You are on page 1of 217

farida Abu-Haidar

Christian Arabic
of Baghdad
Otto Harrassowitz · Wiesbaden
Semitica Viva · Band 7
Herausgegeben von Otto Jastrow
Farida Abu-Haidar
Christian Arabic
of Baghdad
1991
Otto Harrassowitz · Wiesbaden
Farida Abu-Haidar
Christian Arabic
of Baghdad
1991
Otto Harrassowitz · Wiesbaden
Die Deutsche Bibliothek - CIP-Einheitsaufnahme
Abii-Haidar, Farida:
Christian Arabic of Baghdad I Farida Abu Haidar.-
Wiesbaden : Harrassowitz 1991
Semitica viva ; Bd. 7)
ISBN    
NE:GT
© Ono Harrassowitz · Wiesbaden 1991
Das Werk einschlieBlich aller seiner Teile ist urheberrechtlich geschiitzt.
Jede Verwenung auBerhalb des Urheberrechtsgesetzes bedarf der Zustimmung des
Verlages. Das gilt insbesondere fiir Vervielfaltigungen jeder An, Ubersetzungen,
Mikroverfilmungen und fiir die Einspeicherung in elektronische Systeme.
Gedruckt auf saurefreiem Papier der Fa. Nordland Papier GmbH, Dorpen/Ems.
Reproduktion, Druck und buchbinderische Verarbeitung:
Huben & Co., Gottingen
Printed in Germany
ISSN 0931-2811
ISBN 3-447-03209-X
CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .................................................................... XI
INTRODUCTION ................................................................................... 1
1. PHONOLOGY .................................................................................... 7
1.1 Consonants .. . . . . .. . . . . . . ... . .. .. . . . . ... ... . .. ... ... . .. .. . .. . .. . ... .. . . . . ... ... . . . . . . 7
1.1.1 The treatment of t and other LA interdentals . . . . ... ... . .. . . . 7
1.1.2 The treatment of LA r ... ...... ... ......... ... ...... ......... ... ... ... ...... 9
1.1.3 The treatment of q ............................................................ 11
1.1.4 The velar stop g................................................................. 11
1.1.5 The glottal stop ? ............................................................... 12
1.1.6 The loan phonemes p and c ............................................. 13
1.1.7 Emphatics ............................................................................ 13
1.2 Vowels ................................................................................. 16
1.2.1 The short vowels ................................................................ 16
1.2.2 The long vowels .................................................................. 17
1.2.3 Diphthongs ................................................... ........................ 18
1.3 Syllabication ......................................................................... 21
1.3.1 Monosyllabic forms ............................................................. 21
1.3.2 Disyllabic forms ............ ........................ .............................. 21
1.3.3 Trisyllabic forms ................................................................. 23
1.3.4 Polysyllabic forms ......... .............................. ...... ... ............... 23
1.4 Vowel quantity and quality ................................................ 24
1.4.1 The vowel in disyllabic, trisyllabic and polysyllabic forms 24
1.4.2 il > i5. ················································································· 27
1.4.3 i > e ............................................................. ............ ......... 28
1.4.4 /mala ........................... :........................................................ 29
1.4.4 .1 Medial imiila .. ... . . . ... ... ... ... ... . .. ... ... . .. . .. ... . .. ... ... .. . .. . ... ... . . . ... ... 29
1.4.4. 2 Word-final imiila ........... ........................ .............................. 30
VI Contents
1.4.5 The treatment of the reflexes of LA -ti2 ....................... 31
1.4.6 The effect of gemination on vowel quantity . .. .. . ... ... . .. .. . 31
1.5
Elision and consonant clusters ......................................... 32
1.5.1
Consonant elision................................................... ............ 32
1.5.1.1
The elision of h- ................................................................ 32
1.5.1.2
The elision of a geminate consonant ............................... 33
1.5.2
Vowel elision ...................................................................... 33
1.5.3
Consonant clusters . ... ... ... ...... ... ...... ... ... ... . .. ... ... ... ... ...... ... ... 34
1.6
The voicing of s and $ ...................................................... 35
1.7 Assimilation . ... ... ... ... .. . ... ... ... .. . ... ... . .. .. . . .. ... . . . .. .... .. . . . . ... . .. . . . ... 36
1.7.1 Assimilation of g .... .. ....... ... ...... ...... ... ... . .. ... ... ... .. . ... ... . .. ... ... 36
1.7.2 Assimilation of 1 ........ ...... ......... ...... .. . ...... ... ... ... . .. . .. ... . .. . .. ... 36
1.8 Stress assignment ..................... ........................ ......... ... ...... 37
1.9 Intonation ............................................................................. 39
2. MORPHOLOGY ................................................................................ 42
2.1
2.1.1
2.1.1.1
2.1.1.2
2.1.1.3
2.1.1.4
2.1.2
2.1.2.1
2.2
2.2.1
2.2.2
The verb .............................................................................. 42
Triradical verbs ................................................................... 42
The perfective aspect .................... ........................ ......... ... 42
The imperfective aspect . .. . .. . .. . ... ... . .. ... . ..... ... . .. . .. ... .. . ... ... . .. 44
The imperative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 7
Derived stems ... . . . .. . . .. .. . . . . ... .. . .. . . .. ... . . . ... . ..... ... ... . .. ... .. . ... . .. . .. 4 7
Quadriradical verbs . ............... .................................... ......... 53
Derived stems .. . . .. ... . .. ... .. . ... ... ... . .. ... ... ... . ..... .. . ... . .. .. . ... ... . .. . . . 54
Participles . . .. ... ... . .. ... . .. .. . ... ...... ... . .. ... . .. ... . . . ... ... ... . .. .. . ... . . . . .. .. . 60
The active participle . ... ... ... . .. . .. . .. ... ... ... .. . . . . .. . ... . .. .. . ... . . . . .. ... 60
Th . . . l 62
e passtve partlctp e ....................................................... .
2.3 The noun .................................................. ...... ..................... 63
2.3.1 The substantive ................................................................... 63
2.3.2 The adjective ....................................................................... 6 7
2.3.2.1 The comparative ................................................................. 69
2.3.2.2 The superlative . .................................................................. 69
Contents
VII
2.3.3 Gender ................................................................................. 70
2.3.3.1 The feminine of adjectives of colour and defect ........... 72
2.3.3.2 The feminine marker -iiyi ................................................. 72
2.3.3.3 The feminine marker -ayyi ................................................ 72
2.3.4 Number ................................................................................ 73
2.3.4.1 The dual............................................................................... 73
2.3.4.2 The plural ............................................................................ 74
2.4 Numerals ... ... ... ... ... .. . .. . ... . .. . .. .. . .. . . .. ... .. . ... ... . .. . .. . . . ... . .. ... . . . ... ... 78
2.4.1 Cardinal numbers ....... ...... .................................... ...... ... ... ... 78
2.4.2 Ordinal numbers ........ ........................ .................. ...... ... ... ... 79
2.5 The pronoun . . . . . . ... ... ... ... . .. . . . ... .. . . . . .. . ... ... ... ... ... ... . .. ... . .. .. . ... ... 80
2.5.1 Subject pronouns ....... .......................................... ............ ... 80
2.5.2 Object pronouns ..... ... ........................ .................. ............... 80
2.5.2.1 Direct object pronouns ..................... .................. ............... 80
2.5.2.2 Indirect object pronouns .................. .................. ............ ... 80
2.5.3 Double object pronouns ..................................................... 81
2.5.4 Possessive pronouns ........................................................... 81
2.5.5 Demonstrative pronouns .................................................... 81
2.5.6 The relative pronoun .......................................................... 81
2.5.7 Interrogative pronouns ....................................................... 82
2.6 Adverbs ................................................................................ 82
2.7 Prepositions ......................................................................... 83
2.8 Conjunctions ............... ......................................................... 83
3. SYNTAX ........................................................................................... 84
3.1
3.1.1
3.1.2
3.1.3
3.1.3.1
3.1.3.2
3.1.4
3.1.4.1
3.1.4.2
3.1.4.3
The verb phrase .. ...... ...... .. .... ...... ...... ...... .. .... ...... ...... ......... 84
The perfective .. . ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .. . ... ... ... ... ... ...... .. . ... ... . .. ... ... ... 84
The imperfective ......................................... ........................ 86
Verbal particles ................................................................... 87
The particle preceding the perfective ............................. 87
Particles preceding the imperfective .... ...... .... .. ...... ...... ... 88
Auxiliary verbs .. ...... ............ ......... ............ ........................... 90
Auxiliary verbs with the perfective .... ... ...... .............. .... ... 90
Auxiliary verbs with the imperfective ...... ...... ...... .... .. .. . .. . 91
Other auxiliaries . . ... ... ......... ... .... .. . .. ... ... ... ... ... . .. .. . ... ... .. . ... ... 92
301.404
3.105
301.5.1
3.10502
3.106
3.106.1
301.602
302
302.1
30202
30203
30203.1
Contents
Double auxiliaries ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo 93
The imperative 00000 0 0 0 0 00 00 0 0 00 000 000000 000000000 000 000 000000 000 0 00 00000 0 ooo 0 00 000 94
The simple imperative 0 000 Oo 0 000 0 00 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000000 000 000 000 94
The compound imperative 0 000000 0 00 000000 ooo oooooo ooo 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 94
The participle 0000 000 0 00 000 000 oooooo 000 000 ooo ooo 000 000 000000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000000 95
The active participle oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo 95
The passive participle 00 000 ooo oooooo ooo 0 00 ooo ooo 000 000000 ooo ooo 00 oooooooo 00 000 97
The noun phrase 00000000000000 000000000000000000000000 ooooooooooooooooooooooooooo · 99
Concord oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo 000000 ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo 101
Adjectives as substantives ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo 103
Possession 000000 000000000000000 oooooo oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo 000000000 000 103
Cardinal Numbers ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo 108
303 The closed-system items oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.oooooooo 110
30301 Articles oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo 110
303.1.1 The definite article ........................ 00 .................................. 110
303.102 The determination marker fagad 00 ............................ 00 ...... 111
30302 Pronouns ooooooooooooooooooooooooo .... o .. oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo 112
30302.1 Subject pronouns OOoooo ................ oo .. ooooo ................................ o 112
3030202 Direct object pronouns ................ ooooo ........................ 0oo ...... 113
3030203 Indirect and double object pronouns ........ 00000000 ........ 0000000 114
3030204 The anticipatory pronominal suffix OooooooOOoooooooooooooooooooooooooo 116
30303 Prepositions oooooooooooooooOOOOooOOOooooOOOoooooOooOooOooo ........ oo ............ OOooO 117
30304 Conjunctions ........ OO .. OOooooooOOOOOOooOOooooooOO .................. o .. oooo ........ o 117
30305 Interjections .. o .. oooooooooOOOOOOOOOOooOOOOOOOOOOOOOooOOOOOOOOOOOooOOOOOOoooooooooooo 119
30306 Vocatives .... o .. oooooooooooooooooooooo .............. oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo .... 120
304 The sentence oooooooo .......... o .. o .......................... oo .... o .. oooo ........ o 121
3°4.1 The declarative sentence .... 00 .... 00 ................ 00 .................... 121
3°401.1 The simple declarative sentence ...... oo .. oooooooo .......... 00 ........ 122
3°4°1.1.1 The nominal sentence ........ 000000 0000 .... 0000 .... o .............. 00 .... 00 .. o 122
3°4°1.1.2 The verbal sentence oooo .......... o ...... oo ................ oo .... oo .... ooooooo 123
3°4°1.2 The complex declarative sentence ...................... 00 .......... 0 125
3°4°1.3 The compound declarative sentence o .......... oo .. oooooo .......... o 127
3°4°2 The negative sentence ............ oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo .......... o 128
3°4°2.1 The simple negative sentence oooooooooooooooooo ........ oo ............ 00 128
3°4°2°2 The complex negative sentence 00oooooooo .......... ooooooooooooooooooo 130
3°4°2°3 The compound   sentence .. 00 .... 00 .......... 00 .... 00 ........ 130
3°4°3 The interrogative sentence ooo .............. oooo .............. oo .... oo .... o 131
3°4°3.1 Interrogative sentences initiated by interrogative particles 131
Contents IX
3.4.3.1.1 Exclamatory and rhetorical questions .............................. 133
3.4.3.2 Declarative questions ......................................................... 134
3.4.3.3 Tag-appended questions .................................................... 135
3.4.3.4 Negative interrogative sentences ...................................... 136
3.4.4 Adverbs and adverbial clauses .......................................... 137
3.4.4.1 Adverbs as modifiers ......................................................... 138
3.4.4.2 Adverbs as clause constituents ........................................ 138
3.4.5 Cleft sentences ................................................................... 141
4. CB: A BRIEF SOCIOLINGUISTIC SURVEY ............................... 143
4.1 Triglossia vs. diglossia ....................................................... 143
4.2 Variation within CB ............................................................ 146
4.3 Levelling or non-levelling .................................................. 149
5. TEXTS WITH TRANSLATIONS AND NOTES ............................. 151
6. GLOSSARY ....................................................................................... 184
BIBLIOGRAPHY ............................................................................... 201
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
During the preparation of this wo.rk I had the good fortune of re-
establishing contact with a number of Iraqi childhood friends. I am
extremely grateful to all of them for sharing their intimate knowledge
of their dialect with me. My thanks are especially due to Dr Ghanim
Akrawi, Mr Sabah Ayyub, Dr Malak Ghannam, Mrs Salam Khayyat
and my mother, Dr Guzine Rasheed, for their invaluable help. Mrs
Leila Corti, nee Ghannam, deserves special thanks. She took a keen
interest in my work, and with an objective eye went over most of
the examples and texts, making a number of useful suggestions. I
am also indebted to Sister Rose de la Passion, formerly of the
Presentation Convent, Baghdad, for the help she gave me. Sister
Rose sadly died in Apri11990. Professor Nicola Ziadeh of the American
University of Beirut showed an interest in my work during its early
stages. He very kindly put me in touch with Father J-M Fiey to
whom I should like to express my warmest thanks. During one of
the worst periods in Lebanon's recent history, Father Fiey took the
trouble to write to me and to give me a great deal of information
from his vast knowledge of Iraq and its Christian inhabitants.
At a time when I was getting ready to transfer the final draft of
my work onto a computer, I was pleasantly surprised when Professor
Otto Jastrow let me know that the final formatting of the text would
be done at the Seminar flir Sprachen und Kulturen des Vorderen
Orients of the University of Heidelberg. It was Miss Beate Ridzewski
who undertook the cumbersome task of doing the computer typesetting.
I am immensely indebted to her and to the Seminar for this much
appreciated help. My debt to Professor Jastrow is beyond measure.
It was he who first suggested that I explore the rich and practically
untapped field of Christian Baghdadi Arabic, Since I started work on
this book Professor Jastrow has been, at one and the same time,
editor, mentor and friend. His scholarship, deep insight into the
languages and dialects of Iraq, and his many valuable publications
will remain a constant source of inspiration for me and for all those
working in this particular field.
INTRODUCTION
There are more than 1,000,000 Christians in Iraq,
1
many of whom
hail from the north of the country, an area which still has villages
made up entirely of Christian inhabitants. A number of Christians
live in central Iraq, mostly in Baghdad which has the largest
concentration of Christian churches anywhere in the country. Shortly
before the Gulf War, it was estimated that there were no less than
a hundred churches in Baghdad.
2
In southern Iraq, Christians are to
be found in the province of Basrah. Basran Christians trace their
presence in the country to the Caliphate of cumar (c. 634-644)
when non-Muslims were driven out of Arabia and sought refuge in
Iraq and other neighbouring countries.
3
Northern and central Iraqi
Christians are either Arabic or neo-Aramaic speaking,
4
while those
of the south are predominantly Arabic-speaking. There are also in
Baghdad and Basrah Armenian-speaking communities, descended
from Armenians who fled from Turkey and the Caucasus and settled
in urban centres in Iraq in the early decades of this century.
The largest Christian sect in Iraq is the Chaldean with 750,000
adherents.
5
Next in numerical importance is the Assyrian or Nestorian
sect. Before the fifth century A.D. the Christians of Iraq were
independent of the Byzantine Church. They had their own episcopal
see, and were all Aramaic-speaking. In the fifth century they adopted
the doctrine of Nestorius (c. 380-451), patriarch of Constantinople
from 428 until 431, when he was deposed as a heretic by the Council
In the official census of 1987 the number of Christians in Iraq was
given as 1 ,200,000. See also The Times of 26 December 1990, and Le
A1onde of 25 January 1991.
2 See The Times, 26 December 1990.
3 Personal communication. Many Basran Christians I spoke to claim to be
of Arabian descent.
4 There are several mutually intelligible neo-Aramaic dialects in Iraq.
For ease of reference I have called the spoken language neo-Aramaic
and the liturgical language Syriac.
5 See Le A1onde, 25 January 1991.
2
Introduction
of Ephesus for teaching that there were two distinct natures in
Christ, the human and the divine. The Nestorian Church flourished
in Iraq until the sixteenth century when a rift among its adherents
occurred in 1552. A number of Nestorians broke away to unite with
Rome, thus forming what has come to be known as the Chaldean
Church. Those who did not unite with Rome are known to this day
as Nestorians. Although in communion with Rome, the Chaldean
Church has preserved its own Syriac liturgy.
An indigenous Christian group, the Jacobites, numbering between
10,000 and 15,000 live in northern Iraqi villages, as well as in urban
centres like Mosul, Baghdad and Basrah (Marr 1985: 11). The Jacobite
Church, whose name derives form Jacob, Bishop of Edessa (d. 578),
was founded in the sixth century A.D., and adheres to the Monophysite
creed, holding the belief that there is only one nature, the divine, in
the person of Christ. This doctrine was condemned by the Council
of Chalcedon in 451, and is regarded as heretical by both the Roman
Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches. In recent years, however,
a number of Jacobites have been received into one of the Uniate
Churches. Like the Chaldean and Nestorian Churches, the liturgical
language of the Jacobite Church is Syriac, although the majority of
its adherents are Arabic-speaking. The Syrian Catholics, who are
larger in number than the Jacobites (Harris 1985: 63), are Uniates
who broke away from the Jacobite Church between the fifteenth
and seventeenth century.
Most of the Armenians of Iraq are Orthodox Christians, although
there are some Armenians who are in communion with Rome. Other
Christian sects in Iraq are the Greek Orthodox, the Greek Catholic
and the Latin Catholic.
6
There are also small numbers of Protestant
denominations, among them Seventh Day Adventists. These Protestants
are, in all likelihood, fairly recent converts from Eastern Christian
sects, the result of American and British missionary work in the
Middle East.
The Arabic-speaking Christians of Baghdad appear to be a well-
established community. Their dialect is a sedentary variety of Arabic
which evolved "from the Arabic vernacular of medieval Iraq", unlike
6 The Eastern branch of the Roman Catholic Church is known as Latin
Catholic (kati5lfk liitfn) in Iraq and the Levant.
Introduction 3
the Muslim dialect of Baghdad which is more recent, and of Bedouin
provenance, (Jastrow, 1978: 318). It is difficult to determine with any
precision when Christians settled in the capital. The fact that maps
of Baghdad, dating from the seventeenth century,
7
refer to a distinct
Christian area on the East bank of the Tigris as the Christian
quarter, is sufficient proof that there must have been a substantial
number of Christians living in Baghdad at that time. Even in the
present century when the capital grew and people began to intermix
communally, some districts remained predominantly Christian. These
were usually built around the various churches in the city. It might
be relevant to add here that up until the mid-1960s there used to
be a street, with old dilapidated houses, in the Battawiyyin quarter,
known popularly as 1Agd   "the Christians' Street". This
street must at one time have been made up entirely of Christian
inhabitants. When the whole area came to be redeveloped the street
had no more than two or three Christian families living in it.
8
Previous studies
Before Haim Blanc's monograph, Communal dialects in Baghdad,
appeared in 1964 and drew attention to the existence of three
distinct communal dialects, namely Muslim, Christian and Jewish,
studies of Christian Baghdadi Arabic ( CB) were limited to two articles
published at the beginning of this century. The first, by the Reverend
Gabriel Oussani, written in English, appeared in the Journal of the
American Oriental Society in 1901. It was entitled 'The Arabic dialect
of Baghdad". The second, by Yusif Ghanima, written in Arabic and
entitled "Al-Amthal al-1ammiyya fi 1-bilad al-1/raqiyya", was published
in Al-Mashriq in 1906. In the latter article Ghanima lists a number
7 In Longrigg (1925) there is a seventeenth century map of Baghdad
showing both a Jewish and a Christian quarter. In Massignon (1914) there
is an undated map of Baghdad where the Jewish quarter is referred to
as ljarat al- Yahiid and the Christian quarter simply as
8 Personal communication. Ibrahim Mirkhan, a Christian newsagent, who
had a shop for many years in the Battawiyyrn quarter of Baghdad, said
that when the residents of rAgd.   vacated their homes before
they were demolished, it was found that there were no more than "two
or three" Christian families living in a street which was at one time
made up almost entirely of Christians.
4 Introduction
of popular Iraqi proverbs, among them some in CB. In the footnotes,
the author points out certain CB, as well as Muslim (MB) and
Jewish Baghdadi Arabic (JB) features, thus providing an element of
comparative dialectology.
Oussani's article, however, is by far the more important of the two,
being closer in scope and format to later dialectological analyses. It
is, in fact, a synchronic study of CB, divided into three main parts
under the headings "phonological notes", "morphological notes", and
"lexicographical notes". A short selection of Baghdadi proper names
and their caritative forms adds a sociolinguistic dimension to the
work. The article ends in a specimen CB text in vocalized Arabic
script, followed by a transliteration in Latin script, and a translation
in English. Although Oussani concentrates on CB, he occasionally
refers to both MB and JB. In spite of his sketchy treatment of the
dialect, Oussani's work is of particular diachronic interest to students
of CB, primarily because some of the forms he gives are no longer
current in the dialect of today.
An article by Louis Massignon, entitled "Notes sur le dialecte
arabe de Bagdad", and published in the Bulletin de l'lnstitut franqais
d'archeologie orientale du Caire in 1914, should be mentioned here,
since Massignon enumerates a few CB forms. The author provides
a lot of information on the spoken Arabic of Baghdad, including
proverbs, cries of street vendors and S'ild-accompanied songs and
their modes. Massignon states that there are seven different dialects
in Baghdad, two Sunni Muslim, one Christian, one Jewish and one
Bedouin. He does not mention the remaining two. Massignon's
knowledge of dialectal Arabic, however, appears to be highly
questionable. For example, he lists a few CB words as Sunni Muslim,
and seems to be totally unaware of the salient features of CB,
notably the non-occurence of the interdentals t. d. and d. and the
replacement of r by g. .
One of the best works on CB up to date is Blanc's Communal
dialects in Baghdad. The interesting theme of the book is the division
of the Muslim, on the one hand, and the Jewish and Christian dialects,
on the other, into two groups which Blanc called galat and qaltu
respectively, coined from the first person singular of the perfect of
the verb "to say". This categorization has been adopted by subsequent
scholars. Communal dialects in Baghdad, although brief on syntactical
datp, has become an important landmark in Arabic dialectology in
Introduction 5
general, and a valuable document on the hitherto little known CB
dialect in particular. Blanc points out similarities between CB and
other qaltu dialects, notably a dialect in the Urfa province. It was
not until 1978, however, when Otto Jastrow's comprehensive work
on qaltu dialects, Die Mesopotamisch-arabischen qaltu-Dialekte,
appeared that one could get a full picture of the Mesopotamian
dialect geography, including CB and its place in the wider context of
the qaltu dialect continuum. Jastrow divides qaltu dialects into three
main groups, the Anatolian, the Euphrates and the Tigris, and sets
CB and JB in the Tigris group, along with the Arabic dialects of
Mosul and Tikrit.
The present study
Most of the data for the present study were collected between
February and December 1987, after Professor Otto Jastrow invited
me to contribute a monograph on CB for the Semitica Viva series.
CB is a dialect I spoke throughout my early years in Iraq, and
which I still speak whenever I am in the company of Christian
Baghdadis. As I was unable to be in situ, I asked two CB friends in
Baghdad to make recordings for me of the speech of fellow Christians.
This they did, using nine informants, five men and four women. I
myself made recordings of the speech of eleven CB speakers residing
in England, four men and seven women, and one woman living in
Italy. The informants in Baghdad are all native Baghdadis, with parents
and grandparents who were all born in Baghdad. Nine of the CB
speakers I recorded are at least third generation Baghdadi, while
two were born in Basrah but moved to Baghdad at the ages of nine
and thirteen respectively.
This study is primarily a synchronic one, most of the material being
divided into three main sections, on phonology, morphology and
syntax, a procedure now common in a number of dialect studies. I
have also included twenty texts transcribed from recordings of
spontaneous speech in order to give some idea of the sentence
structure of this dialect. As far as I know, the only CB texts available
in print are the one in Oussani's article, and five others which
appeared in my article, "Maintenance and shift in the Christian
Arabic of Baghdad", published in Zeitschrift fiir arabische Linguistik,
21, 1990.
6 Introduction
CB speakers are generally bidialectal, speaking CB with fellow Iraqi
Christians only, and MB with those from other communities.
9
Many
educated CB speakers can be called triglossic, seeing that they use
three different varieties of Arabic, CB, MB and literary Arabic (LA),
for three different communicational purposes. Because it is primarily
an in-group code, used within the confines of a specific domain, CB
remained for a long time relatively free of LA interference. In recent
years, however, with the growing need to use forms referring to
novel items, or expressing abstract concepts, CB has had to borrow
from LA to fill many lexical gaps. A number of these loans have
been simultaneously diffused into both CB and MB in their un-
assimilated LA forms. In light of this, I have supplied a short final
chapter dealing with the dialect from a sociolinguistic perspective.
9 According to Blanc (1964: 9), JB and CB "are spoken respectively by
Jews and Christians largely at home with coreligionists, while M, the
dominant dialect, is used in public in intercommunal situations by the
many Jews and Christians who have a command of it." Ferguson (1959:
325) says that Christian Baghdadis speak "a 'Christian Arabic' dialect
when talking among themselves ... and the general Baghdad dialect
'Muslim Arabic' when talking in a mixed group."
PHONOLOGY
1.1 Consonants
The following table is an inventory of CB consonants, including those
which occur in loanwords only:
Plosive Fricative Affricative Liquid Nasal
Labial
p b w m
Labiodental
f
Dental t d s
z
Interdental
!
Emphatic
t 4 $
Alveolar
., ., .,
s c g r n
Palatal y
Velar k g X
g
Uvular q
Pharyngal
J:z
S'
Glottal ? h
1.1.1 The treatment of t and other LA interdentals
In CB, unlike MB or JB, the LA interdentals t, g and g are replaced
by their corresponding dentals t, d and 4 respectiveiy. Dentals for
interdentals appears to be a CB characteristic, since JB and most
qaltu-dialects retain the interdentals. The only other instance where
this feature has been noted is in Diyarbakir (Jastrow, 1978:34-38).
LA
t CB MB
uiyyal tayyal
"lawn"
tamara
1
tamara
"fruit"
tdlat talat
"third"
1 As in the ave maria, tamarat batniki yassor, "the fruit of thy womb Jesus"·
8 Phonology
CB JB
kttg
kt{g "a lot"
taq{[ tq{[ "heavy"
talat talt
"a third"
LAg CB MB
dabb dabb
"to throw"
dahab
gahab
..
gold"
hada
hag a "this"
CB JB
del
g{l
"tail"
add a
agga "to hurt"
ida
{ga "if'
LA d
CB MB
rf.ahag duhur
..
noon"
harf.am
hadam
"to digest"
{agar/. fir ad
"to compel"
CB JB
rf.agab
dd.gab
"to hit"
/:16.44-ag l:zciddag
"to prepare"

