Grammar in Arabic: Should I make posts explaining grammar?
One thing I've noticed with the Arabic course is that they barely have any grammar lessons in them. It's a shame really. Grammar is very important in languages. Without it, how could people speak or write?
Grammar is important because it is the language that makes it possible for us to talk about language. Grammar names the types of words and word groups that make up sentences not only in English but in any language. As human beings, we can put sentences together even as children—we can all do grammar. But to be able to talk about how sentences are built, about the types of words and word groups that make up sentences—that is knowing about grammar. And knowing about grammar offers a window into the human mind and into our amazingly complex mental capacity. People associate grammar with errors and correctness. But knowing about grammar also helps us understand what makes sentences and paragraphs clear and interesting and precise. Grammar can be part of literature discussions, when we and our students closely read the sentences in poetry and stories. And knowing about grammar means finding out that all languages and all dialects follow grammatical patterns. (Brock Haussamen, "Guideline on Some Questions and Answers About Grammar", 2002)
I know Arabic is still in Beta and it has a long way to go to actually being perfect. Until then, should I or should I not make posts explaining grammar to you guys and girls?
I want to do it but these second thoughts are holding me back. Would they actually be beneficial to learning Arabic? Would they even be able to explain grammatical rules? Would they actually be good enough to teach people?
Would love to hear opinions on this! ^-^
Edit:My first post is finally up thanks to you guys and girls. Here's the link: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/32935001
Grammar posts would be most welcome. I am disappointed to hear that there is little grammar in the course. I'd personally build a course around grammar points and syntactic structures, with enough vocabulary to sufficiently practice manipulation of each word class. More's the pity that I don't have the expertise to contribute to this course! If you, or anyone else, can contribute anything along those lines, I'd take careful note of your work.
I'd love to see some posts explaining the grammar, if you can do that! One thing I'm having trouble understanding is, for example in Lesson 2 of Your name?, they introduce two different forms of "your dog": "ابْنِك" and "اِبْنَك". I'm not sure what the difference in usage between these two is though.
I was confused by this too. Apparently in Arabic, possessives are given the gender of the possessor, NOT the gender of the possessed object. So "aabn" is son, which is obviously masculine. Your son could be "aabnak" which is masculine or "aabnik" which is feminine. It depends on WHOSE son it is, not that he is a son.
I like this and it's a common language feature as well, that is case agreement at least not necessarily this specific kind of agreement which I don't know what to call. It's a variation on the genative.
It lets you have an easier time knowing which words are paired in a sentence though which is always nice
"your dog": "ابْنِك" and "اِبْنَك"
Two genders. The first is to a female (final kasra), while the second is to a male (final fathah).
For me it is just fine as it is now, without the rules. But I have to admitt that I have already some knowledge in Arabic spoken language as well as in the alphabet, otherwise I would be puzzled. Maybe u can make a section with explanation about changing letters and grammar rules as an option, to check things out?
Thank you for taking the time to post grammar rules. Since Duolingo is still in the Beta stage, there is a lot to come in the future. I read the comments mostly to learn and not necessarily to post. I welcome all methods of learning. Different approaches click for each individual. Thank you very much!
Yes please. Could you also please explain to me the aa that is written as a short vertical line above the letter بٰ. It's not something I've come across in any other Arabic courses and duo doesn't provide notes for the section it's on.
This sign actually is "not" part of the standard Arabic writing but more like for Quranic writing. The Writing of Quran is a special form and used only for Quran and reading purposes (a study on its own). However, this short "alif" is indeed "aa" for that specific consonant. Sometimes, such signs are used in calligraphic arts (to my knowledge just as ornamentation and not for a real pronunciation purposes). Also, sometimes they might use it in teaching just to mark a long "a" vowel is present but not written (like in the word Haadhaa "هذا" [This]); Such a sign might be used over "H" just to emphasize and to bring the attention of the reader (learner) that this "H" has long vowel "A" and not a short one. For us as Arabic speakers/writers, we don't use the mark actually. Bonus: This mark, can be used under a letter for a long "ii" and to my memory, I've seen it used that way only in Quran as well.
