History of the dialectal Arabic verb forms تفاعل tfaaʕal and تفعّل tfaʕʕal

wriight

Senior Member
English (US) / Arabic (Lebanon)
This might be a little specific, but we'll see. Note that it ONLY applies to certain Arabic varieties; for example, there are Bedouin dialects that have preserved all of the original 'internal passives', and they assuredly are not within the scope of this post. The dialect group I'm best-acquainted with is Levantine, so (disclaimer) any odd assumptions I make will probably be because of that.
I'm not sure if I should provide background, seeing as this isn't an Arabic-specific forum, but I'll chance not doing that for the sake of keeping this post shorter. (It didn't quite work, in retrospect, but if you happen to browse the Arabic form and have seen my recent post regarding stanna, then you can pretty much just skip to the final two paragraphs!)

Basically, in a lot of contemporary Arabic dialects, the original reflexive active-voice verb forms *tafaaʕala and *tafaʕʕala have been reappropriated from reflexive to passive. In other words, rather than historic "faaʕala-passive-fuuʕila", "faʕʕala-passive-fuʕʕila", "tafaaʕala-passive-tufuuʕila", and "tafaʕʕala-passive-tufuʕʕila", the new productive formations are "faaʕal-passive-tfaaʕal" and "faʕʕal-passive-tfaʕʕal".
Complicating this, though, is the continued influence that the contemporary dialects have received from higher registers of Arabic which preserve the 'original' verb-derivation system, resulting in direct loans or fossilized verbs that don't respect the whole "new passive" idea. For example, the Levantine verb tṣawwar is the productive passive of the verb ṣawwar "to take a photo of", but it coincides with the fossilized higher-register loan tṣawwar "to imagine".

A while ago I came across something that's in fact nothing new (but was new to me at the time), documented in this Arabic-forum thread of mine. Basically, a lot of dialects seem to sport a marginal variant of each of the two t-prefixed forms: (i)stfaaʕal and (i)stfaʕʕal for, respectively, tfaaʕal and tfaʕʕal. Their derivation appears to be by analogy with the initial st- of the wholly unrelated verb form (i)stafʕal, but there's no semantic shift whatsoever — the only shift is the sound change of the t- prefix to st-.
Importantly, all verbs following (i)stfaaʕal and (i)stfaʕʕal are reflexive in meaning, meaning they aren't "new passives" of faaʕal and faʕʕal.

Now, on what seems like a tangent, there's a verb "to wait" used in a lot of Arabic varieties today that reads stanna. It's not immediately traceable to any particular verb-form derivation pattern, but the general consensus is that it's somehow related to the historic verbs taʔanna "to act leisurely" and (i)staʔna "to hesitate, to wait". However, I haven't yet seen a concrete explanation of the devation from both. So my last post in that earlier thread of mine is an argument that it fits right in to this general pattern of "(i)stfaʕʕal" verbs, being derived directly from tʔanna but affected by analogy with (i)staʔna, meaning that its 'original' dialectal form must have been *(i)stʔanna.

And that's all well and good. But what confused me was that, unlike the other examples of (i)stfaaʕal and (i)stfaʕʕal, this stanna is nowhere near marginal: it's the predominant verb for "to wait" in a large, widespread number of contemporary Arabic varieties, which seems to suggest to me that its apparent predecessor, *(i)stʔanna, must have previously been present in all of these varieties as well, which seems odd for a verb form that is rare and completely unproductive today despite also being present marginally in a large number of varieties.

So the idea popped into my head all of a sudden that perhaps the original dialectal reflexes of the active-verb forms *tafaaʕala and *tafaʕʕala were in fact (i)stfaaʕal and (i)stfaʕʕal, which initially would have allowed tfaaʕal and tfaʕʕal to unambiguously exist as new-passive formations. And then, as time passed, these (i)stfaaʕal and (i)stfaʕʕal verbs would have been leveled back into tfaaʕal and tfaʕʕal through continued exposure to (and both loaning and re-loaning from) Modern Standard Arabic and historically equivalently-high registers. Under this assumption, *(i)stʔanna would have only avoided being overridden by a re-loaned *tʔanna because of the phonologically-motivated shift to stanna, causing it to resemble a different-enough verb form that it stuck around.

