more on grammar and context than you, Elroy, and Cherine do with your native ears, and by now I'm quite used to the fact that people write in all kinds of varied and weird ways and have perhaps developed more tolerance.
    But we too rely on grammar and context (even if less so than foreigners). The native ear on itself is not always a reliable judge and we need context to be sure which meaning is intended. :)
     

    Sun-Shine

    Senior Member
    Arabic (Egypt)
    By adding في
    في حال اعتقادهم بأنه عميل مزدوج لم يكونوا ليسمحوا له
    It seems better.
     

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    Sorry if my short post went unnoticed and wasn't clearly formulated. When I said:
    I did mean exactly that: I don't know if it incorrect;
    I'm sorry I didn't notice that :oops:.

    By adding في
    في حال اعتقادهم بأنه عميل مزدوج لم يكونوا ليسمحوا له
    It seems better.
    Better, maybe; but it still doesn't feel right. I feel that it shouldn't be لم يكونوا ليسمحوا, maybe ما كانوا ليسمحوا. There is a tense disagreement here; I can't put my finger on it but I feel that there is a tense disagreement.

    I would still go with لو اعتقدوا بأنه عميل مزدوج ما سمحوا له. Maybe even add a laam: لو اعتقدوا بأنه عميل مزدوج لما سمحوا له. This should be شرط and في حال just doesn't work for conditional statements.
     

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    But we too rely on grammar and context (even if less so than foreigners).
    I wouldn't say 'less so' than foreigners, I would say 'less consciously' than foreigners. Correct grammar is important for correct understanding and the context reveals the grammar. We tend to think of grammar unconsciously, that's why we sometimes know it's wrong but just don't know why it's wrong.
     

    jack_1313

    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    Maybe even add a laam: لو اعتقدوا بأنه عميل مزدوج لما سمحوا له
    I think the لام is mandatory here? (But I wouldn't be surprised to see it omitted because it's not use dialects AFAIK.)
     

    Sun-Shine

    Senior Member
    Arabic (Egypt)
    Better, maybe; but it still doesn't feel right. I feel that it shouldn't be لم يكونوا ليسمحوا, maybe ما كانوا ليسمحوا. There is a tense disagreement here; I can't put my finger on it but I feel that there is a tense disagreement.
    I agree that there is a tense disagreement.

    I would still go with لو اعتقدوا بأنه عميل مزدوج ما سمحوا له. Maybe even add a laam: لو اعتقدوا بأنه عميل مزدوج لما سمحوا له. This should be شرط and في حال just doesn't work for conditional statements.
    Also you can say
    لو اعتقدوا بأنه عميل مزدوج لم يكونوا ليسمحوا له
    Changing اعتقادهم to اعتقدوا and using لو
    make it possible to sayلم يكونوا ليسمحوا.
    I think if we used في حال then
    في حال اعتقادهم بأنه كان عميلا مزدوجا لم يكونوا ليسمحوا له
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    كان changes the meaning in Arabic.

    “Was” in English is only used for tense congruence, because of “believed.” Arabic doesn’t work that way.

    This part the translator actually got right!
     

    ayed

    Senior Member
    Arabic(Saudi)
    There is no " in case of" (حال)in original source (English version). Why do you stick to this phrase?
    Better be deleted out of the second translation (Arabic)
     
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