verb conjugation patterns - اوزان

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by българин, Sep 28, 2006.

  1. българин Senior Member

    I'm a bit confused about how to form present and past tense. I'm not confused on the prefixes and suffixes, but how many kinds of verbs are there? It seems that depending on the verb, there is a different prefix/suffix?? Would a verb with 3 root letters take the same prefix/suffix as a verb with 4 (when conjugating in present or past tense)?? ​
  2. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    Important topic you started, Bulgarian :)

    Wait for for more knoweldgeable to answer on the subject but I found good information on verb forms in "Teach Yourself Arabic" and "Ultimate Arabic", there are a few groups, which use different patterns both for past and present.

    E.g. group I (1)

    CaCaC(a) -> yaCCuCu) - to write - katab(a) -> yaktubu, etc.

    Some verbs will have additional consonants added to the pattern, which are NOT part of the root

    to speak - taCaCCaC ->yataCaCCaC, e.g. takallam -> yatakallam.

    Don't remember, which group it is but there are a few, you need to know, which group they belong to. The good news is, that the verb rules are complex, and there are weak verbs (?) but there are only few pure exceptions, each verb normally falls into one of the groups. Jana posted a conjugator somewhere, it seems only to not work properly with some verbs where hamza is one of the root letters.

    (Please correct if I made a mistake)

    C - root consonant (can be doubled but it's not the 4th root letter in the tatakallam example))
    a/i/u or other lower case letters - prefixes, infixes, suffixes.

    Sorry if I confused you more but check those books.
  3. abusaf Senior Member

    Just one small pointer: to write: yaktubu
  4. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
  5. mujahid7ia Member

    NY, USA
    The ten forms (of thirteen, but the other three are very rare, I hear) are in this thread:
  6. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    Let me offer you my version:

    Both perfect and imperfect forms. The pattern used means C - root consonant, 2 doubling of the root consonant, any other letter in lower case - prefixes, infixes, suffixes.

    Type Romanised Arabic Pattern Romanised Arabic Pattern
    1 kataba كتب CaCaCa yaktub يكتب yaCCuC (write)
    2 ghayyara غيّر CaC2aCa yughayyir يغيّر yuCaC2iC (change)
    3 shaahada شاهد CaaCaCa yushaahid يشاهد yuCaaCiC (watch)
    4 arsala أرسل aCaCaCa yursil يرسل yuCCiC (send)
    5 takallama تكلّم taCaC2aCa yatakallam يتكلّم yaCaC2aC (speak)
    6 tanaawala تناول taCaaCaCa yatanaawal يتناول yataCaaCaCa (eat, receive)
    7 inbasaTa انبسط inCaCaCa yanbasiT ينبسط yanCaCiC (have fun)
    8 iktasaba اكتسب iCtaCaCa yaktasib يكتسب yaCtaCiC (gain)
    9 ibyaDDa ابيضّ iCCaC2a yabyaDD يبيضّ yaCCaC2 (whiten)
    10 istakhdama استخدم istaCCaCa yastakhdim يستخدم yastaCCiC (use)

    Notation f-3-l (ل-ع-ف) can also be used instead of CCC.

    Attached Files:

  7. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    I can not express enough thanks for that - very very useful!! :D (as all your posts are!)
  8. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    You're welcome, Linguist :)
  9. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Actually, there are fifteen forms, but XI-XV are rare, like you said.
  10. Abu Bishr Senior Member

    Afrikaans, South Africa
    Hi Guys

    Here is an explanation that you can follow which I'm giving you from the top of my head (so you can expect errors which others in the forum can rectify):

    (1) The ideal way to learn the perfect forms (I - X & beyond) is to just memorize them, either the forms themselves or an easy example for each.

    (2) Now, basically your verb is of two types: triliteral (three root letters) and quadriliteral (four root letters).

    (3) Both these types are either naked (i.e. stripped of additional letters i.o.w. only root letters no additional letters) or augmented (i.e. root letters are augmented by additional letters).

