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  5. "اَلْرُّطوبة الْخَفيفة"

"اَلْرُّطوبة الْخَفيفة"

Translation:the light humidity

August 28, 2019



High humidity was accepted without any article. Why light humidity should be with THE?

  • 1425

Adjectives in any language have 2 situations or purposes let's say: a) tell a status (predicative), b) describe a noun (attributive).

The predicative form is what occurs in English with the verb (to be), like saying the humidity IS light - Here, we used "is" to tell the status of the humidity, which is "light". This is predicative status. In Arabic, predicative style does not require "AL" (the) before the adjective.

The other case, attributive, is when the adjective comes attached to the noun, as when you say in English light humidity. In English, "a/an" or "the" just comes before this compound. In Arabic, attributive adjectives mimic the noun in gender, definition and number. So, if the noun is plural the adjective must be plural, if the noun is feminine the adjective must be so, and so on.

Under the light of this, the sentence above is "attributive" in nature, and since الرطوبة (the humidity) appears defined with AL (i.e. the), the attributive adjective attached to it must be defined as well: الخفيفة (the light).

Suppose I want to convert this sentence from attributive to predicative? We remove "AL" from the adjective: الرطوبة خفيفة - and the English translation of this becomes The humidity IS light instead of the light humidity.


That's as may be, but it doesn't answer Julkon5's query about the definite article IN ENGLISH. And s/he is right to pose the question. Where Arabic uses the article for both noun and attributive adjective, English has the choice of using the definite article or not. Would Arabic render "light humidity" differently from اَلْرُّطوبة الْخَفيفة?


Incidentally, does this Arabic phrase mean anything different from "low humidity"?

  • 1425

Light humidity, would naturally be translated as رطوبة خفيفة, without the definite article (AL).
I'm not sure about light humidity or رطوبة خفيفة (the Arabic one seems indeed like a dialectical usage). Anyway, low humidity would translate (supposedly) to رطوبة منخفضة, and I think this one, in Arabic, is the proper one used in weather forecasts.

Elsewhere in Duolingo, they also use مطر ثقيل for heavy rain which is a word-to-word translation and it's not proper, as we note a large amount of falling rain with غزير (ğazír) not ثقيل which means heavy (for weights). So it's not that strange to see such mixed up expressions in Duolingo after all.


No one has yet answered Julkon5's question, which is also my question. It's established that English does not have to use the definite article where Arabic does, and as Julkon5 said, Duolingo correctly accepted "low humidity" so what's the problem here?

  • 1425

If Duolingo accepted "low" instead of "light" then it is mainly a contributors thing. They fed the system with both entries and considered them correct.


No. That wasn't my point. I wasn't discussing "low" vs "light", but echoing Julkon5's query, which, if you remember, was: "High humidity was accepted without any article. Why light humidity should be with THE?" We've been taught that for general nouns Arabic must use the article and English doesn't, unless the noun has been referred to before (eg the light humidity we were talking about yesterday). So there is not reason to have the article with humidity in this exercise, any more than it was required in a previous one, where the adjective happened to be "low" instead of "light".

  • 1425

Sorry I don't see the point here. I don't think "humidity" is a general term (like "Nature" for example). This one can come defined with AL or not depending on the nature of the sentence. As to why Duolingo put it here with AL, well, this is just how the question is. And it doesn't matter high or low or anything, these are just adjectives describing the humidity. Examples (using Duolingo's terminology):

  1. The humidity is light today: الرطوبة خفيفة اليوم.
  2. There is light humidity today: هناك رطوبة خفيفة اليوم.
  3. Today is marked by light humidity: يتميز اليوم بالرطوبة الخفيفة.

As I said, I'm using Duolingo's terminology. In standard Arabic it's not quite proper to mark "humidity" with "light" (خفيفة), but rather "low" منخفضة. So, the presence and absence of the definite article is not a special case here or anything. It's just how Duolingo puts the questions I guess.


very good and precise explanations. I like that. thank you, TJ


There is, as has been hinted at, no such thing as "light" humidity. In translation it is "low". Such errors do not instill confidence

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