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iDaafa, a kind of Genitive construction?

I read the explanation here in the tips, but don't understand it clearly. The first term, that is the thing possesed, has never an article and the ة in female words always has to be pronounced as -at. So long so good. But what happens with the second term, the possesor? Should the second term not be in Genitive case? And if yes, how the Genitive case is formed? Are there special endings as in many other languages? In the tips I cannot find anything about that. In the given examples there are no special endings. How can I recognize a iDaafa constuction in a sentence?

September 27, 2019


  • 1376

Yes, iDaafa is the Genitive. I'll give a simple example to elaborate:
The cat of the engineer
قطةُ المُهَنْدِسِ (qiTTatu-l-muhandisi)

I prefer here to use the of relation instead of using -'s because the order of the words in English would be similar to Arabic. In English, the cat comes first and so does in Arabic قطة - however notice that the first term does not get AL in Arabic. It is the SECOND term (the possessor) that gets "AL".

As for the ending, a simple noun like المهندس gets Kasrah (-i). There would be other signs to mark the end of the word in genitive in cases of duals and plurals. But never mind those right now.
Suppose we say a cat of an engineer; meaning, there is nothing defined in the compound relation here. Then, we simply remove AL from the Arabic sentence: قطةُ مُهَنْدِسٍ (qiTTatu muhandisin). Of course, since muhandis is not defined because of AL removal, then the Kasrah must be Tanwin Kasrah (-in).

Notice that the final vowel on the first time (possessed) which is قطة in our example here is actually dependent on the position of this word in the sentence in the first place. Suppose this word comes in accusative position, then it would get fatHa to its end (bcomes -ta), or could be preceded by a preposition, then should have Kasrah as well (the ending becomes -ti). Example:
- I see the cat of the engineer: أرى قطةَ المهندسِ (ará qiTTata-l-muhandisi). accusative.
- I see a bell on the cat of the engineer: أرى جرساً على قطةِ المهندسِ (ará jarasan 3alá qiTTati-l-muhandisi). prepositional

As you can see, the possessor or second term, is the one to get AL, and it always gets (-i) to its end (for simple nouns), while the first term (possessed) can change according to its grammatical stance in the sentence.

Hope this clarifies things


Thank you very much for all your help. I will copy your answer to my notes. Here in Duolingo in all examples the words in genitive case are written without the kasrah! Example: قِطّة اَلْوَلَد

Another question: Are this endings pronounced in the spoken language or not?

  • 1376

In the spoken (dialect) no... people don't care much about the grammar and often end words without a vowel moving the last consonant when applicable.
I didn't go through Duolingo-Arabic exercises, but I wouldn't surprised if they made such mistakes. However, notice that if the word comes at the end of the sentence, or before a pause, it is OK to drop the last vowel. Check out my latest post here on this forum as I explain the proverb: الساكت عن الحق شيطان أخرس - this dropping of vowels is explained a bit there too with audio

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