The longer a story, the more tiresome

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Aydintashar

Senior Member
Iran, Turkish
Hi,

How do we express a "the...the" expression in Arabic? Examples:
- The more children you have, the less freedom you can enjoy.
- The longer a story, the more tiresome.

With great thanks who would provide suggestions.
Aydin
 
  • licinio

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I'll attempt to give a suggestion
    كلما زاد عدد الأولاد قلت حرية الأبوين
    أصبحت الحكاية مملة بقدر ما كانت طويلا
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    كلما ازداد عدد الأولاد كلما قلت حرية الأبوين

    Notice that I would repeat كلما.

    أصبحت الحكاية مملة بقدر ما كانت طويلا :cross:

    كلما طالت القصة كلما أصبحت مملة/متعبة

    So the formula is كلما...كلما, with verbs in the past tense.
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Yes, kullama is the right choice.

    But we don't have to use it twice:
    كلما ازداد عدد الأولاد قلت حرية الأبوين
    كلما طالت القصة صارت مملة

    I'd like to add what I found in my grammar book:
    The sentence with "kullama" is أسلوب شرط but kullama doesn't put the verb in the case of الجزم , like لو، لولا، إذا، لمّا . And كلما: ظرف للماضي، ولا يليه إلا الفعل الماضي
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    But we don't have to use it twice:
    Perhaps my tendency to repeat it is a dialectal influence. In Palestinian Arabic, it must be repeated:

    كل ما كتروا الولاد كل ما قلت حرية الأبو والإم - Kul ma kitru liwlaad kul ma 2allat 7urriyyet il2abu wil2im.
    كل ما طولت القصة كل ما صارت تزهق أكتر - Kul ma Tiwlat il2uSSa kul ma Saarat itzahhe2 aktar.

    What about other dialects?
     

    Abu Bishr

    Senior Member
    Afrikaans, South Africa
    Hi All

    My preliminary findings have it that repeating كلما does happen quite often, but that it is a common mistake. If you conduct a google search for تكرار كلما you'll find the topic of "repeating كلما " being discussed. In the end, it might come down to "descriptivism vs. prescriptivism" which is altogether another issue but relevant to our question here.
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    It would make sense if it was colloquial influence in writing to double كلما - I don't know what the classical grammarians have to say about it. If you use كلما in colloquial without repetition, and with the non-past verb, I believe it can mean "whenever" rather than "the more... the more...". كلما بتيجي لبيتي بتطلب مني مصاري : whenever you come to my house you ask me for money. Thus doubling كلما in MSA writing may be an attempt at avoiding this secondary meaning.
     

    Abu Bishr

    Senior Member
    Afrikaans, South Africa
    Hi All

    Apparently, it's not just doubled in the context of "the more ...the more". I was thinking that it might a little like the English: "Everytime I tell you not to do it, everytime you insist on doing it", as if for emphasis. This is especially this case, I think, when the first clause is somewhat long in English.

    Moreover, I think that the comparative "more" is achieved through using an equivalent comparative in Arabic like أكثر or أطول , etc. depending on the context. The repetition of كلما could be, I think, due to it being repeated in English, making it a case of linguistic borrowing.
     

    licinio

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hello
    I must have used the construction with
    بقدر ما
    in the wrong context or in an improper way in my previous posting, but here are examples taken from the internet for you to comment on. In my opinion they express the same meaning as
    كلما

    وفضلا عن ذلك، فإن العمل يغدو بسيطا بقدر ما يزداد تقسيم العمل
    بقدر ما ازداد الزمن ازدادت السعادة،
    بقدر ما ازداد المجتمع تعقيداً، بقدر ما بات الناس يعتمدون أكثر فأكثر على...

    What do you think?
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    وفضلا عن ذلك، فإن العمل يغدو بسيطا بقدر ما يزداد تقسيم العمل
    بقدر ما ازداد الزمن ازدادت السعادة،
    بقدر ما ازداد المجتمع تعقيداً، بقدر ما بات الناس يعتمدون أكثر فأكثر على...
    You are right. Those sentences do indeed express the same meaning.

