<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> <head> <meta http-equiv="Content-type" content="text/html;charset=UTF-8" /> <title>Adjectives in Egyptian Arabic</title> <link type="text/css" rel="stylesheet" href="style.css" /> <meta name="description" content="Adjectives in Egyptian Arabic: how to inflect them for gender and number, a list of common basic adjectives, adjective agreement with nouns, and how to form nisba adjectives." /> <script type="text/javascript"> var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-29877981-1']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']); (function() { var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })(); </script> </head> <body> <div id="content"> <div id="head"> <span class="title">Arabic learning resources</span> <ul id="menu"> <li><a href="index.html">home</a></li> <li><a href="vocab.html">vocabulary</a></li> <li><a href="grammar.html">grammar</a></li> <li><a href="faq.html">faq</a></li> <li><a href="about.html">about</a></li> <li><a href="links.html">links</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="body"> <h1>Adjectives in Egyptian Arabic</h1><br /> <ul> <li><a href="#adj">Introduction</a></li> <li><a href="#list">Some basic adjectives</a></li> <li><a href="#adj2">Inflections for gender and number</a></li> <li><a href="#adj3">Agreement</a></li> <li><a href="#adjn">Nisba adjectives</a></li> </ul> <br /><hr /><br /> <h2><a name="adj"></a>Introduction</h2><br /> <p>An adjective is a word that describes a noun &mdash; "smart," "pretty," "good," etc. Remember that <span class="arabic">'3E 'DA'9D</span> (<a href="g_act.html">the active participle</a>) acts as an adjective.</p> <div class="example"> <span class="arabic">'DAJDE /G EEDQ</span> (il-film da <span class="bold">mumill</span>)<br />This movie is <span class="bold">boring</span>.<br /> <br /><span class="arabic">C*'( CHJ3</span> (kitaab <span class="bold">kwayyis</span>)<br />a <span class="bold">good</span> book<br /> <br /><span class="arabic">GH F'JE</span> (howwa <span class="bold">naayim</span>)<br />He is <span class="bold">sleeping</span>.<br /> <br /><span class="arabic">'D3* 'DDJ H'BA) GF'C</span> (is-sitt illi <span class="bold">wa'fa</span> hnaak)<br />the woman who is <span class="bold">standing</span> there</div> <br /><hr /> <br /><h2><a name="list"></a>Some basic adjectives</h2><br /> <p>Here's a list of some common, basic adjectives in Egyptian Arabic:</p> <table class="vocab"> <tr> <td>small</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">5:J1 (,) 5:'1</span></td><td>So!ayyar (pl.) Su!aar</td> </tr> <tr> <td>big</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">C(J1 (,) C('1</span></td><td>kibiir (pl.) kobaar</td> </tr> <tr> <td>short</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">B5J1 (,) B5'1</span></td><td>'oSayyar (pl.) 'uSaar</td> </tr> <tr> <td>long; tall</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">7HJD (,) 7H'D</span></td><td>Tawiil (pl.) Tuwaal</td> </tr> <tr> <td>smart</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">0CJ (,) #0CJ'!</span></td><td>zaki (pl.) azkiya</td> </tr> <tr> <td>stupid</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">:(J (,) #:(J'!</span></td><td>!abi (pl.) a!biya</td> </tr> <tr> <td>rich</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">:FJ (,) #:FJ'!</span></td><td>!ani (pl.) a!niya</td> </tr> <tr> <td>poor</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">ABJ1 (,) AB1'!</span></td><td>fa'iir (pl.) fu'ra</td> </tr> <tr> <td>old (in reference to things, not people)</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">B/JE (,) B/'E</span></td><td>'adiim (pl.) 