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  5. "كَيْف تَعُدّين يا رانْيا؟"

"كَيْف تَعُدّين يا رانْيا؟"

Translation:How do you count, Rania?

August 8, 2019



Does this verb for "count" only mean we are asking Rania to demonstrate their 1, 2, 3 ability, or can this sentence also be asking how Rania matters?

(Like all the people who have yellew shirts on are voting on what to call a particular shade of yellow, Rania is wearing a red shirt and tries to chime in, the yellow leader sees Rania's red shirt and asks "how do you count, Rania?")

  • 1378

No, it's for counting only. it can be mixed up with another verb but away from confusion, it is for counting only here, and never to ask about matters.


I don't really understand the formation of the verbs atm.


Is this used for a general question, i.e. "how does one count," or is it only asking specifically how Rania counts? In other words, is there a general third person pronoun, like "one"?

  • 1378

It's a specific question to Rania.

Expressions involving (one) like "how does one count?" can be rendered in different ways in Arabic and it has no fixed expression. I can say that question as:

  • كيف يعد الناس؟ (kayfa ya3uddu an-nas?): How do people count?
  • كيف يجب العد؟ (kayfa yajibu al-3ad): How counting must be?
  • كيف يتم العد؟ (kayfa yatummu al-3ad): How counting is done?

And probably there are a number of other expressions to ask this question and deliver the idea. The base line is, using "one" to fit an anonymous person (i.e. like a dummy variable) is not a characteristic of Arabic really. Thus, in translating usually from English into Arabic, one has to consider this point and translate by meaning rather than a word-by-word basis.


Thank you very much, TJ.


(1). What does the '... using "one" to fit an anonymous person (i.e. like dummy variable) is not characteristic of Arabic really' phrase mean? I don't understand this phrase. (Is it too English?) Can you explain it, TJ_Q8 or KatieC?

(2). So, what is the characteristics of Arabic here (as you say it is not)?

Thanks in advance! :))

  • 1378

In English, you make general statements or questions by using "one" as a dummy variable to refer to a hypothetical person. For example: How does one count? Meaning "how should any person count", or another example: One must be careful around here, meaning "people should be careful around here" and so on. In German, this is man (with small "m" and not "M").
In Arabic, we formulate sentences in different ways without the need for using such variable such as "one".


That's really interesting. I've seen all of those in various languages, but not all together in the same language, at least not all with similar frequency.


It's not really a sentence in English that I would ever use....unless talking to a 3 year old? And even then id just ask them "Can you count to 10 for me?"...


these sentences are just there for you to know how to construct sentences.


At work i may ask, "what are you counting here?"

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