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Noun Phrases in Arabic – 5 grammar topics in 10 minutes

Noun phrases as subject and object in Arabic
Noun phrases as subject and object in Arabic

Learning noun phrases in Arabic (or in any language) is a crucial part of building a sentence. A noun is a word that refers to an object, person, or concept. Therefore, a noun phrase is a structure that is based on a noun. In this lesson, we will learn how to build and use noun phrases in Arabic, together with 5 grammar topics that we will go through in the next 10 minutes. You can listen to all examples marked with an audio icon on the interactive lesson.

Suppose that you have the noun “book”, there are different ways of using a noun phrase with it. For example, you can say “a book”, “the book”, or “this book”. Also, you can combine it with an adjective, such as “a new book” or “the old book”. In terms of possession, you can use a possessive pronoun such as “my book/his book”. In addition, it can be part of a genitive expression, such as “The teacher’s book”, “the law book”, or “the book of grammar”.

What is common among all these structures? They can all be used in similar contexts and in similar grammatical roles. For example, you can say “I saw a book” or “I saw this new book” as an object of the sentence. Also, you can use it as the subject of a sentence “The new book fell on the floor” or “the teacher’s book fell on the floor”.

The bottom line is that: noun phrases in Arabic are essential parts of the sentence. However, understanding and using them usually spans different grammar topics. Such topics include: definite and indefinite nouns, adjectives, demonstratives, possessives and genitive expressions. Luckily, we cover all of these topics in our course “Basic Arabic Grammar” on Udemy.

Learn and practice building Noun Phrases in Arabic

For now, let’s start practicing how to build simple noun phrases in Arabic. Here are the examples for the five types of structures, corresponding to different grammar topics.

Examples for noun phrases in Arabic – for the word kitaab = book

Notice that there are five types of noun phrases we are using here. The first is single noun, whether indefinite or definite (preceded by al- ال). Then we have noun phrases combining nouns and adjectives. In this case, it is important to also notice that if the noun is definite (i.e. has al- prefix), the adjective has to have al- prefix as well. Then, we have noun phrases with demonstratives (e.g. this), and in this case the noun has to be definite, and consequently the adjective, if any.

The next type is noun phrases with possessive pronouns (e.g. my/his), where the word itself has to be indefinite (without al- prefix), but grammatically it becomes definite by adding the possessive pronoun/suffix. The last type is for genitive expressions, indicating that something belongs to something or someone. In this case, the noun for the thing that belongs is indefinite, while the other noun is definite.

Study these examples well. Do you see the patterns? Also, open the link to the interactive lesson and listen to the audio for each example. Try to repeat what you hear. This way, you will start to develop your listening and speaking skills. To further enhance your grammar skills, you will need to practice. In the following image, you will see empty templates, where we removed the noun “book” and its equivalent from the examples. Now it is your turn to try new words. Use the words indicated above, as much as you can, to build new noun phrases.

Noun Phrase templates – use them to build simple phrases in Arabic

What about feminine words?

As you may know, nouns in Arabic have gender: either male or female. In the examples above, noun phrases were based on the noun “book”, and other nouns of male gender in the exercises. Does it make a difference if we use a word of feminine gender? Yes it does. First, for a feminine word, the adjective has to be also feminine. In many cases, we do this by adding taa2 marbootah (this letter: ة ـة , a letter that sounds as “h” at the end of the word).

Noun phrases for a feminine word “fikrah = idea”

Now you get the idea. The only prominent difference involves words ending with taa2 marbooTah. If such words have a possessive suffix, this taa2 marbooTah becomes a normal taa2, in both writing and pronunciation. However, in case of genitive, where the word for the thing that belongs is followed by a word for what it belongs to; and in this case, the taa2 marbooTah is still written, but its pronunciation becomes a regular taa2.

Now also do your practice by filling the templates with other feminine words.

Practice building noun phrases with feminine words

Going further

It is important to know that Arabic grammar is highly complex. There are different complexities when learning Modern Standard Arabic and when learning dialects, so it is important to learn the differences. There are so many topics which are interrelated and can be tackled on different levels of sophistication. That’s why the focus of our lessons is to go as simple as possible. You don’t need to study dozens of other topics just to learn the topic at hand. Just understand it well, practice it as much as you can, and then it will give you a useful piece of the puzzle, and a useful tool to help you navigate the complexity of the language. Good luck and keep learning! Please leave any questions you have in the comments or on our social media.

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Egyptian Songs in Marvel’s Moon Knight Series

A few days ago the last episode of Marvel’s Moon Knight series was released. The story and acting were quite good, but there was an aspect that many people liked. It is basically how Egypt, and its civilization and culture were portrayed. One significant aspect of Egyptian culture was the choice of the songs used in the intro and ending of each episode, as well as those that served as background music. As language learners, we may be curious about what these songs actually say, so in this post, we will cover a number of these songs, with their lyrics and explanation.

Marvel’s Moon Knight Series

Nagat – ba7lam ma3aak

This song appeared in the first episode while the main character was waiting for his romantic date. The song itself is quite romantic, but its words portrays some interesting picture, which apparently have some significance in a later episode (No spoilers here 🙂 ). The singer of this song is Nagat (or Nagat al-Sagheerah, the little Nagat, apparently to distinguish her from another singer called Nagat).