'udaam</td> </tr> <tr> <td>new</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">,/J/ (,) ,/'/</span></td><td>gediid (pl.) gudaad</td> </tr> <tr> <td>pretty, beautiful</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">,EJD (,) ,E'D</span></td><td>gamiil (pl.) gumaal</td> </tr> <tr> <td>ugly</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">B(J- (,) B(-'!</span></td><td>'abiiH (pl.) 'ubaHa</td> </tr> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">H-4</span></td><td>weHia</td> </tr> <tr> <td>clean</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">F6JA (,) F6'A</span></td><td>naDiif (pl.) nuDaaf</td> </tr> <tr> <td>dirty</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">H3.</span></td><td>wisix</td> </tr> <tr> <td>expensive</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">:'DJ</span></td><td>!aali</td> </tr> <tr> <td>cheap</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">1.J5</span></td><td>raxiiS</td> </tr> <tr> <td>good</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">CHJ3</span></td><td>kwayyis</td> </tr> <tr> <td>bad</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">H-4</span></td><td>weHia</td> </tr> <tr> <td>easy</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">3GD</span></td><td>sahl</td> </tr> <tr> <td>hard, difficult</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">59(</span></td><td>Sa3b</td> </tr> <tr> <td>heavy</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">+BJD</span></td><td>ti'iil</td> </tr> <tr> <td>light</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">.AJA</span></td><td>xafiif</td> </tr> <tr> <td>high</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">9'DJ</span></td><td>3aali</td> </tr> <tr> <td>low</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">H'7J</span></td><td>waaTi</td> </tr> <tr> <td>fat</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">*.JF</span></td><td>tixiin</td> </tr> <tr> <td>thin</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">1AJ9</span></td><td>rofayya3</td> </tr> <tr> <td>fast, quick</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">31J9</span></td><td>sarii3</td> </tr> <tr> <td>slow</td><td dir="rtl"><span class="arabic">(7&</span></td><td>baTii'</td> </tr> </table> <br /><hr /> <br /><h2><a name="adj2"></a>Inflections for gender and number</h2><br /> <p>As with nouns, to make adjectives feminine or plural, usually you add a suffix: <span class="arabic">@)</span> (-a) for the feminine form, <span class="arabic">@JF</span> (-iin) for the regular plural form. But again, many adjectives do not have regular plural forms, so for those you have to memorize the broken plurals. The first half of the list above is made up of adjectives with broken plurals. Also see the following examples:</p> <div class="example"><table class="nest"> <tr><td></td><td><span class="bold">Singular masculine</span></td><td><span class="bold">Singular feminine</span></td><td><span class="bold">Plural</span></td></tr> <tr><td>big</td><td><span class="arabic">C(J1</span> (kibiir)</td><td><span class="arabic">C(J1)</span> (kibiira)</td><td><span class="arabic">C('1</span> (kobaar)</td></tr> <tr><td>poor</td><td><span class="arabic">ABJ1</span> (fa'iir)</td><td><span class="arabic">ABJ1)</span> (fa'iira)</td><td><span class="arabic">AB1'!</span> (fu'ra)</td></tr> </table></div> <br /><p>Here's a regular adjective:</p> <div class="example"><table class="nest"> <tr><td></td><td><span class="bold">Singular masculine</span></td><td><span class="bold">Singular feminine</span></td><td><span class="bold">Plural</span></td></tr> <tr><td>good</td><td><span class="arabic">CHJ3</span> (kwayyis)</td><td><span class="arabic">CHJ3)</span> (kwayyesa)</td><td><span class="arabic">CHJ3JF</span> (kwayyisiin)</td></tr> </table></div> <br /><p><span class="emphasis">Note:</span> Say an adjective ends in <span class="arabic">@J</span> (-i) and is <span class="italic">not</span> of the form <span class="arabic">A'9D</span> (faa3il). When you're adding on your <span class="arabic">@)</span> and <span class="arabic">@JF</span> suffixes to make it feminine/plural, you need to insert a "yy" between the adjective and the suffix (in terms of your pronunciation).