 
gz.,.
"broad"
In CB t tends to occur in some proper names and LA loanwords
which have not been fully assimilated to the sound system of CB.
Blanc (1964:19) found that "a good many of the younger generation"
were introducing interdentals into their speech "as a result of school
and majority influence." Among my informants the realization of t is
fairly widespread, as in the following loanwords and proper names:
taJO.ttur
tawra
a tat
tayatar
"influence"
"revolution"
"furniture"
"theatre"
tarapi "therapy"
butayna "Buthayna" (f. proper name)
tamar "Thamir" (m. proper name)
Consonants 9
The occurence of g appears to be less widespread. In my data two
informants realized the following two LA loanwords with g:
mugfl
mugakkirdt
"broadcaster"
"memoirs"
Some CB speakers tend to realize d. in certain forms in order to
distinguish them from corresponding forms with d which convey
different meanings, as, for example,
galt!
"servile" dalll "(telephone) directory"
gahan
"mind" dahan
"fat" (n.)
gdgga "to nourish" gddda "to give lunch to s.o."
agan
"permission" a dan "ear"
The interdental 4 is hardly ever used by CB speakers who tend to
realize 4 even in LA loanwords like the following:
rj.ag{f "charming, witty" murj.ahagat "demonstration"
S:arj.{m "great" nar,lam    
mundrj.r,lama "organization" (m. proper name)
1.1.2 The treatment of LA r
A feature which distinguishes CB and JB from MB is the realization
of LA r as g. Most MB forms with r have g in the corresponding
CB forms.
CB MB
gado radaw "they wanted"
gassal) rdssal) "to elect"
gahbi rahba
..
nun"
fges fras "bed"
be gad barad "cold" (adj.m.s.)
!;dggaf !;drraf "to change (money)"
/:ldgg l)drr "heat"
l)am{g l)am{r . "donkeys"
tabaS!g
2
tabas{r "chalk"
2 This form occurs also as with emphatic f.
10 Phonology
However, in the close contiguity of g, reflex of LA g, and a back
vowel, r is sometimes realized by CB speakers.
garib
gara4
grab
3
"strange" ragwi
"purpose, object" rogan
"crow"
"foam, lather"
"patent leather"
Where g and r are separated by a front vowel or [a], as opposed
to [a], LA r is realized as g.
0 .. 0
"other"
<
LA gayr
geg
zgegi
"small"
<
LA
0 J
~   g z r  
gagbll
"sieve"
<
LA girbal
gayyag "to change"
<
LA gayyara
There is a tendency among a number of CB speakers to realize LA
r as r, especially in borrowings from LA, (cf. Blanc, 1964: 21).
tamara "fruit" tara22us "management"
tawra
"revolution"
r   ~ l d
,
capital, fund"
bun1d "coldness" rat ana "gibberish"
musta8ar "adviser" rak{n "sedate, imperturbable"
rat!b "monotonous"
In forms corresponding to LA -qr- and -xr-, r is often assimilated
to q and x respectively.
q
1aqqoqa "frog" MB 1agrugga
1aqqabi "scorpion
..
LA 1aqraba
X
axxas "dumb" LA axras
1-Hxxi "the other" LA al-uxra
3 In· the speech of some idiolects r is assimilated to g giving ggab.
Consonants 11
t.1.3 The treatment of q
q is a hallmark of _CB and ~   a number of qaltu-dialects. q frequently
corresponds to g m galat-d1alects.
CB
MB
qcilab
gcilub "heart"
qabbi
gt1bba "room"
gciqabi
rr.igba "neck"
gciqa[f
raga[f "to dance"
gaqfa
rr.igfa "a patch"
scilaq
salag "to boil"
lci(ll:zaq lci/:z/:zag
"to reach"
bcigqaf bcirgaf "to cover"
1.1.4 The velar stop g
g is rare in CB occuring mostly in non-Arabic loanwords and proper
names. It is ordinarily found in initial position, followed by another
consonant, forming a two-consonant cluster (CC). g sometimes
occurs in medial position, but hardly ever in final position.
ggam
ggilp
glob
glti[j
gges
gladas
sagogra
sa gaga
"gram"
"group"
"light bulb"
"glass, beaker"
"Grace" (f. proper name)
"Gladys" (f. proper name)
"insurance"
"cigarette"
g < k is realized in the contiguity of b or d in some Arabic words.
Jastrow (1973:15 and 1978: 47) has noted this feature in the dialect
of Mardin. He cites g <k in k-b-r and k-d-b forms, as, for example,
gabar, yagbar, gbtr and gadab, gaddab. In CB gb{g for kbtg is fairly
widespread. In k-d-b forms, on the other hand, k seems to be
retained. However, several informants gave gaddad for kaddad "hard-
working".
Phonology
1.1.5 The glottal stop '1
'1 occurs in medial position in forms corresponding to LA forms
with medial hamza, and in final position in some Arabic feminine
proper names with the ending -02.
medial position
final position
s-'1-1 >
f-'1-1 >
f-'1-d >
w-'1-1 >
?-1-m >
?-d-b >
?-g-r >
sti?al
su?til
as?ala
matfti?a1
fu?ad
wti?a1
mat?allam
m?addab
t?aggag
sana?
gaga?
hayfti?
lamyti?
"to ask"
"question"
"questions"
"optimistic"
"Fu:)ad" (m. proper name)
"Wa:)il" (m. proper name)
"in pain, upset"
"polite, well-mannered"
"it is let (house, etc.)"
"Sana:)" (f. proper name)
"Raja:)" (f. proper name)
"Hayfa:)" (f. proper name)
"Lamya:)"(f. proper name)
In nominal forms corresponding to the LA feminine ending -ti.?, ? is
usually elided, and the final vowel -ti. is shortened to -a, unless the
form in question is an adjective of colour or defect when the long
vowel is retained.
4
LA CB
-{i
samrti.?
>
samgti. "dark-skinned"
saqrti.?
>
saqgti. "blonde"
/:lam raJ
>
/:lamgti.
"red"
CJamyii.?
>
CJamyti. "blind"
bawl a?
>
/:li5lti.
"cross-eyed"
S:argiiJ
>
1aggti. "lame"
4 See 1.4.5 below.
Consonants 13
-a
al-2adra?
>
l-2adga "the Virgin"
sam a?
>
sam a "sky"
. "dti?
gz_
>
gada "lunch"
$a/:lrti?
>
$a/:lga "desert"
1.1.6 The loan phonemes p and c
p and c occur frequently in non-Arabic loanwords. There are a
number of forms in which both phonemes occur. Older forms with
p and c are derived mostly from Persian and Turkish, while some
contemporary forms are loans from European languages.
p and c
p
c
paca "tripe"
pagcam "fringe (hair)"
pancag "puncture"
paket
pagda
p/Qw
plan
opaga
" , .
cagax
cangQl
cayyak
"packet"
"curtain"
"rice"
"plan
..
"opera"
"wheel"
"fork"
"to check"
1.1.7 Emphatics
pacata
cagpayi
qapag
pantagon
og6ppa
ld.ppa
qapput
came a
cola
$UC
"napkin"
"iron bed"
"lid"
"trousers"
"Europe"
..
moist rice
..
coat"
..
"ladle"
"hopscotch"
"fault"
Emphatic consonants (<;:) in CB can be divided into two main groups,
primary and secondary emphatics. The primary emphatics are t. 4
and $. corresponding to the non-emphatic consonants t, d and s
respectively. As in most Arabic dialects, t. 4 and $ tend to effect
backness in the syllables they occur in, so that [a] is invariably
realized as [a]. Thus compare:
t
tag
tayyag
"to fly away"
"pilot"
tag
tayyag
"vengeance"
"current, trend"
14 Phonology
tafi ·
. ag
"to jump"
tafal
"to spit"
xarag
"danger"
xatal "to hide"
/:latta
"he put it (f.s.)"
/:latta
"so that"
[fa qat
"to fail (examination)"
sakat "to be quiet"
r;l
r;fafu1n
"sole (shoe)" dabclng "blockhead"
r;lagab
"to hit" dagab "way, road"
r;lagafn1ni
"they hit me" dagbuni "alley"
nar;farrz
"to compose" nadam "to regret"
/:lar;fr;la
"her luck" /:ladda
"
near her"
garrzrrzar;f
"to close one's eyes" 5'ammad "to baptize"
$
[janam "statue" san am "hump (camel)"
[jafag
"to slap" satan "satin"
na[j{b "fate, destiny" nas{b "son-in-law"
rrzQfilub
"hanged" mas!Ub "snatched"
rrzcl[jfi
"to suck" mass "to touch"
qafa[j
"cage"
nafas
"breath"
qafifi
"to cut" qass "priest"
t. r;l and $, moreover, remain emphatic in all environments, even
when they precede or follow a front vowel.
teg
)a fag
[jam(t
r;lalam
nar;l{f
"bird"
"perfume"
"sesame bread rings"
"oppression"
"clean"
ber;l
[jed
na[j{b
naqa[j
"eggs"
"hunting, shooting"
"fate, destiny"
"lack, defect"
The secondary emphatics are the consonants b, 1, m, and n which
become emphatic ((J, /, rrz and ~   only when they are in the contiguity
of an emphatic and a back vowel.
b > 9
ta9fa(J
r;la(Jan
ffa99
"to pat s.o."
"sole (shoe)"
"to pour"
Consonants 15
l > l
40.!!
"to stay"
t!atta'ias "thirteen
..
a
"to pray"
m > rrz
4arrzrrz
"to hide (tr.)''
tarrzata
"tomato"

