I thought of translating the sentence as you did, but addingرأيت رجلًا يلعب مع كلبه
رأيت رجلاً وأنا ألعب مع كلبي'I saw a man (while I was) playing with my dog,'
This is one of the trickiest things for foreigners to master. One example isn’t going to cut it, I’m afraid. I suggest searching for previous threads on the topic.I am just trying to make sense of how active participles work.
I totally agree.One example isn’t going to cut it, I’m afraid.
I don't see any prescriptive reason to reject لاعبا مع كلبه as this is, after all, one of the ways to form a حال phrase (not to mention its grammatical validity here as a potential adjective). As for the transitive/intransitive distinction, I'm not sure it's significant because we have no problem using other transitive verbs in a similar manner, e.g.: راسل الحريري المزيد من الدول طالبا مساعدة لبنان. So I wonder whether the aversion to لاعبا here has more to do with the fact that certain أسماء فاعل have become so associated with particular a meaning (i.e. لاعب usually corresponds to the English noun "player" rather than "playing" in an adjectival sense) that it becomes strange to use them in other ways.And I tried using a different verb and found myself saying:
رأيت رجلاً ماشيًا في الطريق
رأيت رجلاً نائمًا
رأيت رجلاً سعيدًا برؤية صديقة
But couldn't say
رأيت رجلاً لاعبًا مع كلبه (though I wouldn't be surprised if this is ok in Classical Arabic)
The only difference I could sense between these, is the ماشيًا، نائمًا، سعيدًا are from intransitive verbs يمشي، ينام، يَسْعَد, while يلعب is transitive. So maybe this has a role in "deciding" which form to use. I'm really not sure. I hope the previous threads will offer an answer.
I think it's hard to articulate because so far, the distinction appears arbitrary. To commandeer Cherine's example:
That is neither here nor there. Semantics often impacts what sentences are grammatical and which ones are not. I'm sure you've heard of Chomsky's famous sentence: "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously." It doesn't violate any morphosyntactic rules of English, but it is semantically meaningless, so it is an unacceptable sentence. Just because you can string together a group of words without violating any syntactic rules doesn't mean you've wound up with a viable sentence.Grammatically, there is - as far as I can tell - no difference whatsoever between these two sentences
I never said لاعب could never be a حال. I saidwe can also cite an example of لاعب being used as a حال in the Quran
Your example from the Qur'an is completely fine and would also work in MSA.I can tell you that in this sentence, it can’t be used as a حال or a نعت.
I am a descriptivist through and through, but I don't think prescriptive and descriptive approaches diverge in this particular case. I think you are being distracted by the fact that so far we haven't been able to provide a clear rationale and that the distinction "seems" arbitrary to you. Please bear in mind that some of us Arabic native speakers are often careful not to make categorical statements about MSA, since at the end of the day it is not our (or anyone's) native language, so although we generally have strong intuitions about it, we can't rely on them as well as we can on our intuitions about our respective native dialects. That's probably why we all hedged a bit in this thread:So I have a feeling we're once again heading into prescriptivism vs. descriptivism territory (i.e. Is correctness determined by codified rules or by the way people use a language? Is a sentence that just sounds "off" wrong or unidiomatic?).
The active participle doesn't work in such a sentence, I believe.
I don’t think it works in MSA
However, just because we weren't categorical doesn't mean that our judgments don't carry a lot of weight or that we are being wishy-washy. In fact, the fact that three of us agree about this is a strong indicator that more than likely, the usage is in fact incorrect in MSA.But couldn't say
رأيت رجلاً لاعبًا مع كلبه
Among other meanings! At least in Palestinian Arabic, the active participle can also refer to the past and to the future, depending on the context. That's one of the reasons this is such a tricky feature of Arabic.the dialects, where certain participles have taken on present tense meanings while others have taken on present perfect tense meanings
I don't mean for my tone come off as frustrated here. I lean toward prescriptivism in both English and Arabic for a variety of reasons but not to the extent that I don't see the value of descriptivism. What sounds correct to native speakers IS important and should be a guide for foreign speakers. At the same time, the value of descriptivism has been undermined in the case of ٍModern Standard Arabic by the extreme diglossia (which has led to weaker grammatical knowledge, less consensus on usage, weaker intuition, dialect spillover, and so on), as you suggested later in your post, and that's exactly the reason that it's also good to question native intuition and seek out justifications for unexplained judgments.@jack_1313, you seem to be drawing a bunch of unwarranted conclusions. Perhaps you're frustrated because, as I said, this particular Arabic nut is very hard to crack?
It's hard for me to articulate the reasons because they are complex and I never learned them explicitly. I'd rather leave it to someone like @analeeh, a highly advanced L2 speaker, to take a stab at it. I am certain that the use of the active participle is by and large rule-governed and based on patterns.
Yes, if we can find a rule or pattern or objective grounds explaining why رأيت رجلا ماشيا مع كلبه is okay (I assume?) but رأيت رجلا لاعبا مع كلبه isn't, then great - we can conclusively demote it from unidiomatic and potentially incorrect to categorically incorrect. That's why I proposed the idea that it might have something to do with certain participles becoming exclusively associated with one particular shade of meaning in my earlier post, but I was just brainstorming.It's hard for me to articulate the reasons because they are complex and I never learned them explicitly. I'd rather leave it to someone like @analeeh, a highly advanced L2 speaker, to take a stab at it. I am certain that the use of the active participle is by and large rule-governed and based on patterns.
