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"Already" and "rather" in Arabic

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CaucusWolf
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3201 days ago

191 posts - 234 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Arabic (Written), Japanese

 
 Message 9 of 22
30 November 2010 at 6:18am | IP Logged 
Mikael84 wrote:
CaucusWolf wrote:
Mikael84 wrote:
CaucusWolf wrote:
Mikael84 wrote:
"انا"? That just means "I"? I think you forgot something there.

My understanding is that if you want to add stress to the idea of having already done something then instead of using "qad" you may use "laqad". But still, doesn't solve my problem of using it with an action in the present tense...

As far as I know انا is used for both I and I'm so to me it would be only logical to use. I'm also pretty sure the use of قد in your sentence was unnecessary because its usually used for stress.


Sure, it means "I and "I am" as you say but it doesn't mean "already". My question was how to translate "I am already doing something". Qad only serves to emphasize actions in the past, and if you use it with the present tense its meaning changes to "maybe".

slhdn, thanks, I saw that too in google translate... but I am wary of google translate and would appreciate it if someone fluent in Arabic could confirm.


    First I should add that you're not going to be able to say certain things in Arabic the way you say them in English. The whole sentence "I'm already learning Arabic." must've thrown me off for some reason. (I honestly don't know why I didn't say this before.) If I was to talk about something I already did I wouldn't use the word already(and not just because I don't know what the word is or if Arabic has an equivalent.) for example "انا سفرا لاميركا"(lit. I traveled to America.) or " سفرا انا لاميركا"(traveled I to America.)
    However, what you're talking about is what you're doing now currently and the word for that (out of vocab I know.) is جار or Jaarin which means current or going on.(I'm not sure aboutجار's proper use yet so I need someone to confirm how it would be used. Someone who has a full grasp on grammar should add to this as my knowledge on Arabic grammar is limited. I've personally never seen sentences talking about something happening now it's either past or future.)


Thanks for your reply. I'm pretty sure there must be some way in Arabic to translate an exchange such as:
"Do the dishes!"
"But I'm already doing them!" With the extra emphasis that you're already doing them.
I mean, it's pretty basic and recurring in colloquial speech if you think about it.

On another topic, I'm surprised you translate "I travelled to America" as "انا سفرا لاميركا". Shouldn't it be "safartu", not "safaraa" as you wrote?

(Perhaps I've misunderstood as you never say in your first question whether your translating MSA or dialect.)
    Well technically سفرا literally means "to travel" (and by itself means he travel). There's alot of technical things in Arabic grammar like you're saying with the tu added to the end which I'm not so sure about.(I wouldn't be able to tell you much in regards to grammar.) I can read in the extent that as long as I understand the words I can comprehend what's being said(at least in newspaper articles.) but when it comes to technical questions about its grammar I'm lost.
     You should also note that MSA isn't colloquial and isn't spoken outside of media. It's true you could translate an exchange similar to the one you said but you must understand that it isn't used in everyday speech and things are always going to be different in Arabic. As for the second question in your post I think it would help if you said which dialect so someone can help you.(as I don't know any dialect.)

Edited by CaucusWolf on 30 November 2010 at 6:50am

1 person has voted this message useful



Mikael84
Bilingual Pentaglot
Groupie
Peru
Joined 3229 days ago

76 posts - 116 votes 
Speaks: French*, Finnish*, English, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Arabic (classical), German, Russian

 
 Message 10 of 22
30 November 2010 at 8:03am | IP Logged 
CaucusWolf wrote:
Mikael84 wrote:
CaucusWolf wrote:
Mikael84 wrote:
CaucusWolf wrote:
Mikael84 wrote:
"انا"? That just means "I"? I think you forgot something there.

My understanding is that if you want to add stress to the idea of having already done something then instead of using "qad" you may use "laqad". But still, doesn't solve my problem of using it with an action in the present tense...

As far as I know انا is used for both I and I'm so to me it would be only logical to use. I'm also pretty sure the use of قد in your sentence was unnecessary because its usually used for stress.


