Egyptian Arabic: active participle اسم الفاعل

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Interprete

Senior Member
French, France
Hello,

I often hear 'ana mestannik' in Egyptian Arabic when, for example, I'm telling a friend on the phone that I'm on my way to his place.

A few questions:

1/What is the difference between ana mestannik and bastannak? Would it sound odd to say bastannak in this context?

2/I'm having trouble with the morphology here: how would you put 'mestanny' in the plural form to say "we're waiting for you"?

3/Can all verbs be used in this participle form? Can I say :ana meshta3'el, ana wâkel (like the very common ana nâzel) [though I said wâkel one day and someone corrected me "no, bâkol"], ana menaDDef el oda.
If not, is there a way to know when this form can be used?

Thanks!
 
  • Mestanneek is when i are just waiting on you (one time only)
    Bastannaak is when waiting on you is a habit (always, usually)

    Example
    delwa2ti, ana mestanni fi 9a7bi fel maktaba
    دالوقتي انا مستني في صاحبي في المكتبة

    kelle ma ne6la3 sawa, dayman bastanna fiha w heya btelbes
    كل ما نطلع سوا دايما باستنى فيها وهي بتلبس

    **I did not grow up with cairo arabic, so it may not be perfect... My main dialect is upper egyptian, which is kinda maghrebi-badawi-ish**

    ***NOTE***
    this is usually only for verbs of motion, or a verb which is naturally a prolonged process
    ex
    raaye7 رايح (from raa7) to go
    jaay جاي (from jah) to come
    saame3 سامع (from simi3) to hear
    m9ammem مصمم (from 9ammem) to be hell bent on doing something
    nawi ناوي (from nawa) to intend to do something
    3aayez عايز (from 3aaz) to want to do something
    shaayef شايف (from shaaf) to see
    2aa3ed قاعد (from 2a3ad) to sit
    waa2ef واقف (from wa3af) to stand, stop... *waa2ef only makes sense when the context is "standing"*
    mistanni مستني (from estanna) to wait
    mishtaa2 مشتاق (from eshtaa2) to miss
    daa5il داخل (from da5al) to enter
    raaje3 راجع (from riji3) to come back
    misaafir مسافر (from saafer) to go on a trip
    meshtihi مشتهي (from eshtaha) to covet something, to be overly desirous of something
    laazem لازم (from lazam) to be a requirement

    most of these words are used as modal expressions, or a progressive action, but if you are unsure of what to use, just go with the "be-" form. most people will understand the proper context, especially those who speak levantine arabic, where (from what iv heard from hearing them speak) usually don't make an distinction, but that could also go either way.

    however, using any of these verbs in the "be-" present makes them habitual (usually in cairo)
    the purpose of using these words in these context is to describe the action is ongoing, but not habitual.
    using "non-ongoing"/non-progressive verbs (if that makes sense) in the form of an active participle gives the context of "having done something"
    *ex.. ana waa5ed bard, laazem arou7 lel dktour* waa5ed in this context means "caught"
    انا واخد برد لازم اروح للدكتور

    there's actually more, but i can't think of them

    PPS.. for "meshtaghel" "menaddef" "waakel" the rule doesn't apply as far as I know, not sure why... Hopefully someone will have a better answer for this particular question

    PPPS... Plural for Mestanni is Mestanniyyiin مستنيين
    We are waiting on you "E7na mestanniyyiin feek" احنا مستنيين فيك
     
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    Interprete

    Senior Member
    French, France
    Thanks a lot, that's a very detailed explanation!

    Just one thing: In Cairo/Alex, they don't use "fi" after istanna. Hence my question about the plural of "ana mestannik".
    I mean, how do you stick the -k to mestanniyeen ?
    I've heard "e7na mestannik" from my flatmate one day, but I find it strange.

    Also, I THINK (really not sure) I've heard meshta3'el... does it ring any bell, or is it just me hallucinating?

    Thirdly, how come you can't say ana wakel, but you can say "ana lessa wakel" (which I hear every day) ?

