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Nahw – Methods of reflection of an اِسم

August 24, 2007

Up until now we have learned that an ﺍﹺﺳﻢ which is ﻣﹹﻌﺮﹶﺏ will show its grammatical states using a ﺿﹷﻤﳲﺔ for ﺭﻓﻊ, a ﻓﹷﺘﹿﺤﺔ for ﻧﺼﺐ , or a ﻛﹷﺴﹿﺮﹶﺓ for ﺟﺮ (or the corresponding ﺗﹷﻨﻮﹺﻳﻦ). However, there are situations in Arabic Language where it is not possible to show the grammatical states using either of these three methods. As an example take a look at :

  1. ﺟﹷﺎﺀ ﻣﹹﻮﺳﻰٰ Musa came
  2. ﺭﹶﺍﺋﻴﺖﹸ ﻣﹹﻮﺳﻰٰ I saw Musa
  3. ﻣﹷﺮﹶﺭﹾﺕﹸ ﺑﹻﻤﹹﻮﺳﻰٰ I passed by Musa

In the first sentence ﻣﹹﻮﺳﻰٰ is the subject (i.e. in the state of ﺭﻓﻊ), in the second it is the object (i.e the state of ﻧﺼﺐ) , and in the third it is in the state of ﺟﺮ because of the ﺣﹷﺮﹾﻑ , i.e. ﺑﹻ , in front of it. Yet, in none of the examples the grammatical states are shown using the usual signs of a ﺿﹷﻤﳲﺔ , or a ﻓﹷﺘﹿﺤﺔ , or a ﻛﹷﺴﹿﺮﹶﺓ. This is because the noun ﻣﹹﻮﺳﻰٰ is incapable of showing these signs. This leads us to the fact that variations can occur in the way grammatical states are reflected on an ﺍﹺﺳﻢ . For our purposes we will divide ﺍﹺﺳﻢ in 16 different categories and will see how each category will show its grammatical state in its own unique way. These 16 categories and their corresponding methods of reflection are listed in the table below and each category is then further explained in detail with examples. You can also click on any category to jump to its explanation:

# Type of ﺍﹺﺳﻢ ﺭﻓﻊ ﻧﺼﺐ ﺟﺮ
1 ﻣﹹﻔﹿﺮﹺﺩ ﻣﹹﻨﹿﺼﹷﺮﹺﻑ ﺻﺤﻴﺢ ﺿﹷﻤﳲﺔ ﻓﹷﺘﹿﺤﺔ ﻛﹷﺴﹿﺮﹶﺓ
2 ﻣﹹﻔﹿﺮﹺﺩ ﻗﹷﺎﺋﻢ ﻣﻘﹷﺎﻡ ﺻﺤﻴﺢ ﺿﹷﻤﳲﺔ ﻓﹷﺘﹿﺤﺔ ﻛﹷﺴﹿﺮﹶﺓ
3 ﺟﹷﻤﹿﻊ ﻣﹹﻜﺴﳲﺮ ﻣﹹﻨﹿﺼﹷﺮﹺﻑ ﺿﹷﻤﳲﺔ ﻓﹷﺘﹿﺤﺔ ﻛﹷﺴﹿﺮﹶﺓ
4 ﺟﹷﻤﻊ ﻣﹹﻮﻧﹷﺚ ﺳﹷﺎﻟﹻﻢ ﺿﹷﻤﳲﺔ ﻛﹷﺴﹿﺮﹶﺓ ﻛﹷﺴﹿﺮﹶﺓ
5 ﻏﹷﻴﺮ ﻣﹹﻨﹿﺼﹷﺮﹺﻑ ﺿﹷﻤﳲﺔ ﻓﹷﺘﹿﺤﺔ ﻓﹷﺘﹿﺤﺔ
6 6 Special Nouns
7 ﺍﻟﹿﻤﹹﺜﹷﻨﹽٰﻰ
8 ﻛﹻﻼ ﻭ ﻛﹻﻠﹿﺘﺎ
9 ﺍﹺﺛﹿﻨﹷﺎﻥﹺ ﻭ ﺍﹺﺛﹿﻨﹷﺘﹷﺎﻥﹺ
10 ﺟﹷﻤﻊ ﻣﹹﺬﹶﻛﳲﺮ ﺳﹷﺎﻟﹻﻢ
11 All exceptions which do not fall in under the definition of ﺟﹷﻤﻊ ﻣﹹﺬﹶﻛﳲﺮ ﺳﹷﺎﻟﹻﻢ but are reflected in the same manner
12 ﻋﹻﺸﹿﺮﹸﻭﻥﹶ to ﺗﹻﺴﹿﻌﹹﻮﻥﹶ i.e. multiple of 10 up to 90
13 ﺍﹺﺳﻢ ﻣﹷﻘﹿﺼﹹﻮﺭ Assumed Assumed Assumed
14 Any ﺍﹺﺳﻢ other than ﺟﹷﻤﻊ ﻣﹹﺬﹶﻛﳲﺮ ﺳﹷﺎﻟﹻﻢ which is مضاف towards Assumed Assumed Assumed
15 ﺍﹺﺳﻢ ﻣﹷﻨﹿﻘﹹﻮﺹ Assumed Explicit Assumed
16 ﺟﹷﻤﻊ ﻣﹹﺬﹶﻛﳲﺮ ﺳﹷﺎﻟﹻﻢ which is مضاف towards Assumed  Explicit Explicit

