Nahw – The Anatomy of a Sentence – Part 2
As promised here is the second part of our sentence analysis exercise. In this post, Insha Allah, I will take up a complex Arabic sentence and will show how rules of grammatical states apply to such sentences.
و کانَ ﺍﹺﺑﺮﺍﻫﻴﻢﹸ ﻳﹶﻌﺮﹺﻑﹸ انَّ الاَصنامَ حِجارةﹲ ( And Ibrahim would recognize that idols are rock)
Right away you can see that this sentence can be divided into two main parts: إسم of كان , which is ﺍﹺﺑﺮﺍﻫﻴﻢﹸ , and the rest of the sentence, starting from ﻳﹶﻌﺮﹺﻑﹸ , which is the خبر of كانﹶ. However, within this خبر of كانﹶ are at least two other complete sentences: انَّ الاَصنامَ حِجارةﹲ (idols are rock) and ﻳﹶﻌﺮﹺﻑﹸ انَّ الاَصنامَ حِجارةﹲ (he knew that idols are rock). As a rule, whenever an Arabic sentence is composed of other smaller sentences (and most of them do!) then the rules of grammatical states apply to the inner sentences and the outer sentence is assumed to take the grammatical state which a stand-alone word would have taken had there been one. To understand this concept fully take the word ﺍﹺﺑﺮﺍﻫﻴﻢﹸُ . The dhamma at its end signifies that it is in the state of رفع, which is expected since إسم of كان goes into the grammatical state of رفع . However, the rest of the sentence which constitutes the خبر of كانﹶ has to go into نَصَب , but how do you put a complete sentence (which itself is composed of two other sentences) into نَصَب? The answer is that we start analyzing the inner sentences and apply rules of grammatical states to them individually and the complete outer sentence is assumed to be in the state of نَصَب. So let us do exactly that and in the end we will recombine the inner sentences to complete the whole outer sentence.
انَّ الاَصنامَ حِجارةﹲ : Here الاَصنامَ is the اِسم of اَنَّ . As with اِنُّ , the اِسم of اَنَّ goes into نَصَب , thus the fatha on الاَصنامَ . Similarly, حِجارةﹲ is the خبر of اَنَّ and therefore it is in the state of رفع, as signified by the dhamma at the end. Also recognize that the complete sentence is a جمله أسميّه .
Now look at the verb ﻳﹶﻌﺮﹺﻑﹸ: It needs a فاعل (the doer) and a مفعول به (the one upon whom the verb is done. Do remember, though, that there are other verbs which do not require a مفعول به). The فاعل for ﻳﹶﻌﺮﹺﻑﹸ is implied since it is the first conjugation (he recognize). Since the فاعل is contained within the verb, the rest of the sentence, انَّ الاَصنامَ حِجارةﹲ , has to be the مفعول به of the verb ﻳﹶﻌﺮﹺﻑﹸ (Revert back to the previous paragraph and note that this مفعول به itself is a جمله أسميّه ). Again, since we cannot put a whole sentence into the state of نَصَب , where a مفعول به is supposed to go, therefore we assume that this part of the sentence is in the state of نَصَب . Also, this sentence is a ﺟﹹﻤﻠﻪ ﻓﹻﻌﻠﹻﻴﹽﻪ since it starts with a verb, ﻳﹶﻌﺮﹺﻑﹸ.
So until now we have desiccated and analyzed this sentence into at least 2 major parts: جمله أسميّه and ﺟﹹﻤﻠﻪ ﻓﹻﻌﻠﹻﻴﹽﻪ , and have seen how each word within these parts is following its particular rule for grammatical states. Now let us move ahead and combine the whole sentence. Since the sentence starts with کانَ , a verb, therefore the complete sentence is a ﺟﹹﻤﻠﻪ ﻓﹻﻌﻠﹻﻴﹽﻪ , and the part starting from ﻳﹶﻌﺮﹺﻑﹸ up to the end is assumed to be in the state of نَصَب , since it is the خبر of كانﹶ . As I mentioned before, ﺍﹺﺑﺮﺍﻫﻴﻢﹸُ, being the إسم of كان, goes into رفع , and hence the dhamma at the end.
I hope that this example further explains how the concept of grammatical terms is used in Arabic Language.