    Thanks again!
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Hi,

    I'll try to answer all your question, so forgive me if I repeat any thing that was allready said by i_guess.
    1/What is the difference between ana mestannik and bastannak? Would it sound odd to say bastannak in this context?
    The form of مستنيك indicates and action being done now, or in the near future. Of course the meaning here is about now not the future.
    باستناك indicates a habit: I usually wait for you.
    So, أنا مستنيك means I'm waiting for you (now), while أنا باستناك كل يوم عشان نروح الشغل سوا = I wait for you every day to go to work together.
    2/I'm having trouble with the morphology here: how would you put 'mestanny' in the plural form to say "we're waiting for you"?
    The plural of mestanni is mestanneyyiin مستنّيين and you add a vowel before the pronoun: mestanneyyiinak (the last "i" is not very long, it's more a stressed vowel than a long vowel).
    3/Can all verbs be used in this participle form? Can I say :ana meshta3'el, ana wâkel (like the very common ana nâzel) [though I said wâkel one day and someone corrected me "no, bâkol"], ana menaDDef el oda.
    If not, is there a way to know when this form can be used?
    For a reason I can't explain, واكل and منضف indicates a done action:
    ما ترموش فتافيت في الأرض، أنا لسة منضفة
    Don't drop crumbs on the floor, I just finished cleaning.
    or: البيت ريحته حلوة قوي، إنتِ منضفة بإيه؟
    The house smells very good, what did you use for clearning (what did you clean with)?

    The same with waakel:
    - بطني بتوجعني
    - مانت واكل كتير قوي

    - My stomac hurt
    - Well, you ate so much!
    Just one thing: In Cairo/Alex, they don't use "fi" after istanna. Hence my question about the plural of "ana mestannik".
    I mean, how do you stick the -k to mestanniyeen ?
    I've heard "e7na mestannik" from my flatmate one day, but I find it strange.
    Yes, we don't use prepositions with this verb.
    And yes, mestannik is not accurate. But as a general rule, we joke and "play" a lot with words.
    Also, I THINK (really not sure) I've heard meshta3'el... does it ring any bell, or is it just me hallucinating?
    First, the last vowel should be a fat7a. But without context, I can't guess what is was meant by this word.
    Thirdly, how come you can't say ana wakel, but you can say "ana lessa wakel" (which I hear every day) ?
    لسة واكل is more common. But like in the example I gave above, there's nothing wrong with using waakel alone. It's a matter of context, as it usually is. :)

    P.S. There's a couple of threads about active participles, I hope they'll give you more info about this.
     

    Interprete

    Senior Member
    French, France
    Thank you very much!

    I've also gone through the other threads I was able to find. However they didn't really add anything to your explanations :)

    For a reason I can't explain, واكل and منضف indicates a done action:
    Yes several threads point out that one category of verbs can be used in the fâ3el form to imply the past while others express a present continuous action.

    What nobody seems to have explained is: how do you make out which active participle has a past meaning, and which has a present meaning? Do you just neeed to learn them all through practice, or are they all linked by some similarity?
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    What nobody seems to have explained is: how do you make out which active participle has a past meaning, and which has a present meaning? Do you just neeed to learn them all through practice, or are they all linked by some similarity?
    They are actually all linked in a way, and I think this works similarly in Egyptian Arabic as it does in Levantine Arabic which I'm more familiar with.

    The idea is that the participle is actually an adjective at heart - and that it describes the state that occurs from the action of the cognate verb.

    When the verb is a verb of "doing" something "to something", i.e. transitive actions involving tangible objects - the participle denotes the "state of having done X." For example if I akalt something, I am subsequently in the state of wākel (having eaten; no longer hungry, full, etc.).

    With verbs of cognition like "know", remember that the past tense verb means something like "come to know" - if he عرف about the information (has come to know about it) then he is in the state of عارف (knowing about it). If he has not عرفه then he can't be عارفه.:D

    With stative verbs that describe "becoming an adjective quality" then the participle describes simply being the adjective at present. If he زعل about something (got upset about it) then he is presently زعلان about it. In this class of verbs, the more common form is فعلان than فاعل but the same principle applies (and in fuṣħa we might more regularly use the form فاعل like غاضب, etc.).

