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  5. "في ٱلْطّابِق اَلْأَوَّل مَطْ…

"في ٱلْطّابِق اَلْأَوَّل مَطْبَخ."

Translation:There is a kitchen on the first floor.

August 24, 2019



What is the typical meaning of "first floor" in arabic speaking places? Like in the US where the first floor is at ground level? Or lile in Germany or latino countries where thr first floor means the first floor above the ground level (what we would call the second floor in the US)?

  • 1379

Not sure if there is a standard for this. Here for example people do use both ways (and yeah it might make some confusion). To what I see, though, the most common way is to call the base "the ground floor" and then "the first floor". I can't recall at any time I've seen an elevator here starting with (1) from the bottom, but they all start with (G); Just my observation. Below the ground is usually called Basement ("B" on elevator). Sooo... I think it depends on the country maybe or even the people you are dealing with ... each to whatever they think of!

Ground floor: الطابق الأرضي
Basement floor: السِّرْداب


The US never colonized any Arab countries so most won't typically use ground floor as first floor. (Please people who will predictably want to argue about this because they have to have a go at their favorite whipping boy, educate yourself about the definition of this. The truth doesn't change to accommodate prejudice.) For example, France colonized Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco, occupied Egypt during the Napoleonic times, and ruled in Syria and Lebanon so I would expect those countries to commonly follow the French custom not American. The same for former British colonies and so on.


Why is it not "In the first floor kitchen"?

  • 1379

I take that you are translating the Arabic sentence into English. Well, your English sentence actually translated into Arabic as في مطبخ الطابق الأول. Or if I want to rephrase your sentence into English as well, I would say in the kitchen which is in the first floor. This is, however, not exactly the sentence which is here in Arabic. The sentence here in Arabic actually tells an information that THERE IS some kitchen in the first floor, while your sentence TALKS ABOUT a kitchen which is in the first floor. In other words as well, the sentence here (English or Arabic) is a complete sentence with subject and predicative, but your sentence is a relative clause which is not complete (but it only describes a kitchen which is in the first floor, and not telling that there is a kitchen in the first floor).
The difference is in the logic. Hope this clears things :)


Is there no difference between "a first floor kitchen" and "the first floor kitchen"? I would have thought that maybe "the first floor kitchen" would translate to في المطبخ الطابق الاول Google translate however gives the following translation: "in the kitchen, first floor". Basically means the same thing I guess.

This put aside the sentence that needed to be translated was في الطابق الأول مطبخ Which is translated as "There is a kitchen on the first floor." But I would say that "On the first floor is a kitchen." is also correct and maybe in this case even more accurate. Even though the meaning is pretty much exactly the same.

  • 1379

Well, the sentence here is about pointing out the kitchen in the first floor. In English, you can say that as There is a kitchen in the first floor, or maybe In the first floor, there is a kitchen. In any way, even though English is not my native language, but I think pointing out to something is usually or mostly done using There. Thus, your sentence On the first floor IS a kitchen without there seems awkward I think, to me at least.

Like the two versions above in English, there are two versions (or maybe likely more) for pointing out the existence of a kitchen:

  • هناك مطبخ في الطابق الأول (hunáka maTbaxun fi-TTábiqi-l-awwal).
  • في الطابق الاول مطبخ (fiTTábiqi-l-awwali maTbax) - and this is one in use by Duolingo.

Now, regardless of what Duolingo considers a correct answer or not (the system is flawed already), notice the usage of (hunáka) if I want to point to the kitchen at the beginning of the sentence. In fact, as I'm writing these words, I've realized that you can also add it before مطبخ in the second sentence, but here it's optional, while it is a MUST in the first sentence; If you remove (hunák) from the first sentence, the meaning would be transformed to (a kitchen in the first floor).
The phrase (a kitchen in the first floor) can be probably equated to (a first floor kitchen), however notice that this phrase is not: a) full sentence of a subject and a predicate, b) It is not pointing out to a kitchen, but it is simply "labeling" a kitchen.

The difference between pointing out and labeling should be obvious. Pointing out something to someone is delivering the information to the listener or the reader about the existence of something. However, labeling on the other hand, is giving a mark or a title to that thing. Let me break it down to a simpler form: a) the man is tall, b) the tall man; In (a) we are telling some information; We are stating a fact to let someone know that (the man) we are talking about is (tall). But in (b), we labeled (the man) with a character of his own (tall), and hence (the tall man) which might be, possibly, be known to the one reading or listening - in anyway, it is a label to that man (and this is what would be called an attributive adjective).

Now, your sentence في المطبخ الطابق الأول there are many mistakes but I'd like to point out one only, and that is the kitchen is included IN the first floor and not vice versa. So, we can't say في المطبخ because that simply means (in the kitchen). But it is clear that the sentence under discussion is about a kitchen IN the first floor, thus the preposition في MUST come before the first floor الطابق الأول (as is naturally in English as well).

Hope all that makes sense now.


First of all let me point out I'm no native English speaker as well. I'm actually Dutch. But I don't agree that "On the first floor is a kitchen." sounds awkward at all. As a matter of fact "On the first floor there is a kitchen sounds more awkward to me even though there is nothing wrong with the sentence grammatically. But if I would use the word "there" in the sentence it would be at the beginning.

And with this sentence:

في المطبخ الطابق الاول

I was referring to the remark that was made by VanmuyahFof. And in his sentence it was actually about being "in the kitchen". This had nothing to do with the sentence under discussion. But I noticed that there is no difference in Arabic between the sentences: "in (a) first floor kitchen" and "in (the) first floor kitchen". So that made me wonder if "in the first floor kitchen" would be translated as I mentioned above.

I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. It is highly appreciated.


How they didn't use هناك?

  • 1379

you can use it. But to use it, you point out the "predicative" or what you are trying to bring attention to first: هناك مطبخ في الطابق الأول - in the same manner that English would use (there): there is a kitchen in the first floor.

So, the two sentences have the same meaning, it's just the word order and what you want to emphasize that changes by adding هناك

Edit: you can also say: هناك، في الطابق الأول، مطبخ
I think the commas here are important in ordering the speech and removing them might render the sentence unorganized.


Think of هناك as pointing "(over) there". In this sentence, the "there" is more like "there (exists) a kitchen on the first floor". When it's "exists" then it's في. When it's pointing (demonstrative), use هناك.


Why is "kitchen is on the first floor" wrong?

  1. It's not very good English (do you mean "the kitchen" or "a kitchen?); 2. kitchen in this sentence is indefinite, so the sentence has to make that clear. (We've seen this construction a few times in the last few lessons.)


These lessons are very inconsistent. I have never seen such inconsistencies. In one question say what something is in first is the sentence is wrong, in the next, it is right. For example. In the modules about the bag, we could say in Arabic, "There is gum in my bag." and that would be mark correct. Two sentences ago, I translated a sentence that had something in somewhere abd it was marked incorrect because it was supposed to be in somewhere is something. But then in this one we are told we are wrong when translating to English, "On the fisrt floor is a kitchen." Rather than what was purportedly the ONLY correct abswer of "There is a kitchen on the first floor." This in spite of the fact that the word هناك is nit even in the sebtence. So what is the onky correct order in obe sentence is absolutely wrong changing wgat the something is from bag to room to floor. I suspect this is short sightedness on the part of tge authors.

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