Song by Nagat – I dream with you – ba7lam ma3aak – بحلم معاك

ba7lam ma3aak lyrics

These are the lyrics of the song.

I Dream with youba7lam ma3aakبحلم معاك
I dream with you .. of a shipba7lam ma3aak … be-safeenahباحلم معاك.. بسفينة
and a harbour .. to anchor uswe be-meenaa .. terasseenaaوبمينا….ترسينا
and sail againwe-neba77ar taaneeونبحّر تاني
the wind resists ..and i found youel-ree7 te3aaned … we-ala2eekالريح تعاند … وألاقيك
in your eyes .. and your handsfee 3enaik .. we-eedaikفي عينيك …..وإيديك
my shore and my safetyshhaTTee we amaaneeشطي وأماني
the whole worldel-3aalam kollohالعالم كله
with its secretsbe-asraarohبأسراره
living with me3aayesh wayyaayaaعايش ويايا
living inside me3aayesh gowwaayaaعايش جوايا
as long as you’re .. in the journey with meTool ma-enta … fee el-re7lah ma3aayaaطول ما انت ..في الرحلة معايا
my name and your name .. my darlingesmak we esmee … ya 7abeebeeاسمك واسمي…. يا حبيبي
my town .. and my storymadentee … we-7ekaayteeمدينتي…… وحكايتي
my home and my rovingsakanee we-ter7aaleeسكني وترحالي
the whole worldel-3aalam kollohالعالم كله
with its secrets16be-asraarohبأسراره
living with me3aayesh wayyaayaaعايش ويايا
living inside me3aayesh gowwaayaaعايش جوايا
as long as you’re .. in the journey with meTool ma-enta … fee el-re7lah ma3aayaaطول ما انت ..في الرحلة معايا

Lyrics are adapted from Lyrics translate website 

Ahmed Saad – el-molook (the kings)

This song appeared in the outro of the second episode. It belongs to a genre of music in Egypt called mahraganaat (literally means “carnivals”). This kind of music was at first mainly the music of more certain areas of cairo (manaatiq sha’beyyah = literally means popular areas but refer to more crowded and poorer areas). However, this music spread in popularity everywhere. It is similar to rap music in terms of some focus on “dissing” (or expressing disrespect) to other unnamed rivals. Of course there are also carnivals about romantic love and others about contemplating life and human nature. However, this song “el-melook” belongs to the first category, with a message of “we are better than you”.