Category 1: (ﻣﹹﻔﹿﺮﹺﺩ ﻣﹹﻨﹿﺼﹷﺮﹺﻑ ﺻﺤﻴﺢ) This category can be titled in English as Singular-Fully Declinable – No Weak Letters. This is the category which we had discussed earlier as the one which shows its grammatical states in the usual manner. Examples:

  • ﺟﹷﺎﺀ ﺯﹶﻳﺪﹲ (Zaid came)
  • ﺭﹶﺍﺋﻴﺖﹸ ﺯﹶﻳﺪﺍﹰ (I saw Zaid)
  • ﻣﹷﺮﹶﺭﹾﺕﹸ ﺑﹻﺰﹶﻳﺪﹴ (I passed by Zaid)

Category 2: (ﻣﹹﻔﹿﺮﹺﺩ ﻗﹷﺎﺋﻢ ﻣﻘﹷﺎﻡ ﺻﺤﻴﺢ) This category consists of any ﺍﹺﺳﻢ which ends in a or preceded by a ﺳﹹﻜﹹﻮﻥ, e.g. ﺩﹶﻟﹿﻮﹲ (a bucket) or ﻇﹷﺒﹿﻲﹲ (a deer). Examples:

  • ﺟﹷﺎﺀ ﻇﹷﺒﹿﻲﹲ (a deer came)
  • ﺭﹶﺍﺋﻴﺖﹸ ﻇﹷﺒﹿﻲﹰ (I saw a deer)
  • ﻣﹷﺮﹶﺭﹾﺕﹸ ﺑﹻﻈﹷﺒﹿﻲﹴ (I passed by a deer)

Category 3: (ﺟﹷﻤﹿﻊ ﻣﹹﻜﺴﳲﺮ ﻣﹹﻨﹿﺼﹷﺮﹺﻑ) or the Fully Declinable Broken Plural. As the name implies, this category consists of the declinable broken plural. Examples:

  • ﺟﹷﺎﺀ ﺭﹺﺟﹷﺎﻝﹲ (A man came)
  • ﺭﹶﺍﺋﻴﺖﹸ ﺭﹺﺟﹷﺎﻻﹰ (I saw a man)
  • ﻣﹷﺮﹶﺭﹾﺕﹸ ﺑﹻﺮﹺﺟﹷﺎﻝﹴ (I passed by a man)

Category 4: (ﺟﹷﻤﻊ ﻣﹹﻮﻧﹷﺚ ﺳﹷﺎﻟﹻﻢ) or The Sound Feminine Plural. This has already been taken care of here. I will repeat the examples, though:

  • ﺟﺎﺀﹶﺕ ﺍﻟﻤﹹﺴﻠﹻﻤﺎﺕﹸ (The Muslim women came)
  • ﺭﹶﺍﻳﺖﹸ ﺍﻟﻤﹹﺴﻠﹻﻤﺎﺕﹺ (I saw the Muslim women )
  • ﻣﹷﺮﹶﺭﹾﺕﹸ ﺑﺎﻟﹿﻤﹹﺴﻠﹻﻤﺎﺕﹺ (I passed by the Muslim women)