This has every reason to just be a flight of fancy, though, which I'm definitely leaning toward because I'm not at all well-read on the contemporary dialects' evolution and diachronics. Is there anything to possibly support this idea, or is it just bunk, with the actual explanation being that the s-prefixed forms appeared erratically on a small number of verb forms without constituting a language-wide shift (and stanna just got lucky)?
 
Last edited:
  • 1:
    I think the problem here is that you mixed the fact that:
    the modern istannaa(to wait) is originally ista'a'naa from the form istaXXaX / istafʕal (reflexive causative)
    with
    the new modern dialectal form
    istXaaXaX: which appears to me to be a derivative of the form istaXXaX with the added meaning from XaaXaXa /faaʕala


    so there is no evidence that ever occurred
    (i)stfaaʕal and (i)stfaʕʕal verbs would have been leveled back into tfaaʕal and tfaʕʕal through continued exposure to (and both loaning and re-loaning from) Modern Standard Arabic and historically equivalently-high registers.

    2:
    the original reflexive active-voice verb forms *tafaaʕala and *tafaʕʕala have been reappropriated from reflexive to passive.
    this occured across all semitic languages which have lost the internal passive of verbal forms
    Hebrew, Aramaic and some modern Arabic dialects appropriated the T for the passive instead for the reflexive
     

    Ihsiin

    Senior Member
    English
    I don't see a problem with the process استأنى -> استنّى as the origin of the word. I rather feel that the form استفعّل is something of a red herring in this regard. I'm fairly an elided hamza does sometimes lead to gemination. Perhaps if I go away and think about I'll come up with more examples, but one that occurs at the moment is in Iraqi people often say شسّوّي instead of شأسوّي.
     

    wriight

    Senior Member
    English (US) / Arabic (Lebanon)
    Thanks for your responses!

    the modern istannaa(to wait) is originally ista'a'naa from the form istaXXaX / istafʕal (reflexive causative)
    What I'm saying is that I firmly believe this isn't the case. Rather than "mixing" at random, what I did was argue that this conventional etymology is erroneous, and that "the modern istannaa (to wait)" is instead of the innovative verb form (i)stfaʕʕal. I then used this as a base for my hypothesis in my post here.

    istXaaXaX: which appears to me to be a derivative of the form istaXXaX with the added meaning from XaaXaXa /faaʕala

    so there is no evidence that ever occurred
    We're roughly in agreement here, including about there being no evidence for the part you quoted. I intended that part to be speculative. My point with this post was to take the following 5–6 bits of info (some known previously, some new):
    1. The innovative verb forms (i)stfaʕʕal and (i)stfāʕal exist today all across a large portion of the Arab world, yet they're completely unproductive, and what examples do exist are always few (and even marginal themselves, depending on region).
    2. Every example of either form that's been given so far is reflexive (i.e. "original") in meaning, not passive (i.e. not in line with the "contemporary" semantic appropriation of the t- forms).
    3. The contemporary verb استنّى (i)stanna can be shown to have a fairly unproblematic derivation from *استأنّى (i)stʔanna, which is a massive improvement over attempts to derive it [1] directly from استأنى (i)staʔnā with a lot unexplained (which I'll reiterate below), or [2] directly from تأنّى taʔannā with unexplained initial s-.
      Deriving استنّى (i)stanna from *استأنّى (i)stʔanna still makes it an eventual reflex of تأنّى taʔannā, but importantly also shows that it fits right into the pattern given in points #1 and #2.
    4. If #3 is accepted, the following points are relevant:
      • The verb استنّى (i)stanna is both prevalent and decidedly not marginal, which sticks out awfully badly, because it's even predominant in areas with few if any other examples of (i)stfaʕʕal and (i)stfāʕal.
      • Making that doubly interesting, its status as an (i)stfaʕʕal verb is obscured by the lost initial hamza.
    5. Diachronically, a significant amount of dialectal innovations have been overwritten later on, en masse, by MSA-influenced forms.
    ...and, that all presented, to compile a hypothesis that's summarized in the second-to-last paragraph of my initial post (starting with "So the idea popped into my head..."). I acknowledged that it was nothing more than a hypothesis, though, and so what I'd like to see is concrete historical evidence either for or against it.