Song by Ahmed Saad Ft. 3enaba and double Zuksh – the kings- el-molook – الملوك

El-melook lyrics

Here are the lyrics of the song

The Kingsالملوك
[Singer: 3enaba][عنبة]
I can see non of youanaa mesh shaayef feekom 7addأنا مش شايف فيكم حد
y’all bunch of boys, wheedling for a livingentoo 3eyaal 3aayshah 3alaa el-7akkإنتوا عيال عايشين ع الحك
Everyone knows that y’all are minisculekoll el-naas 3arfaakoo 3al-2adكل الناس عارفاكوا ع القد
Everyone knows that i’m fiercekoll el-naas 3aarfah enne ghasheemكل الناس عارفة إني غشيم
Never needed backup3omree fee yoam maa e7tagt le-7addعمري في يوم ما أحتجت لحد
Not bragging, swear to god it’s true.mesh tafkheem wallaahee begaddمش تفخيم و الله بجد
Like a lion, standing in front of everyonewaa2ef west el-koll asadواقف وسط الكل أسد
Wasn’t meant1 to be meanmaa etrabbet-sh ennee ab2aa la2eemما أتربتيش إنى أبقى لئيم
When it’s serious, i got the missiles (name of a band)fee el-tanfeez 3andee el-Sawaareekhفي التنفيذ عندى الصواريخ
I am 3enab from mars, dudeanaa 3ennaab yasta el-marreekhأنا عناب ياسطى المريخ
In my wars i use RPGswest 7oroobee baDrab bawaazeekوسط حروبي بضرب بوازيك
In my county, i make historywest belaadee bakteblee tareekhوسط بلادي بكتبلي تاريخ
[Singer: Young Zuksh][يانج زوكش]
Dude,7abeebeeحبيبى
Papa,baabaaبابا
Here comes the gang7aDarnaa gainaa 3eSaabahحضرنا جينا عصابة
We live…3eshnaaعيشنا
ModestlybasaaTahبساطة
You’ll make it, if determinedhatenga7 law feeh eraadahهتنجح لو فى إراده
Never needed support, i am on my own (Alone)ma7tagtesh 7add, anaa saaned nafsee aloneAlone ما احتاجتش حد أنا ساند نفسى
Ringing and buzzing daily, is my phone.arqaam betrenn be-tezenn 3ala el-telephoneأرقام بترن بتزن على التليفون
Now that i made it, they love me, took my side!7abboonee lammaa weSelt etlawwenoo 100 loanحبونى لما وصلت اتلونوا 100 لون
Your shot hits the post, mine scores a goalkortak teegee 3aarDah kortee teegee goanكورتك تيجى عارضه كورتى بتيجى جوون
[Singer: Ahmed Saad][أحمد سعد]
hush hush hush hush.sokoot sokoot sokoot sokootسكوت سكوت سكوت سكوت
The kings, kings, kings, kings are heregatt el-molok molook molookجت الملوك ملوك ملوك ملوك
There is no escape, escape escapemafeesh horoob horoob horoobمفيش هروب هروب هروب
from the lions, the lionsmen el-osood men el-osoodمن الأسود من الأسود
No sales talk!e7naa mesh be-nebee3 kalaamإحنا مش بنبيع كلام
We get to the point!e7naa naas doghree we-tamaamإحنا ناس دوغرى و تمام
(We) do not care who says whatmesh shaaghelnaa meen ellee 2aalمش شاغلنا مين اللى قال
The envious have no placeel-7aqood malhoosh makaanالحقود مالهوش مكان
[Singer: Young Zuksh][يانج زوكش]
Mess with me, you get a taste of lunacytenkosh-nee teshoof genaanتنكشنى تشوف جنان
People would gather2we-tetlam el-geraanوتتلم الجيران
God blessed me with a wise tonguerabbak eddaanee 7ekmah fee el-lesaanربك إدانى حكمة فى اللسان
(with which) I’d win battlesakol-kom bel-kalaamأكلكم بالكلام
Yang Zuksh is from El-Salamyough zoksh gaay men el-salaamيانج زوكش جاي من السلام
Do not trust meakhook malhoosh amaanأخوك مالهوش أمان
I’m decent, so don’t yell “man” at meanaa 3ala el-mazboot tamaam fa mat2olleesh yaa manأنا على المظبوط تمام فمتقوليش يا مان
hitting the gas, wining all trophies, bottled poison, quenched their thirst!anaa daayes we faayez kesebt kol el-gawaayez .. 7aTTait el-semm fee azaayez .. sherebt koll ellee 3aayezانا دايس و فايز كسبت كل الجوايز حطيط السم فى ازايز شربت كل اللى عايز
I want you to understand me, distinguish! (as i’m doing), and know what’s right!anaa 3aayez zayy maa-anaa 3aayez amayyez 3aayzak tefham-nee we-temayyez we-teshoof el-Sa77 we-dah kowayyesانا عايز زى مانا عايز أميز عايزك تفهمنى و تميز و تشوف الصح ده كويس
[Singer: Ahmed Saad][أحمد سعد]
Look, look, look where have we beenshoof shoof shoof konnaa fainشوف شوف شوف كنا فين
And where are we nowwe-ba2ainaa delwa2tee fainو بقينا دلوقتى فين
You, who forgot about me in your good few days, i will forget you for yearsyaa ellee neseetoo-nee fee yomain-kom anaa hansaa-kom seneenياللى نسيتونى فى يومينكم انا هنساكم سنين
Thanks for hardships, that opened my eyes,kattar khair el-Zoroof ellee tekhalleenee ashoofكتر خير الظروف اللى تخلينى أشوف
some i did truly love, others do not deserve considerationnaas 7abbait-haa be-amaanah we-naas taanyah maa-yetshaafoo-shناس حبيتها بأمانه وناس تانيه مايتشافوش
[Singer: 3enaba][عنبة]
Everyone was blown away when i’m presentlammaa gait el-koll Taarلما جيت الكل طار
Undeliberate, i’m an explosionghaSb 3annee anaa enfegaarغصب عنى انا انفجار
It’s hard to see you in spaceSa3b ashoofak fee el-faDaa2صعب اشوفك فى الفضاء
If you came to me, we’ll make a messlaw gait a3mel ma3aak 7ewaarلو جيت اعمل معاك حوار
Stay away, i vigorous, from Cairo, yet stronger than any foreignereb3ed 3annee 3ashaan anaa ghabee, qaaheraawee we-agmad men el-agnabeeابعد عنى علشان انا غبى قاهراوى و اجمد من الاجنبى
Dude, your planet is different from minekawkabkoo yasTaa ghair kawkabeeكوكبكوا ياسطى غير كوكبي
Alone, can drive an army of TatarsbeToolee wa7dee asoo2 tataarبطولى وحدي اسوق تاتار
[Singer: Young Zuksh][يانج زوكش]
I’m cool, i’m cool, i’m chicanaa gaamed anaa gaamed anaa sheekانا جامد انا جامد انا شيك
If you have money, a car gets anywherelaw ma3aak feloos 3arabeyyah be-temashsheekلو معاك فلوس عربيه بتمشيك
Bro, befriend no hobos, it’s a givenma3roof ya zemeelee ma-teSaa7eb-sh halaafeetمعروف يازميلى متصحبش هلافيت
(Are you) Cultured? Welcome aboardlaw betefham fee el-oSool ahlan beekلو بتفهم فى الاصول اهلا بيك
We’d want youneshtereekنشتريك
You’ll be on topteb2aa foa2تبقى فوق
Gray-haired?, meh, it’s just a colour.we-law yesheeb el-sha3r loanو لو يشيب الشعر لون
Till the end we’ll keep upmekammeleen le-aakher yoamمكملين لآخر يوم
Success is hard, requires no sleepaSl el-nagaa7 dah sa3b mesh me7taag el-noamأصل النجاح ده صعب مش محتاج النوم

Sabah – Sa3aat Sa3aat (Sometimes … sometimes)

This song appeared at the end of episode 5. A very melancholic song by the amazing Lebanese singer and actress Sabah. The song portrays a complex psychological state, about a person oscillating between feelings of unexplained happiness and sadness. 