Category 5: (ﻏﹷﻴﺮ ﻣﹹﻨﹿﺼﹷﺮﹺﻑ). This is an ﺍﹺﺳﻢ which contains either 2 of the 9 causes of change-restriction or 1 powerful cause which stands in the place of 2 causes. Some of the salient points regarding this category are:

  • This category never gets a ﺗﹷﻨﻮﹺﻳﻦ or a ﻛﹷﺴﹿﺮﹶﺓ
  • All feminine names fall into this category
  • Most masculine names are not in this category, except those ending in a
  • Names rhyming with ﺍﹶﻓﹿﻌﹷﻞﹾ fall in this category
  • Adjectives rhyming with ﺍﹶﻓﹿﻌﹷﻞﹾ (e.g. the colors) fall in this category

Below, I list the 9 reasons, the presence of which (either two reasons or one powerful one) can cause an ﺍﹺﺳﻢ to become ﻏﹷﻴﺮ ﻣﹹﻨﹿﺼﹷﺮﹺﻑ:

  1. Transgression: A word leaves it original pattern and adopts a new one because of excessive usage. An example of this is the name ﻋﹹﻤﹷﺮ which used to be ﻋﹷﺎﻣﹻﺮ but left its pattern to become ﻋﹹﻤﹷﺮ
  2. Be an adjective: This is a property which needs to exist within the medium of a body and cannot exist without it. Thus, this has to be a quality like beautiful or lazy. Examples will include colors like ﺍﹶﺣﻤﹷﺮ (red) or ﺍﹶﺳﹿﻮﹶﺩ (black)
  3. Be feminine: The following four reasons cause am ﺍﹺﺳﻢ to be feminine:
    • if there is a at the end. Note that even though ﻃﹷﻠﹿﺤﺔ is a man’s name, yet the word is feminine since it has a at its end
    • if there is an ﺍﹶﻟﹻﻒ ﻣﹷﻘﹿﺼﹹﻮﺭﺓ i.e. final ﺍﹶﻟﹻﻒ not followed by a , for example: ﺣﹹﺒﹿﻠﻰٰ (pregnant) or ﻛﹹﺒﺮﻯٰ(the big one). This is a powerful reason so it alone will cause an ﺍﹺﺳﻢ to become ﻏﹷﻴﺮ ﻣﹹﻨﹿﺼﹷﺮﹺﻑ
    • if there is an ﺍﹶﻟﹻﻒ ﻣﹷﻤﹿﺪﹸﻭﺩﺓ i.e. final ﺍﹶﻟﹻﻒ followed by a , for example: ﻋﹹﻠﹷﻤﹷﺄﹸ (men of knowledge) or ﺑﹷﻴﹿﻀﺄﹸ (the white one). This is a powerful reason so it alone will cause an ﺍﹺﺳﻢ to become ﻏﹷﻴﺮ ﻣﹹﻨﹿﺼﹷﺮﹺﻑ
    • if it is an understood feminine for example, ﺯﹶﻳﻨﹷﺐ ,which is the name of a girl
  4. Be a name
  5. Be plural
  6. Be of foreign origin like ﺍﹺﺑﹿﺮﺍﻫﹻﻴﻢ or ﺍﹺﺳﹿﺤﹷﺎﻕ or ﻳﹷﻌﹿﻘﹹﻮﺏ
  7. Be compound (two words linking together to become a name) like ﺣﹷﻀﹿﺮﹶﻣﹷﻮﺕ , which is a place in Yemen, or ﺳﹻﺒﹷﻮﹶﻳﻪ who was an Arabic grammarian
  8. Be on the pattern of a verb. For example, ﺍﹶﻛﹿﺒﹷﺮ or ﺍﹶﺣﹿﻤﹷﺪ , both of which are on the pattern of ﺍﹶﻓﹿﻌﹷﻞﹾ
  9. Extraandat the end. Examples are ﻋﹹﺜﹿﻤﹷﺎﻥ or ﻧﹹﻌﹿﻤﹷﺎﻥ. Thus, in Hadith literature we will see ﻋﹷﻦﹾ ﻋﹹﺜﹿﻤﹷﺎﻥﹶ ﺍﺑﹿﻦﹺ with a ﻓﹷﺘﹿﺤﺔ on ﻋﹹﺜﹿﻤﹷﺎﻥ although there is a preposition, ﻋﹷﻦﹾ , in front of it