Sure, it means "I and "I am" as you say but it doesn't mean "already". My question was how to translate "I am already doing something". Qad only serves to emphasize actions in the past, and if you use it with the present tense its meaning changes to "maybe".

slhdn, thanks, I saw that too in google translate... but I am wary of google translate and would appreciate it if someone fluent in Arabic could confirm.


    First I should add that you're not going to be able to say certain things in Arabic the way you say them in English. The whole sentence "I'm already learning Arabic." must've thrown me off for some reason. (I honestly don't know why I didn't say this before.) If I was to talk about something I already did I wouldn't use the word already(and not just because I don't know what the word is or if Arabic has an equivalent.) for example "انا سفرا لاميركا"(lit. I traveled to America.) or " سفرا انا لاميركا"(traveled I to America.)
    However, what you're talking about is what you're doing now currently and the word for that (out of vocab I know.) is جار or Jaarin which means current or going on.(I'm not sure aboutجار's proper use yet so I need someone to confirm how it would be used. Someone who has a full grasp on grammar should add to this as my knowledge on Arabic grammar is limited. I've personally never seen sentences talking about something happening now it's either past or future.)


Thanks for your reply. I'm pretty sure there must be some way in Arabic to translate an exchange such as:
"Do the dishes!"
"But I'm already doing them!" With the extra emphasis that you're already doing them.
I mean, it's pretty basic and recurring in colloquial speech if you think about it.

On another topic, I'm surprised you translate "I travelled to America" as "انا سفرا لاميركا". Shouldn't it be "safartu", not "safaraa" as you wrote?

(Perhaps I've misunderstood as you never say in your first question whether your translating MSA or dialect.)
    Well technically سفرا literally means "to travel" (and by itself means he travel). There's alot of technical things in Arabic grammar like you're saying with the tu added to the end which I'm not so sure about.(I wouldn't be able to tell you much in regards to grammar.) I can read in the extent that as long as I understand the words I can comprehend what's being said(at least in newspaper articles.) but when it comes to technical questions about its grammar I'm lost.
     You should also note that MSA isn't colloquial and isn't spoken outside of media. It's true you could translate an exchange similar to the one you said but you must understand that it isn't used in everyday speech and things are always going to be different in Arabic. As for the second question in your post I think it would help if you said which dialect so someone can help you.(as I don't know any dialect.)


Both my questions were actually for MSA, not dialect. Even though MSA is not used in the streets it is still a standalone language and as such one should be able to express anything with it, especially relatively simple concepts like "already".

BTW I'm curious, how do you study Arabic without the grammar? Don't you plan on learning it at some point?! I have a hard time seeing how anyone could understand newspaper articles in Arabic without some knowledge of basic grammar...
1 person has voted this message useful



Doitsujin
Diglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 3249 days ago

1251 posts - 2360 votes 
Speaks: German*, English

 
 Message 11 of 22
30 November 2010 at 8:27am | IP Logged 
Unfortunately, HTLAL is not a good place when it comes to Arabic. Even though many forum members indicate in their profiles that they study Arabic, few seem to be interested in tricky Arabic grammar questions and even fewer are able to give useful answers as thread clearly shows.

You may want to repost your question at WordReference.com.They have special font tags to better display Arabic and you'll get answers from natives.

As for your questions:

"I am already learning Arabic" is not easy to translate because it features many constructions for which there is no direct equivalent in Arabic.
For example, it's theoretically possible to use the active participle of darasa to indicate an ongoing action. E.g. 'Anā dārisun al-lughata al-ʿarabiyata. But that would simply mean "I'm studying Arabic right now."

IMHO, the only way to express that you already study Arabic would be to add some emphatic particle at the beginning of the sentence and the actual time at the end.

For example, you could say:

As a matter of fact, I've been studying Arabic for 3 months

And this sentence is relatively easy to translate.

في واقع الأمر، أنا أدرس اللغة العربية منذ ٣ أشهر

fī wāqiʿ al-'amri, 'Anā 'adrusu al-lughata al-ʿarabiyata mundhu thalāthati 'ashhurin.