    The slight exception to the aforementioned principles is that verbs of motion and translocation tend always to have their participles refer to the action of motion in progress, even though the past tense verb implies completion. So unlike the other examples, if he راح somewhere, we assume he is there and that is not رايح at present.

    It's a little theoretical, and I think it's easier to understand what participles mean in general depending on class:

    1. transitive verbs with "tangible" actions/objects - the فاعل describes being in the state of having completed the action.
    2. verbs of emotion, cognition, believing, thinking etc - the فاعل describes being in the state of believing, knowing, thinking about X at the moment of utterance.
    3. verbs of translocation/motion - the فاعل describes being in the state of progression of motion.
    4. verbs of becoming or acquiring qualities - the فاعل or usually the فعلان describes possessing that quality at present (which is usually a transient quality, not a permanent characteristic).
     
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    CZAREK

    Senior Member
    POLISH
    Yes several threads point out that one category of verbs can be used in the fâ3el form to imply the past while others express a present continuous action.

    What nobody seems to have explained is: how do you make out which active participle has a past meaning, and which has a present meaning? Do you just neeed to learn them all through practice, or are they all linked by some similarity?
    Yes I think it is very confusing especially in EA,I tried to came across them by myself ,but it was a bit hard.Maybe there any references that explain all this things that Interprete is asking about?

    Cherine thank you so much for your informations

    Salaaam
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    You're welcome, guys. :)

    Clevermizo, I think your theory is quite clever. :) There can be exceptions, of course, but I can't think of any at the time being.
     

    Interprete

    Senior Member
    French, France
    Thank you clevermizo, it's pretty clear, although I find the categorization a bit difficult to apply.

    For example: which heading does 'mestanny' (I love this word) fall under?
    I'm not even sure what this action could be described as. A verb of not doing anything? :)

    Can it be summarized by just saying that all transitive verbs expressing a tangible action have a past meaning, while all the others have a present meaning (in their AP form)?
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    mestanny works both ways. Only the structure and the context can tell.

    For example:
    أنا مستنيك = I'm waiting [now] for you.
    فضلت مستنيك ساعة = I kept waiting for you for an hour.
     
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    Interprete

    Senior Member
    French, France
    Thanks cherine!
    I'm not sure I quite understand your second example though. Doesn't it litterally translate as 'I spent an hour waiting for you', thus describing an action in progress (waiting for you)?
    I had never heard the verb fadal so I can't tell, since I don't know how it is used.

    Oh sorry I guess it's a stupid question, since you can't "finish waiting for" someone so it can never describe a completed action like in wâkel and so on... if I'm not confused.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    faDal (Alexandrian pronunciation :) in Cairo it's feDel) means "he kept". It is in the past, so the structure indicates that the action took place in the past.
    To use the same structure to indicate that the action will take place in the future, you can say:
    حافضل مستنيك لحد ما تيجي
    I'll keep waiting for you till you come (7afDal mestannik le7ad(e) ma tiigi).

    P.S. I edited my previous post to make the meaning/translation of فضلت clearer. :) And your question is not stupid at all, it was my mistake for not giving a better translation. Sorry!
     

    Interprete

    Senior Member
    French, France
    Thanks you cherine (I hope you're not getting tired of my thanks) !
    So just to be clear: it's always fadal + active participle ?
    7afdal wâkel la7add ma aragga3 ? (sorry I just wanted to use the verb eat)
    7ayefdal metmarran (or metmarren?) kung fu la7add ma yeb2a kwayes fih ?
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    I'm not tired of your thanks, but I'm getting embarrassed. :) Merci lezo2ak :)

    So you chose the Alexandrian pronunciation? Ok, faDal doesn't necessarily work with participles. In your examples, you should use the verbs.
    I suggest you open a new thread for فضل - فاضل so that I can give you more elaborate answers if you need to.
     

