Nouns and phrase structure

After we learned about verbs in the previous lessons, it’s now time to learn about nouns, and phrase structure.There are two possible genders for nouns in Egyptian: masculine and feminine. Some words’ genders can be easily guessed, for example, any noun ending with ” ـة is feminine. However, generally words should be memorized with their gender and plural form. Here’re some nouns with their genders:
قُطَة – Cat (f.)
kalbكَلب – Dog (m.)
shamsشَمس – Sun (f.)
qamarقَمَر – Moon (m.)

After this quick glance over the nouns, we focus more on phrase structure. There are two types of phrases in Arabic, Noun Phrase and Verbal Phrase.

The pattern of the noun phrase is:
[Starting] [Information]
Noun phrase is the one which starts with a Noun or a Pronoun. The Noun or Pronoun starting the phrase is called “The Starting” “al mobtada'”, it represents the entity (person, animal or … ) about which the phrase is talking. “al mobtada'” is followed by “Information” “alkhabar”. “alkhabar” is the part of the phrase telling information about “almobtada'”, “al khabar” can be:
1- A noun, adjective or prepostional phrase. examples:
– anaa aHmadأنَا أحمَد I’m Ahmad.
– albeet kebeerالبِيت كِبِير The house is big.
– howwa fee albeetهُوَّ فِي البِيت He is in the house.
Note : These examples explain why the verb “to be” is not used in Egyptian in the way English uses it. The position of nouns/adjectives/prepositional phrase shown in examples (Ahmad, kebeer, … etc) is [Information] “al khabar”, so they are understood to tell information about [the starting] with no need to insert the verb “to be” in the present tense.
2- A verbal phrase without the subject (see next paragraph for info about verbal phrase), example:
– anaa baaqra’ alketaabأنَا بَاقرأ الكِتَاب I read the book.

Verbal phrase is the one which starts with a verb (in any of the three forms). It is considered stronger than a noun phrase composition-wise. The pattern of the verbal phrase is:
[verb] [optional subject] [optional object]
The order is not that strict though with subject and object, in some instances, object comes first … it really depends on the logic of the phrase, this will be clear in the following examples:
– Here all elements of the verbal phrase are present and in usual order. fehem alTaaleb aldarsفِهِم الطَالِب الدَرس  The student understood the lesson.
– Here, the subject is omitted because it’s logically understood to be “I” baafham al3arabeeبَافهَم العَرَبِي I understand Arabic.
– Here, the object is omitted simply because the verb does not require an object. kharaget salmE men albeetخَرَجِت سَلمى مِن البِيت Salma went out of the house.

As a simple exercise
1- Try to form the following phrases in Arabic:
– I am Egyptian(or your nationality, consult the dictionary;).
– I listen to the Radio.
– He is in the house.
2- Translate the following phrases to your language:

anaa baaHeb al3arabee.أنَا بَاحِب العَرَبِي.
 kharag alwalad men almadrasatخَرَج الوَلَد مِن المَدرَسَةَ
albent betaakol altofaaH.البِنت بِتَاكُل التُفَاح.


This entry was posted in Egyptian(Masri) Grammar and rules. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s