As for your second question. I wouldn't use "rather" in this context. I'd simply correct myself by adding "lā" and the correct information:

أنا أدرس اللغة العربية منذ شهرين، لا (منذ) ٣ أشهر

'Anā 'adrusu al-lughata al-ʿarabiyata mundhu shahrayni, lā (mundhu) thalāthati 'ashhurin.

2 persons have voted this message useful



Mikael84
Bilingual Pentaglot
Groupie
Peru
Joined 3229 days ago

76 posts - 116 votes 
Speaks: French*, Finnish*, English, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Arabic (classical), German, Russian

 
 Message 12 of 22
30 November 2010 at 8:34pm | IP Logged 
Doitsujin - clear and precise, exactly the info I was looking for. Many thanks! Will be sure to check out the wordreference forums as well in the future.

In the meantime, another question just popped into my mind: you basically answered my question about how to translate "already" in the present, now how would you translate "maybe" in the past? Considering "qad" only means "maybe" with the present tense. "Rubbama" as a synonym comes to mind, would that work?

As in "maybe he went to school" ==> "rubbama dhahaba ila-l-madrasati"?
Thanks!
1 person has voted this message useful



Doitsujin
Diglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 3249 days ago

1251 posts - 2360 votes 
Speaks: German*, English

 
 Message 13 of 22
30 November 2010 at 10:15pm | IP Logged 
Mikael84 wrote:
...now how would you translate "maybe" in the past? Considering "qad" only means "maybe" with the present tense. "Rubbama" as a synonym comes to mind, would that work?

Rubbamā (ربما) would definitely work and is probably the easiest way to express uncertainty. It can also be used with imperfect verbs.

Slightly more complicated are constructions with la'alla (لعل), which needs to be followed by an accusative noun or a placeholder personal suffix: E.g.: لعلّه ذهب إلى المدرسة [la'allahu dhahaba 'ila l-madrasati]

Of course there are many more ways to express uncertainty.










2 persons have voted this message useful



CaucusWolf
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3201 days ago

191 posts - 234 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Arabic (Written), Japanese

 
 Message 14 of 22
01 December 2010 at 2:18am | IP Logged 
Mikael84 wrote:
CaucusWolf wrote:
Mikael84 wrote:
CaucusWolf wrote:
Mikael84 wrote:
CaucusWolf wrote:
Mikael84 wrote:
"انا"? That just means "I"? I think you forgot something there.

My understanding is that if you want to add stress to the idea of having already done something then instead of using "qad" you may use "laqad". But still, doesn't solve my problem of using it with an action in the present tense...

As far as I know انا is used for both I and I'm so to me it would be only logical to use. I'm also pretty sure the use of قد in your sentence was unnecessary because its usually used for stress.


Sure, it means "I and "I am" as you say but it doesn't mean "already". My question was how to translate "I am already doing something". Qad only serves to emphasize actions in the past, and if you use it with the present tense its meaning changes to "maybe".

slhdn, thanks, I saw that too in google translate... but I am wary of google translate and would appreciate it if someone fluent in Arabic could confirm.


    First I should add that you're not going to be able to say certain things in Arabic the way you say them in English. The whole sentence "I'm already learning Arabic." must've thrown me off for some reason. (I honestly don't know why I didn't say this before.) If I was to talk about something I already did I wouldn't use the word already(and not just because I don't know what the word is or if Arabic has an equivalent.) for example "انا سفرا لاميركا"(lit. I traveled to America.) or " سفرا انا لاميركا"(traveled I to America.)
    However, what you're talking about is what you're doing now currently and the word for that (out of vocab I know.) is جار or Jaarin which means current or going on.(I'm not sure aboutجار's proper use yet so I need someone to confirm how it would be used. Someone who has a full grasp on grammar should add to this as my knowledge on Arabic grammar is limited. I've personally never seen sentences talking about something happening now it's either past or future.)


Thanks for your reply. I'm pretty sure there must be some way in Arabic to translate an exchange such as:
"Do the dishes!"
"But I'm already doing them!" With the extra emphasis that you're already doing them.
I mean, it's pretty basic and recurring in colloquial speech if you think about it.

On another topic, I'm surprised you translate "I travelled to America" as "انا سفرا لاميركا". Shouldn't it be "safartu", not "safaraa" as you wrote?