"to stay the course"
n > {1
{la{i{laf "to clean"
qatta{l "to become mouldy"

"quiet"
l, m and n in initial open syllable are rarely realized as emphatics,
even when they precede a back vowel adjacent to a primary emphatic.
This is in contrast to MB and other galat-dialects where !. rrz and {1
are nearly always realized as emphatics in the contiguity of a back
vowel and a primary emphatic or r. Thus compare:
CB MB
ltitam !ataf!!
"to strike oneself in
lamentation
..
lei {lam
!adarrz
"to thread"
ZO.ta'i Jata'i
"to lick"
matag rrzutar
"rain"
...

"destiny"
magi
rrzadi
..
past"
mag a rrzara
"woman"
na{lafa
{ladafa
"cleanliness
..
...
"Christians"
natog {llifUr
"guard, watchman
..
In CB b behaves differently from the other three consonants in that
it is frequently emphatic when preceding a back vowel adjacent to a
primary emphatic.

fJata!

paton
"to strike, to hit"
"hero, tough man"
"onion"
"stomach"
fJatata
fJadat
 
"potato"
"she laid (an egg)"
"buses"
1U Phonology
1.2 Vowels
1.2.1 The following are the short vowels in CB:
i
u
a
0
1.2.1.1 i ordinarily occurs in open final syllables and is realized
mid-way between [i] and [1]. It has a long equivalent i.
scini
gabti
scimaki
"year"
"you (f.s.) brought"
"fish"
'lciqqabi "scorpion"
bancifsagi "purple"
i occurs sometimes in open initial syllables like the following:
ida
iddga
"if' imdga
"office, management" isdga
"principality"
"sign, signal"
1.2.1.2 a is realized as [ 1] and occurs in closed and non-final open
syllables.
fcigad
"
one
..
¢;hag "noon"
gag! a "her foot" malatu "his"
tayyagatna "our aeroplane" a dan "ear"
banat "girl" a ban "son, boy
..
1.2.1.3 a is realized as [a] in the contiguity of non-emphatics and
non-gutturals.
ana "I"
sama "sky"
samsayyi "umbrella"
mcidgasi
nazciltu
bandtam
"school"
"I went down"
"their daughters"
In the contiguity of emphatics and gutturals a is realized as [a].
'laqqoqa
'lagab
mcf..tag
"frog"
"Arabs, bedouins"
" . "
ram
(Jcitgak
qarrzrrzat
taqtaqa
"patriarch"
"to swaddle (baby)"
"clacking noise"
Vowels 17
1 2
.1.4
0
is rare in CB. It occurs sometimes in final open syllables
·receded by /:t, S', q or g. o is also found in closed syllables followed
~   a geminate consonant. This vowel has a more frequently occurring
long equivalent, 6.
ga/:to
naqS'o
lciqo
"they went"
"they moistened"
"they found"
toppa
b6bbi
$6ppa
"ball"
"doggy (child talk)"
"stove"
1.2.1.5 u occurs in unstressed open final syllables and has a long
equivalent, a.
betu
gabnanu
/:talu
"his house"
"we brought him"
"nice, attractive" (m.)
1.2.2 The long vowels in CB are:
a
6.
S'andu
smaS'u
"he has"
"listen!" (p.)
1.2.2.1 i occurs in non-final open and final closed syllables.
silan "date syrup
..
tln
"figs"
gztu "you (c.p.) came" $aned{q "boxes"
mtik{na "machine" maweS'{n "plates, dishes"
hon{ki "there"
1.2.2.2 e is of frequent occurence in CB and has no short equivalent.
It occurs in open and closed syllables in all positions.
se "thing" gegi "hen"
beS'a "church, chapel" male /:La
"good" (f.s.)
nes "people" dageb{n "alleys"
/:twes "clothes" dab ben "flies"
18
Phonology
1.2.2.3 a occurs in most positions in stressed and unstressed, open
and closed syllables. It is realized as [a:] in the contiguity of empha-
tics and gutturals. In a non-emphatic, non-guttural context it is
realized as [a:].
gab
"he went" ta5'anu "he gave him"
tagma
5
"verandah" soda "black" (f.s.)
balk on
6
"balcony" xar;Jga
.. .. (f )
green .s.
-""""·
"spoon" tags a
"deaf' (f.s.)
qasoga
1.2.2.4 i5 is far more common in CB than in either MB or JB. It
occurs in both stressed and unstressed, open and closed syllables.
go!J " '" (m s)
go. . . honfki "there"
$10/J
"roofs" masloqa "boiled" (f.s.)
nqo5' "dried apricots" laqqonu "they found him"
mat bot;
"printed" (m.s.) ya!Jkon "they speak"
1.2.2.5 il occurs ordinarily in stressed, open and closed syllables.
mr1
..
not" dam bUs "pin"
sat
.. , .. ( )
see. m.s. qayqr11 "he says, he is saying"
sufu
.. , .. ( )
see. p. magnr1ni "mad" (f.s.)
slr1qi "greyhound"
1.2.3 Diphthongs
LA diphthongs aw and ay are ordinarily realized as i5 and e respectively.
aw
LA
ldw
fdwq
CB
> zo
> {Oq
"if'
"up, upstairs, on top of'
5 This is the name given to a brick or tiled porch-like platform by a
front or side door of a house, reached by a flight of steps from outside
the house. It is customary for most Baghdadi families to sit on a fligma
on summer evenings.
6 This is a verandah or a balcony accessible from inside a house. It is
usually on the first floor of a two-storey house.
mtiwga
> mogayi
xawf
> xof
ay
ayna
>wen
say{
> fief
bay {fa?
> be{la
ray /:tan
> ge/:tan
Vowels
"a wave"
"fear"
"where"
"summer"
"white" (f.s.)
"sweet basil"
(Ocimum basilicum)
19
LA diphthongs aw and ay occur sometimes in forms which have not
been fully assimilated to CB.
aw
ay
tawra
raw{ia
bu/:tdyra
butayna
l6.yla
saytan
"revolution"
"kindergarten"
"lake"
rawnaq
kawkab
"Buthayna" (f. proper name)
"Layla" (f. proper name)
"rascal, Satan"
"splendour, beauty"
"star", "Kawkab"
(f. proper name)
Diphthong ay occurs in compound forms where the negative particles
Ia and ma are followed by a 3rd pers. imperfective verb. In word
junction the long vowel of the particle is shortened.
Ia + ygo/:t >
Ia + ysufu >
ma + yxalaf >
ma + yqiilun >
lay gob
laysufu
mayxalaf
"let him not go"
"let him not see him"
"never mind {lit. "it does not go
against")"
mayqulun "they do not say"
The more common diphthongs in CB are of the aww, aww, ayy, ayy
variety, where the phoneme w or ·y is geminate.
aww
gawwa
qawwa
yzugawwa
talabawwa
"inside, downstairs"
"strength"
"they visit her"
"they asked for her"
aww
ayy
ayy
fdwwat "he let pass"   t ~   w w   g "I think, imagine"
tzawwagat "she got married" sawwafat "she showed"
hayyi "she"
xattayyi "poor thing!"
fayy
tayyab
"shade"
"tasty" (m.s.)
masi/:layyi "Christian" (f.s.)
/;Jattam)yyi "blanket"
nayyam "asleep" (m.s.)
CJagayyas "brides"
There are also a few forms in CB which end in -tiy and -6y. These
are mostly loanwords.
-tiy
-6y
cay
hay
"tea"
"this" (f.)
amay
~   g d y
oy an exclamation of annoyance
boy "waiter, manservant"
sabboy "stock" (Matthiola incana)
"enamel"
"palace"
Syllabication 21
1.3 Syllabication
Syllables in eB are of the ev, ev, eve, eve, eev, evee, eeve
patterns.
1.3.1 Monosyllabic forms
There are four types of monosyllabic forms. These are ev, eve,
cvee and eeve.
Cv
CvC
mu
Iii
b{g
nes
qiim
"not"
"no"
.., ..
se "thing"
"well" moz "bananas"
"people" tilm "garlic"
"to get up, to start doing s.t."
In eveC forms -ee is usually geminate.
kall
"every"
sarr
"river"
dabb "bear" (zoo.)
wtizz
"geese "
gass "cheating" /:ltigg "heat"
/:labb "earthenware vat gagg "to pull"
for keeping water cool"
There are no forms corresponding to the LA pattern eve
2
e
3
like
Mnt "girl"; /:ltirq "burning"; rob1 "quarter", etc. eB forms derived
from LA eve
2
e
3
have an anaptyctic vowel between e
2
and e
3
, and
are classified as disyllabic forms, as for example,
banat
eeve dgOS
fges
ktlg
"girl"; /:ltigaq "burning"; gaba) "quarter"
an old measure, approximately a yard
"bed" q!Ub "hearts"
"very, a lot" zbo1 "week"
1.3.2 Disyllabic forms
Disyllabic forms occur frequently in CB. The following are some
common patterns with examples:
vCv
CvCv
CvCv
CvCvC
CvCvC
CvCvC
CvCvC
CvCCv
CvCCvC
ana
sam a
sani
honi
baqa
qugi
"I"
"sky"
"year"
"here"
"bouquet"
"teapot"
"bread"
Rtonaiogy
xabaz
Ciatas
"to sneeze"
/:lama4
/:lagas
1aglb
"sour"
"guard"
"strange"
"shy"

7
"bell"
gzgan "neighbours"
/:lanta "wheat"
xalla "to leave' to let"
kalkam "all of you"
fastaq "pistachio"
CvCCvC cangal "fork"
maggan "coral"
naggag "carpenter"
CCvCv ngaga "carpentry"
tmeni "eight"
CCvCCv mxaddi "pillow"
nqalli "we fry"
CCvCCv mbeg/:la
8
"yesterday"
nxabgu "we telephone him"
ccvcvc fgesat "beds"
CCvCCvC msefg(n "travelling" (p.)
alu
nasa
gcigu
b(nu
qamu
gi11i
matag
nabaq
be gad
seba1
faq(g
"to him"
"to forget"
"puppy"
"in it (m.)"
"they got up"
"shepherd"
"rain"
(Zizyphus spina
Christi) (bot.)
"cold"
"seventh"
"beggar" (n.),
"poor" (adj.)
mal€/:1 "good"
taboq
bun
kalbi
ganni
maCimal
bag ban

zamb(l
Cia,San
tli1ti
fJtuli
bqaddi
m/:labbi
msefga

tlet!n
mtalbln
"bricks"
"soap"
"bitch"
"paradise"
"factory"
"variety of dates
with large fruit"
"box, trunk"
"wicker basket"
"thirsty"
"three"
"bottles"
"my age, my size"
"love, affection"
"travelling" (f.s.)
"we befriend him"
"thirty"
"demanding" (p.)
7 This refers to church and hand bells. An electric bell is called
(p.  
8 Oussani, op. cit., 111, gives mbe/:la. In my data some of the older
speakers used mbe/:la, but the majority tended to use mbeg/:la where g
< LA r of al-biiri/:la is retained.
Syllabication 23
J.3 Trisyllabic forms
~ e are also a large number of nominal and verbal trisyllabic
  o r ~ s of which _the following patterns, with examples, are the most
frequently occurmg:
CvCvCv scimaki
"fish" CJcigali "speed, haste"
"they succeeded"
"asses"
tcilabu
"they demanded" nciga/:lu
CvCvCv !:zagiimi
"thief, burglar" gal:ziisi
na!fiiga "Christians" ma/:liimi "lawyer"
cvcvcv /:llilubi
mii.k{na
CvCCvCv mcidgasi
scixtaci
CvCCvCv bazzuni
fagketa
CvCvCvC gawemiCJ
taniiwal
CvCvCvC basetfn
ma!fiig{n
CvCCvCvC qagnabq
kastabiin
CvCvCCvC CJagciyyaz
mahcindas
"hailstone"
"machine"
"school"
"cheat" (n.)
"cat"
"hair-grip"
"mosques"
"communion"
"gardens"
"intestines"
"cauliflower"
"thimble"
"old women"
"engineer"
qasoga
goCJani
mcitbaCJa
qandaga
maqtata
xastiiwi
"spoon"
"hungry" (f.s.)
"printing press"
"shoes"
"pencil sharpener"
"best variety of
dates"
madegis "schools"
maniit;fag "glasses"
tabli.s{g "chalk"
ta!fiiw{g "pictures"
CJankabut "spider"
maCJdanos "parsley"
CJagciyyas "brides"
ma!fciwwag "photographer"
1.3.4 Forms of more than three syllables are not very common in
CB. The majority are compound nominal and verbal forms.
!:zalilbayi
CJagabiinat
mil male/:la
kgafas al-b{g
1-magdalayyi
gahannamayyi
astagiikayyi
ma (iagabniiham
"a hailstone"
"horse-drawn carriages"
"not good" (f.s.)
"maidenhair fern"
(Adiantum capillus-veneris)
"Mary Magdalen"
"bougainvillea"
"socialism"
"we did not hit them"
24 Phonology
la
magtahdin yiiham
sawwafnayyiinu
1.4 Vowel quantity and quality
"do not imagine"
"they are hard-working"
"he showed it to me"
1.4.1 In disyllabic forms where both syllables are short, and the final
syllable is closed, the vowels are of the a, a; a, a or a, a variety.
a a
nazal
CJcitab
satatJ
a a
kabag
naCJas
l{Jbas
a a

sadag

"to go down, to descend"
"to blame, to reprove"
"to cross out"
"to grow"
"to be sleepy"
"to wear"
"pain (stomach)"
"turquoise"
"Egypt"
namas
qdl:zat
napa{!
)a gas
masat
sa /:lag
qcimal
/:Ieiba I

"freckles"
"dearth, scarcity"
"pulse"
"wedding"
"comb"
"magic"
"lice"
"rope"
"patience"
In CvCvC forms the vowel of the initial syllable is short before i
and e, but long before ii and 6 .
v i

