Arabic Introduction to the Morphophonemic Rules Learn Arabic Free Online


Introduction to the Morphophonemic Rules

There are a few letters in the language such that, if they are part of the base letters of a word, the word is considered weak. If a verbs is considered weak, a set of rules must be applied in order to change it so that it is no longer considered such. This discussion is mainly focused on three-lettered words, and we begin with verbs and then extend our knowledge to nouns later.


Below is a chart that gives these letters


Name of the Set of Rules Applied to this Type of Verb Name Given to the Verb that has this Week Letter (and where it Occurs in the Verb)
صحيح None of the below
تخفيف الأفعال المهموزة همزة anywhere in the base
تعليل or إعلال الأفعال المعتلّة أفعال المثال واو or ياء in the first position
الأفعال الجوفاء واو or ياء in the second position
الأفعال الناقصة واو or ياء in the third position
أفعال اللفيف واو or ياء in multiple positions
إدغام الأفعال المضاعفة the second and third letters are the same


There are at least 50 rules that govern what will happen when these letters occur in a word, based on surrounding letters, vowels, etc. However, when we study basic morphology, we only discuss at most 10 of these as they account for the vast majority of these occurrences.


The classification of words based on weak letters is parallel to their classification based on templates. This means that a word will have both a template as well as a weak-letter classification. For example, the verb قال (he said) is on the pattern فَعَلَ and, in terms of its weakness, it is among the الأفعال الجوفاء.