(Perhaps I've misunderstood as you never say in your first question whether your translating MSA or dialect.)
    Well technically سفرا literally means "to travel" (and by itself means he travel). There's alot of technical things in Arabic grammar like you're saying with the tu added to the end which I'm not so sure about.(I wouldn't be able to tell you much in regards to grammar.) I can read in the extent that as long as I understand the words I can comprehend what's being said(at least in newspaper articles.) but when it comes to technical questions about its grammar I'm lost.
     You should also note that MSA isn't colloquial and isn't spoken outside of media. It's true you could translate an exchange similar to the one you said but you must understand that it isn't used in everyday speech and things are always going to be different in Arabic. As for the second question in your post I think it would help if you said which dialect so someone can help you.(as I don't know any dialect.)


Both my questions were actually for MSA, not dialect. Even though MSA is not used in the streets it is still a standalone language and as such one should be able to express anything with it, especially relatively simple concepts like "already".

BTW I'm curious, how do you study Arabic without the grammar? Don't you plan on learning it at some point?! I have a hard time seeing how anyone could understand newspaper articles in Arabic without some knowledge of basic grammar...

     I'm actually using FSI which has Newspaper articles in it.(I can understand a portion and sometimes alot of certain articles online but no where near enough to fully understand live newspapers. ) I have some knowledge of grammar just not enough to fully comprehend everything.(For example I know that when using ت in front of a verb means it's talking about a non human like an organization. On the other hand I couldn't tell you off the top of my head why they use dins or duns.) I'm glad someone helped you. Like he's saying and I've said you wont be able to say certain things in Arabic like you would in English.(I assume it's the same with all languages.)

Edited by CaucusWolf on 01 December 2010 at 3:44am

1 person has voted this message useful



Mikael84
Bilingual Pentaglot
Groupie
Peru
Joined 3229 days ago

76 posts - 116 votes 
Speaks: French*, Finnish*, English, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Arabic (classical), German, Russian

 
 Message 15 of 22
01 December 2010 at 4:25am | IP Logged 
When you mention the "ta" in front of a verb I assume you mean in the present tense? As in, tadhabu, taktubu, tastaqbilina, tu'akkiduna, etc. In that case you should know it's not really about it being a non-human or not, it is about person and gender.

You could see it for 2nd person singular feminine (taf3alina), 2nd person singular masculine (taf3alu), 3rd person singular feminine (taf3alu), 2nd person plural (taf3aluna, taf3alna), 2nd person dual (taf3alani).

Now, in the case of non-human plurals, the verb automatically turns into 3rd person feminine, hence your impression that "ta" in front of a verb always refers to a non-human... But be careful, someone could be referring to a female, or could be adressing many people, and it would also have "ta".

There's a taste of Arabic grammar for you ;-)

1 person has voted this message useful



CaucusWolf
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3201 days ago

191 posts - 234 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Arabic (Written), Japanese

 
 Message 16 of 22
01 December 2010 at 4:57am | IP Logged 
Mikael84 wrote:
When you mention the "ta" in front of a verb I assume you mean in the present tense? As in, tadhabu, taktubu, tastaqbilina, tu'akkiduna, etc. In that case you should know it's not really about it being a non-human or not, it is about person and gender.

You could see it for 2nd person singular feminine (taf3alina), 2nd person singular masculine (taf3alu), 3rd person singular feminine (taf3alu), 2nd person plural (taf3aluna, taf3alna), 2nd person dual (taf3alani).

Now, in the case of non-human plurals, the verb automatically turns into 3rd person feminine, hence your impression that "ta" in front of a verb always refers to a non-human... But be careful, someone could be referring to a female, or could be adressing many people, and it would also have "ta".

There's a taste of Arabic grammar for you ;-)

    Like I said I don't fully understand the grammar but If it had been talking about a female I'd have likely understood from context.(I actually kind of remember learning this somewhere but I've never seen it used when talking about a female.) My point is you don't need to know everything about the grammar to understand a newspaper.   
    I'll eventually get to learning all the technicalities of grammar(which I'm not looking forward to.) but for right now my priority is being able to read live articles.


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