Song by Sabah – sometimes sometimes – saa3aat saa3aat – ساعات ساعات

saa3aat saa3aat lyrics

Here are the lyrics of the song.

Sometimes. ..Sometimessaa3aat saa3aatساعات…ساعات
Sometimes. sometimessaa3aat saa3aatساعات…ساعات
I love my life & adore the things ( issues) .a7ebb 3omree, we a3sha2 el-7agaatأحب عمري و أعشق الحاجات
I love all peoplea7ebb koll el-naasأحب كل الناس
and how much of feeling (I have)we-add eih e7saasو أد ايه احساس!
and I feel inside me hundred melodieswe-a7ess gowwaayaa be-meet naghamو احس جوايا بميت نغم
hudred melodies filling up the silencemeet nagham yemloo el-sokaatميت نغم يملوا السكات
Sometimes. ..Sometimessaa3aat saa3aatساعات .. ساعات
Sometimes. ..Sometimessaa3aat saa3aatساعات …ساعات
I feel how much I am lonely !a7ess add eih wa7eedahأحس أد ايه وحيدة
the words that are in my mouth are not new !,we-add eih el-kelmah fee lesaanee ma-hesh gedeedahو أد ايه الكلمة في لساني مهيش جديدة
and how much I am not happy! ,we-add eih maa-anee-sh sa3eedahو أد ايه منيش سعيدة
and that the stars are so far !,we-enn el-negoom be3eedahو ان النجوم بعيدة
And how heavy the time step is !we-te2eelah khaTwet el-zamanو ثقيلة خطوة الزمن
How heavy theticking of the clocks!te2eelah da22et el-sa3aatثقيلة دقة الساعات
Sometimes. Sometimessa3aat sa3aatساعات…ساعات
refrain
I laugh & play like a spring birdaD7ak we-al3ab zayy 3aSfooret rabee3أضحك و ألعب زي عصفورة ربيع
Like the breeze ..as it comes.. then it suddenly vanisheszayy el-naseem maa ye3addee we-fee la7zah yeDee3زي النسيم ما يعدي و في لحظة يضيع
I get very happy ..and laugh so very muchafra7 awee … we-aD7ak awee aweeأفرح قوي ..و أضحك قوي قوي
and love my life and adore the passing day .we-a7ebb 3omree we a3sha2 el-yoam ellee faatو أحب عمري و اعشق اليوم اللي فات
Sometimes. Sometimessaa3aat saa3aatساعات …ساعات
it’s strange, it is strangeghareebah, we-ghareebahغريبة ..و غريبة
the same thing that makes me happy, doesn’t make me happynafs elle beyfarra7-nee maa yefarra7-neeنفس اللي بيفرحني ما يفرحني
and it’s strangewe-ghareebahو غريبة
the same thing that comforts me doesn’t comfort menafs elle yerayya7-nee maa yerayya7-neeنفس اللي يريحني ما يريحني
and I feel my lifetime is gone bywe-a7ess enn 3omree faatو احس ان عمري فات
without me loving me life and adoring thingsmen ghair ma-a7ebb 3omree we-a3sha2 el-7agaatمن غير ما احب عمري و اعشق الحاجات
like this sometimeskedah saa3aatكدة ساعات
and like that sometimeswe-kedah saa3aatو كدة ساعات
and it’s strange, the ticking of time passingwe-ghareebah, ghareebah da22et el-zamanو غريبة..غريبة دقة الزمن
and it’s strange, strange how the clock game iswe-ghareebah ghareebah … le3bet el-saa3aatو غريبة غريبة ..لعبة الساعات
Sometimes. Sometimessaa3aat saa3aatساعات…ساعات

And here is a list of all songs (Egyptian and non-Egyptian) used in the series.

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Which Arabic to learn?

When learning Arabic, it is important to have a clear understanding of your goals. Otherwise, you may spend a lot of time, money and effort without a satisfactory outcome. The first thing to know is that there are two different types of Arabic. The first is Formal language (known as fuSHaa, meaning the most eloquent). FuSHaa includes both classical Arabic and the more popular Modern Standard Arabic (MSA)d. MSA is used mainly in written and formal materials. On the other hand, the informal/colloquial language is mainly spoken, with different dialects and varieties across different countries. In this post, you’ll see the different possible goals associated with each type. Then, you will know which type of Arabic to focus on, so that you can achieve your goals.

Two types of Arabic: Formal/fuSHaa/Modern Standard Arabic – and dialects

Suppose that you need to learn Arabic to read some official documents or read a book in Arabic. In this case, it makes sense only to learn MSA. Otherwise, if you want to:

  • watch Arabic speaking media
  • listen to songs or other cultural production

then in most cases you will need to study one dialect or another.

Which type of Arabic to learn?

An ideal learning strategy would be to combine both types. In fact, this is what most Arabic native speakers do. They just switch between the two types according to context.

Our Learning Products

What is fuSHaa: classical Arabic + Modern Standard Arabic

In order to understand Arabic better, it i important to make a few distinctions, and to see some overlaps.

