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  5. "هَل أَنْتِ لابِسة وِشاح وَقُ…

"هَل أَنْتِ لابِسة وِشاح وَقُبَّعة يا لَمى؟"

Translation:Are you wearing a scarf and a hat, Lama?

July 3, 2019



It seems like another correct translation could be "Are you wearing a scarf and hat, Lama" as it seems very few native English speakers will use the "a" article twice in this sentence unless they were really trying to emphasize the hat. Like maybe Lama had a reputation for forgetting her hat or wearing more than one hat... Or am I missing something with قُبَّعة where it is emphasized more than it normally would be?


I agree, it’s normal in English to drop the article from second and subsequent items in a list unless, as you say, you want to apply an emphasis. Whether or not it’s grammatically correct is another matter - not sure myself. I’ve reported it anyway.


It is not only stylistically normal to omit subsequent articles like this, it is grammatically correct. There's even a poetic expression for when you choose to repeat the article like this for emphasis or effect ("polysyndeton"). This is perhaps one of the smallest errors in English I've seen in this course, however!


Hey! I hadn't come across polysyndeton before. Thanks for this, Djibril. But when I looked it up, it seems to be about conjunctions, not articles. Or are articles covered in a subdefinition of the word?


I think polysyndeton can refer to the unnecessary repetition of any word in a sentence (but I may be misremembering!). The most common example given is the repetition of "and" in a list, yes.


I think you may be misremembering. Have a look at this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polysyndeton Can you think of an example where the repeated word is NOT a conjunction? If there is a rhetorical device in which any word in a sentence can be repeated, it can probably found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhetorical_device#:~:text=In%20rhetoric%2C%20a%20rhetorical%20device,an%20emotional%20display%20of%20a


You're right (Katie) that the official definition of polysyndeton seems to be stylistic repetition of conjunctions. I have certainly seen it used for the serial repetition of any function word (even by literature professors from whom I learned the term). I guess that's a difference between definition and usage. Thanks! :)


Well, even professors of literature can have failures of memory. Though if it really is usage, the definition will catch with it in the end. But not for nothing is it called polySYNDETON: Syndeton (from the Greek συνδετόν "bound together with") or syndetic coordination in grammar is a form of syntactic coordination of the elements of a sentence (conjuncts) with the help of a coordinating conjunction.


Isn't "Are you wearing a scarf and hat Lama?" accepted?


Presumably not. Is that right, Cris_Pseuda?


No (sigh), it has to be a scarf and A hat.

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