North African Arabic: To ask

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by mini91, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. mini91

    mini91 Senior Member

    I am aware of the gist of the word but unsure if it is correct or not but would like to know correctly how to conjugate the verb of 'asking' for example:

    I asked her to do something
    Ask her if he can come
    They asked me something

    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011
  2. chizinist Senior Member

    It varies from country to country. In Tunisia it might look like the following, depending on how much French is mixed in to the dialect.

    1: I requested her = tlebt-ha li-(verb) or salt-ha li-

    2: Ask her if he can come = isalha idha inajjam ijee

    3: They asked me a question = saluni swal
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2011
  3. Finland Senior Member


    In Algeria I would probably say:
    1. Qetlha diri 7aaja
    2. Seqsi mnha lukaan teqdar tiji
    3. Saqsuni 7aaja


    S (not a native speaker though!)
  4. mini91

    mini91 Senior Member

    Thank you both, aside from the MSA familar conjugation of sa2alu/yas2alu the one I came across and interested in is the one Finland mentioned which I've heard in both Algeria and Morocco :)
  5. J.F. de TROYES Senior Member

    1. I am afraid qetl does'nt mean I asked. I think I'd say :

    tlebtha tidir 7aaja ( or: tlebt minha...)

    2. seqSi minha ida yeqdar iji ( or: 2isaalha... )

    teqdar and tiji are feminine forms and the sentence is : "Ask her if he can come"

    I would be interested in a native's opinion about using here lukaan or ida ( + المضارع or الماضي ? ) and translating more accurately the verbs "to ask"
  6. lanature93 Senior Member

    I asked her to do something==> tlebet menha dir 7adja
    Ask her if he can come==> sakh'ssiha ida ye9dar y'dji
    They asked me something==> sakh'ssawni 7adja
  7. Xence Senior Member

    Algeria (Arabic - French)
    Just to correct the transliteration...

    I asked her to do something = Tlabt menha tdir 7aadja

    Ask her if he can come = Saqsiha ila (ida/idha/wila) yaqder ydji

    They asked me something = Saqsawni 7aadja
  8. J.F. de TROYES Senior Member

    Thanks a lot for your answers, Xence and Ignature93.

    Do you know where the verb saqSaa comes from ? I can't find an adequate root in a MSA dictionary.
  9. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

    أرض الأنجل
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    Est-ce que c'est
  10. clevermizo Senior Member

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    I have a feeling the verb is from the root ق ص ي and for example, in standard Arabic the verb استقصى means make an inquiry or investigation of something. In Maltese, the verb استقصى staqsa is used with the meaning of سأل and the word for سؤال is mistoqsija مستقصية. I can't find a verb like أقصى or قصى with a related meaning in the معاجم, so the Algerian verb may be a variation on استقصى.

    Just to add the form استقصى was probably simplified to صقصى or سقصى by passing through an intermediate where the س assimilated the ت: i.e. استقصى>اسّقصى>سقصى/صقصى.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011
  11. Xence Senior Member

    Algeria (Arabic - French)
    I have nothing to add to clevermizo's explanation. :thumbsup:

    The strange thing is that many Arabs find it kind of funny to hear Algerians using this verb !
  12. mini91

    mini91 Senior Member

    So the verb root ق ص ي wouldn't be used for 1st person but for 2nd/3rd?

    e.g I ask/asked
    She asks/asked
    They ask/asked
  13. Xence Senior Member

    Algeria (Arabic - French)
    No, this has nothing to with persons.
    The Algerian verb saqSa is exclusively used when asking for information (about something or somebody), and the verb Tlab is rather used when requesting, demanding something else.
  14. J.F. de TROYES Senior Member

    So the verb سقصى appears to be a synonym of سأل ; does this verb is also used in Algerian Arabic with the same or a different meaning ?
  15. Xence Senior Member

    Algeria (Arabic - French)
    Yes, سأل pronounced سال saal in Algerian is also used, but not with the same meaning.

    We may use it to mean that someone asks another one to say hello on her behalf (Passer le bonjour).

    Ex: X ysaal 3lik = X sends her regards to you

    This verb may also mean to owe something to somebody (but the other way around, I don't know if there is such verb in English):

    Ex: X ysaal 100€ el Y = Y owes 100€ to X
  16. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

    أرض الأنجل
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    I'm sure I've also heard سوّل before.
  17. mini91

    mini91 Senior Member

    How interesting, so just to be correct if the sentence of 'I asked' was as the following: "I asked if he could come", could the verb of 'saqsa' be used since it is about information? Also can I ask how the verb of Tlab and Saqsa is conjugated?