The first distinction is between Classical Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic. Although Arabic speakers call both of them al-fuSHaa (or the most eloquent), classical Arabic refers mainly to Arabic used in literary and religious texts many centuries ago, while Modern Standard Arabic is the Arabic that is used nowadays for most of formal contexts. Here are a few points from this figure:
1- There is a lot of overlap between MSA and classical Arabic. The grammar is basically identical

2- many words in ancient texts (classical Arabic) that are not used nowadays (MSA)

3- many modern words that were coined to reflect many areas of technology, economics, business and so on

4- Some words had a certain meaning in classical Arabic and a different meaning in MSA. For example the word “sayyaarah” was used in Quran to mean “a caravan”, but in modern use, it means “a car/au automobile”

FuSHaa is the combination of classical Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic

The relationship between fuSHaa and dialects

And there are a few important points about the distinction between fuSHaa and dialects:

1- There are different dialects for the different Arabic speaking countries

2- Some dialects can be grouped together, like Levantine, Maghreb, and Gulf groups since these dialects are similar to each other

3- Each dialect has an overlap with fuSHaa, many words and verbs either are the same as in MSA, or has an origin from classical Arabic

4- Each dialect has overlaps with other dialects, dialects with closer geographical proximity have greater overlap

5- Dialects are also influenced by other local languages, such as Egyptian Arabic being influenced by Coptic, and Maghreb dialects by Tamzight

6- Dialects are also influenced by foreign languages, such as French, English, Turkish … etc

Dialects can be grouped together, showing the overlap with fuSHaa and other local and foreign languages

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Arabic Alphabet and Diacritics Guide (Free)

In this guide for Arabic alphabet and diacritics reading, you will learn about the following:

  • The Arabic Alphabet letters. In addition, you will learn some letters that are not normally included in the alphabet
  • The shape of each letter in different parts of the word
  • The Arabic diacritics/harakaat/tashkeel. These are mainly short vowels in Arabic.
  • How to sound out Arabic words using letters and diacritics
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png
Sample of the guide, showing different shapes of Arabic letters

There are many resources for learning Arabic reading by Champolu. In addition, you can also enroll in our Udemy Basic Arabic reading course, which explains the alphabet and diacritics guide in more detail.


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Lesson 10 – Question Words in Arabic

Let’s learn about question words in Arabic. In this lesson, we will discuss interrogative sentences in Arabic. Mainly, we will introduce the main question words and the corresponding structure.

Arabic Question Words Example

In this video, let’s learn about question words in Arabic.

Question Words Lesson on Youtube

Question Words أدَوات الاسْتِفْهَام

مَن؟
man?
Who?
مَا؟
maa?
What?
مَاذَا؟
maadhaa?
What?
أيْنَ؟
ayna?
Where?
مَتَى؟
mataa?
When?
كَيْفَ؟
kayfa?
How?
كَم؟
kam?
How many?
لِمَاذَا؟
limaadhaa?
Why?
هَل؟
hal?
…? Yes/No

Yes/No Questions

The word “hal” is a word we use for forming Yes/No questions in MSA.
In classical Arabic, sometimes the letter alif is used before the verb in a similar way:
Did you want to eat?
a-tureed an ta’akol?
أتريد أن تأكل؟

هَلْ؟
hal?
For asking Yes/No Questions
هَل نِمْتَ جَيِّداً؟
hal nimta jayyidan?
Did you sleep well?
هَل أنْت مِصْرِيّ؟
hal anta misreyy?
Are you Egyptian?
هَل تُرِيد أَنْ تَأكُل؟
hal tureed an ta’kol?
Do you want to eat?
هَل وَصَلَ الضُّيُوف؟
hal wasala ad-duyoof?
Did the guests arrive?
نَعَم
na’am
yes
لا
laa
no

Where = ayna = أينَ

أيْنَ الحَقِيبَة؟
ayna al-haqeebah?
Where is the bag?
أيْنَ المُدِير؟
ayna al-mudeer?
Where is the manager?
أيْنَ تَسْكُن؟
ayna taskun?
Where do you live?
أيْنَ أَنْت؟
ayna ant?
Where are you?

Who = man = مَن

مَن هُوَ؟
man huwa?
Who is he?
مَن قَالَ لَكَ هَذَا؟
man qaala laka haadhaa?
Who told you so?
مَن هُوَ مُؤَلِّف الكِتَاب؟
man huwa mu’allif al-kitaab?
Who is the author of the book?
مَن هُوَ مُخْتَرِع الهَاتِف؟
man huwa mukhtare’ al-haatif?
Who is the inventor of the phone?

When = mataa = متى

مَتَى وَصَلْتُم؟
mataa wasaltum?
When did you (pl-m) arrive?
مَتَى حَدَث هَذَا؟
mataa hadatha haadhaa?
When did this happen?
مَتَى سَافَرُوا؟
mataa saafaroo?
When did they travel?
مَتَى وُلِدْت؟
mataa wulidt?
When were you born?

What = maa = ما

مَا مَعْنَى هَذِهِ الكَلِمَة؟
maa ma’naa haadhihi al-kalimah?
What is the meaning of this word?
مَا هِيَ عَاصِمَة فَرَنْسَا؟
maa hiya ‘aasimat faransaa?
What is the capital of France?
مَا هِيَ المُشْكِلَة؟
maa hiya al-mushkilah?
What is the problem?
مَا هَذَا؟
maa haadhaa?
What is this?