    this occured across all semitic languages which have lost the internal passive of verbal forms
    Hebrew, Aramaic and some modern Arabic dialects appropriated the T for the passive instead for the reflexive
    I'm not sure if there was a point to highlighting my "reappropriated" and your "appropriated", but either way, this was peripheral to my main point and I was treating it as a given rather than arguing it :p Thank you for the info regarding other Semitic languages, though. Good to know.

    I'm fairly an elided hamza does sometimes lead to gemination. Perhaps if I go away and think about I'll come up with more examples, but one that occurs at the moment is in Iraqi people often say شسّوّي instead of شأسوّي.
    Questionable historically. There are a lot of first-hamzated dialectal (i)stafʕal verbs we can compare to, and nowhere to my knowledge do any of them exhibit this gemination; two somewhat-universal examples off the top of my head are استانس (i)stānas and استاهل (i)stāhal, respectively from استأنس (i)staʔnas and استأهل (i)staʔhal, where the first one in particular shows that استأنى (i)staʔnā would be expected to yield *استانى (i)stāna. (More broadly, we can also compare countless other historical VʕC sequences which all result in contemporary VVC.) And that's only the 3sg.m-perfective form of the verb, without even looking at the problematic final vowel in other conjugations.

    I agree that استنى (i)stanna < استأنى (i)staʔnā is plausible in a vacuum, but compared to real-life results of the same kind of derivation, استنى (i)stanna would end up a highly erratic special case with no good reason to be one. In contrast, I find an origin in استفعّل (i)stfaʕʕal relatively straightforward for reasons I've outlined already.
     
    Last edited:
    you are missing the point
    Etymologically

    the causative was was sa, then changed to haa then alif
    saf
    ʔala Arabic kept the reflexive derivative as in istafʔala
    look at Ugaritic language:
    the causative is šapʔala while the reflexive is ištapʔala
    afʔala became the causative form in Arabic, and reflexive causative is istafʔala


    I find an origin in استفعّل (i)stafaʕʕal relatively straightforward
    so
    if you want to hypothesise the existence of such forms you should demonstrate that
    1_safʔala started to be the causative again in Arabic
    2_ then the sa became fluid in usage to be added to those forms
    3_then the reflexive/passive T is added to those particles
    4_then that in all those Arabic dialects, uniformly, number 1 and 2 became obsolete
    5_then in all those dialects, they all dropped the s


    while my straightforward hypothesis
    is that dialects added the durativity or trying attempt meaning of faaʕal to istafʕal= istafaaʕal
    and not the other way around because
    1_ istaf3al became a fixed form, as (s) is not realised as a causative particle anymore
    2_ the reflexive or the passive is made by adding T in verbs not ista

    I agree that استنى (i)stanna < استأنى (i)staʔnā is plausible in a vacuum,
    you whole argument seems to be based on istannaa, is there any other example of this hypothesised form?
     

    wriight

    Senior Member
    English (US) / Arabic (Lebanon)
    Before my actual on-topic response, let me add this:
    afʔala became the causative form in Arabic, and reflexive causative is istafʔala
    Whoa -- I knew about the ʔ < h < s < š etymology of the causative form afʕala, but the connection to Ugaritic and this ultimate conclusion are completely new to me. It makes perfect sense. Thank you for the enlightenment!

