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When some people act weird, remember this proverb.

  • 1379

Well, I got the idea of today's post and today's proverb from some observation which I might be mistaken for, but nonetheless, it is something that I've noticed lately in this forum for the Arabic language specifically. It seems that there are some users going along and simply pressing the dislike (or arrow down) button for my posts, and others, and I'm not sure why! I mean, if you are not satisfied about something in the post, go ahead and press the dislike button but mention something about it. Maybe we can fix or elaborate something. At least this is what I'm hoping for. Yet, I do think some people here are just doing that for the fun of it, or they got issues, maybe? Whatever it is, let's begin with today's proverb which might be a bit long to talk about. So, bear with me!

إِرْضاءُ النّاسِِ غايَةٌ لا تُدْرَك

Translation: The satisfaction of people is an unreachable goal.

Transliteration: irđá'u-nnási ğáyatun lá tudrak.

Moral: Do the right thing and don't care whether people liked it or not, as long as it is the right thing to do.


إِرْضاءُ: Satisfying.
النّاس: The people.
غايَة: Goal, aim, purpose.
لا: Negating article.
تُدْرَك: to be reached.



I was reluctant to translate this word as "Satisfaction," and to be honest, if I was to be a perfectionist, this would be more translated as "Satisfying." This said, this proverb sometimes is told or published using another another word: رِضى which actually is, in my opinion, a better translation for "Satisfaction." What's the big deal? Well, even though the overall meaning is delivered by using either words in Arabic, but there is a significant difference. The word إرضاء comes from the verb (أرضى: arđá) meaning "to satisfy," while on the other hand, the word رِضى comes from the verb (رَضِيَ: rađiya) meaning "to be satisfied." In other words, the first one comes from a transitive verb, while the second one comes from a intransitive verb. There are specific methods in changing verbs in Arabic from being intransitive to transitive but it's out of the scope here. So, just to make a contrast between the two and to give a better translation, here is a comparison between the two:

إرضاء: Satisfying people is not a reachable goal.
رضى: Satisfaction of people is not a reachable goal.

Either way, the general meaning is obvious using either words despite the difference in meaning in depth; The first talks about the action itself being unattainable, while the second talks about the status of satisfaction is unattainble. All in all, I don't want to act a perfectionist as I usually do (and it is a bad habit when learning a language, DON'T BE!).


For this word, when I typed the proverb in Arabic in large text, you might have noticed some Kasrah-under-Shaddah over the letter ن. This is a mistake I had to do because of a font problem. Only Shaddah should be there. I had to do it that way to be able to put Kasrah under the last letter in this word. Something weird happened, when I put a Kasrah there, it shifts the Kasrah backwards under the Shaddah!
This word simply means "the people." As simple as that. I don't think there are much details about this word and its meanings but let's take a look as to why I wanted to put Kasrah there (i.e. putting -i to its end). The reason is simple: Genitive. For this, I wanted to use "satisfaction" in my translation for this proverb rather than "satisfying" because I can use "of" here to make the genitive relation between the two words more obvious (can I use "of" after "satisfying"? Doesn't sound right to me actually). Probably I've talked about genitive relations a lot before in my posts, but here we go one more time. In Arabic, this relation is actually called إضافة (addition). When we have a simple relation between two words like this (and it can get complicated further), the first noun usually gets the status proper to its position in the sentence and gets the vowel to its end accordingly (e.g. -u if it is a sbuject, -a if it is an object). The second word in this relation, when a normal singular word, gets Kasrah (-i) to its end, always. For this reason, it is an-nnási (in my transliteration above, it is merged in the previous word as it is how it would sound phonetically).


Simple translation: Goal, or aim. If you are wondering about the first letter in this word which I've put as ğ, in case you didn't see it on Duolingo's lessons yet, this is a French "R" sound. And if you couldn't tell already, it is a feminine word because it ends in Ta' Marbúta (ـة). I've seen many people wonder why there are -tun sounds at the end of some words, and whether this is "H" or "T". The simple answer to this, this letter is both; it is "H" when the word is mentioned alone, or at the end of the sentence, but it changed to "T" whenever we need to move the end with some vowels accordingly in the middle of the sentence (or its beginning). Without this letter, you might see the spelling of words change, once being simple ه and once ت. it hurts me a lot though to see some Arabs that do not care much about typing this letter correctly and they simply note it down as "H" (ه، ـه) in their typing or even in some official documents. This is one cause of confusion because we have suffix pronouns in Arabic which are written with "H" at the end of the word.

Note: Many names in Turkish and Farsi which are of Arabic origin, which end in Ta Marbúta, had been changed and fixed to "T." As an example, the word *serbet" or "sherbet" which is common in English as well for a special type of juice, comes to English via Turkish (as I believe) and originally from the Arabic word (شُربة:šurbah), meaning "sip" or "drink" (شربة ماء: a sip of water).