How = kayfa = كَيفَ

كَيْفَ عَرَفْت؟
kayfa ‘araft?
How did you know?
كَيْفَ نُصْلِح الهَاتِف؟
kayfa nuslih al-haatif?
How do we fix the phone?
كَيْفَ يُمْكِن أَنْ أُسَاعِدَك؟
kayfa yumkin an usaa’idak?
How can I help you?
كَيْفَ حَالُك؟
kayfa haaluk?
How are you?
(Literally: How is your condition)

How much/many = kam = كَم

كَم عُمْرُك؟
kam ‘umruk?
How old are you?
(Literally: how much is your age)
كَم شَخْصَاً قَابَلْت؟
kam shakhsan qaabalt?
How many people did you meet?
كَم تُرِيد؟
kam tureed?
How much do you want?
كَم تَكَلَّفَت الرِّحْلَة؟
kam takallafat ar-rihlah?
How much did the trip cost?

What = maadhaa = ماذا

مَاذَا حَدَث؟
maadhaa hadath?
What happened?
مَاذَا قُلْت؟
maadhaa qult?
What did you say?
مَاذَا تُرِيد؟
maadhaa tureed?
What do you want?
مَاذَا فَعَلُوا؟
maadhaa fa’aloo?
What did they do?

Why = limaadhaa = لِمَاذا

لِمَاذا تَبْكِي؟
limaadhaa tabkee?
Why are you crying?
لِمَاذا وَقَعَت الحَادِثَة؟
limaadhaa waqa’at al-haadithah?
Why did the accident happen?
لِمَاذا فَعَلْتَ ذَلِك؟
limaadhaa fa’alta dhaalik?
Why did you do so?
لِمَاذا تَأَخَّرْوا؟
limaadhaa ta’akhkharoo?
Why are they late?

Other Question Words in Arabic

There are other question words that will be covered in later lessons.

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Arabic Videos with Subtitles

Using Arabic Videos with Subtitles can help in learning the spoken language. It is important to show in the subtitles what the speakers are actually saying. In addition, it is also important to show the English translation. For learners who can’t read in Arabic, it can be useful to provide the transliteration of the Arabic text in Latin letters.

This triple subtitle format is part of the Champolu method. In fact, it provides complete transparency about what the spoken language. Therefore, learners can know the actual words in the speech, the meaning of each word, and how these words map to the meaning in the translation. In order to do this mapping, we do color-matching between the phrases and words in the original script, the transliteration, and the translation.

In the Arabic materials, we include clips from the show “Alice in Wonderland”. This is a popular children show with a version in Modern Standard Arabic. In this show, you can learn the basic Arabic phrases and expressions in a fun context.

Alice in Wonderland video clip with triple subtitle format

Here is a list of all multimedia material in Arabic. In this material, there are Arabic Videos with Subtitles with the triple subtitle format.

You can also check the Youtube playlist:

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Learn Arabic Videos with Subtitles (3) Alice shows the hat to her mum أليس تُري أُمَّها القبعة

Let’s learn Arabic language through Arabic Videos with translation subtitles. It is possible to find Arabic videos with subtitles either in Arabic script or translated into Arabic. In our videos here, we focus on providing videos with both the original spoken content in Arabic, in addition to the transliteration of what is being said in English letters, to help learners who are yet comfortable enough with the Arabic script. The subtitles also include the English translation. In addition, all the three-line subtitles are color-matched, in order to allow the learners to glean the meaning of words and expressions.

videos with Arabic subtitles/transliteration in English letters, and English translation. We will watch a videos from the animation series “Alice in Wonderland أليس في بلاد العجائب”, which are dubbed in Arabic.

Dialogue – subtitles Arabic/Transliteration/Translation

اُنظُرَا مَاذا اِشتَرَيت

indhuraa maadhaa ishtarayt

Look what I bought

يا إلَهي!

yaa ilaahee!

My God!

اِقلَعي هَذِهِ القُبَّعة القَذِرَة فِي الحَال

iqla3ee haadhihi al-qubba3ata al-qadhirah fee al-7aal

Take off this dirty hat immediately

القُبَّعة لَيسَت قَذِرَة، لَقَد تَفَحَّصتُها بِدِقَّة

al-qubba3ah laysat qadhirah, laqad tafa77astuhaa bi-diqqah

The hat isn’t dirty, I inspected it carefully

أشُكُّ في ذَلِك

ashukku fee dhaalik

I doubt it

فأنتِ تَعرِفِين أنَّ الجَراثيم تَنقُل الأمراض إلى الإنسان

fa-anti ta3rifeena anna al-jaratheem tanqil al-amraad ilaa al-insaan

Since you know that germs transmit diseases to humans

هَيَّا

hayyaa

Let’s go

لا أعرِف لِماذا تُريدين هَذا الشَّيء القَديم

laa a3rif limaadhaa tureedeen haadhaa ash-shay2 al-qadeem

I don’t know why you want this old thing

فَلَدَيكِ قُبَّعَةٌ جَمِيلة

fa-ladayki qubba3atun jameelah

Since you have a beautiful hat

نَعَم، ولَكِن ما تَفْعَلْهُ هَذِهِ القُبَّعَة لا تَفْعَلْهُ قُبَّعَتِي

na3am, wa-laakin maa taf3alhu haadhihi al-qubba3ah laa taf3aluhu qubba3atee

Yes, but my hat doesn’t do what this hat does

إِنَّهَا تُنَاسِبُكِ جِدَّاً

innaha tunaasibuki jiddan

It suits you very well

يَجِب أَنْ نَنَطَلِق أَسْرَع

yajib an nantliq asra3We have to move out faster

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Learn Arabic Videos with Subtitles (2) – Alice buys the hat أليس تشتري القبعة

