Levantine Arabic: هيك (direct object)

wriight

Senior Member
English (US) / Arabic (Lebanon)
It's a happy coincidence that قال هيك and عمل/سوّى/ساوى هيك have direct analogues in English: "to say so" and "to do so", where the verb is intransitive and "so"/هيك is adverbial. But what can be strange to an English-speaking learner is that e.g. ما تقول هيك is also a direct translation (and, really, the only acceptable translation) of "don't say this/that", which in English is a transitive verb with a direct object. Same with "don't do this/that".

For me, at least, this mapping makes me instinctively think of such verbs as transitive, with هيك as their object. Is this accurate and/or in line with a 100%-native speaker's perception? And, either way, how might the use of هيك in place of English's demonstrative pronouns there (the "this/that == هيك" thing) be explained in English?
 
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  • middak

    New Member
    american
    It's a happy coincidence that قال هيك and عمل/سوّى/ساوى هيك have direct analogues in English: "to say so" and "to do so", where the verb is intransitive and "so"/هيك is adverbial. But what can be strange to an English-speaking learner is that e.g. ما تقول هيك is also a direct translation (and, really, the only acceptable translation) of "don't say this/that", which in English is a transitive verb with a direct object. Same with "don't do this/that".

    For me, at least, this mapping makes me instinctively think of such verbs as transitive, with هيك as their object. Is this accurate and/or in line with a 100%-native speaker's perception? And, either way, how might the use of هيك in place of English's demonstrative pronouns there (the "this/that == هيك" thing) be explained in English?

    I am a learner, and unfortunately unable to answer you question.

    I am wondering if you could please write out سوّى/ساوى in english characters -like (هيك = haik).

    سوّى/ساوى I have never heard this word before, and wondering if it means anything "stand alone," or, what is its exact meaning in another context.

    Thanks
     

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    For me, at least, this mapping makes me instinctively think of such verbs as transitive, with هيك as their object.
    They are transitive, why would you think that they are not? I never thought of any of them being intransitive! I mean, it just sounds incomplete to me if someone said قال فلان أو عمل فلان and remained silent after that. If I heard it I would directly say شو قال؟ أو شو سوّى؟

    Now frankly I can't argue about English grammar (I can hardly argue about Arabic grammar to be frank!) but if someone said in English "he did" or "he said" and did not complete the sentence, I would also ask "what did he do or say". This to me signals that an object is needed to complete the sentence. To me this makes the word 'so' in 'he said so' is used in place of an object even if it's not grammatically an object.

    And, either way, how might the use of هيك in place of English's demonstrative pronouns there (the "this/that == هيك" thing) be explained in English?
    OK, lets start with this, demonstratives in Arabic are not pronouns, they are nouns. In any case, both nouns and pronouns so it doesn't make a difference. With regards to هيك, well it is not an adverb; it's a demonstrative. It literally means "like this".
     

    wriight

    Senior Member
    English (US) / Arabic (Lebanon)
    I am wondering if you could please write out سوّى/ساوى in english characters -like (هيك = haik).
    Absolutely, but can you open a separate thread for this? I'd be happy to answer, but it's a different topic.

    To me this makes the word 'so' in 'he said so' is used in place of an object even if it's not grammatically an object.
    Well... same, and this contributes to what I called my "instinctive" understanding of هيك in Arabic and yadda yadda yadda. But I couldn't find a single reference for anything like this, with dictionaries instead listing it solidly as an adverb under examples like "to do so" and "to say so". So I figured it was some manner of special case. (The more I think about it in light of your analysis, though, the more I see it's obvious that "do" and "say" can't be intransitive in this case, regardless of whether "so" is an adverb or what. So I'm not quite sure what to make of it.)

    OK, lets start with this, demonstratives in Arabic are not pronouns, they are nouns.
    I didn't say anything about demonstratives in Arabic, although I'd be interested in getting some reading on this :p I'm approaching the question of هيك from the issue of teaching it to/translating it for an English-speaker, so that's why I said "in place of English's demonstrative pronouns" above. What I was trying to suggest there, though, was that هيك wasn't a demonstrative here, which...

