All dialects: active participle

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clevermizo

Senior Member
English (USA), Spanish
Ok, the active participle use is the hardest aspect of grammar for me to get so far, so I figured I'd shoot out a "for-instance" and see what happens. I know that often it's use and meaning can depend on the sense of the verb from which it is constructed (at least in Levantine dialects, for say, transitive, intransitive, locomotive, cognitive, etc. verbs). I would like to know the answer to this query in a Levantine dialect, say Palestinian - however information from another dialect, say Egyptian, would be interesting to know as well:

A mother walks into the kitchen and discovers that her son has made a huge mess all over the place. She is very upset and wants to ask an emphatic "What have you done?!??"

Does she say:

شو عملت؟؟


or


شو عامل؟؟



Furthermore, what would be the semantic distinction between the two, given the context (if both are possible)?

I suppose for comparison, the test sentences in Egyptian would be "عملت ايه؟" and "عامل ايه" respectively.

Thanks in advance, as usual :).

Also, if my context is wrong or artificial, perhaps a native speaker could help me construct a better context which would shed light on the issue at hand.;)
 
  • ayed

    Senior Member
    Arabic(Saudi)
    عامل أيه= What are you doing
    إيه اللي عملته دا /عملت أيه= What have you done
    and Egyptian say as well:
    أنت بتعمل أيه = What have you been doing
    Cherine will add more comment.
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    A mother walks into the kitchen and discovers that her son has made a huge mess all over the place. She is very upset and wants to ask an emphatic "What have you done?!??"

    Does she say:
    شو عملت؟؟
    or
    شو عامل؟؟

    Furthermore, what would be the semantic distinction between the two, given the context (if both are possible)?

    I suppose for comparison, the test sentences in Egyptian would be "عملت ايه؟" and "عامل ايه" respectively.
    The Egyptian version would be عملت إيه and بتعمل إيه . The only semantic difference is this:
    عملت إيه؟ means the action's already done. The verb in the past tense indicates it clearly.
    بتعمل إيه؟ indicates an ongoing action: what are you doing (now)?

    The expression عامل إيه is only used -in Egypt- to mean: How are you doing? in other words: it's a greeting not an actual question.

    Back to your general question about the active participles. If by this you mean اسم الفاعل like عامل - واكل - شارب - نايم - ماشي ... they're usually used as descriptive words, not conjugated verb. Something like:
    - The boy is leaving and he asks his mother:
    أنا ماشي/خارج، عايزة حاجة؟
    I'm leaving, do you need anything?

    - The father comes home and asks the mother about the child, and she says:
    نايم في أوضته
    He's sleeping/asleep in his room

    And so on.

    If this is not what you're asking about, I appologise.:eek:
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    If this is not what you're asking about, I appologise.:eek:
    It is, and thanks for the useful information.

    I know that the participles are strictly not "verbs" but they seem to take the place of a verb, especially in an utterance like أنا ماشي. The reason why this gets complicated for the learner is because some of these have more of a present meaning, some of them have more of something-happened-in-the-past meaning. This is obviously a subtlety that any native speaker would take for granted:).

    For example, هو نايم has a present sense, because he is sleeping/asleep right now. Also, if I don't believe something you say and I say مش مصدقك, that has a present meaning as well.

    However, if someone asks me if I want to eat something and I say that أنا آكل/أنا واكل it's because I have already eaten. Which means the participle has the sense of something already completed.

    Thus, it depends on the class or nature of the verb(s) involved whether the participle has a present force or a past force.

    In Levantine Arabic, I believe that عمل falls into this latter class of participles (the ones with the sense of something completed), but I'm not sure if it's even used this way, which is why I posed the question. I'll wait and see what elroy posts on the topic. The normal "What are you doing" is just شو عم بتعمل and "What did you do" is شو عملت.

    Note that I can't be sure if a lot of the above commentary really relates well to Egyptian Arabic at all, because that's not my normal dialect of study. But thank you because the comparative information is really helpful in building the bigger picture.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    In Palestinian Arabic, شو عامل؟ would work very well in the context you have presented. For more emphasis, the mother could say something like شو هدا اللي عاملو؟, but the main point is that the عامل form would be acceptable.
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    Yay! :D

    But is there a strong distinction in this one case between شو عامل and شو عملت? Would شو عامل be preferred? (Perhaps because its consequences in the present time are relevant and apparent?)

    Thanks.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    But is there a strong distinction in this one case between شو عامل and شو عملت? Would شو عامل be preferred? (Perhaps because its consequences in the present time are relevant and apparent?)
    Yes, precisely.

    I guess it's similar to the difference in English between "What have you done?" and "What did you do?" (although as a speaker of American English I think I'd be more likely to say "What did you do?", but I think that's because the perfect tenses aren't used with the same rigor in American English as they are in British English).
     
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