MSA/All dialects: Form I voweling patterns and correspondences

wriight

Senior Member
English (US) / Arabic (Lebanon)
MSA has three possible voweling patterns for each tense of a Form I verb: "fa3ala, fa3ula, fa3ila" and "yaf3ilu, yaf3alu, yaf3ulu". (My understanding is that archaic forms of Arabic also had an alteration yi- for some imperfective verbs.) However, I'll admit I'm not actually positive how these correspond to each other as conjugations of the same verb. Is it possible, for instance, to have fa3ila-yaf3ilu, fa3ala-yaf3ulu, fa3ula-yaf3alu, etc?
And in any case, MSA has a ton of Form I verbs that are identical but for their voweling, usually with different meanings.

And then come dialects. Morphologically, Levantine Arabic has two voweling patterns for each tense: "fi3il, fa3al" and "yif3il, yif3al". The form yif3ul also pops up unpredictably as an equivalent and/or variant of yif3il -- I was looking at the Lughatuna dictionary, though, and it seems to indicate that yif3ul is only particularly common to Lebanon among Levantine dialects, and that Syrian tends toward yif3il? Is this accurate?
And, besides the arbitrary "yif3il/yif3ul" dilemma, some Levantine dialects also have the phonologically-conditioned forms "fu3ul (or fu3il)" and "yuf3ul, yuf3al", which only appear when there are emphatic consonants. (fa3al is unaffected by this.) But they're still morphologically the same as before. Typically, Levantine fi3il-yif3al and fa3al-yif3il correspond to one another, but mix-and-matching is common -- particularly with final-weak verbs, which in Lebanon and I think urban Syria tend toward fi3il-yif3il (i.e. fi3i-yif3i). Does most of the rest of the Levant tends toward preserving the fi3il-yif3al and fa3al-yif3il correspondences?
But anyway, this results in a very-feasibly-countable number of minimal voweling pairs, unlike in MSA. In Lebanese, I think at least the following nine can be identified -- first, the eight I listed in this post, and the following one I noticed today:
  • حكم_يحكم
    • 7ekem-ye7kam: I think only said in the 3rd-person feminine of a heart attack. 7ekmetne sakte 2albiyye aw ra7 te7kamne
    • 7akam-ye7kom: All other usages of the verb. l-wā7ad bte7kmo ẓroufo, l-2āḍe 7akam kaza, etc
(EDIT: There's also the ghala-yeghle/ghele-yeghla pair mentioned by akooha here, which had completely slipped my mind.)

Do more pairs exist in other Levantine dialects? What about in other dialect groups altogether? For instance, from discussing with a Hijazi acquaintance, I'm led to understand that none of those voweling pairs exist in Hijazi Arabic... but it still does seem like Form I verbs have more than one voweling pattern in each tense. Could anyone elaborate?

And I'm curious to know what it's like for other dialects, too.
 
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  • wriight

    Senior Member
    English (US) / Arabic (Lebanon)
    Wow, yes! And that looks even cooler than what happens in Levantine — remnants of أفعلَ do show up (a major tell being the presence of a ي in a middle-weak Form I verb where the root has a و... and I see Josh_ noticed this a full 10 years before I did, lol), but its function as a causative has been thoroughly discarded. So, among pairs of verbs in Egyptian Arabic that are only distinguished by their voweling, are there any that aren't linked by a "non-causative vs. causative" relationship? Is it productive, e.g. would you be understood if you were to take a random transitive fa3al verb and use a fi3il variant of it? And are there any EA verbs whose conjugation follows fi3il-yif3il or fa3al-yif3al rather than the two "normal" pairings? (An easy example for the second is قرا-يقرا, but that might be cheating.)

    That post also adds another Levantine example of each verb in a former active/passive pair being lexicalized individually as an active-voice Form I verb, and on second thought I think I do remember reading it in Cowell: 2itil-yi2tal.

    Hm. Re the Najdi Arabic comment showing total preservation of the internal-voweling passive (which confirms both what Wikipedia claims and what I understood from correspondence with a speaker of a Bedouin dialect that also preserves it), do these dialects also have varied active-voice voweling patterns?
     

    analeeh

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    And then come dialects. Morphologically, Levantine Arabic has two voweling patterns for each tense: "fi3il, fa3al" and "yif3il, yif3al". The form yif3ul also pops up unpredictably as an equivalent and/or variant of yif3il -- I was looking at the Lughatuna dictionary, though, and it seems to indicate that yif3ul is only particularly common to Lebanon among Levantine dialects, and that Syrian tends toward yif3il? Is this accurate?
    I think it's more accurate to say that there are three present tense vowellings, yif3el, yif3ol, yif3al (or i u in Lebanon I guess), and that the former two tend to coalesce/co-occur while the latter is much more distinct. In Lebanon and coastal areas of Syria lots of words that in Damascus have yif3el have o instead (yimsok, ya3mol...) and you can make similar comments about distribution across the whole area, but at least within Damascene for example there are yif3ol forms and yif3el forms which are only produced with that vowel. It may be a coastal feature to collapse the paradigms into yif3ol (these two paradigms after all are identical in NL as soon as suffixes are attached and the stem vowel is only distinct in the absence of any sort of suffix).