    Now,
    so
    if you want to hypothesise the existence of such forms you should demonstrate that
    1_safʔala started to be the causative again in Arabic
    2_ then the sa became fluid in usage to be added to those forms
    3_then the reflexive/passive T is added to those particles
    4_then that in all those Arabic dialects, uniformly, number 1 and 2 became obsolete
    5_then in all those dialects, they all dropped the s


    while my straightforward hypothesis
    is that dialects added the durativity or trying attempt meaning of faaʕal to istafʕal= istafaaʕal
    and not the other way around because
    1_ istaf3al became a fixed form, as (s) is not realised as a causative particle anymore
    2_ the reflexive or the passive is made by adding T in verbs not ista
    I really think we're on the same page here. My previous attempts at explaining my position have been uninformed of the origin of the "s" in (i)stafʕal, though, and in particular of the fact that it once had an actual functional meaning as a causative marker. So, in light of that, let me rephrase my proposed chronology. (I'll be abandoning my color-coding here, because its purpose in the original post was to help people less-acquainted with Arabic keep track of things, but at this point in the discussion it shouldn't be necessary anymore.)
    1. The beginning. The verb forms tafaʕʕala and tafaaʕala exist in some pre-dialectal form of Arabic, as well as the verb form istafʕala. The "s" in istafʕala has, at this point, long been unproductive, i.e. it no longer has any meaning of its own. Nothing unusual so far.
    2. Fast-forward a lot. At some point in the development of the contemporary dialects, final vowels have been lost, as have the unstressed initial vowels there. Also, initial consonant clusters are in again, giving the forms tfaʕʕal, tfaaʕal, and stafʕal. At this point, the shift in meaning from reflexive to passive has not yet occurred in the t-initial forms.
    3. For reasons unknown, the t-initial forms proceed to shift to initial st-, presumably by analogy with the initial st- in stafʕal. This yields stfaʕʕal, stfaaʕal for those two.
      This is an identical proposal to your suggestion that the meanings of tfaʕʕal and tfaaʕal were "added" to the form of stafʕal. However, I shy away from your description of the process, because in reality no semantic shift occurred at all! The change has nothing to do with meaning, in other words, because stfaʕʕal and stfaaʕal are literally still tfaʕʕal and tfaaʕal in every possible semantic and morphological sense; the only difference is that they now have a different initial cluster. (To really drive this home, the verbal noun of stfaaʕal even remains tafaaʕul.)
      When I said that this new initial s- was added "by analogy to (i)stafʕal", I didn't mean that the actual s (and it alone) was somehow reanimated with its old causative meaning in order to be analyzed as an individual, once-again-productive prefix! What I meant was just that the initial st- of stafʕal must have spread to these other two forms, causing their t- prefix to be replaced (on a purely phonetic level, with no change in meaning whatsoever) by st-.
    4. Presumably around this same time, the phonetically-untainted reflexive t- prefix of these same forms is reanalyzed as a passive-voice marker.
    From this point on, my conjecture is restated as follows.
    1. As the dialects evolve, these innovated stfaʕʕal and stfaaʕal forms proceed to coexist with tfaʕʕal and tfaaʕal, but the former are a continuation of the original reflexives whereas the latter are new passive-voice forms.
    2. Fus7a does not exhibit (and never has exhibited) *(i)stafaʕʕala and *(i)stafaaʕala, and so as the dialects evolve along with it, they borrow many reflexives into the forms tfaʕʕal and tfaaʕal directly from fus7a tafaʕʕala and tafaaʕala. This conflicts with their dialectal reanalysis as passives, and so it muddies what would be a distinction between t- and st- in these forms. Over time, this adds up to result in the slow loss of stfaʕʕal and stfaaʕal from the dialects.
    you whole argument seems to be based on istannaa, is there any other example of this hypothesised form?
    It's not a hypothesized form, I've already indicated that it's attested. The hypothesis comes in trying to explain the split between the st- forms and the t- forms, and why both seem to be extant today and so on and so forth.
    The full, regrettably short list compiled from my first thread (in the Arabic forum) is:
    • stnaawal استناول (also tnaawal تناول)
    • stmaada استمادى (also tmaada تمادى)
    • stxaayal استخايل (also txayyal تخيّل)
    • stlaʔʔa استلقّى (also tlaʔʔa تلقّى)
    • stxabba استخبّى (also txabba تخبّى, from *taxabbaʔa تخبّأ)
    I don't doubt there are others, but that's what was contributed to that relatively low-interest thread. The last one is from my own notes: Lebanese chef Chadi Zeitouni has a video where he asks of a guest wēn kente mestxebbēye?, and the last word is an interestingly-formed participle from a verb *stxabba. (An equivalent to the whole sentence in Modern Standard Arabic is ʔayna kunti mutaxabbiʔah? أين كنت متخبّئة؟, with the active participle of the verb *taxabbaʔa تخبّأ.) And then, yes, there's stanna, which I've gone over/explained enough already haha. If there should happen to be another anomalously common stfaʕʕal or stfaaʕal verb, then it would bolster this idea as well, but stanna is all I've got for now.