Category 6: This category is composed of 6 special nouns

  1. ﺍﹶﺏﹲ (a father)
  2. ﺍﹶﺥﹲ (a brother)
  3. ﺣﹷﻢﹲ (a father-in-law)
  4. ﻓﹷﻢﹲ (a mouth)
  5. ﻫﹷﻦﹲ (a thing)
  6. ﺫﹸﻭ (a possessor). This is always followed by a noun

These will show their grammatical states according to type 6 under the conditions that they have to be singular (dual will be dealt with in category 7 and plural has already been dealt with in category 3) and they cannot be مضاف towards (which case will be dealt with in category 16).

Some examples are: ﺫﹶﻫﹷﺐﹶ ﺃﹶﺧﹹﻮ ﻣﹷﺎﺟﹻﺪﹴ (Majid’s brother went) or ﺭﹶﺍﺋﻴﺖﹸ ﺃﹶﺧﹷﺎ ﻣﹷﺎﺟﹻﺪﹴ (I saw Majid’s brother) orﺫﹶﻫﹷﺒﹿﺖﹸ ﻣﹷﻊﹶ ﺃﹶﺧﻲ ﻣﹷﺎﺟﹻﺪﹴ (I went with Majid’s brother). Examples using ﺫﹸﻭ would be:ﺟﹷﺎﺀ ﺫﹸﻭ ﻣﹷﺎﻝﹴ (a possessor of wealth came) or ﺭﹶﺍﺋﻴﺖﹸ ﺫﺍ ﻣﹷﺎﻝﹴ (I saw a possessor of wealth) or ﻣﹷﺮﹶﺭﹾﺕﹸ ﺑﹻﺬﻯ ﻣﹷﺎﻝﹴ (I passed by a possessor of wealth) or ﻭﹶ ﻓﹷﻮﻕﹶ ﻛﹹﻞﱢ ﺫﹺﻯ ﻋﹻﻠﹿﻢﹴ ﻋﹷﻠﻴﻢ (above every possessor of knowledge is the All Knowing)

Category 7: This deals with ﺍﻟﹿﻤﹹﺜﹷﻨﹽٰﻰ or the dual. This is an ﺍﹺﺳﻢ to the end of which is attached either an and a or aand a to indicate that with it is another like it. An example would be ﻛﹷﺘﹷﺐ ﺍﻟﹿﺮﱡﺟﹹﻼﹶﻥﹺ ﻣﹷﻜﹿﺘﹹﻮﺑﹷﻴﻦﹺ ﺇﻟﻰٰ ﺍﻟﹿﻤﹷﺮﹾﺃﺗﹷﻴﻦﹺ(the two men wrote two letters to the two women)
There are some other words in the Arabic Language which are treated like duals e.g. ﺍﹶﺑﹷﻮﺍﻥﹺ meaning father and mother or ﻗﹷﻤﹷﺮﹶﺍﻥﹺ meaning moon and sun (and not two fathers or two moons) which follow the same method of reflection as this category

Category 8: This includes two words ﻛﹻﻼ and ﻛﹻﻠﹿﺘﺎ meaning both (masculine and feminine, respectively). Examples are : ﺟﹷﺎﺀ ﺭﹶﺟﹹﻼﹶﻥﹺﻛﹻﻼﹶﻫﹹﻤﺎ (both men came) or ﺭﹶﺍﺋﻴﺖﹸ ﺭﹶﺟﹹﻠﹷﻴﻦﹺﻛﹻﻠﻴﹿﻬﹻﻤﹷﺎ (I saw both men) or ﻣﹷﺮﹶﺭﹾﺕﹸ ﺑﹻﺮﺟﹹﻠﹷﻴﻦﹺ ﻛﹻﻠﻴﹿﻬﹻﻤﹷﺎ (I passed by both men)