Now to the Tanwin or Nunation (i.e. the sound of -un) which also baffles many. I've stated some information about this Tanwin previously but why not again and again. Tanwin or Nunation was, in theory, a nasal sound. Akkadian, a far relative to Arabic and an extinct language, show something similar but with the sound of "m" and hence it is called Mimation. In time, though, this nasal sound became a full "N" sound which is not written but it is given by special marks. Tanwin has many uses in Arabic and there are conditions that govern the presence of such sound, but it is enough to say here that the indefinite noun gets Tanwin as a marker, just like how the English "a/an" come before the indefinite word. Not precise description but this will work for now. One of the works of Tanwin as well is forming the adverbs in Arabic. That's a story for another post, maybe?

Worth noting that Tanwin bil Fatħ (that is -an sound) is the only Tanwin that comes accompanied with an additional Alif. As kids, we were taught that this Tanwin is the greedy one because it needs an extra Alif. However, there are special cases when this Alif is not written, like the case of Ta Marbúta (for example). The reason for this is purely graphic. However, the presence of Alif itself is not graphic. It has implementation of some aspects of grammar and reading; Words coming at the end of the sentence with (-an) sound, can be read with (-an) or (-aa). Unlike other vowels which can be silent at the end of the sentence and dropped, the (-an) sound is never dropped (talking standard Arabic here). It is either (-an) or (-aa); Sorry, I mean (-á). I like to use accents better than double letters!


Well, I've skipped the article لا here as I think it should not be a big deal. It is just a negative article that negates the verb coming after it, which is تُدْرَك.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to the Passive Mode. The passive mode, if you don't know already, is a mode for the verb to express its action without knowing the subject (or the one who did the verb that is). In English, this mode might be explained using various ways, mainly the verbal adjective. In Arabic, however, the verb itself is adjusted (Irish has the same property by the way). Probably for some users here who are inline with Duolingo skills and courses, the passive in Arabic might be something new (don't know even if Duolingo is going to teach that at any time), but it would be good to take a glimpse at it. Don't worry if you get confused. After all, I don't think it is an absolute skill in learning the language but it is good to have some idea about it.
The passive mode in Arabic is available for the major 3 tenses: Past, Present and Future. The verb here is a present tense, and it stands with "t" ت instead of "y" يـbecause it refers back to the previous word, غاية, which is a feminine word. Without going into much deeper details about forming the passive from verbs in general, here is the transformation that we did to convert the verb from a regular present tense, to a passive present tense:
تُدْرِك (tudrik: she reaches: the original verb) → تُدْرَك (tudrak: she is to be reached: passive).
Can you see the change in the vowel around (ر: R)? I will stop at this point as the talk might be lengthy in this aspect. Deriving the passive form depends on the original verb, whether it is originally 3-letter verb (in the past tense) or is it composed of more than that. Each has its own methods in derivation. Let's keep it at a beginner's level. Maybe one day I will put on the details.


I hope you like reading about this proverb. I tried to keep it as short as I can but seems I've failed again here. Maybe in time I will get the courage to post more complicated examples, and lengthy ones. However, one thing I'm always suffering from: Time.
Good Night for now and happy Duolinging! تصبحون بخير

August 3, 2019



Great post! Thank you!

  • 1379

Most welcome :)


Thank you for another awesome post. I still like it very much. You are doing a great job. It is unbelievable how much time you invest for giving us these impressive knowledge.

  • 1379

Thanks and glad it helps you out there :)


It wish we could be able to hear the actual proverb as well as just read it

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Been thinking about it really and also been thinking of a video. But the technical means are lacking (I don't like using Youtube). Hopefully I'll find a way one day :)


How about to open up a group on Telegram? There we could change everything, voice tapes, pics with our writings and videos.

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hmm I don't use Telegram but well.. I have FB.
I tend not to get into more social media than the ones I'm in already (spreading myself too thin). I've even quit Instagram to have more time to myself as well.
I was thinking after some time I might upload a voice or a video into some location and share the link to here. My Dropbox is almost full so maybe I would need to have a new account or just look for another website to host the files. Not sure really, so much on my plate already :)


Only just one more thought for get control over your contacts on Telegram. In case you might get annoying contacts or just far too much then you can change your user name and sent it only to your prefered contacts. ;-)


Sorry, this is getting really annoying: For each of your messages, I receive an email notification.


Because I'm subscribed to this thread out of interest in the proverb and the explanations, and I have "email notification" on because otherwise I would never know of replies to older threads (such as sentence discussions).

Edit: Sorry, I didn't mean to sound harsh. I'm just a little desperate. ...

  • 1379

Sorry Heike :)
You can click on "unfollow" on the top of this thread. This way you will not receive any emails when someone posts here :) Sorry


I do not want to unsubscribe from this thread because I want to find it later. And I want to read relevant questions and contributions to it.


If you need a thread for your chat, please use one that has already been downvoted into oblivion. My suggestion: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/33334307

(I'm unsubscribing from that thread.) ;-)


Dude I really need to talk to you! Where can I find you?

  • 1379

آمر تفضل


هذا الايميل الخاص بي Islamzade.mahdi@gmail.com و هذا رقم هاتفي 09900148278 هل يمكن ان اتحدث معك شخصيا؟

  • 1379

تحدث هنا عزيزي


انا ذاهب الى مقابلة لكوني مدرس لغة انجلیزیة. الآن أحتاج إلى بعض الأفكار لنشر المعتقدات الشيعية مع وسائل الاتصال

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