    I asked/requested etc
    She asked/requested
    He asked/requested
    They asked/requested
    We asked/requested
  18. Xence Senior Member

    Algeria (Arabic - French)
    That's true.

    سوّل sawwal is also used with the same meaning as سال (to inquire after somebody, to send regards...)

    Of course.

    I asked if he could come = saqSit ila/idha yaqder ydji

    I asked/requested = saqSit / Tlabt

    She asked/requested = saqSsa(a)t / Talbat

    He asked/requested = saqSa / Tlab

    They asked/requested = saqSaaw / Talbu(u)

    We asked/requested = saqSina / Tlabna
  19. J.F. de TROYES Senior Member

    Thanks again, Clevermizo and Xence, for enlightening the meaning of these verbs and where saqSa disconcertingly comes from. I now understand why I was unable to trace back this form to any appropriate root. I must say I am a bit surprised for a derived verb X to be pronounced by dropping ( or assimilating ) the ت as significant as س to define these - است verbs.
  20. clevermizo Senior Member

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    Why is this disconcerting?

    Well native speakers don't necessarily think of the "forms" categorically in this way when they speak their language. Although SaqSa may have evolved from استقصى, at the end of the day we should treat it as a quadriliteral verb in modern Algerian. It is no longer of the form استفعل. It's not like speakers think of استقصى and then convert it to صقصى when they say it.

    We might expect this process of assimilation to be inhibited in the case of a recent borrowing from standard Arabic or in learned vocabulary, or صقصى may be an isolated occurrence of this sort of assimilation and loss.

    Xence can you think of any other examples in which استفعل may have been converted into اسفعل or سَفعل in modern Algerian?
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2011
  21. Arabus Senior Member

    United States
    Honestly, I was surprised when I saw the verb saqsi on this page. I wanted to comment but I didn't. It indeed sounds funny to hear such a formal verb being used colloquially. When you say saqsiha, does that mean you are going to send an investigation committee to her or waht? :)
  22. clevermizo Senior Member

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    :) Apparently it's just the plain verb to ask. Maltese is the same, although they actually say (i)staqsa. The verb سأل is lost in Maltese completely, I think.
  23. kamoo New Member

    English -American
    urban Moroccan
    I asked her to do something- seweltha it dir she-Haja or Talabt minha....
    Ask her if he can come- sewelha wash yiqdair yi-jee
    They asked me something- sewlooni she-Haja

    sorry if the transliteration is not clear....
  24. Xence Senior Member

    Algeria (Arabic - French)
    The first that comes to my mind is the verb استنّى estanna (= to wait) which is often pronounced اسنّى essanna.
    Of course, this verb is used in many other Arabic dialects and originates from the FuS7a استأنى .

    I have also heard يزهزا yezzahza instead of يستهزا yastahza (= to mock at, to scoff, etc.)


    I agree with kamoo that Moroccans use the verb sawwal / sewwel سوّل in the same way Algerians do use saqSa.
  25. J.F. de TROYES Senior Member

    Diconcerting, because hypothesizing that a verb composed of the sequence of س - ق - ص originates in the root ق- ص -ى is not really obvious, I mean for someone who does'nt master Arabic grammar and phonetic changes.

    I quite agree with you. The word is a datum and a native thinks nothing of using it, as in any language, but explaining its etymology is another story ! Interesting too to consider it a quadriliteral verb.
  26. mini91

    mini91 Senior Member

    Can I also as how it is cojugated in the present forms:

    I ask/I request
    you ask/request
    he asks/requests
    she asks/requests
    they ask/request
    we ask/request
  27. Xence Senior Member

    Algeria (Arabic - French)
    I ask/I request = neTlob (neTleb - naTlab...) / nsaqSi

    you ask/request = teTlob (teTleb - taTlab...) / tsaqSi

    he asks/requests = yeTlob (yeTleb - YaTlab...) ysaqSi

    she asks/requests = teTlob (teTleb - taTlab...) / tsaqSi

    they ask/request = yeTolbu (yeTelbu - yaTalbu...) / ysaqSiw

    we ask/request = neTolbu (neTelbu - naTalbu...) / nsaqSiw
  28. Hemza

    Hemza Senior Member

    Paris, France
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    I'm Moroccan-Saudi and it's funny, I didn't know that Algerians use a different words than in Morocco

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