Translation:my work and her work
I don't understand why AnacondaC wrote the second word with a damma on the L. However, he/she heard it as a fatha (as I did) , but TJ_Q8 also wrote the harakat as a damma. Why? There is no harakat at all in the source phrase. And in this lesson, Duolingo makes no mention of a damma. The examples it gives of "his" are مِعْطَفها and بَيْتها. Whence the damma? Incidentally, I was delighted to find this in Wiktionary, about damma: "Borrowed from Arabic ضَمَّة (ḍamma, “a joining”), instance noun of the verb ضَمَّ (ḍamma, “to join”). Refers to the joining of the lips together when making an /u/ sound."
Typically in our everyday writing we don't use Harakat. But anyway here on Duolingo they are added for learners. However, I guess contributors for this course are sometimes dropping some of these Harakat (not sure if it is intentional or by mistake).
Anyway, first of all, in the examples you mentioned above, معطفها and بيتها they mean (her coat) and (her house) respectively; Not (his coat) and (his house).
Dhammah is the name of the marker of the short vowel (u) which is placed on consonants to modify their spelling. It is not shown above as I've mentioned above, but it should look like this:
Hope the font is large enough now. In the phrase above, عملي وعملها (3amalí wa 3amaluhá), the (L) in the second word gets Dhammah (that is, -u- vowel) because it is in nominative. Under normal conditions (i.e. nominative) a noun in Arabic ends with (-u); But you know I guess the story of dropping the last vowel when the word comes at the end of a sentence and all that.
So, this is about the vowel (-u) in عَمَلُها (her work). However, I've stated above that the audio is wrong concerning the first word because the machine says it as (3amaliy) and not as (3amalí); The former means (practical) and the second means (my work). Of course in this instance we can't add (-u) because we have a possessive suffix (my: ـي) which attaches to the end of the word.
TJ_Q8: thank you for correcting me (معطفها and بيتها mean (her coat) and (her house) respectively; Not (his coat) and (his house)." That was careless of me. I had obviously not digested the new information! And don't worry about font size - I can always increase the size of the screen. As for "dropping the last vowel when the word comes at the end of a sentence and all that", I've been told this by tsuj1g1r1, but so far Duolingo has made no mention of it. Nor has it yet mentioned cases. Does this nominative -u ending only apply to masculine nouns, or at least, nouns otherwise ending in a consonant? That's my first question about cases. The second one is that so far I've been astonished (and thankful) that the two prepositions we've learnt so far (في and من) don't seem to take any particular case. The nouns they govern retain the form they have when they're in (what I had thought was) the nominative. I had assumed that form was the nominative, though now I've just learnt that at least some of them could have the damma on the final letter for the nominative. Seems a bit weird for Duolingo to omit the nominative harakat, given that they include all the others, as far as I’m aware. Do you think it's possible to clarify things for me? Or perhaps I'm at too basic a stage in my study of Arabic. But at least, thanks to you, I now understand why AnacondaC expected a damma on the L. And I'm getting used to the fact that the software’s voice isn't perfect.
Well, to begin with, Duolingo is not what I would call a serious learning platform for Arabic. From what I've seen so far and from months since the establishment of this course, I've realized that Duolingo is dedicated to Traveler's Arabic; If I can call it so. It's like a form of a language that keeps you going and opens your eyes a bit to some aspects of the language, but in a level that just helps you to get yourself going when you travel, for example, to some country that uses Arabic. At least this is how I imagine it to be because the mush and the amount of mistakes is way beyond repair and I'm really wondering why do they keep this course going. Anyway, I don't know what the contributors of this course are planning to.
Now, concerning the Nominative case (or the normal case, which we call Marfú3 مرفوع in Arabic), the general sign is (-u) but it does change for various nouns (plurals for example) and for various other nouns of various types. This is just the generalized and basic "gesture" of the nominative.
As for the (fí) and (min) (or in and from respectively), they do change the nouns that follows. We call these two articles (and others) أحرف جر (aHruf jar) which might be translated as (articles of dragging). These articles, in normal conditions or generalized sense, add Kasrah to the end of the noun (i.e. -i). Not sure about the equivalent term in Western grammatical hierarchy but I'm guessing it is the Dative Case; But I really doubt this term and maybe should simply call it Prepositional. In Arabic grammar hierarchy, we call the noun in such case: مجرور (majrúr), i.e. being under the influence of dragging. Kasrah (or generally the "ee" sound) is seen in Arabic as a dragging of the jaw when you say it, hence the name. This case or effect is not limited to prepositional articles like (fí) and (min); The Genitive case (or the OF-case where a noun belongs to another) does use this dragging condition. And since we are at it, there is the accusative case, where a noun is the object of the sentence (taking the influence of the verb), and the noun typically or generally should receive a (-a) sound to its ending. In Arabic we call this influence منصوب (mancúb).
So, you see, sometimes it's hard to explain Arabic grammar and fit it into the terminologies of the usual and typical hierarchical view of grammar that is followed in the West, as we see cases differently (in fact I can say that we see influences rather than cases of speech).
I'm not expecting Duolingo to teach these things here. As I've said, this space is absolutely simple and, in my opinion, it absolutely cannot replace a good teacher when it comes to Arabic. It is just a starter to learn some words RATHER than learning grammar (specially that in dialects used in everyday life, people don't care for grammar anymore and don't care for these ending, so you are good to go if you want to use some of these words in a little conversation).