The verbal noun and "technical" meanings

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by Tensor78, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. Tensor78 Senior Member

    U.S. English

    I didn't really know what to call this thread, so I used a term that one of my grammar books used to describe the extra nominal definitions that verbal nouns may have.

    At any rate, active participles, passive participles, and verbal nouns can all have strong nominal meanings that remain removed from any verbal force.

    Example: kaatib = author (not writing)
    maktuub = letter (not written)

    Here, it seems that because kaatib and maktuub have acquired these nominal definitions, we forfeit the opportunity to use them as progressive and perfect aspect markers.

    Example: 'anaa kaatib = I'm an author (not I'm writing)
    huwa maktuub = It's a letter (not It's written)

    However, we can get around these limitations using the indicative active and passive voice and relative clauses to construct Hal adverbials, describe nouns, and use the progressive and perfect aspects.

    But, what about verbal nouns? Kitaab = book was probably the first word I learned. After I began studying forms and their modifications, I realized that kitaab is actually the verbal noun of the third form. I looked up the root k-t-b in the dictionary, and it has a valid third form meaning "to correspond with" or "exchange letters/notes with".

    So, my question is if we are "locked into" using kitaab to mean book how do we express the meaning of "corresponding with"? We've forfeited the opportunity to use kitaab with a verbal force/gerund. But, I can't see a way around it using other aspects of Arabic grammar the way I can with the participles.

    I have seen that the subjunctive mood of the indicative replaces the verbal noun and vice versa in many situations. Is it possible to get around this problem with the subjunctive as well?

  2. ayed

    ayed Senior Member

    If it is an action occurs between two parties, use the scale ( mofa3ala)as مضاربة-ملاكمة-مشاركة-مفاهمة
  3. Tensor78 Senior Member

    U.S. English
    Is that MSA? I was asking about MSA. What is that scale? Is that some kind of verbal noun? As far as I know, the third form only has one verbal noun.
  4. Tensor78 Senior Member

    U.S. English
    Nevermind. The third form has two verbal noun scales. And, yours is the other. Thanks.
  5. Tensor78 Senior Member

    U.S. English
    However, what happens if we are in form IV - X and we have a similar situation?

    That is, what if we are in one of the forms that only has one verbal noun scale and that verbal noun has been allocated for a nominal definition that has been stripped of verbal force?

    How would we convey the meaning of the gerund in such a situation?
  6. barkoosh Senior Member

    Well, how can you tell in English if "meeting" is "the act of coming together" or "the event in which a group of people come together"? How do you know if "description" is "the act of describing" or "an account that describes something"?

    As in English, it's the context that tells you what is meant. The Arabic word اجتماع, which is the only verbal noun of the verb اجتمع, can be used to mean the event itself.

    Also, the common use should taken into consideration in Arabic. As you said, while "kitaab" is a verbal noun, that word is commonly left for "book", and another verbal noun, "kitaabat", is used for "the act of writing". (By the way, even the word "kitaabat" is used sometimes as a "technical noun". It all depends on the context).

    I also gave you the example of "description" to tell you that while the Arabic verb "waSafa وصف" (describe) has two verbal nouns: "waSf وَصْف" and "wuSuuf وُصُوف", the second verbal noun is almost not used. The noun "waSf وَصْف" is used for "the act of describing" AND for "the account that describes something".

    So it's all about context and common use.
  7. Tensor78 Senior Member

    U.S. English
    OK. So, the verbal noun can do double duty if it needs to unlike the participles which seem to go one way or the other.

  8. barkoosh Senior Member

    Not necessarily. They also depend on context and common use. For example, "maktuub" can be used for "letter" and also for "written".‏
  9. Tensor78 Senior Member

    U.S. English
    Right. But, the active participle? I think that the active participle definitely seems locked into one usage or the other. Correct?
  10. barkoosh Senior Member

    Generally speaking, yes.

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