Verbal and Nominal Sentences in Arabic


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This presentation introduces the nominal and the verbal sentences and explains the differences and the word ordering options.

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  • The nominal sentence is the equivalent of sentences that use verb “to be” in English. For example when informing about your name, age, work, etc you use nominal sentences. However there is no Arabic word-for-word translation for verb “to be;” it’s simply implicitly. Technically a 30-year-old teacher whose name is Khouloud would say in Arabic “I khouloud,” or “my name Khouloud.” She would also say “I 30,” or “my age 30” as well as say “I teacher.”
  • Nominal Sentence: Attoffe7atoo latheethaton
    Verbal Sentence: Akala al-waladoo toffe7atan
  • Nominal Sentence: Attoofe7atoo latheethaton / Al-waladoo akala tooffe7atan
    Verbal Sentence: Akala al-waladoo toofe7atan
  • Nominal Sentences: Attoofe7atoo latheethaton / Latheethaton attoufe7atoo
    Verbal Sentences: 1)Akala al-waladoo thoffa7atan. 2)Akala thoffa7atan al-waladoo. 3)Al-waladoo akala toffa7atan. 4)Al-waladoo alaka toffa7atan. 5)Toffa7atan akala al-waladoo. 6)Toffa7atan akala al-waladoo.
  • Verbal and Nominal Sentences in Arabic

    1. 1. Nominal and Verbal Sentences
    2. 2.  There are two types of sentences in Arabic: the nominal and the verbal. - The nominal sentence is verbless. - The verbal sentence consists of a verb as a main part.  Both types of sentences may have other parts of speech such as prepositions, adjectives, or adverbs; but the main parts remain respectively the nouns for the former and the verbs for the latter. 2
    3. 3.  Examples: 3 Type Examples Nominal Sentence ‫ـاحـة‬ّ‫ف‬‫ـ‬ّ‫ت‬‫الـ‬‫لـذيـذة‬ The apple (is) delicious Verbal Sentence ‫أكـل‬‫الـولـد‬‫ـاحـة‬ّ‫ف‬‫تـ‬ The boy ate (an) apple
    4. 4.  Note: there are two different interpretations as to what a verbal sentence is. -A sentence is verbal only when it starts with a verb. -A sentence is verbal when it contains a verb regardless of where that verb is located in the sentence. Hence a nominal sentence can contain a verb if the latter doesn’t occur in the first position. 4
    5. 5.  Accepting that a nominal sentence may contain a verb (which doesn’t occur in the first position) gives out the chart below detailing two categories:  A nominal sentence that is verbless and another containing a verb—not in the first in the sentence  A Verbal sentence that contains a verb necessarily in the first position in the sentence 5 Type Examples Nominal Sentence ‫لـذيـذة‬ ‫الـتـفـاحـة‬ ‫تـفـاحـة‬ ‫أكـل‬ ‫الـولـد‬ Verbal Sentence ‫تـفـاحـة‬ ‫الـولـد‬ ‫أكـل‬
    6. 6.  Arabic sentences have a free word order for both the nominal and verbal sentences.  The regular order for the nominal sentence is Subject + Predicate  The regular order for the verbal sentence is Verb + Subject + Object N.B. -When words change positions in the sentence, the vowel mark up doesn't change as it is the marker of the function of the words in the sentence (e.g. subject vs. object) - The word order may change depending on what the writer wants to emphasize. 6
    7. 7.  Examples: All the following sentences make sense although the order of the words is not the same 7 Type Examples Nominal Sentences ‫الـتـفـاحـة‬‫لـذيـذة‬ ‫الـتـفـاحـة‬ ‫لـذيـذة‬ Verbal Sentences ‫أكـل‬‫تـفـاحـة‬ ‫الـولـد‬ ‫الـولـد‬ ‫تـفـاحـة‬ ‫أكـل‬ ‫أكـل‬ ‫تـفـاحـة‬ ‫الـولـد‬ ‫تـفـاحـة‬ ‫أكـل‬ ‫الـولـد‬ ‫الـولـد‬ ‫أكـل‬ ‫تـفـاحـة‬ ‫أكـل‬ ‫الـولـد‬ ‫تـفـاحـة‬