Grammar is important of course, but let's bear in mind here one important thing: Mostly, learners of languages are educated or trained on the classical "Greek" or "Latin" style of grammar. Thus, when explaining terms and positions or purposes, they must be a bit bent to that classical look instead of using the terms we, Arabs, use when we learn the language in schools. It can be cumbersome (already encountered that while learning Turkish a bit before Duolingo existed even) but it helps on perceiving the idea for most of the learners somehow, despite the limitations.
More grammar explanations would be amazing. Also some sort of explanation of the alphabet/diacritics (a word that I only know from outside sources - knowing the names of letters and structures are important so we can accurately talk about what we're learning!) would be quite helpful because that's incredibly important. For instance, I don't know about the rest of the lessons, but "Descrip. 1", the unit that introduces the first of the more difficult letters (ayn), literally just informs us of the fact that the adjective goes after the noun, which is a concept they introduced (but I think didn't really explain) in a previous unit, instead of giving us hints for how to pronounce this tricky letter. In this Descrip. 1 unit, there also seem to be multiple ways to pronounce ayn, but no explanation for when or how that pronunciation might change, though it does seem to be based on where the letter is found in the word, but then I could be totally wrong about that (and never know because it's not explained). I know from other sources that some people even give tips on how to pronounce it based on how to physically form the letters in your mouth, if that makes sense, which just goes to show how much these letters are different than what a lot of us are used to. Just throwing something like these difficult letters at us with literally no explanation is just confusing, and I hate to just google the answers to these types of pronunciation questions because a lot of times you'll just end up even more confused or overwhelmed by the sheer amounts of (and potential for conflicting, or seemingly-conflicting) answers.
It is indeed one of the hardest sounds for foreigners, beside (ح) and probably (خ) as well to some. Anyway, one thing for sure, the letter in Arabic does not change according to its position in the word. It might (just might) change in sound in a natural way for easy flow of speech but this thing does not change word meaning. So, (Ayn) remains (Ayn) wherever it is. On the other hand, there might be, sometimes, a change in the sound of (ل) [L], specifically in word (الله) [Allah]. This "L" is naturally velar (or broad sound if you are familiar with Irish) - and this is specific to this word only. However, this "L" sound becomes slender (or light) -Like in the way you would say "silver" in English- in specific conditions, when the word (Allah) is preceded by a "dative" article, e.g. "bi" - Thus, Bi+Allah = Billahi (Bil-Lahi) [باللهِ], in such instance, the "L" here is slender. However, this might be quite advanced for now and actually an Arabic speaker would just make the air flow (we don't think about slender or broad "L" and when to use them, it just appears). There are other "merging" processes between some articles as well to make the tongue's movement easier. I'm not sure how it goes with Duolingo nor who designs the lessons really but to my experience so far with other languages here, they start slow and cumbersome, but then tend to be advanced and more complicated grammatical rules and such. It is still Beta though, and I'm sure it is in the progress of being enhanced along the way. Just remember, even Arabic speakers sometimes do have problem understanding some Arabic words because it might be classic or simply they never read it before in their life context, so hopefully that doesn't put you down ;)
Why would you want to reinvent the wheel? There are tons of great videos on Youtube that explain the grammar. Most of the grammar in the course can be covered by any videos teaching the textbook Alif Baa: Introduction to Arabic Letters and Sounds aka "Alif Baa". The end of the tree gets up to around lesson three of the textbook Al-Kitaab fii Ta'allum al-'Arabiyya - A Textbook for Beginning Arabic: Part One aka "Al Kitaab".
Here are two playlists: Alif Baa: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD5E437CD62F04A7A
Trust me there is nothing on Duolingo not covered in these playlists.
For as far as I have been I have mostly learned how to read Arabic even if I don't know what the word means I can read it. My vocabulary is pretty small and if I were to only use the keyboard to translate the sentences rather than the word bank I probably wouldn't get very far. Of course i'm not very far along. I have only been here for 2 weeks, but this is just my experience thus far.