    And, besides the arbitrary "yif3il/yif3ul" dilemma, some Levantine dialects also have the phonologically-conditioned forms "fu3ul (or fu3il)" and "yuf3ul, yuf3al", which only appear when there are emphatic consonants. (fa3al is unaffected by this.) But they're still morphologically the same as before.
    Which dialects are these?

    Typically, Levantine fi3il-yif3al and fa3al-yif3il correspond to one another, but mix-and-matching is common -- particularly with final-weak verbs, which in Lebanon and I think urban Syria tend toward fi3il-yif3il (i.e. fi3i-yif3i). Does most of the rest of the Levant tends toward preserving the fi3il-yif3al and fa3al-yif3il correspondences?
    Mixing and matching is common even in Classical Arabic, so I'm not sure this is necessarily a matter of dialects diverging from the pattern and creating new irregularities. There are some examples of fi3i-yif3i which are pan Levantine (مشي يمشي, بكي يبكي) but I can't think of very many and I would say the pattern in urban Syrian is still fa3a-yif3i/fi3i-yif3a with the latter typically being intransitive change-of-state verbs (رضي يرضى شفي يشفى etc).

    Do more pairs exist in other Levantine dialects? What about in other dialect groups altogether? For instance, from discussing with a Hijazi acquaintance, I'm led to understand that none of those voweling pairs exist in Hijazi Arabic... but it still does seem like Form I verbs have more than one voweling pattern in each tense. Could anyone elaborate?
    I can't think of any more pairs within the patterns you mention but for hollow verbs there's يقوم يقيم يدوم يديم يدور يدير which are presumably all remnants of 2af3al. There are actually a lot of form I yif3els which correspond to 2af3als in fuS7a but not all of them have an underlying intransitive verb with a different vowelling.
     

    Ghabi

    AL/OL/Ar/Zh mod
    Cantonese
    Is it possible, for instance, to have fa3ila-yaf3ilu, fa3ala-yaf3ulu, fa3ula-yaf3alu, etc?
    There are only five possibilities, when one thinks about it:

    1) fa3ala - yaf3al
    2) fa3ala - yaf3il
    3) fa3ala - yaf3ul
    4) fa3ila - yaf3al*
    5) fa3ula - yaf3ul

    1) has to do with the phonetic quality of the second or the third consonant of a verb, not with semantics. 2) and 3) are arbitrary. 4) is often for intransitive verbs. 5) is for intransitives verbs about characteristics of a person or a thing.

    Some verbs have more than one pair of these (usually one intransitive, the other transitive).

    *(There is the interesting exception 7asiba - ya7sib/ya7sab. The variants seem to have been resulted from ancient dialectal differences (cf. noun variants like udhun/udhn, also supposed to be a result of ancient dialects).)
     

    wriight

    Senior Member
    English (US) / Arabic (Lebanon)
    (or i u in Lebanon I guess)
    Oh, no, it's definitely e o in Lebanon, too. (For me, at least. Probably is i u in areas of Lebanon that don't collapse high/mid short vowels like I do and/or tend more toward high vowels.) I just used i and u because it seemed they'd be more general.

    I think it's more accurate to say that there are three present tense vowellings, yif3el, yif3ol, yif3al (or i u in Lebanon I guess), and that the former two tend to coalesce/co-occur while the latter is much more distinct.
    at least within Damascene for example there are yif3ol forms and yif3el forms which are only produced with that vowel.
    Hmm. Are there verbs with different meanings would be pronounced identically if not for that o/e vowel? My assertion that they're variants of the same form is indeed influenced by that (1) they both correspond to the same past-tense voweling, and (2) they're interchangeable in Lebanese; the o/e vowel is never semantic. But your description works too, especially if the vowel choice is semantic elsewhere in Levantine?

    EDIT: Oh! Right! I forgot the other big reason for my referring to them as variants of one another: they both collapse into yif3il as soon as anything is suffixed, whereas the a of yif3al remains distinct.

    Which dialects are these?
    Well, mine, for one. :p I don't have concrete stats, but it absolutely exists elsewhere in Lebanon according to that survey thing I keep mentioning and I'm 99% sure I've heard it from a Syrian, too.

    but for hollow verbs there's يقوم يقيم يدوم يديم يدور يدير
    Oh yeah, neat! The only three of these pairs for me are عاد and دار and هان -- with يديم existing marginally/in a religious context only, like the "to guide religiously" meaning of يهدي.

    There are actually a lot of form I yif3els which correspond to 2af3als in fuS7a but not all of them have an underlying intransitive verb with a different vowelling.
    Absolutely. There are 5 possible outcomes for أفعلَ by my count, and it's a bit tricky to determine if you don't have an obvious tell like that middle hollow-verb vowel.
     
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