Welcome to our second lesson to learn the Arabic language. This lesson will be about the definite article.
1. The definite article
In Arabic, as well as in English, the noun can be definite or indefinite. In English, for example, if we say “a house,” it is indefinite because we cannot identify exactly which house we talk about. Nonetheless, if you use the definite article “the,” then you identify which house we are discussing: “The house.”
In Arabic, it is the same. If you say: بَيْتٌ (a house), it is indefinite. But, if I say الْبَيْتُ (the house), I could definite the noun by adding the definite article Alif Lam – اَلْ.”
Thus, we understand from this example to make a noun definite in Arabic. We have to:
- add the definite article اَلْ before the noun.
- To remove the tanween -ٌ and to change it to a simple dammah -ُ.
اَلْ + كَتَابٌ = الكِتابُ
The + book = the book
اَلْ + بَيْتٌ= اَلْبَيْتُ
The + house = the house.
اَلْ + قَلَمٌ = اَلْقَلَمُ
The + pen = the pen
اَلْ + جَمَلٌ = اَلْجَمَلُ
The + camel = the camel
Stay updated with our latest offers, and promotions
The al Madina Center for Arabic is the first language school specializing in teaching Arabic to non-Arabic speakers, based in Medina, Saudi Arabia.
2. The nominal sentence in Arabic
In Arabic, there are two types of sentences
- the nominal sentence: this sentence starts with a noun. For example, الْقَلَمُ – الْبَيْتُ
- the verbal sentence: this sentence means that it begins with a verb.
In this lesson, we would like to discuss the nominal sentence – اَلْجُمْلَةُ الْاسْمِيَة.
The pen is broken.
In this example, we can analyze the different aspect of the nominal sentence in Arabic:
- the sentence’s composition is simple: only two words
- There is no verb. In English, we used “is,” but here, it is understood.
Thus, a nominal sentence is correct in the Arabic language if the sentence’s meaning is completed. Here, we understand that we speak about “the pen,” and we know is the situation “is broken.”
If the sentence were only “The pen,” obviously the meaning in uncompleted, you would ask, “the pen what?”? this is not a nominal sentence in the Arabic language.
Consequently, there are important elements in the nominal sentence:
- it starts with a definite noun or a pronoun
- it has two parts. The first part is the subject – الْمُبْتَدَأُ and the second part is the predicate – اللْخَبَرُ.
Subject and predicate features:
- The subject and the predicate are always in the nominative case. We can here recognize this case because of the presence of the dammah -ُ or the double dammah -ٌ.
- The subject is a definite noun with a definite article and absence of tanween: اَلْقَلَمُ
- The predicate is an indefinite noun (presence of tanween): مَكْسورٌ
The door is open.
Note: In this example, the subject is: اَلْبَابُ and the predicate is مَفْتُوْحٌ.
اَلْوَلَدُ جَالِسٌ و اَلْمُدَرِسُ وَاقَفٌ
The child is sitting, and the teacher is standing.
الكتابُ جَدِيْدٌ و الْقَلَمُ قَدِيمٌ.
The book is new, and the pen is old.
الحِمارُ صَغِيْرٌ و الْحِصَانُ كَبِيْرٌ
The donkey is small, and the horse is big.
البَيْتُ قَرِيْبٌ و الْمَسْجِدُ بَعِيْدٌ
The house is close, and the mosque is far
اَلْحَجَرُ ثَقِيْلٌ و الْوَرَقُ خَفِيْفٌ.
The stone is heavy, and the leaf is light.
The chair is broken
The tissue is dirty
The water is cold
The moon is beautiful.
The milk is hot
The shirt is clean
3. The lunar and the solar letters
The Arabic alphabet has 28 letters. We can divide it into two parts:
- The solar letters – اَلْحُرُوفُ الْقَمَرِيَّةُ
- The lunar letters – اَلْحُرُوفُ الشَّمْسِيَّةُ
We call lunar the group of letters that, if you add the definite article Alif lam before the noun, you will spell clearly the first letter of the noun.
اَلْ + بَيْتٌ = أَلْبَيتُ
The + house = The house.
Here you can hear very well “AL” and the sound “B.”
When the letter belongs to the group of solar letters, it is a bit different. When you add the definite article to the first letter of the noun starting with a solar letter, you will skip spelling the Lam of “AL.”
اَلْ + شَمْسٌ= اَلشَّمْسُ
The + sun = The sun.
Here you hear the sound “ash-shamsu” We have not pronounced the letter lam. Also, you will have to stress on the first letter of the word after Alif lam. Thus, here the letter shin ش has a shedda on it.
اَلْ + طَالِبٌ= اَلطَّالِبُ
The + student = The student.
The sugar is sweet.
The student is sick
The merchant is rich.
The notebook is new
The shop is open.
The child is poor
The apple is delicious.
اَلطَّبِيْبُ طَوِيْلٌ و الْمَرِضُ قَصِيْرٌ.
The medical doctor is tall, and the sick person is small.
The moon letters are:
اَلْأَبُ = أ
اَلْجَنَّةُ = ج
اَلْحِمَارُ = ح
اَلْخُبْزُ = خ
اَلْعَيْنُ = ع
اَلْغَدَاءُ = غ
اَلْفِيْلُ = ف
اَلْقَمَرُ = ق
اَلْكِتَابُ = ك
اَلْمَسْجِدُ = م
اَلْوَرَقَةُ = و
اَلْهَاتِفُ = ه
اَلْيَدُ = ي
The lunar letters are:
اَلثَوْبُ = ث
اَلدِّيْكُ = د
اَلذَّهَبُ = ذ
الرَّجُلُ = ر
اَلْزَّهْرَةُ = ز
اَلسَّمَكُ = س
اَلْشَمْسُ = ش
اَلصُّبْحُ = ص
اَلضَيْفُ = ض
اَلطَّالِبُ = ط
اَلظَّهْرُ = ظ
اَللَّحْمُ = ل
اَلنَّجْمُ = ن
In this second lesson to learn the Arabic language, we have discovered many interesting points. Now we can:
- Making a noun indefinite to definite with using the definite article Alif Lam ال.
- Creating a nominative sentence.
- Spelling the lunar and solar letters of the Arabic alphabet properly.
- We have also learned a lot of new vocabulary words.
In the next lesson, inshAllah, we will discover how to use prepositions in Arabic.