1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Arabic
  4. >
  5. "مَدينة واسِعة"

"مَدينة واسِعة"

Translation:a spacious city

June 28, 2019



The Arabic sentence is unnatural. We say (مدينة كبيرة). We can describe the streets of the city saying (شوارع المدينة واسعة), but we cannot use (واسعة) to describe the city itself. It does not collocate at all.


I agree. For me (even though I'm not a native speaker) wâsi3 means either wide or ample (as in some Quranic stanzas, "ample/widespread mercy", raHma wâsi3a, Q 6:147)... an-nahr an-nîl nahr wâsi3 jiddan... etc etc.


Agree. In fact, the sentence is unnatural in both English and Arabic. 'City' and 'spacious' don't go together in both languages. Collocations are important part of language learning and usage.


That's interesting. This sentence is also unnatural in English. A city can be sprawling, vast, or big. A room, car, or any sort of living quarters would be spacious or roomy. Streets can be wide but I wouldn't really describe them as spacious.

If a city is "spacious", does it mean that the city is big, or just that there is a lot of space between the buildings? I wonder what the course contributors were thinking.


"Spacious" can, you are right to say, mean "covering much space", hence simply "expansive", and it can also be used to talk about something that affords large amounts of space.

But in the context of everyday use, it is now very rarely used in the first way. if I say "Leeds is a spacious city" I must mean something along the lines of "Leeds has many parks", "Leeds has wide roads", "Leeds is not overcrowded". And a brief google shows that the phrase is often used in published works in this way. To take just one example:

"It is a spacious city with an excellent infrastructure of wide boulevards..."

Meanwhile, we do find the first usage, but much earlier, e.g. in a letter from Defoe:

"York, as I have said, is a spacious city, it stands upon a great deal of ground, perhaps more than any city in England out of Middlesex, except Norwich..."


Thats true.. In arabic we dont use واسعة to describe a city.. We use: bigكبيرة Enormous عظيمة You can say مترامية الاطراف .. It means so large .. Its kind of eloquence.


I think waasi3a should be translated as "vast" - rather than "spacious" - in the case of cities or countries or other vast open spaces.

"Spacious", in English appears more appropriate to smaller enclosed quarters, like a car or a house. - A university, which covers vast campus grounds, is not spacious. Its mensa or its auditorium or its dormitories may be spacious, but not the university as a whole institution.


Why is it pronounced "madina" rather than "madinatun", like in the other sentence constructions with ة?


madiinatun is correct. مدينةٌ واسعةٌ.


At the moment, the tanween is inconsistently used in Arabic course. I have not yet even seen the notes about it in any of the first ten lessons. Hopefully, as the Arabic course is gradually improved beyond Beta Level, the tanween usage will be more consistent and cleared up.


I doubt anyone would describe a city like this in Arabic. It doesn't make much sense.

I think the course maker is thinking in English and translating into Arabic. There have been several examples like that ('heavy rain')

Learn Arabic in just 5 minutes a day. For free.