    (Quick point of note: the historical long vowels ى ا و ي وا are, for all intents and purposes, short vowels in the contemporary dialects. The original short vowels were lost, as you know, and these original long vowels were shortened in their place. That's why I transliterate dialectal ى as -a rather than as -aa or .)

    Thank you for a well-reasoned response. I hope I've answered appropriately.
     
    Last edited:
    For reasons unknown, the t-initial forms proceed to shift to initial st-, presumably by analogy with the initial st- in stafʕal. This yields stfaʕʕal, stfaaʕal for those two.
    so your hypothesis can't explain why there is an S in the verb, while mine can.
    untill you can produce an explanation, me and others in this form we don't think these forms ever existed


    • stnaawal استناول (also tnaawal تناول)
    • stmaada استمادى (also tmaada تمادى)
    • stxaayal استخايل (also txayyal تخيّل)
    • stlaʔʔa استلقّى (also tlaʔʔa تلقّى)
    • stxabba استخبّى (also txabba تخبّى, from *taxabbaʔa تخبّأ)
    again you proof my point, the last one is the same as istannaa, they both have a glottal A which geminated
    khaba'Aa > istakhba'Aa > istakhabbaa
    ......................> ista'A'naa > istannaa
    and istalaqqa, is confined to your dialect, so even if what said occurred in your dialect, it doesn't explain other dialects pattern
    However, it appears that it follows the same pattern too, so
    1_Is there any example where there so no glottal A or week letters?



    as far as the first three, I gave an explanation while you said you can't explain why Arabs would add an S to the verbal form.

    And such occurrence would be a major phenomenon in term of the spoken language,
    and whatever period for such occurrence, Arabic was a documented language, and there is no such reporting of this.
     

    wriight

    Senior Member
    English (US) / Arabic (Lebanon)
    and whatever period for such occurrence, Arabic was a documented language, and there is no such reporting of this.
    Very fair, if true.

    so your hypothesis can't explain why there is an S in the verb, while mine can.
    [...]
    as far as the first three, I gave an explanation while you said you can't explain why Arabs would add an S to the verbal form.
    I'm not sure I want to humor this again. You seem convinced that our explanations are fundamentally different, but they're not. They're alternate phrasings of one another. You propose that these forms are تفاعل/تفعّل "applied to" استَفْعَل, whereas I propose (in brief) that they're استَفْعَل "applied to" تفاعل/تفعّل. I've explained why I prefer the latter ordering, though. The reason I used "for reasons unknown" was because neither of us knows for sure why this happened... we're hypothesizing. That doesn't mean I'm copping out.