/:lallb
/:lablb
v e
tageq
c;a:ge{f
male /:I
"cross"
"milk"
"beloved"
"way, road"
"broad"
"good"

xaf{b
mab{{f
 

qabe/:1
"fate, destiny"
"fiance"
"ovary"
"true, correct"
"short"
"ugly"
va
siliin
gig an
jtgan
ii 6
n a q   ~
ta96q
!fa! on
Vowel quantity and quality
"date syrup"
"neighbours"
"mice"
"bell"
"bricks"
"sitting-room,
drawing-room"
gtilan
gogab
rogan
fa {On
maS' on
natog
"hungry"
"sock, stocking"
"patent leather"
"aluminium"
"plate, dish"
"guard, watchman"
25
Where the vowel in -eve is a the vowel of the initial syllable is
usually a. There are, however, eveUC forms with an initial short
vowel, a. These are ordinarily adjectival forms corresponding to the
LA faS'al pattern. There are also a few eveae forms with an initial
short vowel, a. The majority of these forms are loans from LA.
a a
xatiin
kag;Jz
tawas
a a
xagi11
tami1/:l
qani1S'
qabi11
a a
hagum
daxUl
go rUb
"lady, madam"
"preacher"
"peacock"
"shy"
"ambitious"
"content, easy-going"
"an open day for
social visits among
women"
"attack, onslaught"
"entrance, entry"
"sunset"
yaqi1t
/:lalub
!fa pun
/:lasi1d
mahi11
kosi1f
xasi1f
/:lag;Jb
"ruby"
"hail"
"soap"
"envious"
"excellent, very
good"
"solar eclipse"
"lunar eclipse"
"wars"
In trisyllabic and quadrisyllabic forms, with sequences of three and
four short vowels respectively, the vowels of the first two syllables
are invariably a.
LO
aav
samaki
madgasi
katabna
aavv
"fish"
"school"
"we wrote"
fagayyazna "our old women"
faqagati "my vertebra"
madgasatu "his school"
Phonology
ldbasu
fagdyyas
tfdllamat
katabatu
katabatla
bahdalatu
"they wore"
"brides"
"she learnt"
"she wrote it"
"she wrote to . her"
"she reprimanded
him"
The short vowel of an initial syllable in trisyllabic and quadrisyllabic
forms is frequently a.
3 syllables
xa:taga
ma:tatag
gaweg{n
bayyiiWn
4 syllables
"loss, waste"
"rulers"
"neighbours"
"vendors"
CJagabana "horse-drawn carriage"
bastoqati "my earthenware jug"
{lagapunu "they beat him"
/:lamalnanu "we carried him"
malyani
/:lazzoga
makbubi
taCJanu
:tadiiqatam
maweCJ{nam
ma8iikalna
l)adiqatam
"full" (f.s.)
"riddle"
"spilt" (f.s.)
"he gave him"
"their friendship"
"their plates"
"our problems"
"their garden"
There are some forms of more than two syllables, however, in
which the short vowel of the initial syllable is a. a occurs mostly in
the initial syllable of CvCCvCv and CvCvCa type trisyllabic forms.
maqtata "pencil sharpener" saftlnu "you (f.s.) saw him"
xastawi "best quality dates" faqaga "poor"
sallayi "pen nib" sa gaga "cigarette"
gabtr1nu
"you brought it" tagaga "trade, commerce"
Vowel quantity and quality 27
t.4.2 a >
6
.
In the contiguity of the gutturals /:1, x, 2, g and q the long vowel is
ordinarily o where a might have been expected. Thus compare:
CB
go/:1
mat!Jox
nqoS'

bastoqa
CB
mafto/:1
fgox
zboS'

mas!Oq
MB
ru/:1
matpux
ngUS'

bas tUg a
LA
maftU/:1
furox
us buS'

mas!Uq
"go!"
"cooked" (m.s.)
"dried apricots"
"picture"
"large earthenware jug"
"open"
"chicks, young birds"
"week"
"small bird, sparrow"
"boiled" (m.s.)
a > o is a phonological feature which has been well documented
throughout. Noldecke (1898: 33)
9
found it in Syriac. Oussani (1901:
101) was the first to draw attention to it in CB, followed by Blanc
(1964: 41)
10
who recognized it as a feature "peculiar to" CB. Jastrow
(1978: 63) found it in Anatolian dialects, as well as in Bahzani and
the spoken Arabic of Mosul.
The following are more examples of ii > o in CB:
yassoS'
maSon
malS'on
"roofs"
"it (f.) emanates"
"Jesus"
"dish, plate"
"rascal"
X
 
yxot
niitog

/:lazzoga
"skinned"
"he stirs"
"watchman"
''blackboard"
"riddle"
9 "Nicht selten scheint iibrigens ein. ostsyrisches o erst aus a verfarbt
zu sein, namentlich in der Nahe eines Gutturals oder r."
10 Blanc gives examples of a > o before 1:1. q and g, without mentioning
for X.
q
tiiron
yiltafon
masqof
yalqon
malqof
niiqO$
nr;ioq
"plague"
"they lick"
"grilled fish"
"they find"
"grabbed, seized" (m.s.)
"bell"
"we taste"
This feature applies also to loan words:
CB MB
qiisoga
pantagon
qiisugal xtisuga
pantari1n
talgon
"to work in
gold or silver"
"you (p.)
chatter"
"spoon"
"trousers"
Where LA a is realized as a in pre-guttural position is in LA faCiUl
type forms which have been borrowed by CB. Thus, it is tamu/:1.
"ambitious"; $abul:z "radiant, bright (face)"; qanuCi "content", and not
tamo/:1., $abo/:l, qanoCi. These loans from LA, it should be stated, are
rare.
1.4.3 i > e
In forms ending in -CvC(v) the long vowel is e, in pre-guttural and
pre-emphatic environmentsY
Ciager;i
12
pattex
tageq
"wide" (m.s.)
"melon"
"road, way"
gel:za
malel:za
zgegi
"smell"
"good" (f.s.)
"small" (f.s.)
11 Jastrow (1978: 63) refers to both rJ. > o and i > e features as Senkung.
Examples of i > e in CB are given by both Oussani (1901: 101) and
Blanc (1964: 41), although the three examples cited by Blanc (viz.
mate/:1,   ge/:la) are of e before the guttural phoneme /:1 only.
12 Oussani Ooc. cit.) gives ragerf., while Blanc (1964: 81) gives ragtr/..
Vowel quantity and quality 29
1
_
4
.4 Imala
Both medial and   imala are common in CB, a feature it
shares with other qaltu-dmlects.
t.4.4.1 Medial imiila
Medial imiila (-e-) occurs in non-emphatic environments, in nominal
forms.
kleb
tmeni
gaweg{n
"dogs"
"eight"
"neighbours"
dab ben
l)awegib
masek{n
No imiila occurs in post-emphatic environments.
tgab
xatrag
matabax
"dust"
"guests"
"kitchens"
qmag
[U$6.t{n
ma:fatag
In CaCaCv type nominal forms no imala occurs.
yatami
gas ami
kasali
"orphans"
"ignorant" (p.)
"lazy"
/:lag ami
ga/:lasi
nQ$aga
"flies"
"eyebrows"
"poor, pitiable" (p.)
"gambling"
"dresses"
"rulers"
"thief'
"asses"
"Christians"
In nominal and verbal forms of the pattern CvCi(C), corresponding
to the LA active participle {fa2il), imala occurs in non-emphatic
environments. Thus compare:
gema2 "mosque"
talab
"student"
lebas "wearing" :fa bag "patient"
weqaf "standing" :fagaf "having spent"
nesi "having forgotten tala2
"having gone
out"
P h ~ ,  
1.4.4.2 Word-final imlila
Word fmal imiila (-i) occurs in feminine nominal forms where the
corresponding LA forms end in -a (tii2 marbufa). -i occurs in non-
emphatic, non-guttural environments.
scini
"year" tcigwi "wealth"
J:zalwi
"pretty" faw{/i "tall"
scimaki
"fish" bazzuni "cat"
mcidgasi
"school" gahbi "nun"
fJa!fiinayyi
''blanket" gahannamayyi ''bougainvillea"
sayaCJayyi "communism" ga2asmiilayyi "capitalism"
No imtila occurs, however, in post-guttural or post-emphatic positions.
befa "church, chapel"
fagfia
"
opportunity
xagfta
"map" recreation"
scigaga "tree" sayyaga "car"
naqta
"point, dot" bagc;a "insolent"
mcizbal:za
"rosary"
fJa!fexa
"a melon"
taboqa
"a brick" mas!Oqa ''boiled"
gaqCJa
"patch"
Word-final imiila, however, occurs after g (< LA r) where the
preceding stressed vowel is a front one.
"needle"
"small"
gb{gi
xab{gi
"large; big"
"expert;
experienced"
No imiila seems to occur in loanwords which end in -a, even where
-a follows a non-guttural, non-emphatic consonant, as, for example,
pcigda
f!Oda
mew a
"curtain"
"soda"
"fruit"
dondagma
fJiifltagma
"ice-cream"
"Armenian spicy
sausage"
Vowel quantity and quality 31
1.
4
.5 The treatment of the reflexes of LA -tiJ
As has already been in 1.1.5
rresponding to LA femmme forms endmg m -tiJ, ordmanly end m

short -a, unless they are adjectives of colour or defect, when
theY end in a long -a.
sama "sky"
gada "lunch, tomorrow"
gana "singing"
but
...
"dark"
samga
..
zagqa
"blue"
J:zoli1
"cross-eyed"
S'agga
"lame"
sa fa
S'asa

soda

S'amya
xagsa
"cure"
"evening meal"
"desert"
"black"
"yellow"
''blind"
"dumb"
On suffixation final -a in CvCa/ CvCCa forms becomes -a.
gada
S'asa
gana
 
> gadayi
> S'asakam
> ganaki
>
"my lunch"
"your (p.) evening meal"
"your (f.s.) singing"
"belonging to the desert"
1.4.6 The effect of gemination on vowel quantity
The long vowel + hamza in LA Ca::>aC/ CaCa::>aC forms becomes
-ay- in MB and -ayy- in CB.
Thus compare:
LA
na:?am
am
S'aga:?az
S'ariflas
MB
ni1yam

S'agayaz
S'arayas
CB
nayyam

S'agayyaz
S'agayyas
"1 "( )
as eep m.s.
"fasting" (m.s.)
"old women"
''brides"
However, in LA forms which have not been assimilated to CB the
long vowel and hamza are often retained, as, for example,
"revolutionary"
"prizes"
ti12ar
gawi12az
masi12al "problems; matters"
There are a few forms also in which -dy- occurs, as, for example,
sdyaq
sagdyag
"chauffeur"
"cigarettes"
qatdyaf "pastry in syrup"
In CB a geminate consonant frequently causes the shortening of the
vowel preceding it. Thus compare:
CB MB
bkdyyi l)cdya
hakki htci
tappa to(Ja
b6bbi bobi
~   p p a ~ o b a
yalqawwa yalgr1ha
ysiifawwam ysiifi1hum
1.5 Elision and consonant clusters
1.5.1 Consonant elision
1.5.1.1 The elision of h-
"story"
"thus"
"ball"
"doggy"
"stove"
"they find her"
"they see them"
lnitial h- of demonstrative pronouns is elided in word junction when
it follows 1- preceded by an anticipatory pronominal suffix.
sa[tr1nu ldda < saftr1nu 1-htida "I saw this (man)"
tzawwdga ldyi < tzwawwdga 1-hdyi "he married this (woman)"
qatgol) wayydham ladoli < qatgob wayydham al-hadoli "she is going
with these (people)"
tagadawwa lad(ki 1-banat < tagadawwa 1-had(ki 1-banat "they expelled
that girl"
samaS'tayya lal-astawani < samaS'tayya 1-hal-asr;awdni "Did you (f.s.)
hear this record?"
Elision and consonant clusters
33
·fal h- of adverbs of place (honi "here"; honiki "there") and time
  "now") is frequently elided when preceded by particle 1- "to".
-ga loni < aga 1-honi "he came here"
lonlki < waddanu 1-honlki "he took him there"
[assaf ma < 1-hassa'l ma 'They haven't arrived yet
(lit. until now)"
1.5.1.2 The elision of a geminate consonant
In CB three-consonant clusters do not usually occur. Where a
monosyllabic form ending in gemination is followed by a form with
initial Cv-, at word junction one of the geminate consonants is
elided.
gass
+ T:zadiqatu
>
gas hadiqatu "he watered his garden"

+ saS'gu
>
saS'gu "he cut his hair"
T:zagg
+ bagdad
>
!:zag bagdad "the heat of Baghdad"
xarr
+ xali
>
xat xali
"
my maternal uncle's hand-
writing"

+
h' .
_ayyt
>
T:zdyyi "a young snake"
T:ztakk
+ blnu
>
T:ztak blnu "he provoked him"
nsadd + S'alenu
>
nsad S'alenu "it closed on him"
1.5.2 Vowel elision
In nominal and verbal forms with a final -CaC syllable, a is elided at
word junction where the following suffix or form begins with a vowel.
gahab "monk" + f.s. marker -i > gahbi "nun"
"sour" + p. marker -in > "sour" (p.)
banat "girl" + axuyi "my brother" > bant axuyi "my niece"
qasat "instalment" + a1-madgasi "school"> a1-madgasi
"school fees"
sagab "drinking" + al-blga "the beer" > sagb a1-b{ga "beer drinking"
asam "name" + al-db
13
"the Father" > b-asm al-db "in the name
of the Father"
13 The first person of the Trinity is realized as lib, with a long li. and
non-geminate b, while abb "father" is realized with a short a and
geminate b.
34 Phonology
tagat "it flew" + al-5Wla "the vacation" > tiigt al-t;a!fa "the vacation
passed quickly"
gill:zat "it went" + al-gemi "the cloud" > giil:zt al-gemi "the cloud
has gone"
ysafag "he travels" + 3rd pers. p. marker -iln > ysiifgun "they
travel"
ytagag "he trades" + 3rd pers. p. marker -iln > ytiiggiJ.n "they
trade"
Where a form ending in -CaC is followed by a form with initial
CC-, a is elided, resulting in final -CC, and an anaptyctic or helping
vowel is inserted between the two sets of CC.
qasam "part" + gb(g "big" > qasm agb(g "a large part"
scihag "month" + sfu1f "February" > sahg aspa_t "the month of
February"
sa'lag "poetry" + fgansawi "French" > sa'lg afgansawi "French poetry"
qamat "she began" + tqa!li "she tells me" > qiimt atqalli "she
began to tell me"
gill:zat "she went" + tglbu "she gets it"> giil:zt atglbu "she went to get it"
However, where a form with final -CaC is followed by a form with
initial Cv- or -vC, or a suffix beginning with a consonant, no elision
occurs.
qasam "part" + mannam "of them" > qasam mannam "some of them"
sa'lag "poetry" + almani "German" > sa'lag almani "German poetry"
ba'lat "she sold" + beta "her house" > ba'lat beta "she sold her house"
asam "name" + 1st pers. p. pron. suf. -na > asamna "our name"
kcilab "dog" + 2nd pers. f.s. pron. suf. -ki > kcilabki "your dog"
banat "girl"+ 2nd pers. p. pron. suf. -kam > banatkam "your daughter"
1.5.3 Consonant clusters
As can be seen from 1.5.2 above, two-consonant clusters occur in
final position when the vowel of a -CaC syllable is elided on suffixation
or at word junction. Two-consonant clusters in initial position occur
frequently in CB. The following are a few examples:
k
..
.. b "boo
kte ,
... "donkey
hmag
tli1ti "three"
!sen
tgab
tmeni
"tongue"
"dust"
"eight"
qlt1b
fgox
mqci$$
"hearts"
"chicks"
"scissors"
byt1t "houses"
zbof "week"
myt1zi "tables"
Some forms whose first two syllables are of the CaCv- pattern have
variants with CCv-, where v of the initial syllable is elided, giving an
initial cluster. Both Cacv- and CCv- forms of the same root seem
f
. . 14
to be in ree vanatwn.
nahag
and nhag
"day"
qamat
and qmat "swaddling clothes"
saged(b and
sged(b "cellars"
?Ja$agwa
and 9$agwa
   
maqe$1$
and mqe$1$
15
"scissors"
1.6 The voicing of s and $
In forms where one of the voiceless consonants s or $ occurs
immediately before b or d, it is voiced and realized as z. Where it
is separated from b or d by a vowel, no voicing occurs. Thus compare:
b
zb65' "week" aseb(t; "weeks"
zbet; "lions, strong men" sci bat; "lion, strong man"
z9af
"finger" a$abet; "fingers"
mcizbal:z "swimming pool,
scibal:z
"to bathe, to swim"
a Baghdad quarter"
mcizbal:za "rosary"
scibbal:z
"to count the beads
of the rosary in prayer"
z9atafas
..
seventeen" sabf(n "seventy"
zbenag "spinach" scibab "cause"
d
qcizdi "my intention" ciq$ad "I mean"
azdaqa? "friends" $ad(q "friend"
14 Some informants feel that although a number of CaCv- forms are in
free variation with CCv- forms, the latter are a recent addition to
the dialect, brought about, no doubt, by contact with MB and JB.
15 In my data this form occurs also as without imlila.
36
mazdud
azdaf
mlizbaga
1.7 Assimilation
"closed"
"shells"
"tannery"
1. 7.1 Assimilation of g
Phonology
sdddi
~ a d a  
~ d p a g
"barrier"
16
"shell"
"to tan"
Where g, reflex of LA r, is adjacent to b, /:1., q or x, it is frequently
assimilated to that consonant.
dbba5'a
<
agpa5'a "four"
m.be/:l/:la
17
<
mbeg/:la
"yesterday"
~
<
agqam " numbers" aqqam
wdqqa
<
wdgqa "leaf, piece of paper"
5'dqqabi
<
5'liqgabi "scorpion"
5'aqqoqa
<
5'aqgoqa "frog"
lixxas
<
ax gas "dumb"
1.7.2 Assimilation of 1
In CB 1 of the definite article is frequently assimilated to the con-
sonant immediately following it.
~
ax-xaxam
<
al-xaxam "the rabbi"
aq-qdmag
<
al-qlimag "the moon"
ak-klisa1
<
al-klisa1 "the laziness"
am-mlitag
<
a1-mlitag "the rain"
hay-yom
<
ha1-yom "today"
hab-banat
<
ha1-banat "this girl"
haw-wdqat
<
ha1-wdqat "this time"
haq-qliss
<
ha1-qliss "this priest"
bam- mlidgasi
<
ba1-mddgasi "at school"
bab-be5'a
<
ba1-be5'a "in church"
baq-qligyi
<
ba1-qligyi "in the village"
bam-mazem(g
<
bal-mazem(g "in the psalms"
16 stiddi usually refers to the Tigris barrier, built to stop parts of Baghdad
from being flooded.
17 mbel_ta, without gemination, is more common.
Stress assignment 37
Assimilation occurs also _in _kat!_ "every, . each". In pre-consonantal
ord junction one 1 of kall 1s ehded, while the other is assimilated
the consonant following it.
kas-.M <
kal-se
"everything"
kay-yom <
kal-yom
"every day"
kag-gab()
<
kal-gab(f
..
every Spring"
kax-xam(s
<
kal-xam(s "every Thursday"
1.8 Stress assignment
In forms of more than one syllable stress (') usually falls on the
penultimate syllable.
xabaz
"bread" xabzayi "a piece of bread"
tlciti
18
"three" tlatatkam "the three of you"
miik(na "machine" miikinatam "their machine"
mal:zebas
"rings" mal:zebasna "our rings"
sayyaga
"car" sayyagati "my car"
qaltu "you (p.) said" qaltr1lna "you (p.) said to us"
nasetu "you (p.) forgot" nasetawwam "you (p.) forgot them"
katdbna "we wrote" katabnanu "we wrote it"
labdstam "you (p.) wore"
labastr1nu "I wore it"
ndyyam "to put to bed" nayyamatu "she put him to bed"
Stress falls on the final syllable when that syllable is closed and has
a long vowel (v).
"bell" "bells"
maftel:z "key"
mafot£/:l
"keys"
maleh "good" (m.s.) maleh(n "good" (p.)
.,_ .... "19
"neighbours"
 