    CZAREK

    Senior Member
    POLISH
    I only assume that يادوب can be the correct one
    and as far as I know it means "barely"/"hardly".Right?

    Is there a possiblity to say and if that makes any sense?

    They have barely\just furnished their flat=homma lessa faarasheen sha22athom\or yadoob faarasheen sha22athom?

    Salaam
     
    Both are correct, however it depends on which region is accustomed to which saying... I haven't heard many cairo dialects use "ya doob", but in saidi both work.
    They way I would say it would be
    "Ya doobi kalto" I just ate it
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Hi,
    A link in another thread brought me back to this one, and I noticed I forgot to comment on these:
    So just to be clear: it's always fadal + active participle ?
    7afdal wâkel la7add ma aragga3 ? (sorry I just wanted to use the verb eat)
    7ayefdal metmarran (or metmarren?) kung fu la7add ma yeb2a kwayes fih ?
    Unfortunately, they're not right. In both sentences we use the verb not the active particple:
    حافضل آكل لحد ما ارجَّع
    حيفضل يتمرَّن لحد ما يبقى كويس

    Again, I don't have a rule to explain it. Sorry :eek:
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    To me it makes sense. واكل means you've finished eating so how can you tefDal waakel? That would mean "you kept on being done eating" which doesn't make any sense.:)
     

    إسكندراني

    Senior Member
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    Unless we're joking around :D
    واكل؟
    أيوة
    طاب ح تفضل واكل ولّا ح تخلّيك كويّس وتيجي تجيب معانا كشري؟
    لا يا سيدي ح افضل واكل النّهاردا
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    erm, Iskandarany, are you joking? :confused:

    This حتفضل واكل can only be said as a joke playing on words (describing a state of being شبعان), but not in usual, normal talk. Right?
     

    ssbws

    Senior Member
    Russian
    [Moderator's Note: merged with a previous thread]
    Dear friends,
    A good question asked me a student of mine: how should we inderstand the following sentence: هو واكل like "he is eating" or "he has eaten"?

    Likewise هو لسة متغدي " he is still having lunch" or " he has just had lunch" ?

    In my humble opinion, these two verbs are not the verbs of motion or mental ability so they must mean here Present Perfect Tense whereas to speak about the current action we have to use هو بياكل و بيتغدي
     

    scetis

    Senior Member
    English- Canadian
    [Moderator's Note: merged with a previous thread]
    I was wondering if someone could tell me the rule of when to use the present continuous vs. the active participle when talking about actions that are taking place at the present time.

    For example, if someone calls and asks for my wife I say, "هي نايمة". Or, if I'm leaving, walking out the building I say "أنا رايح". Why do you use the active participle in this case but not the present continuous? Is there a rule that you can apply so as to know when to use which one?

    Thanks kindly!
     

    Sun-Shine

    Senior Member
    Arabic (Egypt)
    I was wondering if someone could tell me the rule of when to use the present continuous vs. the active participle when talking about actions that are taking place at the present time.
    I don't know a rule and I don't think there is one.
    In general:
    The present continuous describes an action that is taking place while talking
    and we use ب+الفعل with or without now"دلوقتي"
    I'm studying :أنا بذاكر
    I'm eating :أنا باكل

    If we added words as ../كل يوم/أسبوع it would be the present simple
    I study my lesson on sunday:أنا بذاكر دروسي يوم الحد

    The active participle indicates the state.
    أنا مذاكر
    أنا واكل
    If someone calls and asks for my wife I say, "هي نايمة". Or, if I'm leaving, walking out the building I say "أنا رايح".

    The verb يروح is different and of course there are other verbs like it.
    You say أنا رايح
    أنا بروح indicate present simple
    I go to school : أنا بروح المدرسة

    The verb ينام
    هو بينام means that he is about to sleep ,he is closing his eyes to sleep (he hasn't slept yet)
    هو نايم : he is sleeping
     
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