</p> <div class="example"><table class="nest"> <tr><td></td><td><span class="bold">Singular masculine</span></td><td><span class="bold">Singular feminine</span></td><td><span class="bold">Plural</span></td></tr> <tr><td>stupid</td><td><span class="arabic">:(J</span> (!abi)</td><td><span class="arabic">:(J)</span> (!abeyya)</td><td><span class="arabic">#:(J'!</span> (a!biya)</td></tr> <tr><td>smart</td><td><span class="arabic">0CJ</span> (zaki)</td><td><span class="arabic">0CJ)</span> (zakeyya)</td><td><span class="arabic">#0CJ'!</span> (azkiya)</td></tr> <tr><td>Egyptian*</td><td><span class="arabic">E51J</span> (maSri)</td><td><span class="arabic">E51J)</span> (maSreyya)</td><td><span class="arabic">E51JJF</span> (maSriyyiin)</td></tr> </table></div> <br /><p>* See <a href="#adjn">below</a> for more on this type of adjective.</p> <p>If, however, an adjective ending in <span class="arabic">@J</span> <span class="italic">is</span> of the form <span class="arabic">A'9D</span>, you don't insert a "yy" between it and the suffix when you're making it feminine/plural. And while the masculine form of this adjective has a long "aa," the feminine and plural forms have a short "a."</p> <div class="example"><table class="nest"> <tr><td></td><td><span class="bold">Singular masculine</span></td><td><span class="bold">Singular feminine</span></td><td><span class="bold">Plural</span></td></tr> <tr><td>expensive</td><td><span class="arabic">:'DJ</span> (!aali)</td><td><span class="arabic">:'DJ)</span> (!alya)</td><td><span class="arabic">:'DJJF</span> (!alyiin)</td></tr> <tr><td>quiet, calm</td><td><span class="arabic">G'/J</span> (haadi)</td><td><span class="arabic">G'/J)</span> (hadya)</td><td><span class="arabic">G'/JJF</span> (hadyiin)</td></tr> </table></div> <br /><hr /> <br /><h2><a name="adj3"></a>Adjectives: agreement</h2><br /> <p>In English, adjectives come right before the noun they describe, but in Arabic, adjectives always directly <span class="italic">follow</span> the noun they modify. Also, adjectives and nouns must always agree in definiteness (they must be both definite or both indefinite).</p> <h3>Adjectives for singular nouns</h3> <p>A singular noun is modified by a singular adjective of the same gender.</p> <div class="example"> <span class="arabic">'DE/13 'D,/J/</span> (il-mudarris il-gediid) <br />the new teacher - lit. "the-teacher the-new"<br /> <br /><span class="arabic">(F* G'/J)</span> (bint hadya) <br />a quiet girl - lit. "girl quiet"</div> <br /><h3>Adjectives for dual nouns</h3> <p>Any dual noun must be modified by a plural adjective.</p> <div class="example"><table class="nest"> <tr><td><span class="arabic">HD/JF E51JJF</span> (waladein maSriyyiin)</td><td><span class="arabic">C*'(JF :'DJJF</span> (kitaabein !alyiin)</td></tr> <tr><td>two Egyptian boys</td><td>two expensive books</td></tr> <tr><td>&nbsp;</td></tr> <tr><td><span class="arabic">(F*JF 3H1JJF</span> (bintein suriyyiin)</td><td><span class="arabic">91(J*JF ,/'/</span> <span dir="ltr">(3arabiyyatein gudaad)</span></td></tr> <tr><td>two Syrian girls</td><td>two new cars</td></tr> </table></div> <br /><h3>Adjectives for human plural nouns</h3> <p>Human plural nouns, masculine or feminine, are usually modified by masculine plural adjectives.