Noun Declension in Arabic
Full Explanation, with Examples and Brain Friendly Flashcards.
The Arabic language is a very logical language, where the grammatical case of the word affects its ending. Grammatical case signifies where the word is placed in the sentence; for example: is it the subject or object?; and whether it is affected by the case of a governing particle; for example: a noun after a proposition (Harf AL-Jarr) will always be in the genitive case and have a Kasra ending .
أكَلَ الوَلَدُ التُّفَّاحَةَ.
The boy ate the apple.
the boy = الوَلَدُ the doer/ who did the verb or action الفاعل "Faa'il"
Being a "doer", "the boy" will be in the nominative case and take a Damma diacritic, which is a nominative sign.
the apple = التُّفَّاحَةَ the object of the verb / the thing or one that received the action or was affected by it.
Being the object, "the apple" will be in the accusative case and take a FatHa diacritic, which is an accusative sign.
أنا في البَيْتِ.
I am at home.
Here, "home" البيت is after "at" في, which is a paricle of Jarr or preposition, causing البيت noun to be in the genitive case and take a Kasra ending, a gentive sign.
*Note: A diptote noun will take FatHa instead of Kasra; so the FatHa becomes the deputy of Kasra in the genitive case. Example:
سَلَّمْتُ على عُمَرَ.
I said hello to Omar.
(Omara) with FatHa and not (Omarin).
The following brain friendly study cards will help you understand the topic in a brief and simple manner.
Most nouns and adjectives are "declinable". i.e. they are declined according to factors like grammatical case , plus others like state, gender and number. Some nouns, are indeclinable,which means their endings do not change regardless of the case.
Indeclinable nouns are divided into seven main categories:
1- Pronouns: الضَّمائِر I, you, we, he, she, they... أنا، أنت، نحن، هو، هي، هم...
2- Demonstrative Nouns: أسْماءُ الإِشارَة this, that, these, those... هذه، هذا، هؤلاء، أولئك...
3- Relative Pronouns: الأسْماءُ المَوْضولة who, which... الّذي، الّتي، اللّذان، اللّتان، الّذين...
4- Interrogative (Questioning) Nouns: أسْماءُ الاسْتِفهام Who? What? Where? When? How many?... كم؟ من؟ ما؟ أين؟ متى؟...
5- Conditional Nouns: أسْماءُ الشَّرْط He who, if, wherever, wherever...
منْ، إِنْ/ إذا/ لوْ، حيثما، أيْنما ...
6- Compound Numbers: الأعْدادُ المُرَكَّبَة twelve, nineteen... إثنا عشر، تسعة عشر...
7- Certain Adverbs (and compound adverbs): الظُّروف والظُّروفُ المُرَكَّبَة where (wherever, when, how can...), where, now, here, there, at, yesterday, day and night, morning and evening...
أنَّى، حيث، الآن، هنا، هناك، أمْسِ،عِنْدَ، ليلَ نهارَ، صباحَ مساءَ...
(*There are also partially declinable nouns, i.e. they cannot take all case ending like feminine names which cannot take a kasra or tanween, however can take a dhamma or fatha; and some adverbs can be declinable in some cases and indeclinable in other, depending how they are used: such as before and after:قبل- بعد.)
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