Let’s learn Arabic language through Arabic Videos with translation subtitles. It is possible to find Arabic videos with subtitles either in Arabic script or translated into Arabic. In our videos here, we focus on providing videos with both the original spoken content in Arabic, in addition to the transliteration of what is being said in English letters, to help learners who are yet comfortable enough with the Arabic script. The subtitles also include the English translation. In addition, all the three-line subtitles are color-matched, in order to allow the learners to glean the meaning of words and expressions.

videos with Arabic subtitles/transliteration in English letters, and English translation. We will watch a videos from the animation series “Alice in Wonderland أليس في بلاد العجائب”, which are dubbed in Arabic.

Dialogue – subtitles Arabic/Transliteration/Translation

كَفَى! إنَّه يُزَغْزِغ!

kafaa! innahu yuzaghzigh

Stop! It tickles

أَتُرِيدِينَ شِرَاء القُبَّعَة يَا آنِسَة؟

a-tureedeen shiraa2 al-qubba3ah yaa aanisah?

Miss, do you want to buy the hat?

يَجِبُ ألَّا يَرَانِي

yajib allaa yaraanee

He must not see me

أَنَا؟ مَا ثَمَنُهَا؟

anaa? maa thamanuhaa?

Me? What is its price? 

الأَفْضَل أَن تَقُولِي أَنْتِ كَم مَعَكِ؟

al-afdal an taqoolee anti kam ma3aki?

Better that you say how much do you have?

عَشَرَةُ قُرُوش

3asharatu quroosh

Ten piasters (cents)

حَسَنَاً، هَذَا يَكْفِي

7asanan, haadhaa yakfee

Ok, that’s enough

هَاك، تَفَضَّل

haak, tafaddal

Here is it, here you are

شُكْرَاً، وَوَقْتَاً مُمْتِعَاً مَعَ القُبَّعَة!

shukran, wa-waqtan mumti3an ma3a al-qubba3ah

Thanks, and have an enjoyable time with the hat

هَل تَعْتَقِدَ أَنَّ مِن الصَّوَابِ أنْ أُطعِمَهُ جَزَرَاً؟

hal ta3taqid anna min as-sawaab an ut3imahu jazaran?

Do you think that it is right to feed him carrots?

القُبَّعَة؟

Al-qubba3ah?

The hat?

لَا شَيْئ، لَا شَيْئ، شُكْرَاً!

laa shay2, laa shay2, shukran!

Nothing, nothing, thanks!

سَأَكتَشِفَ ذَلِكَ بِنَفْسِي!

sa-aktashifa dhaalika bi-nafsee!

I’ll figure this out on my own!

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Arabic Lessons

This post contains an up-to-date list of Arabic Lessons. Please make sure to bookmark the page and subscribe to get updates with new lessons.

In general, the lessons cover areas in Arabic grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and alphabet. In addition, they include PDFs and Animated Google Slides, quizzes, and more.

Also, check our Udemy Course for Basic Arabic Reading.

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Lesson 9 – Prepositions in Arabic حروف الجر

In this lesson, we will talk about prepositions in Modern Standard Arabic.

In Modern Standard Arabic, prepositions are very important. Therefore, in this lesson, we will introduce Arabic prepositions with examples. In fact, prepositions can be best understood in context. For example, the preposition ” min مِن” usually means “from”, but it can have different meanings. For instance, the famous expression “min fadlik مِن فَضلِك” means simply “please”.

Let’s start by introducing a list of widely used Arabic prepositions. Then, we will go deeper into each preposition. In addition, we will contrast the use of different prepositions. In the beginning, these are the most widely used Arabic prepositions:

مِنْ، إلَى، عَنْ، عَلَى، فِي، بـ ، لـ ، كـ

Arabic Prepositions – Google Slides

In these slides, we will see more explanation for these prepositions.

Arabic prepositions – example phrases and sentences

مِنْ الَبَيْت
min al-bayt
From home
إِلَى الَمَطَار
ilaa al-mataar
To the airport
عَلَى الأَرْض
‘alaa al-ard
On the floor/on earth
فِي الحَدِيقَة
fee al-hadeeqah
In the garden
عَنْ المُشكِلَة
‘an al-mushkilah
About the problem
بِالقَلَم
be-l-qalam
With the pen
مَعَ صَدِيقِي
ma’a sadeeqy
with my friend
لِسَلَامَتِكُم
le-salaamatikum
For your (pl) safety

The preposition “min مِن”