    again you proof my point, the last one is the same as istannaa, they both have a glottal A which geminated
    khaba'Aa > istakhba'Aa > istakhabbaa
    ......................> ista'A'naa > istannaa
    Well, here, you're the one straying from what's historically documented. Please find me just one historical Arabic example of a lost hamza causing gemination in an adjacent consonant. It's unheard of. Historical استَخْبَأ would yield dialectal اسْتَخْبَى, not اسْتخَبّى, and for this we can compare the real example of historical استرجأ becoming dialectal استَرْجَى, not استرَجَّى. And استَأْنَى would, without a single doubt, become dialectal استَانى, not استَنّى -- this is by comparison with every other استفعل-style verb with a hamza in that position that we can observe.
    "istakhba'Aa > istakhabbaa" is impressively implausible in particular, because the hamza there is separated by a vowel from that b, so the change would require an intermediate form completely in violation of Arabic's phonotactics (let alone diachronics). And, again, if you insist on deriving "ista'A'naa > istannaa" then you must also explain why the final vowel in other conjugations does not line up. The simplest answer, one that avoids as many Olympic leaps and special cases as possible, is that that's not how it was derived.

    and istalaqqa, is confined to your dialect, so even if what said occurred in your dialect, it doesn't explain other dialects pattern
    However, it appears that it follows the same pattern too, so
    1_Is there any example where there so no glottal A or week letters?
    I didn't realize you were arguing that استفَعَّل doesn't exist and that only استفاعل does. I don't see how this is logical. The t- of تفاعل is very transparently the same t- as in تفعّل, so a t- > st- change in one of the two would necessarily be a change in the other, even without explicit examples being found...
    I also don't see why you're discarding استلقّى, because who said it's "confined to my dialect"? (Googling "stla22a" in quotes brings up some perfectly good results, for example.) However, your point about all my استفَعَّل examples being dialectally final-weak is a good one, and also rather interesting -- but fortunately it looks like it's just a coincidence, because while I haven't looked too hard for other verbs, I did find the following examples of استوقّع easily enough on Google.

    بس يازوزتى انا بستوقع ان يوسف هيجى [...]
    But, my dear, I'm expecting that Youssef will come [...]
    بستوقع ان هذي طريقة لعقابها لأنها ما علمته بالحقيقة من البداية !
    I expect that this is a way to punish her because she didn't tell him the truth from the beginning!
    هههه هاي خذعة سهلة الزجاج هاض بكون معه قطعة صغيرة بستوقع بنوص الكاسة تنكسر لاحظو ايدو كيف رماها.
    Hahaha, this is an easy trick. There must be a small piece to that glass, I expect in the middle of the bowl, that breaks off. Pay attention to his hand, how he threw it aside.
    EDIT: bah, Almaany actually does list a definition "استَوْقَعَ فلانٌ الأمرَ: تَوَقَّعَهُ". I've never heard this, and I don't think it's what's used above (searching for other conjugations of استوقع returns very few results and basically zero dialectal results, and I'd expect some more if استَوْقَع were a common fus7a or dialectal word) -- not to mention استَوْقَع has other definitions than تَوَقَّعَ listed. But still, that's license to doubt.

    In any case, though, notice that those quotes show a good range of dialectal variation, with the first one seeming vaguely Egyptian and the latter two maybe South Levantine or thereabouts. Also, the following usage of استفقّد definitely isn't the استفْقد "to miss [someone]" that's used in most of the other Google results for this word (and there seems to be no definition this time along the lines of استفقد فلان الشيء: افتقده to conflict with it):

    كل مابفتح النت بتأمل بس عالفاضي ولمن بكون نايم بستفقد الموبايل لايكون حدا اتصل ةمو حاسس عليه وكل من اتصل حدا بقول جبلي خبر النتيجة
    Every time I open the Internet, I get my hopes up, but for nothing. And when I've slept, I check my mobile phone for anyone having called without me noticing, and every time I call someone they say to just get to the point already.
    Those were the first two verbs to come to mind. I hold absolutely zero doubt that (a) there are more usage examples of these two in particular, and (b) there are a ton more verbs on the form of استفَعَّل, both ones that I haven't found yet on the Internet and also ones that simply aren't recorded.

