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A proverb Read at your own risk!

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Hello everyone,
I thought of a new proverb today, and frankly I was going to stop posting them because apparently some people are annoyed about it (not sure why, or maybe I'm just hallucinating?). Anyway, I like this proverb so much and something happened today that made me recall this proverb, or saying. So, here we go!
Note: I will be using Duolingo's (3) here for (ع). If you want the link to that transliteration system that I've made, leave me a comment below.

فاقِدُ الشَّيءِ لا يُعْطيه

Translation: One lacking something, cannot give it out.

Transliteration: Fáqidu-ššay'i lá yu3ŧíh

Moral: Clearly, do not ask for something from someone who lacks it, specially ethics and favors from those who do not own the proper conscience for them.


فاقد: One who lacks.
الشيء: The thing.
لا: Not, negating article for present tense.
يعطيه: A verb and a suffix pronoun as an accusative, meaning "gives it."


First of all, you might notice that I've merged the first two words together in pronunciation (in the transliteration). I've done this because this is how it sounds actually when an Arabic speaker says it. Why they are merged? The second word starts with what is called (Hamzat Wassl: همزة وصل), meaning: The connecting Hamza. Despite calling it "Hamza" it is actually a plain Alif without any real Hamzas (ء). You can think of this Alif as being a "schwa" of some sort. It might be pronounced clearly at the beginning of a sentence, but when it comes in the middle of the sentence preceded by words, it almost disappears allowing the preceding vowel to connect to the next word, like in the example above. The definite article (الـ: Al-) is composed of this Alif. Never write or type the definite article as "ألـ". Never!
Before going into the relation between the two first nouns, it is a good thing to stop by the first word in the proverb: فاقد. This word is derived from the verb (فقد:faqad) meaning (he lost), or in terms of English infinitive (to lose). In Arabic, a common way to produce a noun to address someone who does that specific verb is to form a verbal "subject" or "donor" (maybe "subject" is a better name). When translating such nouns into English, sometimes it is possible to add "-er" ending, but often it is not so, and translating such a noun, like the one above, would require a full phrase such as the one above, the one lacking something. All that parsed in a single word in Arabic: فاقد.
Now, the relation between the two first nouns is Genitive (which to what I understand, is somewhat different than what we mean in Arabic grammar in general). Anyway, the two first nouns have an "of" relation between them, and the definite article comes at the second noun in the compound. In Arabic, this relation is called إضافة, meaning (addition), because we add one word to another to form a compound. The first noun in the compound is typically called مُضاف (Muđáf) meaning (added) -which is kind of odd if you ask me actually- while the second word in the compound is typically called مُضاف إليه (Muđáf ilayh), meaning (added to). In example above, the "Muđáf" is (فاقد:fáqid) while the "Muđáf ilayh" is (الشيء:aššay'). The second word, in normal conditions, mostly get Kasrah under its last letter (-i sound). The first word in the compound, however, would have various vowels at its end depending on its position in the sentence, and here it gets (-u) vowel because it is in nominative case.
Then we have the negative article (لا:lá). This article is used in various cases and positions, e.g. negative imperative, but here it is used to negate the present tense verb which is coming after it.
Finally, we have the present tense verb translated as (does not give it), which is composed of the verb (يعطي:gives) plus the suffix (ه:it). Notice though, there is no "it" in Arabic, and things are either masculine or feminine, and this suffix here takes the place of the object (the object referring back to "the thing"), and it is a "he". The verb here is in the format of 3rd singular, in reference to the subject of the sentence (فاقد), i.e. the one who does the verb (يعطي).

The order of the sentence might be a challenge somewhat because, as a proverb, usually the order of the words in the sentence and even the words themselves can be a bit tricky, because they are supposed to be eloquent. One can say this proverb in other ways of course, but other ways will be long, and much more regular and normal sentences that one might hear any where, but not from literature.

Well, I hope you enjoy reading this. If you are bored with it, then sorry, but maybe it's not made for you :) Time to say good night from here! So تصبحون بخير!

July 23, 2019



Fascinating! Thank you!

  • 1353

Fáilte romhat!


شكرا لهذا

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