    With regards to هيك, well it is not an adverb; it's a demonstrative. It literally means "like this".
    ...is interesting! I was limping the other day and got asked ليه عم تمشي هيكي؟, a completely ordinary use of هيك. How would you describe it?
    (I'm fuzzy on what demonstratives are in a general sense, exactly. I see that there's such a thing as a demonstrative adverb, and I'm not sure whether that's what adverbial هيك would be if what you're saying is it's invariably a demonstrative and nothing else?)
     
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    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    ...is interesting! I was limping the other day and got asked ليه عم تمشي هيكي؟, a completely ordinary use of هيك. How would you describe it?
    I've never heard it pronounced like that, I've heard هيك and هيكا, the latter much less common. Never with a yaa' though, at least I don't recall. Interestingly, I have heard it with a yaa' in Iraqi Arabic, although the kaaf is pronounced as a ch in Iraqi Arabic.

    Anyway. هيك، هيكا، هيكي are all contractions or maybe more accurately colloquial pronunciations of the Classical Arabic هكذا, that is composed of
    هـ = حرف تنبيه
    ك = حرف تشبيه
    ذا = اسم إشارة

    The هـ is the same type of haa' that is added to the ذا in هذا. The difference here is the addition of the kaaf, that has the meaning of "like" or "similar to". Theoretically there should be a هكذي for the feminine, it has not been found in written documents of Classical Arabic but since it exists in at least two dialects then there is reason to believe that it did exist, we just never found it. At least this is what I think, but I'm no expert so don't take my word for it :D.

    I'm fuzzy on what demonstratives are in a general sense, exactly. I see that there's such a thing as a demonstrative adverb,
    I suppose it depends on the language. In Arabic all demonstratives are nouns except for ثَم وثَمة (neither are used in any dialect I know)

    I find it easier to understand demonstratives in Arabic because the name just gives it away اسم إشارة, basically they refer to whatever you are pointing at (whether literally pointing or figuratively pointing), which includes places and times (the two adverbs refer to a far away place or time, which might explain why they are adverbs).
     

    fenakhay

    Member
    French (France) / Arabic (Morocco)
    I've never heard it pronounced like that, I've heard هيك and هيكا, the latter much less common. Never with a yaa' though, at least I don't recall. Interestingly, I have heard it with a yaa' in Iraqi Arabic, although the kaaf is pronounced as a ch in Iraqi Arabic.

    Anyway. هيك، هيكا، هيكي are all contractions or maybe more accurately colloquial pronunciations of the Classical Arabic هكذا, that is composed of
    هـ = حرف تنبيه
    ك = حرف تشبيه
    ذا = اسم إشارة

    The هـ is the same type of haa' that is added to the ذا in هذا. The difference here is the addition of the kaaf, that has the meaning of "like" or "similar to". Theoretically there should be a هكذي for the feminine, it has not been found in written documents of Classical Arabic but since it exists in at least two dialects then there is reason to believe that it did exist, we just never found it. At least this is what I think, but I'm no expert so don't take my word for it :D.
    In Moroccan, this adverb is hakda or hakka (proximal) and hakdak or hakkak (distal). Though it doesn't change in gender nor in number.

    I suppose it depends on the language. In Arabic all demonstratives are nouns except for ثَم وثَمة (neither are used in any dialect I know)
    These are used in the Maghreb and pronounced depending on the dialect.

    In Morocco at least, it is pronounced temma (proximal) and there is a distal variant with a -k at the end : temmak. (You might even hear temmaka).

    In Tunisia, its pronunciation varies a lot :
    • Around the Gulf of Tunis, it is pronounced famma
    • In Mahdia, it is pronounced temma
    • In rural areas, it is pronounced thamma
    • In northern Tunisia, there is a distal variant : tammika
     

    fenakhay

    Member
    French (France) / Arabic (Morocco)
    الماعن كاينين تمة (la-mma3en kaynin temma) = the dishes are there. (in Moroccan)

    فمة عباد فالدار (famma 3bad fi d-dar) = there are people in the house (in Tunisian)
     

    apricots

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I've never heard it pronounced like that, I've heard هيك and هيكا, the latter much less common. Never with a yaa' though, at least I don't recall. Interestingly, I have heard it with a yaa' in Iraqi Arabic, although the kaaf is pronounced as a ch in Iraqi Arabic.
    هيكي (hēki/hēke) is used in the Galilee, the Golan Heights, and Lebanon (and Syria?).
     
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