    And now here's one last thing to drive that home: Mark Cowell's A Reference Grammar of Syrian Arabic! For how much I praise this book, I certainly do an awful job of remembering to look through it for insight. But check out these two pages:

    1573259631625.png
    1573259718187.png


    Not only does the book document yet another استفعّل verb (even if it's final-weak), it also corroborates my proposed etymology of استنّى -- which, I repeat, I was initially treating as established here and not even intending to put up for debate, because simply looking at the very, very regular pattern through which hamzas and final-weak verbs have evolved from فصحى العصر to today (and comparing to the myriad similar evolutions that also exist today without debate) should indicate immediately and obviously that استنّى and استَأْنى do not match up. So that should be settled now, thank goodness.

    However, Cowell does treat these three verbs as "anomalous" mixings between تفعّل/تفاعل and استَفْعَل, without considering a larger-scale pattern of استفعّل and استفاعل -- likely for a lack of further examples. And that means that the book sadly doesn't help ascertain the cause, spread, and history of استفعّل and استفاعل, which again is what this thread is about. So I don't know. I've put forth what I think is plausible a couple times in this thread, but as you say it's stopped by an apparent lack of historical attestation of استفعّل/استفاعل (which I do find hard to swallow, for the record, considering again how prevalent they seem to be across the Arab World -- but it is what it is). As such, I don't currently have anything to add to what I've already said besides revised speculation.
     
    Last edited:
    meaning that its 'original' dialectal form must have been *(i)stʔanna.:tick:

    And that's all well and good. But what confused me was that, unlike the other examples of (i)stfaaʕal and (i)stfaʕʕal, this stanna is nowhere near marginal: it's the predominant verb for "to wait" in a large, widespread number of contemporary Arabic varieties, which seems to suggest to me that its apparent predecessor, *(i)stʔanna, must have previously been present in all of these varieties as well, which seems odd for a verb form that is rare and completely unproductive today despite also being present marginally in a large number of varieties.
    One of the most important points to take into account is that اسْتَأنَى has (ى ) a weak letter at the end, which is the final letter of the whole root form ء ن ي , the examples you gave in post #4 ; استأنس and استأهل are a different case, having as roots; ء ن س and ء هـ ل , the position of the weak letter within the defective verb could lead to a phonological phenomenon when derived into other patterns, that would likely occur in ( *استانى ) when a long vowel is followed by another one within the same unit, the length of that vowel would likely be considerably reduced to keep it easily uttered and phonetically balanced in normal conversations.
     

    wriight

    Senior Member
    English (US) / Arabic (Lebanon)
    That's interesting and a good argument, if I'm reading it right that you're making a case for استَأنَى > استَنّى. But as far as I know, Arabic tends mostly to care about syllable weight when it comes to phonologically-conditioned vowel-shortening, not whether specifically there's a long vowel or not -- so how would it help to replace the CVV syllable in *استانى with a still-heavy CVC syllable as in استَنّى? A good example we can actually compare to is the fus7a verb لاقى lāqā, which (perhaps for the reason you describe of having two long vowels in a row) has in some regions yielded dialectal لَقَى laqa, not *لقّى laqqa. This makes sense if we consider that the goal must have been to reduce the weight of the first syllable. If *استانى had been analyzed in a similar way, we might expect to see a resultant verb استَنى stana -- but I hold that gemination of the n would be an anomalous result, and so, still keeping in mind the problematic final vowels in other conjugations, I don't see any more reason here to accept استَأنَى as the source of استَنّى.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top