"neighbours" gzgan
masloq "boiled" (m.s.) masloq(n "boiled" (p.)
18 No imlila occurs in this form in CB, unlike tmeni. Cf. Blanc (1964:
46). In Syro-Lebanese dialects, where medial imiila is a common
feature of the spoken language, both forms occur with medial imlila,
e.g., tteti, tmeni.
19 gfgtin refers to one set of neighbours, while gawegtn, the collective
plural, refers to groups of neighbours.
38
makinat
qayqUl
tgid{n
tsufi1n
Phonology
"machines"
"he is saying"
"you (f.s.) want"
"you (p.) see"
mtikinten "two machines"
qayqu!Un "they are saying"
qatgidun "you (p.) want"
ma qatsufi1n "you (p.) are not see-
ing"
In disyllabic forms with two open syllables, stress falls on the final
syllable when the vowel of that syllable is long, (v). Thus compare:
bano
"they built" ban a "he built"
baqo "they stayed" bliqa "he stayed"
.   ~
"they walked" mas a "he walked" maso
asu "so, I see that..." CJlisa "evening meal"
hadu
..
quiet" had a "he presented s.o. with"
CJalu
"height" CJlila
..
on, on top of'
In trisyllabic forms where the vowels of the second and final syllables
are short, stress falls on the first syllable.
slimaki
sligaga
fliqaga
faqaga
mlidgasi
mlizbal:w
"fish"
"tree"
"vertebra"
"poor" (p.)
"school"
"rosary"
klitabu
klissagu
llibasat
xliggabat
tCJlillamat
"they wrote"
"they broke (to pieces)"
"she wore"
"she spoilt"
"she learnt"
As can be seen from the above examples, it is only in trisyllabic
forms where the final syllable is short, and the second is both open
and short, that stress falls on a syllable other than the penultimate
or final one. However, in trisyllabic forms, with a sequence of three
short vowels, stress falls on the penultimate syllable when it is closed.
ma/:zlilli
maglilli
samlikna
"district, suburb" saklitna
"magazine"
"our fish"
qasmligtu
saklittam
"we kept quiet"
"I made fun of'
"you (p.) kept quiet"
Intonation 39
uadrisyllabic forms, with a sequence of four short vowels, stress
  also on the penultimate syllable.
samakati
"my fish" labasatu "she wore it"
sagagatam
"their tree" xaggabatam "she spoilt them,
madgasatna
"our school" she wrecked them"
mazba/:lati
"my rosary" t<lallamatu "she learnt it"
In compound forms also, final syllable length is associated with
stress. Thus, stress falls on the final syllable where it is long and
closed. Where the final syllable is short, however, stress ordinarily
falls on the penultimate syllable.
final (' )
kgafas al-b{g
(jalab kiigton
qalam piindan
ba(j-(jagabiinat
la tatkallafi1n
ma qatasta/:len
penult. (')
ggedi n-nlixal
maniit;fag slimas
slimak
layman /:lamat;l
mil male/:lin yiiham
ralabatlayydnu
1.9 Intonation
"maidenhair fern" (Adiantum capillus-veneris)
"cardboard boxes"
"fountain pen"
"in the horse-drawn carriages"
"don't trouble yourselves!"
"aren't you (f.s.) ashamed?"
"squirrel"
"sun-glasses"
"fisherman"
"lemons"
"they are not good"
"she ordered it for me"
In CB a sentence can occur with a variety of tone sequences. Tone
can be divided into three types, rising (/) , falling ( ..... ). and level (-).
Tone varies considerably according to speaker and context. In long
sentences there are a number of ways tone is expressed, depending
on the part of the word or sentence the speaker wants to accentuate.
There is less variation, however, in shorter tracts of language. In
single or compound forms, made up of not more than five or six
syllables, tone ordinarily rises gradually to coincide with stress,
before it eventually falls.
40 Phonology
/-...
mbegl:za
"yesterday"
ma saftilnu "I did not see him"
gal:zna lab-be<ia "we went to church"
samaStu x-xabag "I heard the news"
$ayyad samak "a fisherman"
ba<i-<iagabiinat "in the horse-drawn carriages"
qayatmassa "he is strolling"
In an interrogative context tone usually rises gradually before reaching
a peak.
"was it yesterday?"
ma saftUnu "didn't you see him?"
gal:ztam lab-be<ia "did you go to church?"
sama<itam ax-xabag "did you (p.) hear the news?"
$ayyad samak "is he a fisherman?"
ba<i- <; agabiin at "in the horse-drawn carriages?"
qayatmassa "has he gone for a stroll?"
In an interrogative sentence, introduced by an interrogative particle,
tone starts high, before it gradually falls, rising again where a syllable
is accentuated.
......
wen kantam yom ix-xam{s "where were you on
Thursday?"
swaqat gal:ztam las-s{nama "when did you go to
the cinema?"
/-- -.../-...
..... /
, __
-
'-,/ ....
Intonation 41
yamta gal) as-sayaqa "when are you
going to learn to drive?"
sanu hay al-l)abbayi S:ala xaddu "what is this
spot on his cheek?"
kam banat S:andam "how many daughters
have they got?"
manu qalki ana honi "who told you I was
here?"
sqadd S:amga "how old do you
think she is?"
In non-interrogative sentences tone may be correlated with contextual
category, where a stressed syllable has the highest tone.
k{mna honi   "we were here this mor-
ning"
saftu gozef S:and bet S:ammati "I saw Joseph at
my aunt's house"
kan fagad se matal l)anni S:alayya "there was
something like henna on her"
lebs{n nisan S:ala "they are wearing
medals on their chests"
gabat gol)a qamt "she fainted (then)
started screaming"
sabCJan l)al{b ammu man hada mal€1) "he has
had a sufficient amount of his mother's milk,
that is why he is good"
20
20 sabfan halfb ammu "he has had a sufficient amount of his mother's
milk" an idiomatic expression referring to a person who is good
and uncomplicated.
MORPHOLOGY
2.1 The Verb
Verbs in CB have a root made up of three {C-C-C), or less frequently,
four radicals (C-C-C-C). The verbal base forms, or stems, which
correspond to Cl. Ar. forms I - III and V - X,
1
are derived from
these roots. There are two aspects, the perfective and the imper-
fective, denoting non-progressive or completive and progressive or
incompletive actions respectively. Verbs are classified as strong or
weak, weak verbs having hamza. w or y as one of their radicals.
Strong verbs have radicals other than hamza or the semivowels w
and y. Where the second and third radicals are identical, the verb is
called geminate.
2.1.1 Triradical verbs
2.1.1.1 The perfective aspect
In CB the base form of the strong triradical perfective Stem I verbs
has two morphemic patterns, CaCaC and CaCaC, as, for example,
katab "to write"; qatal "to kill"; tagak "to leave"; and labas "to wear";
kabag "to grow"; sagab "to drink". The CB two-pattern base form
contrasts with MB and JB which have one base pattern each (MB
CaCaC and JB CaCaC). In qaltu-dialects two-pattern perfective
verbs are found also in the Anatolian group of dialects. Among the
examples Jastrow gives (1978: 148-9) are bazaq "to spit" and qabal
"to accept" for Mardin; salaq "to boil" and qasaCJ "to see" for Arbal;
dafal "to spit" and tabaCJ "to follow" for Konderib; xasal "to wash"
and laCJab "to play" for Qartmin; )agan "to knead" and zabab "to
swim" for Azax. In CB, however, CaCaC pattern verbs can also
occur as CaCaC (Blanc, 1964: 99). Thus, it is possible to have both
sagab and sagab "to drink"; labas and labas "to wear"; kabag and
kabag "to grow"; fazaCJ and fazaCJ "to be scared"; S:ata$ and S:ata$ "to
sneeze"; bazan and bazan "to grieve", etc.
There are no CB verbs corresponding to Cl. Ar. Stem IV, e.g. aslama
"to become a Muslim" a ~ b a / J   a "to become", etc.
The Verb
43
inate verbs have the morphemic pattern CaCC, as, for example,
?eZ "to reply"; sadd "to shut"; madd "to stretch"; /:labb "to love";
  "to cheat"; !:zatt "to put"; ma$$ "to suck"; samm "to smell"; qall
ga " v • • "t 11" k bb "t "11" t "
"to decrease ; gagg o pu ; a o sp1 , o pour , etc.
In weak, hamzated, verbs the hamza can be in initial or medial
osition. Where it is in initial position the verbal base form is of the
pattern aCaC; akal "to eat" and axad "to take" being the
two frequently occurring examples. Medial hamza verbs are rare in
CB. as they are in many other Arabic dialects. However, the medial
hamza verb which is of common occurrence is sa?al "to ask", with
the same morphemic pattern as a strong CaCaC type verb.
There are several initial w verbs, among them, wa$al "to arrive";
waS'ad "to promise"; waqaf "to stand"; wagat "to inherit"; wagam "to
swell". There appears to be one initial y verb, yabas "to become
dry", which is common to most Arabic dialects. Initial w and y
verbs have the strong verbal base pattern CaCaC. Medial w and y
verbs have CaC as their verbal base pattern, as, for example, qal
"to say"; gii/:1 "to go"; qam "to get up"; /:Iii$ "to fidget"; gab "to
bring"; $ag "to become"; gad "to want"; !:zag "to be bewildered";
nam "to sleep".
In CB there are no final w verbs. There are, however, final y
verbs which have a base pattern CaCa, as, for example, bana "to
build"; baqa "to stay"; masa "to walk"; /:!aka "to speak"; safa "to
recover (from an illness) "; gafa "to fall asleep".
In CB, as in most Arabic dialects, there is one doubly weak
verb derived from Cl. Ar. g-y-? > gii?a "to come". The CB verbal
base pattern for this is ga.
Verbs inflect for number and gender. The first person singular
and the plural forms are of common gender. The following paradigms
give the perfective suffix subject markers. The first column markers are
suffixed to strong, hamzated, initial and medial w and y verbs. The
second column markers are suffixed to geminate and final y verbs.
CaCaC! aCaC/ CaC CaCC! CaCa
lcs
-tu -etu
2ms
-at -et
2fs
-ti -eti
3ms
e e
3fs
-at -at
44
lcp
2cp
3cp
-na
-tam
-ul -o
Morphology
-ena
-etam
-u/ -6
CaCa type verbs have a third person plural suffix 6, as, for example,
bano "they built"; ma8o "they walked", while CaCC type verbs take
-u, as in maddu "they stretched"; gassu "they cheated". The third
person plural suffix of CaCaC/ aCaC/ CaC verbs is ordinarily -u,
unless the final radical of CaC verbs is one of the gutturals, l:z, 5', g,
x and q, when the third person plural suffix is -o, as, for example,
CaCaC zaba/:lu
"they swam" l:zagaqu
"they burnt"
tabaxu
"they cooked"
aCaC akalu "they ate" amagu "they ordered"
axadu
"they took"
CaC qiilu "they said" giibu "they brought"
safu
"they saw"
but bii5'o "they sold" diixo "they became dizzy"
giil:zo
"they went"
The suffix markers of the doubly weak verb gii "to come" are similar
to those of CaCC/CaCa type verbs, except that the characteristic
long vowel is f instead of e.
lcs
gftu
lcp gina
2ms
tit
2cp g!tam
2fs g!ti 3cp go
3ms gii
3fs gat
2.1.1.2 The imperfective aspect
The imperfective aspect of Stem I strong verbs is of the -CCvC
pattern, where v is either a or a. According to Blanc (1964: 99), the
quality of the vowel "is not predictable from the nature of the
radicals involved" except where final -C is 1:z or 5' when v is always
a. In my data, however, v is always a in the contiguity of the gutturals
1:z or 5', which can be either in medial ( -Cl)vC/ CS'vC) or final position
(CCvi:I/ CCvS') to affect vowel quality, as, for example,
The Verb 45
-Cl:IVC
-CCv}:l
all) am
"I solder" amdal) "I praise"
azf:!af
"I crawl" azbal) "I swim"
atf:!an
"I grind" antaf:!
"I butt"
anf:!at
"I sculpt" angal) "I succeed"
asl)ab
"I withdraw atgal) "I subtract, I miscarry
(money from bank)" (foetus)"
-CS'vC
-eev5'
at5'ab
"I get tired"
atla'l
"I go out"
an 'las
"I get sleepy" asma5' "I hear"
an'lal
"I curse" aqta5'
"I cut"
ad5'am
"I bump" agma5' "I add"
al5'ab
"I play"
atma5' "I become avaricious"
The caracteristic vowel of imperfective strong verbs is ordinarily a,
2
as, for example,
aktab "I write" adgas "I study"
a.Stab
"I cross out" agbat
"I tie"
atbax
"I cook" al)gaq "I burn"
anqal "I copy"
anzal "I go down"
adxal "I go in" aggaf "I shake"
There are a few instances, however, where the vowel of the im-
perfective is a where it is not in the contiguity of 1) or 5'.
aqdag
agkab
"I can"
"I ride"
afham
aglat
"I understand"
"I make a mistake"
Geminate verbs have an imperfective of the pattern -evee, as, for
example, asadd "I close"; agass "I cheat"; amagg "I pass by". Medial
w and y verbs have an imperfective of the pattern -eve, as, for
example, aqill "I say"; ~   g "I become"; anam "I sleep". The affix
subject markers of imperfective -eeve, -evee and -eve verbs are
set out below:
2 On suffixation a is frequently elided. See 1.5.2 on vowel elision.
Morphology
-CCvC
-cvcc; -eve
lcs
a- a-
2ms ta- t-
2fs
ta- fn
t- in/ en
3ms ya y-
3fs ta- t-
lcp
na- n-
2cp ta - iln t- ilnl on
3cp ya- iln y - ilnl on
The imperfective of initial hamza and initial w and y verbs is of the
pattern -eve.
initial hamza initial w/ y
-kal > akal "to eat" -qat; > waqaCJ "to fall"
-xad > axad "to take" -bas > yabas "to become dry"
Where the imperfectives differ is in the affix subject markers, as
set out below:
initial hamza initial w/ y
lcs a- aw-l ay-
2ms ta- til-/ ti-
2fs ta- in til - in/ ti- in
3ms ya- yil-1 yi-
3fs tti- til- I tf-
lcp na- nil-/ ni-
2cp ta- iln til - ilnl tf - iln
3cp ya- iln yil - iln/ yi - iln
The imperfective base of final y verbs is of the pattern -ec-, as,
for example, -bn- > bana "to build"; -bq- > baqa "to stay". The
affix subject markers of final y verbs are set out below:
ban a baqa
lcs a-i a-a
2ms ta- i ta-a
2fs
ta- en ta- en
3ms ya - i ya- a
3fs ta - i ta-a
lcP
Zcp
Jcp
na- i
ta- on
ya- on
The Verb
na- a
ta- on
ya- on
47
The doubly weak verb gti "to come" has the same affix subject
markers as bana, except that the third person plural affix is y - on
instead of ya - on.
2.1.1.3 The imperative
The imperative, used in the expression of commands, is formed
from the imperfective. Thus, -ktab < katab "to write" and -smaS' <
sama1 "to hear" give aktab (m.s.), ktabi (f.s.), ktabu (c.p.), and asmaS'
(m.s.), smaS'i (f.s.), smaS'u (c.p.), respectively. -sadd < sadd "to
close" gives sadd (m.s.), saddi (f.s.), saddu (c.p.). -xad <axad "to
take" gives xad (m.s.), xadi (f.s.), xadu (c.p.). -qiil < qtil "to say",
-tib < gab "to bring" and -ntim < ntim "to sleep" give qiil, qilli,
qiilu; @b, @bi, @bu and ntim, ntimi, ntimu, respectively. The imperative
of initial w verbs, such as waqaS' "to fall", is formed from the first
person singular imperfective, viz. awqaS' "I fall", thus, wqaS' (m.s.),
wqa1i (f.s.), wqaS'u (c.p.). There is no imperative form of the verb
gti "to come", and the imperative expressing the command "come!''
is formed from another verb which occurs in the imperative only,
th
(' -z " , .. ( ) (' -z· " , .. (f ) (' ~ .. , .. ( )
us, ta1a come. m.s. , ta1a 1 come. .s. , ta1a u come. c.p ..
2.1.1.4 Derived Stems
Stem II
Verbs derived from the same root are often semantically related to
each other. Stem II, which is of the pattern CaCCaC, is formed by
doubling the medial radical of Stem I verbs. Stem II of geminate
verbs (C
1
aC2C2) is formed by adding a vowel a + a consonant,
identical to the geminate consonants, to give C
1
aC
2
C
2
aC
2
. In medial
w and y verbs the long vowel of Stem I verbs is shortened and a
geminate w or y + a vowel a is inserted before the final radical,
thus CaC > CawwaC /CayyaC.
Stem II verbs corresponding to Stem I intransitive verbs are
ordinarily transitive, as, for example,
48 Morphology
Stem I Stem II
nazal
"to go down"
nazzal
"to take s.t. down"
sam a) "to hear" samma) "to make s.o. hear"
zalJal
"to become angry"
zaiTal "to make s.o. angry"
Ia bas
"to wear" !abbas "to dress, to clothe"
kabag
"to grow" kabbag "to bring up"
mas a
"to walk" mass a "to make s.o. walk"
baqa
"to stay
,
baqqa "to make s.o. stay"
gann
"to go mad" gannan "to make s.o. go mad"
nam
"to sleep" nayyam "to put s.o. to bed"
xaf
"to be afraid" xawwaf "to scare, to frighten"
Where a Stem I verb is transitive, the corresponding Stem II verb
denotes a more intensive, transitive action, as, for example,
Stem I Stem II
mazaq
"to tear"
mazzaq
"to tear to shreds"
kasag "to break" kassag "to break to pieces"
gadd "to return, to reply" gaddad "to keep repeating"
saqq "to tear" saqqaq "to tear to shreds"
bas "to kiss" bawwas "to give kisses"
gab "to bring" gayyab "to make s.o. bring,
to deliver (baby)"
Some Stem II verbs occur without there being a corresponding
Stem I verb. In such cases Stem II verbs can be either transitive
or intransitive.
)ayyan
sagga)
kammal
l:zaddad
"to employ"
"to encourage"
"to complete"
"to limit"
)aggal
bayyan
baddat;
"to hurry"
"to appear"
"to excel"
The suffix subject markers of the perfective are the same as those
for Stem I verbs.
The imperfective is of the -CvCC<)C pattern, as, for example,
aiaggat; "I encourage"; a)aggal "I hurry"; a)ayyan "I employ"; akammal
"I finish", etc. The affix subject markers of the imperfective are the
same as those for Stem I strong verbs, except in the second persons
The Verb 49
d third person plural, where the characteristic vowel a and one of
::: geminate radicals are elided, since in CB a three-consonant
cannot stand. Similarly, in the imperative the characteristic
a and one of the geminate radicals are elided in the fs and
cp forms.
Thus, CvCCaC (ms), CvCCi (fs), CvCCu (cp).
Stem III
Stem III verbs are formed by the lengthening of the vowel of the
first syllable of corresponding Stem I verbs, as, for example,
Stem I
qat a!
katab
zaCJal
CJakas
   