    However, your sentence was not constructed correctly, as you suspected.
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Perhaps my tendency to repeat it is a dialectal influence. In Palestinian Arabic, it must be repeated:

    كل ما كتروا الولاد كل ما قلت حرية الأبو والإم - Kul ma kitru liwlaad kul ma 2allat 7urriyyet il2abu wil2im.
    كل ما طولت القصة كل ما صارت تزهق أكتر - Kul ma Tiwlat il2uSSa kul ma Saarat itzahhe2 aktar.

    What about other dialects?
    Sorry for a belated reply.

    Yes, this is the same in the Egyptian dialect:
    كل ما كتر الولاد كل ما قلت حرية الأب والأم
    koll(e) ma keter el-welaad, koll(e) ma 2allet 7orreyyet el-abb wel2om
    كل ما طولت القصة كل ما كانت مملة
    koll(e) ma Tewlet el-qiSSa koll(e) ma kaanet momella

    The (e) is a slightly pronounced "liaison" between koll and the word following it.

    If we use one "koll" in the sentence it will mean "each time that", like:
    koll(e) mashoofak afteker elly 7aSal
    كل ما اشوفك افتكر اللي حصل
    Each time I see you I remember what happened
     

    licinio

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Although بحسبما seems to be used mainly with the meaning of "according to what" as in
    بحسبما قال\أفاد\أذكر\ورد
    I have come across it with a correlative meaning similar to كلما
    ولكن بحسبما اذلّوهم هكذا نموا وامتدّوا
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Although بحسبما seems to be used mainly with the meaning of "according to what" as in
    بحسبما قال\أفاد\أذكر\ورد
    I have come across it with a correlative meaning similar to كلما
    ولكن بحسبما اذلّوهم هكذا نموا وامتدّوا
    Yes, here it means "as much as they have..." or "to the degree that they have..."
     

    suma

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, USA
    أصبحت الحكاية مملة بقدر ما كانت طويلا :cross:
    This would not have been the translation I'd expect, but when I saw it I thought it was acceptable. Any reason why you marked it as wrong? طويلا needs taa marbooTah
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Any reason why you marked it as wrong? طويلا needs taa marbooTah
    Apart from the gender of the adjective, the verbs are in the wrong tense.

    The translation of the sentence is: "The story became boring to the degree that it was long," or, more idiomatically, "The story got more and more boring as it got longer."

    The original sentence is a general statement about stories.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    [..] I was thinking that it might a little like the English: "Everytime I tell you not to do it, everytime you insist on doing it", as if for emphasis.

    [...]
    The repetition of كلما could be, I think, due to it being repeated in English, making it a case of linguistic borrowing.
    I have my doubts about this theory because in English, I don't think it is natural or common to repeat "every time" as in your sentence, which sounds very odd to me.
     

    suma

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, USA
    But this sounds more natural, wouldn't you agree?:

    "The more I tell you not to do it, the more you insist on doing it." So I think that repitition like that is allowed in English but just depents which word you use.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Good point. :thumbsup: But I'm still not sure whether that has had an influence on the construction in Arabic.
     

    suma

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, USA
    I agree. It's probably a case of both languages with similar semantic features developed independently of each other.
     

    Maj

    New Member
    English - US
    I stumbled on this thread while trying to find an Arabic equivalent for the (non)French expression "Plus ça change et plus c'est la même chose." I finally created one:

    كلما تغيرت الأمور كلما ظلت على ما هي عليه

    which is simply a literal rendering. I would be interested to know if anyone has any better ideas.

    With regard to some of the comments in the thread, it should be noted that the Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic does give the expression كلما ....كلما... as the equivalent of "the more… the more…"

    It also occurs to me that there is a proverb that says more or less the same thing:

    حَطوا ذنب الكلب بالقالب أربعين سنة وبقي أعوج, which has some variants: وضعوا ... ذيل ... وظل ... - and is often translated "You can't teach an old dog new tricks". But this is not quite the same as the "French" expression, which is more about changing situations than changing habits.
     
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