I'm afraid I disagree with you here. Semantics affect whether a sentence makes sense, not whether it is "grammatical", i.e. syntactically correct. You're conflating the two concepts when the very point of Chomsky's sentence was to show the distinction between them. I'm going to be lazy and quote Wikipedia:That is neither here nor there. Semantics often impacts what sentences are grammatical and which ones are not. I'm sure you've heard of Chomsky's famous sentence: "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously." It doesn't violate any morphosyntactic rules of English, but it is semantically meaningless, so it is an unacceptable sentence. Just because you can string together a group of words without violating any syntactic rules doesn't mean you've wound up with a viable sentence.(Emphasis added)
So the Chomsky's sentence wasn't incorrect unless by "incorrect" we mean "doesn't make much sense".Colorless green ideas sleep furiously is a sentence composed by Noam Chomsky in his 1957 book Syntactic Structures as an example of a sentence that is grammatically correct, but semantically nonsensical ... Although the sentence is grammatically correct, no obvious understandable meaning can be derived from it, and thus it demonstrates the distinction between syntax and semantics.
I have a hunch you're overstating the case. Diglossia does complicate matters to a certain extent, but not nearly as much as you seem to be making it out to.the value of descriptivism has been undermined in the case of ٍModern Standard Arabic by the extreme diglossia (which has led to weaker grammatical knowledge, less consensus on usage, weaker intuition, dialect spillover, and so on)
Maybe the Chomsky sentence wasn't the best example. Semantics can indeed determine what sentences are grammatical. For example, "I offered John the job" is grammatical while "I mentioned John the job" is ungrammatical, and this is most likely related to the semantics of each verb. (This example is in fact very similar to the case we have here.)Semantics affect whether a sentence makes sense, not whether it is "grammatical"
But it has everything to do with syntax. "Offer" is a ditransitive verb (as well as transitive and intransitive), which means that it can take two objects (a direct object and an indirect object). Good dictionaries will mark it as ditransitive. This is a class of verbs that is well documented and understood across languages (أعطى is the obvious example in Arabic). "Mentioned", on the other hand, is a (regular) transitive verb, so it cannot take two objects and the recipient can only be added using a prepositional phrase. So the sentence is wrong because we can't pair verbs with more objects than the number allowed by the type of verb ("He slept the cat", "She gave him the bag the books"). Are you suggesting that the concept of transitivity is not part of syntax?For example, "I offered John the job" is grammatical while "I mentioned John the job" is ungrammatical, and this has nothing to do with syntax.
I understand the sentence like you (assuming this sentence is correct)... Because for me the word لاعبا is an adjective of the word رجلا.رأيت رجلا لاعبا مع كلبه
For a Haal construction, the Haal has to be indefinite, which it is ( لاعبا). Also صاحب الحال should be definite (almost always) and here it is indefinite (رجلا). So, it can not mean..
I saw man (who was) playing with his dog.
Yes in this case, to make the difference with the adjective and to take into account the definition of haal, I would not translate using a relative sentence... I would use a connector which expresses the simultaneity of the two events (whereas, while ...), in French : "J'ai vu un homme alors que je jouais avec mon chien".However, if we consider صاحب الحال as the pronoun "I" of the verb which is definite, then the sentence would mean...
I saw a man while I was playing with a dog.
It seems that time is also a condition in classical Arabic, right? I mean the active participle can act like a verb but (when it is not defined by article al) there are conditions for that, the tense must be the present or the future :Note that this question of how active participles can be used is even more relevant to the dialects, where certain participles have taken on present tense meanings while others have taken on present perfect tense meanings, but the case for descriptivism is obviously much stronger when it comes to dialects.
It seems that if this condition is not respected the active participle is used as a simple noun. For example, in this case, the word لاعب would rather mean "player"...
I hadn't read about this rule before, and it renders what I said earlier in the thread about ماشيا/لاعبا being either a حال or a نعت incorrect. However, the rule doesn't affect the grammatical accuracy of the sentence because if the word can't be حال then it is - at least theoretically and until we can identify the reasons for disqualifying لاعبا that Elroy was talking about earlier - a نعت. The reason that grammar references apparently give for not allowing a حال to come immediately after an indefinite noun is, specifically, to eliminate this very confusion over whether to classify the word as a حال or نعت when صاحب الحال is accusative. There are, however, a range of other circumstances wherein صاحب الحال may be indefinite.لاعبا cant be hal because رجل is indefinite.
Maybe the reason is simpler than we thought ???So those are the results so far. Unfortunately, with the two most knowledgeable respondents not responding to my follow-up questions, we're no closer to identifying the reasons for our aversion to لاعبا in this context.
This question reminds me of this thread: فلَمَّا رَبَضَ أتَى إِلَيْهِ جُرَذٌ يَمْشِي عَلى ظهْرِهِ فوَثَبَ قائِماAs for the indefinite sahib al hal none of the conditions apply to the sentence we are dealing with
This is explanation that I proposed in post #15, but Elroy seemed quite certain that it is not the case.In theory the active participle can act like the verb from which it derives but in practice I have the impression that certain active participles (such as for example: تاجر ، معلم ، مسلم ...) are mainly used as a noun (substantive) to the point that when they are not used as a noun (substantive), the sentence doesn't sound idiomatic ???