    (4) The maximum number of letters for verb (root = additional) is six. So it means that your triliteral can have max. of 3 letters added & quadriliteral a max. of 2. Since your quadriliteral is not as common as the triliteral we'll only concentrate on the triliteral (naked and augmented forms)

    (5) The naked triliteral comprises 3 forms in the perfect: fa'ala , fa'ila & fa'ula. These 3 forms when combined with the imperfect give rise to six combinations depending on the vowel of the 2nd root letter in each.

    fa'ala - yaf'ulu (a-u)
    fa'ala - yaf'alu (a-a) (Fathah retained in imperfect)
    fa'ala - yaf'ilu (a-i)

    fa'ila - yaf'alu (i-a)
    fa'ila - yaf'ilu (i-i) (Kasrah retained in imperfect)

    fa'ula - yaf'ulu (u-u) (Dammah retained in imperfect)

    You would do extremely well to memorize these 6 combinations with real examples. Don't ever learn a naked triliteral except in both its perfect and imperfect forms.

    (6) As for the augmented triliteral (i.e. root + additional letters), you have basically 3 groups here depending on the number of letters you can add to your root form:

    Group A (adding one letter only to the root form) comprises 3 forms:

    fa'-'ala (II) (doubling of second root letter)
    faa'al (III) (adding Alif or long vowel after 1st root letter)
    af'ala (IV)(adding hamzah qat' at the beginning)

    Here are the 3 forms in Arabic script:


    Group B (adding two additional letters to the root form) and comprises five forms:

    tafa'-'ala (V) (adding Taa at the beginning and doubling the 2nd root letter)
    tafaa'ala (VI) (adding Taa at the beginning and Alif after 1st root letter)
    infa'ala (VII) (adding Hamzah Wasl and Nun at the beginning, i.e. the prefix "in")
    ifta'ala (VIII) (adding Hamzah Wasl at the beginning and Taa after the 1st root letter)
    ifa'alla (IX) (adding Hamzah Wasl at the beginning and doulbling the last root letter).

    These are the 5 forms in Arabic script:


    Group C (adding 3 addtional letters to the root form) and comprises 4 four forms, the 1st of which is by far the most common of them all, and we'll only do that one so as to give us your notorious 10 forms:

    istaf'ala (X) (adding the Hamzah Wasl, Sin and Taa at the beginning i.e. the prefix "ista").

    This is its Arabic script:


    Again, as I've said before new-comers to Arabic ought just to memorize these forms as they are or using easy verbs occuring on these patterns.

    (7) Steps for deriving imperfect from the perfect:

    (a) Drop all Hamzahs in the perfect form

    (b) add letter of (أَنَيْتُ) i.e. أ ن ي ت (depending on person or gender)

    (c) vowel letter of (أنَيْتُ) with Dammah if verb comprises four letters in perfect form, that is, forms (II, III & IV)

    (d) vowel other than the four-lettered forms mentioned in (c) with Fathah, that is, forms (I, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX and X) 3-lettered, 5-lettered & 6-lettered forms

    (e) if verb started with Taa in perfect form (i.e. forms V & VI), then the process is complete

    (f) if verb did not start with Taa in the perfect (i.e. forms I, II, III, IV, VII, VIII, IX & X), then vowel penultimate letter (i.e. 2nd last letter) with Kasrah in other than form I. As for form I, I've shown its formation above in note (5).

    (g) as for the vowel of final letter (or lack thereof), it is subject to declension (i.e. Dammah, Fathah or Sukuun) depending on what the imperfect is governed by.

    Remark: The Roman numerals (II to X) help you to find the meanings of these verbs in Hans Wehr dictionary as he does not spell the form out for you everytime, but rather just gives the Roman numeral indicating the particular form. So be advised to learn the augmented triliteral forms together with their respective Roman numerals.

    Conclusion: In the final analysis, you will just have to learn these forms by heart, and these rules can only help you to understand the process, but they are not going make them memorize for you. Nevertheless, these rules enable you to observe general patterns which is where their usefulness lies.

    Note to moderators: If you feel the post to be to long and confusing, then feel free to remove it.

    والله أعلم
  11. mujahid7ia Member

    NY, USA
    I think this is the poem to remember those forms (correct me if not):

    فتحٌ ضمٌ فتحٌ كسرٌ فتحتان
    كسرٌ فتحٌ ضم ضمٌ كسرتان

    Is there any type of device/poem to remember any of the other important forms?

    EDIT: BTW, I found that post very helpful. Thanks.
    EDIT2: How do I put spaces (i.e. more than one) between Arabic words? I wanted to separate the stanzas (if that's what they are)?
  12. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Personally, when I want to separate the two parts of a verse, I put asterix *** between them.

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