"to kill"
"to write"
"to become angry"
"to reverse"
"to judge"
Stem III
qiital
kiitab
zaCJal
CJiikas
/:liikam
"to fight s.o."
"to correspond"
"to be angry with s.o."
"to oppose"
"to prosecute, to bring
s.o. to trial
Some Stem III verbs do not have corresponding Stem I verbs, as,
for example,
siilJad
xiibag
siiham
"to help"
"to telephone s.o."
"to take part in s.t."
ciilas
qagas
"to try hard in s.t.''
3
"to interfere"
3
The most frequently occuring Stem III verbs in CB are derived from
Stem I strong verbs. Stem III geminate and weak verbs are rare.
The suffix subject markers of perfective Stem III verbs are the
same as those of Stem I strong verbs. The affix subject markers of
the imperfective ( -CaCaC) are the same as those of Stem I geminate
verbs.
3 These two verbs, viz. ciilas and qagas are borrowings from the Turkish
verbs cal1$mak "to strive", "to study" and karl$mak "to interfere",
respectively.
Morphology
Stem V and VI
Stem V and VI are formed by the prefixation of t- to Stems II and
III respectively, to which they are semantically related. A Stem y
verb conveys a reflexive or passive idea, while a Stem VI verb
denotes a reciprocal action.
Stem II
Stem V
gas sal
"to wash" tgassal "to be washed"
xaggab
"to wreck" txaggab "to be wrecked"
sagga'i "to encourage" tsagga'i "to pluck up courage"
'iayyan
"to employ" t'iayyan "to be employed"
gattab
"to tidy" tgattab "to become tidy"
f:zaggak
"to move" (tr.) tf:zaggak "to move (intr.)"
'iawwad "to accustom s.o." t'iawwad "to get used to s.t."
kallal "to perform marriage tkallal "to get married"
ceremony (priest)"
ball a! "to moisten" tballal "to become moist"
gadda "to give lunch to tgadda "to have lunch"
s.o.
..
mass a "to make s.o. walk" tmassa "to take a walk"
Stem III Stem VI
katab "to correspond" tkatab "to exchange letters
with s.o.
..
'iatab "to reproach" t'iatab "to reproach one another"
wagah "to meet s.o." twagah "to meet with s.o."
f:zagab "to fight s.o." tf:zagab "to fight with s.o."
badal "to swap"
tbadal "to swap with s.o."
qasam "to share" tqtisam "to share with s.o.
..
A few Stem V and Stem VI verbs do not have corresponding Stem
II and Stem III verbs, as, for example,
Stem V
Stem VI
tsawwaq "to shop" tbawas "to exchange kisses"
tmanna "to wish" tsaqa "to joke with s.o."
The Verb 51
'fh imperfective and imperative of Stem V and Stem VI verbs are
f in the same way as the imperfective and imperative of Stem
 
and Stem_ III verbs respectively, with the characteristic vowel a
becoming a m Stems V and VI.
imperfective
Stem II
a<iallam

ybagkun
"I teach"
"she employs"
"they move" (tr.)
Stem Ill
tkatab
nbadal
y<iatban
"she corresponds"
"we swap"
"they reproach"
imperative
Stem II
Stem V
aflallam "I learn"
taflayyan "she is employed"
yat/:laggakan "they move" (intr.)
Stem VI
tatkatab
natbadal
yaflataban
"she corresponds with"
"we swap with each other"
"they reproach one
another"
<iallam (m.s.), <ialmi (f.s.), S:almu (c.p.) "teach!"
Stem V
(m.s.), flallami (f.s.), flallamu (c.p.) "learn!"
Stem III
katab (m.s.), katbi (f.s.), katbu (c.p.) "correspond!"
Stem VI
tkatab (m.s.), tkatabi (f.s.), tkatabu (c.p.) "correspond with each other!"
Stem VII
Prefix n- is added to Stem I verbs to give Stem VII, conveying a
passive idea, as, for example,
Stem I
Stem VII
sa/:laq "to run over" nsa/:laq "to be run over"
kasag
"to break" nkasag "to be broken"
katab "to write" nkatab "to be written"
kabb "to spill" nkabb "to be spilt"
52 Morphology
f}all "to solve"
n.J:zall
"to be solved"
ban a
"to build"
nbana "to be built"
tafa
"to extinguish"
ntafa "to be extinguished"
qtil
"to say" nqtil "to be said"
bti'i
"to sell" nbti'i "to be sold"
The imperfective is of the pattern -nC3C)C (strong); -nCaCC (geminate);
-nCaC (medial wl y); -nC3C3 (final y). The affix subject markers of
the perfective and the imperfective are the same as those of Stem 1
verbs. Where the imperative occurs it is of the patterns nC3C3C (m.s.),
nC3CCi (f.s.), nC3CCu (c.p.) (strong); nCaCC (m.s.), nCaCCi (f.s.),
nCaCCu (c.p.) (geminate); nCaC (m.s.), nCaCi (f.s.), nCaCu (c.p.)
(medial w/ y ); nC3Ci (m.s. + f.s.), nC3Cu (c.p.) (final y).
Stem VIII
Stem VIII is formed by the insertion of -t after the first radical of
Stem I verbs. According to Wright (1955, I: 42) Stem VIII "is properly
the reflexive or middle voice" of Stem I.
Stem I Stem VIII
sa'ial
"to light" ( tr.) sta'ial "to burn"
faham "to understand" ftaham "to understand"
n   ~   g "to render victorious" n t   ~   g "to be victorious"
samm "to smell" stamm "to smell"
sadd "to tie" stadd "to become strong"
saka "to complain" staka "to complain"
mala "to fill" mtala "to become full"
The imperfective is of the pattern -Ct3C3C (strong), -CtaCC (geminate),
-Ct3Ci (final y), from which the imperative can be formed.
Stem IX
Stem IX, which is of the pattern C
1
C
2
aC
3
C
3
, is not common in
CB, and is restricted to verbs of colour and defect, as, for example,
bmagg "to blush, to become tgass
red"
~ f   g g "to grow pale, 'igagg
to become yellow"
"to become deaf'
"to become lame"
The Verb 53
Stem X . .
X which 1S not common m CB, is characterized by the
Stem • .
Ur
ence of prefiX sta-, as, for example,
oCC
sta'lgag "to rent"
stan(iag "to wait for"
stagti./:1 "to rest"
2.1.2 Quadriradical verbs
stal:zaqq
stawla
"to deserve"
"to take possession of'
There are a number of quadriradical verbs in CB whose perfective
base pattern is C
1
aC
2
C
3
aC
4
, as, for example,
da)bal
"to topple, to roll" tam bag "to look annoyed, to sulk"
xagpat
"to mess up
..
zamgag "to roar"
q   m b ~
"to squat" qasmag "to make fun of'
sax pat
"to scribble" (falgam "to frown"
bahdal
"to rebuke" pancag "to puncture"
Some quadriradical verbs have a reduplicated root, as, for example,
waswas "to whisper" xasxas "to rattle"
waswas "to have qualms (about)"
taqtaq
"to make a conti-
nuous banging noise"
m ~ m ~
"to suck"
rarjra4
"to bruise"
gafgaf
"to flutter {wings, flag)" ('agsag
"to gad about"
dabdab
"to crawl {baby), to {pejorative)
become plump
..
xarxar "to drip"
wanwan
"to moan" kagkag "to chuckle"
tan tan "to strum"
tabtab
"to pat"
xamxam "to develop a musty
bat bat
"to swell {boil)"
smell"
lal:zlal:z
"to pester
..
samsam "to sniff'
The imperfective, from which the imperative is formed, is of the
morphemic pattern -CaCC<}C. The perfective and imperfective affix
subject markers are the same as those of Stem I triradical strong
verbs.
54 Morphology
2.1.2.1 Derived Stems
There is only one derived quadriradical stem in CB, Stem II, which is
formed by the pre fixation of t- (or d- before another d-) to Stern I.
It "agrees in formation and signification" with Stem V of the triradicaJ
verb, (Wright, 1955, I: 48). Stem II quadriradical verbs, however, are
not common in CB. The following are a few examples:
Stem I Stem II
bahdal "to rebuke" tbahdal "to be rebuked"
qasmag "to make fun of' tqasmag "to be made fun of'
balwan
"to sweeten
..
tbalwan "to be sweetened"
da1bal "to topple" dda1bal "to be toppled"
dandal "to dangle" ddandal "to be dangled"
The imperfective and imperative of Stem II quadriradical verbs
have morphemic patterns similar to those of Stem I verbs. Where
Stem II differs from Stem I is in Stem II having a prefix t- or d-
and a back vowel a for Stem I front vowel a.
Thus,
Stem I
imperfective
ada1bal "l topple"
tqa8mag "she mocks"
imperative
bahdal "rebuke!" (m.s.)
bahdalu "rebuke!" (c.p.)
Stem II
adda)bal
tatqasmag
tbahdal
tbahdalu
"I am toppled"
"she is made fun of'
"be rebuked!" (m.s.)
"be rebuked!" (c.p.)
The following table gives the conjugations of triradical and quadri-
radical verbs in CB:
Triradical Verbs
Stem I (strong) qatal "to kill"; kabag "to grow"
perfective
lcs qatciltu I kbagtu
2ms qatcilat I kbagat
2fs qatcilti I kbagti
3ms qcital I kabag
3fs qcitalat I kabgat
imperfective
ciqtal I cikbag
taqtat 1 takbag
taqtalin I takbagzn
yaqtal 1 yakbag
taqtal I takbag
imperative
aqtal 1 akbag
qtali 1 kbcigi
The Verb 55
tcP
qatalna I kbagna
naqtal I nakbag
qataltam I kbagtam
taqtalan I takbagun qtalu 1 kbdgu
2cP
qatalu I kabgu
yaqtalan I yakbagun
Jcp
Stem I (geminate) kabb "to spill"
perfective
imperfective imperative
lcs
kabbetu
akabb
2ms
kabbet
tkabb kabb
2fs
kabbeti
tkabbin kabbi
3ms
kabb
ykabb
3fs
kabbat
tkabb
lcp
kabbena
nkabb
2cp
kabbetam tkabban kabbu
3cp
kabbu
ykabban
Stem I (initial hamza) akal "to eat"
perfective imperfective imperative
lcs akaltu iikal
2ms akalat taka! kal
2fs akalti tiiklin kali
3ms akal yiikal
3fs
akalat taka!
lcp
akalna niikal
2cp
akaltam tiiklan kalu
3cp
akalu yiiklan
Stem I (initial w/ y) waqaf "to stand"; yabas "to be dry"
perfective imperfective imperative
lcs
waqaftu I yabastu awqaf I aybas
2ms
waqafat I yabtisat taqaf I tibas wqaf
2fs
waqafti I yabasti taqafin I tibasin wqafi
3ms
waqaf I yabas yaqaf I yibas
3fs
waqafat I yabasat taqaf I tibas
lcp
waqafna I yabasna naqaf I nibas
2cp
waqaftam I yabastam taqafiin I tibasan wqafu
3cp
waqafu I yabasu yaqafiin I yibasan
Morphology
Stem I (medial w/ y) qiil "to say"; ntim "to sleep"; gtib "to bring"
perfective imperfective imperative
lcs qaltu I namtu I gabtu aqill I anam I agib
2ms qalat I namat I gabat tqal I tntim I tgib qal I nam I gzb
2fs qalti I namti I gabti tqillin I tntimin I tgzbfn qali I ntimi I @bi
3ms qal I nam I giib yqal I ynam I ygib
3fs qalat I namat I gabat tqill I tnam I tgzb
lcp qalna I namna I nqill I nnam I ngib
gabna
2cp qaltam I namtam I tqillan I tnamfin I qillu I namu I
gabtam tgfbfin ifbu
3cp qalu I namu I gabu yqalan I ynamiln I
ygibiln
Stem I (final y) masa "to walk"; baqa "to stay"
perfective
lcs masetu I baqetu
2ms maset I baqet
2fs maseti I baqeti
3ms masa I baqa
3fs masat I baqat
lcp masena I baqena
2cp masetam I baqetam
3cp masi5 I baqo
imperfective
amsi I abqa
tamsi I tabqa
tamsen 1 tabqen
yamsi I yabqa
tamsi I tabqa
namsi I nabqa
tamson I tabqon
yamson I yabqon
imperative
amsi I abqa
mse I bqe
mso I bqo
Stem II !abbas "to clothe"; baqqa "to keep; to make s.o. stay"
perfective imperfective
lcs labbastu I baqqetu a/abbas I abaqqi
2ms labbdsat I baqqet tlabbas I tbaqqi
2fs labbasti I baqqeti tlabsin I tbaqqen
3ms !abbas I baqqa ylabbas I ybaqqi
3fs ldbbasat I baqqat tlabbas I tbaqqi
lcp labbasna I baqqena nlabbas I nbaqqi
2cp labbastam I baqqetam tlabsiln I tbaqqon
3cp labbasu I baqqi5 ylabsiln I ybaqqon
imperative
!abbas I baqqi
labsi I baqqi
labsu I baqqu
The Verb 57
rn III qasam "to share
"
Ste
perfective
imperfective imperative
tcs
qasamtu
aqasam
zrns
qasamat
tqiisam qiisam
2fs
qasamti
tqasmin qasmi
3rns
qasam
yqasam
3fs
qasamat
tqiisam
lcp
qasamna
nqasam
2cp
qasamtam
tqasman qasmu
3cp
qasamu
yqasman
Stem V tbaddal "to change" (intr .)
perfective imperfective imperative
lcs
tbaddaltu atbaddal
2ms
tbaddalat tatbaddal tbaddal
2fs
tbaddalti tatbaddalin tbaddali
3ms tbaddal yatbaddal
3fs tbdddalat tatbaddal
lcp tbaddalna natbaddal
2cp tbaddaltam tatbaddalan tbaddalu
3cp tbaddalu yatbaddalan
Stem VI tkti.tab "to correspond with s.o."
perfective imperfective imperative
lcs
tkatabtu atkatab
2ms
tkatabat tatkatab tkatab
2fs
tkatabti tatkatabin tkatabi
3ms
tkti.tab yatkatab
3fs
tkatabat tatkatab
lcp
tkatabna natkatab
2cp
tkatabtam tatkataban tkatabu
3cp
tkatabu yatkataban
58 Morphology
Stem VII n{iagab "to be hit"; ntaxx "to be knocked against"
perfective imperfective imperative
lcs nt;lagabtu I ntaxxetu an{iagab I antaxx
2ms n{iagdbat I ntaxxet tan{iagab I tantaxx n{iagab I ntaxx
2fs
n{iagabti I ntaxxeti tan{iagbin I tantaxxen n{iagbi I ntaxXi
3ms n{iagab I ntaxx yan{iagab I yantaxx
3fs n{iti.gabat I ntaxxat tan{iagab I tantaxx
lcp
n{iagabna I ntaxxena nan{iagab I nantaxx
2cp
n{iagabtam I tan{iagbiJ.n I tantaxxon n{iagbu I ntaxxu
ntaxxetam
3cp n{iagabu I ntaxxo yan{iagbiln I yantaxxon
Stem VIII ftaham "to understand"; ftagg "to go round"
perfective imperfective imperative
lcs ftahamtu I ftaggetu aftaham I aftagg
2ms ftahti.mat I ftagget taftahmin I taftaggen ftaham I ftagg
2fs
ftahamti I ftaggeti taftaham I taftagg ftahmi I ftaggi
3ms ftaham I ftagg yaftaham I yaftagg
3fs ftti.hamat I ftaggat taftaham I taftagg
lcp ftahamna I ftaggena naftaham I naftagg
2cp ftahamtam I taftahmiln I taftaggon ftahmu I ftaggu
ftaggetam
3cp ftahamu I ftaggo yaftahmiln I yaftaggon
Stem IX   "to grow pale, to become yellow"
perfective imperfective imperative
lcs    
2ms        
2fs        
3ms      
3fs $[aggat ta$[agg
lcp $[aggena na$[agg
2cp $[aggetam      
3cp      
The Verb 59
Stern X staCJmal "to use"
perfective
imperfective imperative
tcs
staCJmaltu
astaCJmal
zms
staCJmalat
tastaCJmal staCJmal
Zfs
staCJmalti
tastaCJmalin staCJmali
Jrns
staCJmal
yastaCJmal
3fs
staCJmalat
tastaCJmal
lcp
staCJmalna nastaCJmal
2cp
staCJmaltam tastaCJmalan staCJmalu
3cp
staCJmalu yastaCJmaliln
Quadriradical Verbs
Stem I daCJbal "to topple; to roll"
perfective imperfective imperative
lcs daCJbaltu adaCJbal
2ms daCJbalat ddaCJbal daCJbal
2fs daCJbalti ddaCJbalfn daCJbali
3ms daCJbal ydaCJbal
3fs daCJbalat ddaCJbal
lcp daCJbalna ndaCJbal
2cp daCJbaltam ddaCJbaliln daCJbalu
3cp daCJbalu ydaCJbalan
Stem II tbahdal "to be rebuked; to be shabby"
perfective imperfective imperative
lcs
tbahdaltu atbahdal
2ms
tbahdalat tatbahdal tbahdal
2fs
tbahdalti tatbahdalfn tbahdali
3ms
tbahdal yatbahdal
3fs
tbahdalat tatbahdal
lcp
tbahdalna natbahdal
2cp
tbahdaltam tatbahdalan tbahdalu
3cp
tbahdalu yatbahdalan
60 Morphology
2.2 Participles
2.2.1 The active participle
The active participle, which inflects for number and gender, corres-
ponds to all the verbal stems which occur in CB.
Stem I
Stem I is of the CeCaC/ CeCil CayyaC pattern, as, for example,
m.s. f.s. c.p.
ketab ketbi ketbin "having written"
lebas lebsi lebsin "having worn"
semam semmi semmin "having smelt"
kebab kebbi kebbin "having spilt"
nayyam naymi naymin "having slept, asleep"
gayyab gaybi gay bin "having brought"
beni benyi ben yin "having built"
_ ...
mesyi mesyin "having walked"
mesz
The following are the active participle forms of triradical Stems II,
Ill, V-X, and quadriradical Stems I and II:
Stem II
m.s.
mxaggab
msaqqaq
mbaqqi
Stem III
m.s.
mktitab
mqtisam
Stem V
m.s.
maflallam
matgaddi
f.s.
mxagbi
msaqqaqa
mbaqqtiyi
f.s.
mktitbi
mqasmi
f.s.
maflalmi
matgaddtiyi
c.p.
mxagbin
msaqqaqin
mbaqqtiyin
c.p.
mktitbin
mqasmin
c.p.
maflalmin
matgaddtiyin
"having wrecked"
"having torn to shreds"
"having kept"
"having corresponded"
"having shared"
"having learnt"
"having had lunch"
Stem VI
m.s.
matkiitab
ma6iigak
Stem VII
f.s.
matkiitbi
mafliigki
Participles
c.p.
matkiitbin
mafliigkin
61
"having corresponded with"
"having quarrelled with"
Stem VII participles are rare in CB, "a fact which is no doubt
connected with the function of Form VII as passive of Form I, so
that Form I passive participles can usually be used instead" (Blanc,
1964: 96). Thus, we have maggo/:1 "wounded" instead of mangaga/:1,
and masl)oq "run over" instead of mansa/:laq. There are, however, a
few Stem VII medial w/ y and final y participles which are in use,
as, for example, manbii1 "having been sold, sold"; mangiid "wanted,
needed", manbana "built"; mantafa "extinguished", etc.
Stem VIII
m.s.
magtahad
mahtcimm
mastagi
Stem IX
maswadd
masmagg
Stem X
mastciJgag
masta1add
mastal)i
f.s.
magtahdi
mahtcimmi
mastagyi
maswaddi
masmagga
mastciJgaga
masta)addi
masta/:lyi
Stem I (quadriradical)
m.s. f.s.
mbdhdal mbcihdali
mdd'ibal mdd'ibali
mwd.fwas
mwdswasi
c.p.
magtahdin
mahtammin
mastagyin
"studious, diligent"
"concerned"
"having bought"
maswaddin "having turned black"
masmaggzn "suntanned"
masta2gagzn "having rented"
masta'iaddin "ready, prepared"
masta/:lyin "shy, embarrassed"
c.p.
mbahdalin "having rebuked"
mda'ibalin "having rolled"
mwaswasin "having whispered"
62 Morphology
Stem II (quadriradical)
Stem II quadriradical participles are rare in CB. However, one
occasionally comes across the forms matbahdal "having become
shabby", mat?aqlam "having become acclimatized", matxalxal "having
become loose", etc.
2.2.2 The passive participle
The passive participle in CB is derived from triradical Stems ·I, 11
and III, and quadriradical Stem I.
Stem I (triradical)
m.s. f.s.
maktiib maktiibi
masliiq masloqa
makbab makbabi
ma/:lsi ma/:lsayyi
maifi matfayyi
Stem II (triradical)
mS:dmmad
mkdssag
msdwwa
mS:dmmadi
mkdssaga
msawwayi
Stem III (triradical)
mqasam
mS:afa
mqasami
mS:ii.fayi
Stem I (quadiradical)
mbdhdal mbdhdali
mddS:bal mda.S:bali
c.p.
maktiibin "written"
masloqen 'boiled"
makbubin "spilt"
ma/:lsayyin "stuffed, filled"
matfayyin "extinguished"
mS:ammadin "baptized"
mkassagen 'broken"
msawwii.yin "made"
mqii.samin
mS:tifii.yin
mbahdalin
mdaS:balin
"shared"
"in good health"
"shabby"
"round, rolled"
The Noun 63
z.J The Noun
Nouns are divided into two groups, simple and derivative. Derivative
ouns can be either deverbal, that is to say they are derived from
nerbs, or denominal, in which case they are derived from nouns.
  nouns may be substantives or adjectives. All Arabic non-
derivative or simple nouns are substantives, as are the majority of
non-Arabic loanwords. Thus,
derivative (deverbal)
madgasi
"school" < dagas
"to study"
 
