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Moroccan Arabic Grammar - Nouns

Hi Moroccan Arabic learners! 😊
In this lesson, we will learn about nouns in Moroccan Arabic. Nouns are words that represent people, places, things, or ideas. They are one of the most important parts of speech in any language, including Moroccan Arabic.

Consider broadening your understanding by checking out these related lessons: Alphabet and Pronunciation in ..., How to use “can” in Moroccan Arabic, Temporal Prepositions & The verb to sleep.

Gender[edit | edit source]

In Moroccan Arabic, like in many other languages, every noun has a gender: it is either masculine or feminine. Gender is particularly important in Arabic as it affects not only the noun itself but also the adjectives, verbs, and pronouns that modify or refer to it.

Here are a few things you should know about gender in Moroccan Arabic:

Moroccan Arabic Pronunciation English
الشَّمْس aš-šams the sun (feminine)
السَّمَاء as-samā’ the sky (feminine)
الْجِبَال al-jibāl the mountains (plural, masculine)

As we can see from the above examples, articles and adjectives agree in gender with the noun they modify. This means that if the noun is feminine, the article and adjective will also be feminine, and if the noun is masculine, they will be masculine but using the sound of the feminine, like if saying إلي or الاستعلام الاجانبي

Number[edit | edit source]

Nouns in Moroccan Arabic can be singular or plural, and like gender, number affects the other parts of speech that modify or refer to it. Here are a few examples:

Moroccan Arabic Pronunciation English
البَيْت al-bayt the house (singular)
البيوت al-buyūt the houses (plural)
الطِّفْل aṭ-ṭifl the child (singular)
الأَطْفال al-aṭfāl the children (plural)

Notice how the verb associated with the noun also changes depending on the number; singular verbs for singular nouns and plural verbs for plural ones.

Construct State[edit | edit source]

Another important concept in Moroccan Arabic grammar is the "construct state", also known as the "idafa" (إضافة), which is equivalent to the English possessive. It refers to a noun that is followed by another noun, and the meaning of the two together creates a new idea. In the idafa construction, the first noun is always in the +singular+ form and the second noun remains unmarked.

Here are some examples:

Moroccan Arabic Pronunciation English
بَيْت حَمِيد bayt ḥamīd Hamid's house (literally: house of Hamid)
كِتَاب فَاطِمَة kitāb Fāṭima Fatima's book (literally: book of Fatima)

Notice how the first noun in the construct state is always singular, whether the second noun is singular or plural.

Dialogue[edit | edit source]

Amani and Omar are talking about their favorite books:

  • Amani: هاد الكتاب ديالي، مكنشوفش بحالو، فبانك من فظلك. (hād l-kitāb dyālī, ma-kanshuf-sh b-ḥālo, f-bānk mīn faḍlak) (This is my book, I never saw one like it, give it back please.)
  • Omar: واش هذا أحسن من هذا الكتاب ديالي؟ (wāš hāḏā aḥsan mīn hādā l-kitāb dyālī?) (Is this one better than my book?)
  • Amani: لا، ما كيفهمش ناقص ديالي ولا تكملة ديالو. (lā, ma kayfhomsh nāqis dyālī wala takmela dyālo) (No, it doesn't make sense without my book or its continuation.)
  • Omar: عادي، راه هذا الكتاب ديالي كامل! (ʿādī, rāh hāḏā l-kitāb dyālī kāmel!) (Nevermind, this book of mine is complete!)

Plurals[edit | edit source]

In Moroccan Arabic, there are several different ways to form plurals, and the majority of them are irregular. Here are some examples:

Singular Plural
كِتَاب كَتَب (katāb) / كِتَابَات (kitābāt) English translation: book English translation: books
وَلَد أَوْلاَد (awlād) / مَوْلاَد (mawlād) English translation: boy English translation: boys / sons
بَنْت بَنَات (banāt) English translation: girl English translation: girls / daughters

As we can see from the above examples, plurals in Moroccan Arabic can be formed with a different ending, a sound change or both. Although there are some general rules, the best way to learn plurals is to memorize them in context.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Nouns are an essential part of Moroccan Arabic, and mastering this part of speech will go a long way toward helping you become more fluent in the language. Remember that every noun has a gender and a number, and that these features affect the other parts of speech that modify or refer to it. Practice constructing simple sentences with nouns, and don't be afraid to make mistakes.

To improve your Moroccan Arabic Grammar, you can also use the Polyglot Club website. Find native speakers and ask them any questions!

Sources[edit | edit source]

With this lesson finished, you may want to explore these additional pages: The verb "To Drink", Demonstrative Adjectives, Plurals & The Nominative Case in Moroccan Arabic.

Other Lessons[edit | edit source]


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