مِنْ أَيْنَ أَنْت؟
min ayna ant?
Where are you (m) from?
أَنَا مِنْ الهِنْد 🇮🇳
ana min al-hind
I am from India
نَحْنُ مِنْ نَيْجيريا 🇳🇬
nahnu min Nigeria
We are from Nigeria
مِنْ أَيْنَ أَنْتُم؟
min ayna antum?
Where are you (pl) from?
مِنْ
min
from

Arabic Expressions with “min مِن”

Expressions with “min مِن”
مِنْ فَضْلِك
min fadlik
Please
مِنْ البِدَايَة
min al-bidaayah
From the beginning
مِنْ
min
from

The preposition “ilaa إلى”

إلَى أَيْنَ تُسَافِر فِي الصَّيْف؟ 🏖
ilaa ayna tusaafir fee as-sayf?
Where do you (m) travel in summer?
أنَا أُسَافِر إلَى لُبْنَان 🇱🇧
ana usaafir ilaa lubnaan
I travel to Lebanon
إِلَى
ilaa
to

إلَى اللِّقَاء
ilaa al-liqaa’
Goodbye
مِنَ الألِف إلَى اليَاء
min al-alif ilaa al-yaa’
From A to Z
إلَى النِّهَايَة
ilaa an-nihaayah
To (till) the end
Expressions with “ilaa إلى”

The preposition “‘alaa عَلى”

عَلَى
‘alaa
on
عَلَى المَائِدَة
‘alaa al-maa’idah
On the table
The preposition “ ‘alaa عَلَى” can simply mean “on”
عَلَى الكُرْسِي
‘alaa al-kursee
On the chair

عَلَى الأَقَلّ
alaa’ al-aqall
At least
عَلَى أَيْ حَال
alaa’ ayy haal
Anyway
Expressions with “‘alaa عَلَى”
عَلَى
‘alaa
on

فِي
fee
in/at
فِي المَغْرِب 🇲🇦
fee al-maghrib
In Morocco
فِي مِصْر 🇪🇬
fee misr
In Egypt
The preposition “fee فِي” is used as the English prepositions “in/at”

فِي
fee
in/at
في أكتوبر *
fee October
In October
في الصَّيف
fee as-sayf
In summer
The preposition “fee فِي” can also be used with time

  • Note that month names differ between Arab countries

مَعَ
ma’a
with (person)
أنَا أَعِيش مَعَ أُسْرَتِي
ana a’eesh ma’a usratee
I live with my family
سَافَرْتُ مَعَ أصْدِقَائِي
saafartu ma’a asdiqaa’ee
I travelled with my friends

مَعَ السَّلامَة
ma’a as-salaamah
Goodbye
Literally: with safety
مَعَ تَحِيَّاتِي
ma’a tahiyyaatee
Best regards
Literally: with my greetings
Expressions with “ma’a مَعَ”
مَعَ
ma’a
with (person)

قَرَأتُ كِتَابَاً عَنْ العُلُوم
qara’tu kitaaban ‘an al-’uloom
I read (past) a book about science
عَنْ
‘an
about
تَكَلَّمَ المُدِير عَنْ المُشْكِلَة
takallama al-mudeer ‘an al-mushkilah
The manager spoke about the problem

When the preposition “le- لـ” comes before “al- الـ”,
it becomes “lel- للـ”
لِـ
le-
to/for
البيت 🏠
al-bayt
The house
لـ البيت ← للبيت
lel-bayt
To the house

لِـ
le-
to/for
لِلأَسَف
lel-asaf
unfortunately
لِلعِلْم
lel-’ilm
For information
Expressions with “le- لـ”

When the preposition “be- بـ” comes before “al- الـ” , it is pronounced as “bel-” instead of “be- al-”
الكتاب
al-kitaab
The book
بـ الكتاب ← بالكتاب
bel-kitaab
With the book
بِـ
be-
with/by
(object)

بِـ
be-
with/by
(object)
The preposition “be- بـ” can be used to make adverbs
ثِقَة
thiqah
confidence
بِثِقَة
be-thiqah
confidently

بِـ
be-
with/by
(object)
The preposition “be- بـ” can be used to make adverbs
أَنْتَ تَتَكَلَّم بِسُرْعَة
anta tatakallam be-sor’ah
You (m) speak fast
مِن فَضْلك تَكَلَّم بِبُطْء
min fadlik takallam be-bot’
please speak slowly

The preposition “fee في”

أيْنَ الكَلْب؟
ayna al-kalb?
Where is the dog?


الكَلْب فِي السَّيَّارَة
al-kalb fee as-sayyaarah
The dog is in the car


الكَلْب عَلَى السَّيَّارَة
al-kalb ‘alaa as-sayaarah
The dog is on the car

The prepositions “ma’a مع” is for people, while “be- بـ” is for objects

أنَا ألْعَب مَعَ أصْدِقَائِي
ana al’aab ma’a asdiqaa’ee
I am playing with my friends
أنَا ألْعَب بِالكُرَة
ana al’aab be-l-kurah
I am playing with the ball

The prepositions “ilaa إلى” and “le- لـ” can sometimes be used interchangeably

أَنَا أذْهَب إِلَى المَكْتَب
ana adh-hab ilaa al-maktab
I am going to the office
أَنَا أذْهَب للمَكْتَب
ana adh-hab lel-maktab
I am going to the office
What is the preposition “to” in Arabic: إلى لـ

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