'barber, hair-
<    
"to shave"
dresser
..
 
"success" <    
"to succeed"
tal1a
"outing" < tala1
"to go out"
kbzg
"big" < kabag
"to grow"
masloq
"boiled" < salaq "to boil"
derivative (denominal)
mag bani "cheese < gaban "cheese"
factory"
      "Christians"
<      
"Nazareth"
babbayi
"pill"
< babb
..
seeds"
sataga "cleverness"
< satag
"clever"
mqallam "striped"
< qalam "line, stripe, pencil"
bantiiwi "dark- skinned
<banta
..
wheat"
Oit. the colour of wheat)"
simple
gegi
"hen"
tappa
"ball"
banat "girl" sadag "turquoise"
  "horse" qemag "clotted cream"
    "animal" qasoga "spoon"
2.3.1 The substantive
The following are some of the more frequently occuring substantive
patterns in CB with example:
(i) CvC(v)
nag
qig
"fire"
"tar"
miil
big
"money" qa.t
"well" fil
"suit (clothes)"
"elephant"
b4 Morphology
ton
"colour" doq "taste"
moz
"banana"
saq "market" (!at "whale"
gal
"ogre"
~   f
"summer
"
xer
"string"
geb
"pocket''
bdqa
"bouquet" big a "beer"
$6ga
"picture"
qagi "teapot" becja
"egg"
ge(la "smell"
(ii) CCvC( v)
(!mag "donkey" h$dn
"horse" xydg "cucumber"
!sen
"tongue" kteb
''book" l(lef "quilt, bed-cover"
zboS:
"week" blaz
"blouse" bgiq "jug"
ngdga
"carpentry" ggedi "mouse" nsdga "sawdust"
(iii) CvCC( v)
Monosyllabic nouns of this pattern ( CaCC) are invariably geminate.
Disyllabic forms with a feminine marker (v) can also be geminate.
xall "vinegar" mayy "water" S:amm "paternal uncle"
tabb
"medicine" hagg "tomcat"
ga$$
"plaster, white-
wash"
(layyi "snake" (Ianni "henna"
xatta
"plan, design"
(!ant a
"wheat" gaqS:a "patch" cjagbi "beating, blow"
(iv) CvCvC(v)
matag "rain" walad "child" sabab "cause"
sa mas "sun" S:acjam "bone" maga$ "stomach pain"
banat "girl"
xabaz
"bread" gaga! "leg"
$dlata "salad" sdgaga "tree" sdmaki "fish"
kalama "
word" S:ddasi "lense" S:agali "speed, haste"
(v) CvCvC
This is primarily a participial form. There are, however, a few CB
sustantives of this pattern.
"guard"
"monk"
(ldyat "wall" $d/:lab
sdyaq "chauffeur" cadag
"companion"
"tent"
(vi) cvcvs( v) ,
salib cross /:lalib
· · "al·rport" saltim
ma!ag
na{itim "order" naStif
qadi[a "velvet" tamtita
cagaga "commerce" safaga
The Noun
"milk"
"greeting"
"energy"
"tomato"
"cleverness"
na$ib
san am
gahaz
/:lagtimi
$adaqa
65
"fate"
"hump (camel)"
"instrument"
"thief'
"friendship"
(vii) CvCvC( v)
"bell"
ntiqii$
mtiCJon "plate" matog "motor, engine"
"date syrup"
"machine"
qanan
qasoga
"law"
"spoon"
(viii) CvCCvC(v)
qanfad "hedgehog"
madgasi "school"
dalab "cupboard" siltin
gazani "windowsill" mtikina
pagcam "fringe"
handasi "geometry"
maCJmal "factory"
md$(Jaga "tannery"
There are also several reduplicated root nouns of this pattern, as,
for example,
laqlaq "stork" balbal "nightingale" hadhad "hoopoe"
naCJna'l "mint" falfal
..
pepper" samsam "sesame"
wagwag "revolver" magmag "marble" mas mas "apricot"
$ag$ag "cockroach" ka§kas "frill" qamqam "narro-
(ix) CvCCvC(v)
mandil "handker-
chief'
$andaq "trunk"
manstig "saw"
gaggtil
..
man"
dagbuni "alley"
maggol)a "swing"
(x) CvCCvCvC
1ankabat "spider"
maCJdanos"parsley"
mouthed flask"
gagbil "sieve" cangtil "fork"
zaytiin "olive"
sayttin
"Satan"
masmtig "nail" manqas "tweezers"
xabbaz "baker" naddtif "carder
..
bazzuni" cat" CJaqqoqa "frog"
maqtata
"sharpener massti/:la "rubber"
(pencil)"
qagnabit "cauliflower" zangabil "ginger"
zaCJfagtin "saffron" pantagon "trousers"
00 Morphology
Compound substantives
Compound substantives ordinarily refer to everyday objects or
events. These substantives are coined locally, and handed down
from one generation to the next.
4
The following are a few examples:
S'en as-samas
f:talq as-sabaS'
bant  
sok as-sam
S'agf ad-dik
kgafos aT-big
goz hand
tamag handi
nami f:tama{l
numi
saS'ag banat
teg ag-ganna
sabS'a w sabS'in
abu
ggedi n-naxal
xassaf al-lel
gadgi mayy
f:tallat w baS'ad
"sunflower" (Helianthus)
"snapdragon" (Antirrhinum)
"hibiscus"
"acacia"
"love-lies-bleeding" (Amranthus caudatus)
"maidenhair fern" (Adiantum capillus-veneris)
"coconut"
"tamarind"
"lemon"
"dried lime"
"a sweetmeat resembling candy floss"
"ladybird"
"centipede"
"wall gecko"
"squirrel"
"bat"
"chicken pox"
"hide-and-seek"
4 Compound substantives are not characteristic of CB and other Arabic
dialects only, but occur also in most speech communities. In some
European languages compound substantives refer to local plants and
animals, as, for example
Ger. Li:iwenmaul "snapdragon" Osterglocke "daffodil"
Marienkafer "ladybird" Blindschleiche "slow-worm"
Fr. queue de renard "love-lies-bleeding" bete a bon Dieu "ladybird"
It.
Sp.
bocca di leone
bella di notte
"snapdragon" dente di leone "dandelion"
"marvel-of-Peru" bella di giorno "morning
cabeza de drag6n "snapdragon"
[lor de Ia Pascua "poinsettia"
glory"
alegr(a de Ia casa "busy Iizzy"
[lor de amor "love-lies-
bleeding"
The Noun 67
z.J.2 The adjective
Most adjectives in CB have a morphemic shape of two or more
syllables. Monosyllabic adjectives are rare, the few exceptions being
rns forms like !:zag "hot" (CvC), magg "bitter" (CvCC), kbig "big"
(CCvC), and cp forms like qway "strong", ncj.af "clean", q$iig "short"
(CCvC), etc.
The following are some of the more common adjectival patterns
with examples:
(i) CvCvC
tawil "tall"
)agee/. "broad"
(ii) CvCv( C)
)acj.im
baS:ed
"great"
"distant"
"strange"
"good"
There are a number of CB adjectives of this participial pattern.
!:zamacj. "sour" xabaf "murky" melal:z "salty"
yebas "dry" fetal:z "light coloured" S:aqal "wise"
)eli "high" fehi "insipid" l:zefi "barefoot"
(iii) vCCvC
This is the pattern of adjectives of colour and defect.
aswad "black" azgaq "blue"
atgas "deaf' a)wag "one-eyed"
(iv) CvCCvC
kaddab "liar"
l:zayyal
"liar"
sakkig
"drunkard" sag gig "evil"
(v) CvCCan
sakgan "drunk" naS:san "sleepy"
kaslan "lazy"
fagl:zan
"happy
..
Relative adjectives
Relative adjectives are frequently formed
to a proper name, as, for e x a m p ~ e  
bagdadi "a native of Baghdad"
beguti "a native or inhabitant of Beirut"
ugduni "Jordanian"
as mag "dark-skinned"
a/:zwal
"cross-eyed"
gayyag "jealous"
qaddis "holy, saintly"
malyan "full"
S:atsan "thirsty"
by the suffixation of -i
< bagdad "Baghdad"
< begut "Beirut"
< ugdun "Jordan"
68 Morphology
gaza?agi
"Algerian" < gaza?ag
"Algeria"
igtini "Iranian"
<
rgan "Iran
..
handi "Indian" <hand "India"
ytibtini "Japanese" < ytiban "Japan"
~   n  
"Chinese"
<
~   n
"China"
maksiki "Mexican"
<
maksik "Mexico"
bgazili
"Brazilian"
<
bgazll "Brazil"
masi/:l.i
"Christian"
<
1-masi/:l "Christ, the Mes.siah"
badi "Buddhist"
<
bad a "Buddha"
yahudi
"Jewish" < yahud "Jews"
handosi "Hindu" < handos "Hindus"
Colours, other than the primary colours of the pattern aCCaC, are
formed by the addition of suffix -i to a substantive, as, for example,
banafsagi "violet, purple"
betangtini "mauve"
gammtini "deep red"
gozi "light brown"
l:zasisi "green"
gmedi "grey"
wagdi "pink"
pagtaqtili "orange"
< banafsag
< betangtin
< gammtin
< goz
< /:la8is
< gmed
< wagad
< pagtaqiil
"violet" (bot.)
"aubergine"
"pomegranate"
"walnut"
"grass"
"ash"
"flower, rose"
"orange"
Some adjectives of colour are irregularly formed, as, for example,
qahwii2i
l:zantawi
"dark brown" < qahwi
"beige, off-white" < banta
"coffee"
"wheat"
Where a proper name ends in -ya, the relative adjective is formed
by the elision of -ya before the addition of suffix -i.
afgiqi
"African"
<
afgiqya "Africa"
ostagali
"Australian"
<
ostagiilya "Australia"
almiini "German"
<
almiinya "Germany"
ceki5sli5viiki "Czech"
<
ceki5sli5vtikya "Czechoslovakia"
balgiiri
"Bulgarian"
<
balgtirya "Bulgaria"
sugi
"Syrian"
<
sugya "Syria"
tagki
"Turkish"
<
tagkaya "Turkey"
The Noun 69
Where a proper name ends in -a, the relative adjective is sometimes
formed by lengthening final -a and adding suffix -wi.

