Arabic Noun & Verb Overview- Learn Arabic Free Online


Noun & Verb Overview

Each declinable noun and each verb is made up of a certain set of base letters, called its جذر. (Nouns that are always indeclinable (such as pronouns) usually don’t follow this system.)


Verbs can either have 3 base letters, or 4. Nouns can have 3, 4, or 5. Now these base letters can be augmented with extra letters, and they can be dropped or changed due to morphophonemic rules as well. Let’s look at some examples.


Added and Dropped/Changed Letters Base Letters Verb
ح، ي، ي حَيَّ
أ added ل، ح، ق أَلْحَقَ
و changed ق، و، ل قالَ
ء and ي dropped, ه added ر، ء، ي رَهْ
ء and ن added ط، م، ء، ن اِطْمَأَنَّ


Added and Dropped/Changed Letters Base Letters Noun
ه، م، س هَمْس
أ and ا added, ي changed ح، ي، ي أَحْياء
ا added, ي dropped غ، ز، ي غازٍ
ن added غ، ض، ف، ر غَضَنْفَر


Why are letters added? This is a result of taking a set of root letters and putting them into a patter in the templatic system. We do this to add more meaning, depth, and connotation to the basic meaning afforded by the root letters. This is one of the concepts covered by morphology. For example, the base letters given in the chart below afford the basic meaning of cutting. But ‘cutting’ is too abstract a meaning, so these letters are then inserted into templates, thus giving them tangible and even advanced meanings. (We use the base letters فعل to represent what a template looks like).


Template Base
فِعال فِعْلَة فُوْعِلُوا إِفْعال فَعَلَ  
قِطاع قِطْعَة قُوْطِعُوْا إِقْطاع قَطَعَ ق، ط، ع
section fragment they were boycotted, or interrupted fief he cut to cut


And why are letters dropped or changed? This is based on morphophonemic rules of the language which is the other major concept that morphology covers.