</p> <div class="example"> <span class="arabic">#HD'/ C('1</span> (awlaad kobaar) <br />big boys <br /><br /><span class="arabic">(F'* 5:'1</span> (banaat So!aar) <br />small girls</div> <br /><h3>Adjectives for non-human plural nouns</h3> <div>Non-human plural nouns are modified by <span class="bold">feminine singular adjectives</span>. This is confusing at first, but you get used to it fast!</div> <br /><div class="example"> <span class="arabic">/HD E*B/E)</span> (dowal mit'addima) <br />advanced countries<br /><br /> <span class="arabic">91(J'* B/JE)</span> <span dir="ltr">(3arabiyyaat 'adiima)</span> <br />old cars<br /><br /> <span class="arabic">#AD'E ,/J/)</span> (aflaam gediida) <br />new movies</div> <br /><p><span class="emphasis">Note:</span> A lot of beginning students get confused about adjectival phrases and whether or not they can be complete sentences. Look at these examples for some clarification:</p> <div class="example"> <span class="arabic">'D*DEJ0 4'71</span> (it-tilmiiz aaaTir) <br />A complete simple sentence: "The student is smart." (Lit. "The-student smart.")<br /><br /> <span class="arabic">'D*DEJ0 'D4'71</span> (it-tilmiiz ia-aaaTir) <br />A phrase/sentence fragment: "The smart student." (Lit. "the-student the-smart.")<br /><br /> <span class="arabic">*DEJ0 4'71</span> (tilmiiz aaaTir) <br />A phrase/sentence fragment: "A smart student." (Lit. "student smart.")</div> <br /><hr /> <br /><h2><a name="adjn"></a>Nisba adjectives (<span class="arabic">'DF3()</span>)</h2><br /> <p>Nisba adjectives are those that indicate a relationship, often a nationality. Nouns are transformed into these adjectives in this manner:</p> <div class="steps"> <ol><li class="pad">Drop any definite article at the beginning of the noun, and any taa marbuuTa (<span class="arabic">@)</span>) or alif (<span class="arabic">@'</span>) at the end of it.</li> <li>Add the suffixes <span class="arabic">@J</span> (-ii) for the masculine adjective, <span class="arabic">@J)</span> (-eyya) for the feminine adjective, and <span class="arabic">@JJF</span> (-iiyyiin) for the plural adjective.</li></ol> </div> <br /><p>Here are some examples of nouns and their correponding nisba adjectives:</p> <table class="zebra"><colgroup span="2" class="column"></colgroup> <tr class="odd bottomborder"><td>&nbsp;</td><td><span class="bold">Noun</span></td><td><span class="bold">Adjective</span></td><td><span class="bold">Masculine singular</span></td><td><span class="bold">Feminine singular</span></td><td><span class="bold">Plural</span></td></tr> <tr><td>Egypt</td><td><span class="arabic">E51</span> (maSr)</td><td>Egyptian</td><td><span class="arabic">E51J</span> (maSri)</td><td><span class="arabic">E51J)</span> (maSreyya)</td><td><span class="arabic">E51JJF</span> (maSriyyiin)</td></tr> <tr class="odd"><td>Lebanon</td><td><span class="arabic">D(F'F</span> (libnaan)</td><td>Lebanese</td><td><span class="arabic">D(F'FJ</span> (libnaani)</td><td><span class="arabic">D(F'FJ)</span> (libnaneyya)</td><td><span class="arabic">D(F'FJJF</span> (libnaniyyiin)</td></tr> <tr><td>the United States</td><td><span class="arabic">#E1JC'</span> (amriika)</td><td>American</td><td><span class="arabic">#E1JCJ</span> (amriiki)</td><td><span class="arabic">#E1JCJ)</span> (amrikeyya)</td><td><span class="arabic">#E1JCJJF</span> (amrikiyyiin)</td></tr> <tr class="odd"><td>Palestine</td><td><span class="arabic">AD37JF</span> (filisTiin)</td><td>Palestinian</td><td><span class="arabic">AD37JFJ</span> (filisTiini)</td><td><span class="arabic">AD37JFJ)</span> (filisTiineyya)</td><td><span class="arabic">AD37JFJJF</span> (filisTiiniyyiin)</td></tr> <tr><td>Syria</td><td><span class="arabic">3H1J'</span> (surya)</td><td>Syrian</td><td><span class="arabic">3H1J</span> (suuri)</td><td><span class="arabic">3H1J)</span> (sureyya)</td><td><span