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Al-Mustansiriyah University
College of Arts
Translation Department
Asst. Prof. Ahmed Qadoury Abed, Ph D
CONTRASTIVE GRAMMAR
Fourth Year/ Morning & Evening Classes
Lecture # 25
Postmodification in Arabic
Arabic postmodification can be realized by
1- Adjectives
2- Participles
3- Relative clauses
4- Prepositional phrases
5- Genitives
6- Noun clauses
Arabic
adjectives,
on
the
other
hand,
are
classified
as
postmodifers, and this is the main translation problem. Arabic
adjectives postmodify their head and agree with it in number,
gender, case , and definiteness. For example, ‫ رجل طويل‬/a tall man
and ‫امراة طويلة‬/ a tall woman where ‘tall’ is used for both male and
female reference whereas two different forms in Arabic . Further
examples are ‫ النساء الطويالت‬/‫ الرجال الطوال‬/ ‫ امراتان طويلتان‬/ ‫رجالن طويالن‬
and their translations are two tall men/ two tall women/ tall men
and tall women.
Arabic adjectives can be divided into subjective and objective. The
former expresses the attitude of the speaker and is non-defining, a
point of similarity between English and Arabic subjective
adjectives. For example
‫ المراة الجميلة‬/ ‫الرجل العاقل‬and their
counterparts are ‘ the wise man’ and ‘ the beautiful girl’. Objective
adjectives normally describe a property of the head and help
modify it. They are subdivided into :
1- denominal adjectives derived by adding ‫ ي‬to the nouns as in
‫ اجتماعي‬/‫اجتماع‬
2-style adjective like ‫ قبطي‬/ ‫عراقي‬
3- colour adjective like ‫ ابيض‬/ ‫هحمر‬
4-age adjectives like ‫ كهل‬/ ‫ كبير‬/ ‫صغير‬
5- size adjectives like ‫ صغير‬/ ‫ كبير‬/ ‫واسع‬
6- shape adjectives like ‫ طويل‬/ ‫ قصير‬/ ‫مربع‬
Arabic participles are of two types : ‫ اسم الفاعل‬and ‫ اسم المفعول‬.The first
,which may be called the present participle , has the form ‫ فاعل‬as
in ‫عامل‬/ ‫ كاتب‬if it is derived from a trilateral verb and the form ‫مفاعل‬
as in ‫ مهاجم‬/ ‫ مسافر‬if it is derived from a quadrilateral verb. The
present participle in Arabic like ‫مسافر‬has the sense of ‫رجل مسافر‬,
and ‫ مسافرة‬into ‫ امراة مسافرة‬. ‫ اسم المفعول‬may be called past participle
and has the form ‫ مفعول‬as in ‫ مكسور‬/ ‫ مقتول‬. These two types of
participles in Arabic behave like adjectives and therefore agree
with their head noun in number, gender, case, and definiteness.
Examples are ‫ رجال‬/‫ امراتان مقاتلتان‬/ ‫ رجالن مقاتالن‬/ ‫ امراة مقاتلة‬/ ‫رجل مقاتل‬
‫ نساء مقاتالت‬/ ‫مقاتلون‬.
Relative clauses in Arabic are of two types: the first kind is
introduced by a relative pronoun (.....‫ اولئك‬/‫ اللذان‬/ ‫ التي‬/ ‫ )الذي‬and has a
definite antecedent:
- ‫يعيش في البيت الذي بناه ابوه‬
- ‫قرات الكتب التي اشتريتها قبل عام‬
- ‫جاء الطالب الذين اردت مقابلتهم‬
The second kind of relative clausesis introduced by zero pronoun
and has an indefinite antecedent
-‫عاش في بيت صغير كان قد بناه والده‬
‫ ثم دخل رجل مسن لم اره من قبل‬‫ هذا اخي الذي كتب الرواية‬‫ هذه امي التي علمتني الصدق‬‫ هذا القطار الذي وقف بجانب الرصيف‬For prepositional phrase, a noun head may be postmodified by a
prepositional phrase :
- ‫الطريق الى الكلية‬
- ‫نصر العراق في الجنوب‬
- ‫فريق االمم المتحدة في جنوب لبنان‬
- ‫كتاب في النحو‬
Comparative constructions are often postmodified by prepositional
phrases:
- ‫هذا افضل مكان للقراءة‬
- ‫هذا احسن كتاب في الشتاء‬
- ‫جوسر اعظم شاعر قبل النهضة‬
For genitives, nouns in genitives state or ‫ االضافة‬are realized by the
process of juxtaposition, i.e., the two nouns are place together and
the second is governed in the genitive case ‫حالة الجر‬.
grammarians distinguish two types of :‫االضافة‬
- ‫االضافة الحقيقية او المحضة او المعنوية‬
- ‫االضافة غير الحقيقية او غير المحضة او اللفظية‬
Arab
In the real genitive ‫ االضافة الحقيقية‬the two juxtaposed items are :
i-
Real nouns
ii-
The first is always devoid of the definite article
iii-
The second item may be definite or indefinite and is
always placed in the genitive case
- ‫كتاب زيد‬
- ‫حر الصيف‬
- ‫فستان حرير‬
- ‫خاتم ذهب‬
A number of semantic relations is expressed by real genitive:
- Possession‫كتاب الولد‬
- Material‫خاتم الذهب‬
-
Subjective relation ‫هروب السجين‬
- Objective relation ‫مقتل الفيل‬
-
Description ‫كلية البنات‬
-
Partitive sense ‫بعض الرجال‬
In unreal genitive, the genitive consists of two items , the first of
which is adjective or participle: ‫ قاتل الحشرات‬، ‫ شديد البرودة‬، ‫ حسن الوجه‬. In
this type:
i-
The second noun is usually definite
ii-
The first may be indefinite or definite: ‫حسن الوجه‬or ‫الحسن‬
‫الوجه‬
iii-
There is a semantic difference between ‫( عينتان وااسعتان‬two
large eyes/ proper noun) and
‫واسع العينين‬
consisting of two items in the genitive case).
For nominal clauses, examples are the following:
(a modifier
- ‫جاءني رجل كريم اخوه‬
- ‫رايت رجالً كريما ً اخوه‬
- ‫مررت برجال كريم اباؤهم‬
These postmodifying noun phrases consist of an adjective which
agrees in grammatical case and definiteness with the preceeding
noun head, and a noun carrying a sufficient pronoun referring to
the noun head. The adjective is normally used in the singular as :
- ‫مررت برجال كريم اباؤهم‬
If the noun head is definite then the adjective must be definite:
- ‫جاءالرجل الكريم اخوه‬
- ‫جاءت المراة الفاضل اخوها‬
The adjective may be feminine if the following noun is feminine or
regarded as feminine:
- ‫ويل للرجال القاسية قلوبهم‬
- ‫هذه فتاة كاملة اخالقها‬
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