Category 9: This includes ﺍﹺﺛﹿﻨﹷﺎﻥﹺ and ﺍﹺﺛﹿﻨﹷﺘﹷﺎﻥﹺ which means two (masculine and feminine, respectively). For example:ﺟﹷﺎﺀ ﺍﹺﺛﹿﻨﹷﺎﻥﹺ (two [masculine objects] came) or ﺭﹶﺍﺋﻴﺖﹸ ﺍﹺﺛﹿﻨﻴﹿﻦﹺ (I saw two [masculine objects]) or ﻣﹷﺮﹶﺭﹾﺕﹸ ﺑﹻﺎﺛﹿﻨﻴﹿﻦﹺ (I passed by two [masculine objects])

Category 10: The Sound Masculine Plural or ﺟﹷﻤﻊ ﻣﹹﺬﹶﻛﳲﺮ ﺳﹷﺎﻟﹻﻢ has already been dealt with here. I will give the usual examples, though: ﺟﺎﺀﹶ ﺍﻟﹿﻤﹹﺴﻠﹻﻤﹹﻮﻥﹶ (The Muslim men came) or ﺭﹶﺍﻳﺖﹸ ﺍﻟﹿﻤﹹﺴﻠﹻﻤﹻﻴﻦﹶ (I saw the Muslim men) or ﻣﹷﺮﹶﺭﹾﺕﹸ ﺑﹻﺎﺍﻟﹿﻤﹹﺴﻠﹻﻤﹻﻴﻦﹶ (I passed by the Muslim men)

Category 11: This category consists of those ﺍﹺﺳﻢ which are reflected the same way as Category 10 but do not fall under the ﺟﹷﻤﻊ ﻣﹹﺬﹶﻛﳲﺮ ﺳﹷﺎﻟﹻﻢ category. Examples of such ﺍﹺﺳﻢ are ﺍﹸﻭﻟﹹﻮﹾ and its sisters. The reflection of this category is shown by the following examples:ﻫﹹﻢﹾ ﺃﹸﻭﻟﹹﻮ ﺍﻷﻟﹿﺒﹷﺎﺏﹺ (They are people of intelligence) or ﺭﹶﺍﺋﻴﺖﹸ ﺃﹸﻭﻟﹻﻲ ﺍﻷﻟﹿﺒﹷﺎﺏﹺ ﻋﹻﻨﹿﺪﹶ ﺃﹸﻭﻟﹻﻲ ﺍﻷﻟﹿﺒﹷﺎﺏﹺ (I saw the people of intelligence by the people of intelligence). Other words which fall in this category are ﺍﻫﹿﻞﹲ (people of) and ﻋﹻﻠﳴﻴﻴﻦ (the highest places)

Category 12: This category constitutes multiples of 10 starting from 20 and going up to 90 (ﻋﹻﺸﹿﺮﹸﻭﻥﹶ toﺗﹻﺴﹿﻌﹹﻮﻥﹶ ) and are reflected using the same method as Category 10 and 11. Examples:ﺟﺎﺀﹶ ﻋﹻﺸﹿﺮﹸﻭﻥﹶ ﺭﹶﺟﹹﻼﹰ (twenty men came) or ﺭﹶﺍﺋﻴﺖﹸ ﻋﹻﺸﹿﺮﹺﻳﻦﹶ ﺭﹶﺟﹹﻼﹰ (I saw twenty men) or ﻣﹷﺮﹶﺭﹾﺕﹸ ﺑﹻﻌﹻﺸﹿﺮﹺﻳﻦﹶ ﺭﹶﺟﹹﻼﹰ (I passed by twenty men)

Category 13: This category consists of ﺍﹺﺳﻢ of the form ﻣﹹﻮﺳﻰٰ or ﻋﹻﻴﺴﻰٰ i.e. an ﺍﹺﺳﻢ having an ﺍﹶﻟﹻﻒ ﻣﹷﻘﹿﺼﹹﻮﺭﹶﺓ at its end. Such ﺍﹺﺳﻢ are incapable of showing any ﺇﹺﻋﹿﺮﹶﺍﺏ and thus they are categorized as having assumed reflection. Examples are:

ﺟﹷﺎﺀ ﻣﹹﻮﺳﻰٰ (Musa came) or ﺭﹶﺍﺋﻴﺖﹸ ﻣﹹﻮﺳﻰٰ (I saw Musa) or ﻣﹷﺮﹶﺭﹾﺕﹸ ﺑﹻﻤﹹﻮﺳﻰٰ (I passed by Musa). Antoher set of examples would be: ﺟﹷﺎﺀﹶ ﻋﹷﺼﺎﹰ (a staff came) or  ﺭﹶﺍﺋﻴﺖﹸ ﻋﹷﺼﺎﹰ (I saw a staff) or ﻣﹷﺮﹶﺭﹾﺕﹸ ﺑﹻﻌﹷﺼﺎﹰ (I passed by a staff)

Category 14: This category consists of ﺍﹺﺳﻢ other than ﺟﹷﻤﻊ ﻣﹹﺬﹶﻛﳲﺮ ﺳﹷﺎﻟﹻﻢ i.e. sound masculine plural, which is مضاف towardsof first person, for example, ﻏﹹﻼﹶﻣﹻﻲﹾ (my servant) or ﺑﹷﻴﹿﺘﹻﻲﹾ (my house). Examples in this categories will be:ﺟﹷﺎﺀﹶ ﻏﹹﻼﹶﻣﹻﻲﹾ (my servant came) or ﺭﹶﺍﺋﻴﺖﹸ ﻏﹹﻼﹶﻣﹻﻲﹾ (I saw my servant) or ﻣﹷﺮﹶﺭﹾﺕﹸ ﺑﹻﻐﹹﻼﹶﻣﹻﻲﹾ (I passed by my servant)

Category 15: This category consists of ﺍﹺﺳﻢ which are called ﺍﹺﺳﻢ ﻣﹷﻨﹿﻘﹹﻮﺹ i.e. they have a preceded by a  ﻛﹷﺴﹿﺮﹶﺓ at their end. Only the state of ﻧﺼﺐ is reflected on them; the other two are assumed. Examples are: ﺟﹷﺎﺀﹶﺍﻟﹿﻘﹷﺎﺿﹻﻲﹾ (The Judge came) or ﺭﹶﺍﺋﻴﺖﹸ ﺍﻟﹿﻘﹷﺎﺿﹻﻲﹶ (I saw the Judge) or ﻣﹷﺮﹶﺭﹾﺕﹸ ﺑﹻﺎﻟﹿﻘﹷﺎﺿﹻﻲﹾ (I passed by the Judge)

Category 16: This category consists of ﺍﹺﺳﻢ which are ﺟﹷﻤﻊ ﻣﹹﺬﹶﻛﳲﺮ ﺳﹷﺎﻟﹻﻢ and are مضاف towardsof first person. An example would be ﻣﹹﺴﹿﻠﹻﻤﹻﻲﱠ (my muslims). For the ﺭﻓﻊ case this was originally ﻣﹹﺴﹿﻠﹻﻤﻮﹸﻰﹶ but the becomes ﺳﹷﺎﻛﹻﻦﹾ since it is appearing with a . In the second step the is changed to a giving us ﻣﹹﺴﹿﻠﹻﻤﹹﻴﻰﹶ and the ﺿﹷﻤﳲﺔ is changed to ﻛﹷﺴﹿﺮﹶﺓ ( for pronunciation reasons) to give us ﻣﹹﺴﹿﻠﹻﻤﹻﻲﱠ. However, the originals for the ﻧﺼﺐ and ﺟﺮ case were already ﻣﹹﺴﹿﻠﹻﻤﹻﻲﱠ. The set of examples in this category, then,  would be:ﺟﹷﺎﺀﹶ ﻣﹹﺴﹿﻠﹻﻤﹻﻲﱠ (my Muslims came) or ﺭﹶﺍﺋﻴﺖﹸ ﻣﹹﺴﹿﻠﹻﻤﹻﻲﱠ (I saw my Muslims) or ﻣﹷﺮﹶﺭﹾﺕﹸ ﺑﹻﻤﹹﺴﹿﻠﹻﻤﹻﻲﱠ (I passed by my Muslims)

I hope this detailed introduction to methods of reflection for an ﺍﹺﺳﻢ will go a long way towards understanding this key concept in Arabic Language, Insha Allah.

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One Comment
  1. AOA;

    i can see some arabic images but some not. please tell me y

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