class="arabic">3H1JJF</span> (suriyyiin)</td></tr> <tr class="odd"><td>Sudan</td><td><span class="arabic">'D3H/'F</span> (is-suudaan)</td><td>Sudanese</td><td><span class="arabic">3H/'FJ</span> (sudaani)</td><td><span class="arabic">3H/'FJ)</span> (sudaneyya)</td><td><span class="arabic">3H/'FJJF</span> (sudaniyyiin)</td></tr> <tr><td>school</td><td><span class="arabic">E/13)</span> (madrasa)</td><td>scholastic</td><td><span class="arabic">E/13J</span> (madrasi)</td><td><span class="arabic">E/13J)</span> (madraseyya)</td><td><span class="arabic">E/13JJF</span> (madrasiyiin)</td></tr> </table> <br /><p><span class="emphasis">Note:</span> For some nouns that end in -a, you don't follow that formula but use the suffixes <span class="arabic">@HJ</span> (-awi), <span class="arabic">@HJ)</span> (-aweyya), and <span class="arabic">@HJJF</span> (-awiyyiin).</p> <table class="zebra"><colgroup span="2" class="column"></colgroup> <tr class="odd bottomborder"><td>&nbsp;</td><td><span class="bold">Noun</span></td><td><span class="bold">Adjective</span></td><td><span class="bold">Masculine singular</span></td><td><span class="bold">Feminine singular</span></td><td><span class="bold">Plural</span></td></tr> <tr><td>France</td><td><span class="arabic">A1F3'</span> (faransa)</td><td>French</td><td><span class="arabic">A1F3HJ</span> (faransawi)</td><td><span class="arabic">A1F3HJ)</span> (faransaweyya)</td><td><span class="arabic">A1F3HJJF</span> (faransawiyyiin)</td></tr> <tr class="odd"><td>Asia</td><td><span class="arabic">#3J'</span> (asya)</td><td>Asian</td><td><span class="arabic">#3HJ</span> (asawi)</td><td><span class="arabic">#3HJ)</span> (asaweyya)</td><td><span class="arabic">#3HJJF</span> (asawiyiin)</td></tr> <tr><td>year</td><td><span class="arabic">3F)</span> (sana)</td><td>yearly/annual</td><td><span class="arabic">3FHJ</span> (sanawi)</td><td><span class="arabic">3FHJ)</span> (sanaweyya)</td><td><span class="arabic">3FHJJF</span> (sanawiyyiin)</td></tr> <tr class="odd"><td>prophet</td><td><span class="arabic">F(J</span> (nabi)</td><td>prophetic</td><td><span class="arabic">F(HJ</span> (nabawi)</td><td><span class="arabic">F(HJ)</span> (nabaweyya)</td><td><span class="arabic">F(HJJF</span> (nabawiyyin)</td></tr> </table> <br /><p>Some plural nisba adjectives are irregular:</p> <table class="zebra"> <tr class="odd bottomborder"><td>&nbsp;</td><td><span class="bold">Masculine singular</span></td><td><span class="bold">Feminine singular</span></td><td><span class="bold">Plural</span></td></tr> <tr><td>Arab</td><td><span class="arabic">91(J</span> <span dir="ltr">(3arabi)</span></td><td><span class="arabic">91(J)</span> <span dir="ltr">(3arabeyya)</span></td><td><span class="arabic">91(</span> <span dir="ltr">(3arab)</span></td></tr> <tr class="odd"><td>Turkish</td><td><span class="arabic">*1CJ</span> (turki)</td><td><span class="arabic">*1CJ)</span> (turkeyya)</td><td><span class="arabic">#*1'C</span> (atraak)</td></tr> <tr><td>Kurdish</td><td><span class="arabic">C1/J</span> (kurdi)</td><td><span class="arabic">C1/J)</span> (kurdeyya)</td><td><span class="arabic">#C1'/</span> (akraad)</td></tr> <tr class="odd"><td>Moroccan</td><td><span class="arabic">E:1(J</span> (ma!ribi)</td><td><span class="arabic">E:1(J)</span> (ma!ribeyya)</td><td><span class="arabic">E:1'()</span> (ma!arba)</td></tr> <tr><td>British</td><td><span class="arabic">'F,DJ2J</span> (ingiliizi)</td><td><span class="arabic">'F,DJ2J)</span> (ingliizeyya)</td><td><span class="arabic">'F,DJ2</span> (ingiliiz)</td></tr> </table> <br /> <br /><span class="back">&larr; <a href="grammar.html">Main grammar page</a></span> <span class="forward"><a href="g_adjcomp.html">Comparative and 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