Yes, it's the nominative indefinite ending. In formal MSA (and Qurani Arabic), you have three cases and six endings:
Nominative: -u (definite) / -un (indefinite)
Accusative: -a (definite) / -an (indefinite)
Genitive: -i (definite) / -in (indefinite)
The nominative is used as you'd expect – for the subject of the sentence.
تَكَلَّمَ رَجُلٌ لَطيفٌ مَعِي أَمسِ
takallama rajulun latifun ma3i amsi
"A nice man spoke to me yesterday"
يُعجِبنا البَيتُ الجَديدُ
yu3jibna l-baytu l-jadidu
"We like the new house" ("The new house pleases us")
The accusative is also used as you'd expect – for the direct object of the verb. Note that a final alif will always be added for the accusative indefinite ending (except after a ta' marbuta).
هَل اِشتَرَيتَ هاتِفاً غاليّاً؟
hal ištarayta hatifan ghaliyyan?
"Did you buy an expensive phone?"
"I love reading"
The genitive is used both on the possessor in an idafah construct (idafah being the genitive construct in Arabic), and on nouns following prepositions.
"The capital of Egypt"
(Note that the definite genitive ending is used, not the indefinite, even though there is no definite article on the noun. This is due to idafah, but I won't go into detail on that here)
رَأَيتُهُ في كِتابٍ قَديمٍ
ra'aytuhu fi kitabin qadimin
"I saw it in an old book"
المَفاتِحُ عَلى الطاوِلةِ
al-mafati7u 3ala T-Tawilati
"The keys are on the table"
Note that in more casual MSA, the endings aren't used as much. For example, the last sentence, "المفاتح على الطاولة", would be more commonly pronounced "al-mafati7 3ala T-Tawila". Also in casual MSA, at the end of the sentence, the ending isn't used; this can be seen in the Duolingo exercise; "baytun kabir", not "baytun kabirun" (which would be the official formal pronunciation). Furthermore, the cases disappear completely in the dialects.
إذا كان في النص أي خطأ فاعلنني من فضلك.
A year or two ago, I could right click my mouse and ask the computer to translate sentences. Do you know if Duolingo took this feature away from us or if it is a Windows 10 change? It was a great feature! Update: Translation feature working again. I think my new browser added the feature.
It must have been a change in your browser's (e.g., Chrome, Firefox, or Safari) settings.
This article tells you how to enable translation of web pages in different browsers: https://community.widen.com/collective/s/article/Can-I-translate-web-pages-in-browsers
Hope this helps!
sorry to ask, but what do you mean by definite, and indefinite? sorry i lost comprehension
It is because of the nominative ending -un, since the object is indefinite. Check out linguafiqari's answer above!
But if you are, like me, worried because there is no 'n' ن, it's due to something called 'nunation'. There is a good article on wikipedia about this, but basically is a word ending in an alveolar nasal without adding the letter 'nun' ن .
Sorry to hear that this has happened; I am also glad to see it's not just me. I have been completely thrown off course by the sudden inclusion of things I have not been taught to do, and cannot complete successfully. It feels like it's a module from a more advanced section which is sitting in the wrong place. Also the number 3 has started turning up in words in that alphabet section. No explanation, and I am not sure what to do with those either. Anyone got any advice?
You was right. After a few days of trying to read without transcription I finally got it. At first I tried to remember the letters with small stories, like "this is a egyptian eye جand that's a snake ى and this one looks like emoji ت" But know I recognize some of that very quick without these stories. So yeah. That's better without transcription
This section is asking me to translate words I haven't learned and can't guess. It's an alphabet section. I might be able to try to write the sounds in English but I have absolutely no way of knowing yet what the words mean, and guessing them is giving me wrong answers. It must be a glitch in the system, giving me a section from another area in the course. But I can't proceed now.
Please don't "beat yourself up" just because you are a beginning Arabic student. There are people on this site who are absolute beginners, others who are native speakers, and then some with a small amount of knowledge who have had a bit of exposure to Arabic. Just "hang in there".
As I understand it, the Arabic alphabet has more characters than the Latin alphabet (used to write English), so young Arabic speakers invented new ways to transliterate Arabic through SMS texting by using numbers. Here's some explanation: https://www.arabicgenie.com/2009/09/do-you-speak-arabic-chat-ta7ki-3arabi
Coincidentally, the numerals used in the Latin script came through the Arab world and are called Arabic numerals. :)