"Bas ran
..
<
ba$ga "Basrah"
 
"French"
< fgansa "France"
namsawr
"Austrian"
<
namsa "Austria"
asyawi
"Asian
..
<
iisya "Asia"
There are some adjectives, denoting nationality and regional or
confessional affiliation, which seem to be irregular, as, for example,
anglizi "English" angaltaga
"England"
"America"
"Mosul"
amagkiini also amgiki "American" amegka
masliiWi "inhabitant or m6$al
· native of Mosul"
"Christian" "Nazareth"
The following relative adjectives, referring to confessional affiliation,
do not take a relative adjective marker in the ms base form.
kiitolik "Catholic"
ogtodoks "Orthodox"
Elatives
2.3.2.1 The comparative
kaldan
pgotastiin
"Chaldean"
"Protestant"
The comparative adjective is of the aCCa(C) pattern, and is ordinarily
followed by the particle man.
gozef astag man axilnu
sayyagat S'ammi agdad man
$llta/:zna aS'la man $dfa/:zkam
2.3.2.2 The superlative
"Joseph is cleverer than his brother"
sayyiigat abuyi "My paternal uncle's
car is newer than my father's car"
"Our roof is higher than yours"
The superlative, which is of the same pattern as the comparative,
occurs as a construct.
stagetu akbag $6ga bal-maS'gacj "I bought the biggest picture in the
exhibition"
70 Morphology
betna aqgab bet lal-mtidgasi "Our house is the nearest to the school"
bant al-mudrg adka banat 'The headmaster's daughter is
the most intelligent girl in the class"
The superlative can also occur with a pronominal suffix, as, for
example,
hayyi atwtilam
huwwa adkiiham
2.3.3 Gender
"She is the tallest among them"
"He is the most intelligent among them"
Feminine nouns are characterized by the feminine marker -i I -a.
The feminine marker may be suffixed to ms substantives and adjectives
to form fs nouns, as, for example,
ktilab
"dog" kalbi "bitch"
gahab "monk" giihbi "nun"
xabbaz "baker" (ms) xabbazi "baker" (fs)
kasliin
"lazy" (ms)
kaslani "lazy" (fs)
  "manservant"
"maid"
mudig "headmaster" mudiga "headmistress"
xayyat
"tailor" (ms)
xayyata "tailor" (fs)

"simple" (ms)

"simple" (fs)
A unit noun, which is invariably feminine, is formed by the suffixation
of the feminine marker to a collective substantive. Thus,
.,_.,
"chicken" gegi "a hen" geg
wazz "geese"
wazzi
"a goose"
bam em "pigeons"
/:lamemi "a pigeon"
9att
"ducks"
9atta
"a duck"
xyag
"cucumber" xyiiga "a cucumber"
9attex "melon"
9attexa
"a melon"
saxxat "matches" saxxata "a match, a matchbox"
An instance noun, which is also feminine, is formed by the suffixation
of the feminine marker to a Stem I verba! base form. In (C)vCvC
type verbal forms the vowel of the second syllable is elided on
suffixation. Thus,
The Noun 71
aJ<al
"to eat" akli "a (type of) food"
dagab
"to hit, to strike" (iagbi "a blow "
§a gab
"to drink" sagbi "a drink"
tala5:
"to go out" tal) a "an outing"
iata5:
"to lick" lat5:a
"a lick"
waqa5:
"to fall"
waq)a "a fall"
ball
"to solve" /:Ialli "a solution"
gann
"to ring, to tinkle" ganni "a tinkle"
q a ~ ~
"to cut"
q a ~ ~ a
"a cut"
"to knock" taxxa
..
a knock"
raxx
There are some CB fs nouns with a feminine marker which have
no ms equivalents, and which are not derived from collectives or
verbal forms.
)albi
"box"
tiiwi
"frying-pan"
qagyi
"village" madini "town"
cagpa?i
"bed" 1adasi "lens"
!:zayyi
"snake "
bazzuni
5
"cat"
mag a "woman" biiqa "bouquet"
mantiga
"
minaret" miikina "machine"
qasoga "spoon" tanniiga "petticoat"
mewa "fruit"
~ a l a t a
"salad"
Some fs substantives do not take a feminine marker. These substantives
may refer to female creatures, double parts of the body or some
natural everyday elements.
amm "mother"
<hat "sister"
banat "girl, daughter" 1en
..
eye
..
a dan "ear"
id "hand, arm"
gaga!
"foot, leg" nag "fire"
~  
"
..
sam as
sun
5 The f.s. substantives l:tayyi and bazzuni refer to a snake and a cat of
either sex. The form hagg "tomcat" is sometimes used when a distinction
is made between a male and a female cat. No such distinction, however,
is made when referring to a snake.
72 Morphology
2.3.3.1 The feminine of adjectives of colour and defect
The feminine marker of adjectives of colour and defect in CB is
-ii. In MB the feminine marker is -a. Thus compare,
CB ms CB fs MB fs
aswad
'black" soda soda
azgaq
'blue" zagqa zcirga
a8qag 'blond" saqgd scigra
atwal
"stupid" tota tala
axxas
"dumb" xagsa xcirsa
aS'ma
"blind" S'amyd S'cimya
2.3.3.2 The feminine marker -iiyi
In CB unit nouns are frequently formed by the suffixation of the
feminine marker -iiyi, denoting a single unit in a collective substantive.
becjiiyi "an egg"
tamiitiiyi "a tomato"
nagmiiyi "a star" /:ziilabiiyi "a hailstone"
saggiiyi "a courgette, namliiyi "an ant"
a marrow" dabbeniiyi "a fly"
mozayi "a banana"
S'anbiiyi "a grape"
2.3.3.3 The feminine marker -ayyi
Relative adjectives ending in -i have corresponding feminine forms
ending in -ayyi. Thus compare,
ms fs
m   ~ g i m ~ g   y y i "Egyptian"
kanadi kanadayyi "Canadian"
gusi gusayyi "Russian"
yaS'qilbi yaS'qilbayyi "Jacobite"
sanni
sannayyi "Sunni"
sm
siS'ayyi
"ShiCite"
agmani
agmanayyi "Armenian"
iitilgi
iitilgayyi "Assyrian"
agnabi agnabayyi "foreigner"
The Noun 73
l
am "Muslim" (m.s.) has a corresponding f.s. form ending in
mas . 6
... '1.,; masalmayyr.
-ayr•
cornpare the following m;.s. and f.s .• of colour:
kalab agn:ed_! . ..a grey  
bazziini gmedayyr .. a cat ..
bliiZ wagdi a pmk blouse
tannoga wagdayyi "a pink petticoat"
qalam banafsagi "a purple crayon"
wagdi banafsagayyi "a purple flower"
mez qahwtiJi "a brown table"
maktabi qahwtiJayyi "a brown desk"
stib J:zanttiwi "a dark young man"
banat J:zanttiwayyi "a dark girl"
2.3.4 Number
2.3.4.1 The dual
The dual markers in CB are -en (m.s.) and -ten (f.s.), which are
suffixed to the base forms of substantives. In type forms a
is elided in the masculine, but retained in the feminine dual form, in
keeping with the rules of vowel elision.
7
ms fs
sahgen "two months" santen "two years"
kalben "two dogs" kalabten "two bitches"
mezen "two tables" magten "twice"
abnen
"two boys, two banten "two girls, two daugh-
sons" ters"
mudigen "two headmasters" mudigten "two headmistresses"
The dual of feminine unit nouns ending in -tiyi is formed by the
elision of final -i and the suffixation of the feminine dual marker
-ten.
6 This was the form commonly U!;ied at one time to denote a Muslim
woman. Nowadays most people tend to use the form masalmi which
corresponds to MB masalma < LA muslima.
7 See 1.5.2. above.
be{liiyi
nagmayi
pagdiiyi
sallayi
f:ziililbtiyi
"an egg''
"a star"
"a curtain"
"a pen nib"
"a hailstone"
2.3.4.2 The plural
>be(lilyten
> nagmtiyten
> pagdayten
> sallayten
> f:zalilbtiyten
"two eggs"
"two stars"
"two curtains"
"two pen nibs"
"two hailstones"
The plural is formed either by suffixation or by changing the morphemic
shape of the singular. The plural which is formed by suffixation is
known as the sound plural, "because all the vowels and consonants
of the singular are retained in it", while the other is referred to as
the broken plural "because it is more or less altered from the
singular by the addition or elision of consonants, or the change of
vowels" (Wright, I, 1955: 191-2).
The sound plural is formed by the addition of -in to masculine,
and -at to feminine nouns respectively. The sound plural is largely
confined to participles, nouns denoting habit or profession, and most
adjectives. Many feminine nouns ending in -iiyi or -ayyi take the
sound feminine plural.
ms mp
f:zalu f:zalwin "handsome"
t;a{lim lJa{limin "great"
sagzt; sagz"lin "fast, speedy"
basat; baslJin
"ugly"
lebas lebsin "dressed, wearing"
be gad beg din "cold"
  "having finished"
mkassag mkasgrn "broken"
kaddiip kaddabin "liars
..
gayyiig gayytigin "jealous"
xabbaz xabbazin
"bakers"
sam mas sammtisin "sacristans"
qaddis
qaddisin "saints"
masif:zi masif:zayyin "Christians"
yazidi yazidayyin "Yazidis"

"Egyptians"
silgi
silgayyin "Syrians"
fs
gafrbi
fp
giihbtit
tala bat
calaba
sayyagat
maialli magalliit
massiil:za massii/:tiit
hQ.lubayi l)atabayat
i,a!wi l)alwiit
faKifi sagzfiit
kanadayyi kanadayyiit
)agaqayyi lJagiiqayyiit
The Noun
"nuns"
"students"
"cars"
"magazines"
"rubbers"
"hailstones"
"pretty"
"honourable, of good reputation"
"Canadian (adj.), Canadians"
"Iraqi (adj.), Iraqi women"
75
Sound masculine plural adjectives can sometimes qualify feminine
substantives. Thus, it is possible to have both baniit l)alwiit and
baniit l)alwin "pretty girls"; be{liiyiit mkasgiit and be{layat mkasgfn
"broken eggs"; taffiil:zat /:liim{liit and taffiil:zat /:liim{iin "sour apples".
The plural of relative adjectives
Relative adjectives ending in -i I -ayyi ordinarily take the sound
plural -in I -at where the substantive refers to people. Where it
refers to animals or inanimate objects, the relative adjective,
qualifying a sound masculine or feminine plural noun, is in the
feminine singular.
ms
siib sagi
talmid masf/:li
giihab fgansaskiini
walad badawi
fs
banat anglizayyi
giihbi
mumattala itiilayyi
mudiga sannayyi
but
kteb t;agabi
aglandi
mp
> sabiib sagayyin
> taliimid masi/:layyfn
> gahbiin fgansaskiinayyin
> wled badawayyin
fp
> baniit anglizayyiit
> giihbiit
> mumattaliit
> mudigat sannayyiit
> katab lJagabayyi
>   aglandayyi
"Syrian young men"
"Christian pupils"
"Franciscan monks"
"Bedouin children"
"English girls"
"Basran nuns"
"Italian actresses"
"Sunni headmistresses"
"Arabic books"
"Irish horses"
76
Morphology
ddftag qahwa?i > da{etag qahwa?ayyi
qanun sag}i > qawenin sag}ayyi
sayyaga yabanayyi > sayyaga.t yabanayyi
magalla amagkanayyi > magallat amagkanayyi
gagidi almanayyi > gagayad almanayyi
bazzuni iganayyi > bazezin igdnayyi
"brown note-books"
"statutory laws"
"Japanese cars"
"American magazines"
"German newspapers"
"Persian cats"
The plural of masculine substantives ending in -i
Masculine substantives ending in -i frequently denote habit or
profession. These substantives have a plural ending -ayyi.
(lag ami
sagsagi
afandi
saxtaci
asci
ataci
t;agabanci
The broken plural
> l:zagamayyi
> sagsagayyi
> afandayyi
> saxtacayyi
> ascayyi
> utacayyi
> fJagabancayyi
"thieves"
"layabouts"
"gentlemen"
"cheats"
"cooks, chefs"
"dry-cleaners"
"coachmen, horse-
drawn carriage
drivers"
There are several broken plural patterns in CB. The following are
some of the more frequently occuring with examples:
(i) CCaC/ CCeC
CCaC is the adjectival plural pattern, while CCeC with imala is
the substantive pattern.
qway "strong"
twa! "tall"
qlem "pencils"
tiel "hills"
(ii) CCaC(v)/ CCoC
qlab
"hearts"
tbUl "drums"
sman
q$tig
/:I bel
gmel
gdad
$till
"fat"
"short"
"ropes"
"camels"
"ancestors"
"buckets"
kbag "big"
m/.af "clean"
wled "children"
zbet; "lions"
glad "skins"
xdud "cheeks"
stab
btuli
"roofs"
"bottles"
fgox
?sildi
The Noun
"chicks"
"lions"
77
gdog "cooking-pots"
syilga "straps"
'fhe eeoc pattern can also occur as a disyllabic form with an
Pty
ctic vowel breaking up the initial consonant cluster.
ana
gaftin
"eyelids"
"eyes
"
t;ayiln
(iii) CvCvCvC
sawega)
"streets"
madegas "schools"
mantifjag "glasses
"
(iv) CvCvCvC
dakekin "shops"
1awemid "pillars"
"sparrows"
(v) (C)vCvCv
bayilt "houses"
nagum "stars"
gawegab " socks"
qanebal "bombs"

"rulers"
dawelib "cupboards"
mazemig "psalms"
"cuttings"
bafiln "stomachs"
goyilm "clouds"
manedog "cushions"
masekal "problems"
matli1am "restaurants"
bazezin "cats"
manesig "pamphlets"
  "pictures"
There are a number of adjectives of this pattern in which the
vowel of the second syllable is invariably d. Substantives of this
pattern have e as the vowel of the second syllable.
kasali
"lazy" gaf:tasi "asses" gas ami "ignorant"
yattimi
"orphans"
1atti.Si "thirsty" f:tabali "pregnant"
zaweli
..
carpets" f:tayeyi "snakes" malehi "nightclubs"
ager;Ji
"lands" asemi "names" awefi "very capable
people"
are other less frequently broken plural patterns,
hke CvCvC, CvCvC, C
1
vC
2
C
2
vC
3
and C
1
vC c
2
vC
3
.
(vi) CvCvC
"handbags" qabab
"glands" xata!
"rooms"
"plans"
xagaq "rags"
gatat "corpses"
78 Morphology
(vii) CvCvC
"mice" nfgan
"fires"
grgan "neighbours"
(viii) C
1
vC
2
C
2
vC
3
This is an adjectival pattern of which the following are the most
frequently occuring examples:
)attaq
kattab
xotfag
"old"
"clerks"
"guests"
2.4 Numerals
gaddad "new"
)am mal
taggag
"labourers"
"merchants"
2.4.1 Cardinal numbers
The cardinal numbers from 1 to 20, as used
follows:
1 wel:zad
6 satti 11 addfas
2 tnen 7 sab)a 12 tnafas
3 tlati 8 tmeni 13 tlatta)as
4 dgba)a 9
tas)a
14 agbiita)as
5 xamsi 10
)asga
15 xamasta)as
Numbers 3 to 10 occur in the construct.
3 tlat
4 agba)
5 xamas
6 satt
7 saba)
8 tman
The numerals 30, 40, 50, etc. are:
sattag "clever"
sayyab
sakkan
"old men"
"inhabitants"
in enumeration, are as
16 sattafas
17 zbatafas
18 tmentafas
19
t   ~   t   f   s
20 fasgrn
9 tasa)
10 )asag
30 tletin
40 agbafin
50 xamsin
60 sattfn
70 sab)in
80 tmenin
90 tas1in
100 mayyi
200 mften
300 tlatmayyi, etc.
The construct of mayyi is mit.
Other numerals are:
Jl wel)ad w atletin
52 tnen w xamsin
74 agbalJa w sablJin
Numerals
112 mayyi w atnalJas
420 agbalJmayyi w lJasgrn, etc.
The numerals for the thousands are:
1000 ala[
2000 alfon
3000 tlattalaf
4000 agbalJtalti.f
2.4.2 Ordinal numbers
The ordinal numbers 1 to
ms fs
awwal ala
tani tli.nayi
tal at talata
gabat; gabalJa
xamas xli.masa
sadas sadasa
siibat;
sabalJa
taman tli.mana
tiisat;
ttisalJa
lJiiSag lJasaga
5000 xamastalti.f
6000 sattalaf
7000 sabalJtalaf, etc.
10 are as follows:
"first"
"second"
"third"
"fourth"
"fifth"
"sixth"
..
seventh"
"eighth"
"ninth"
"tenth"
79
Ordinal numbers have two main functions, namely as adjectives or
as elatives. Where they occur as adjectives, they follow the substantives
they qualify and inflect for gender. Where they function as elatives
they precede the substantives and do not inflect. Thus compare,
ay-yom ag-gabat;
gabat; yom
at-talmidi t-tiinayi
tiini talmidi
"the fourth day"
"the fourth day"
"the second pupil (fs)"
"the second pupil"
80 Morphology
2.5 The Pronoun
2.5.1 Subject pronouns
8
The following are the independent subject pronouns:
lcs ana lcp nal:zna
2ms ant a
2fs anti 2cp an tam
3ms hawwa
3fs hayyi 3cp hamma
2.5.2 Object pronouns
2.5.2.1 Direct object pronouns
The following are the direct object pronouns suffixed to verbs:
post-consonantal post-vocalic
lcs -ni -ni
2ms -ak -k
2fs -ki -ki
3ms -u -nu
3fs -a -ha I -wa
lcp -na -na
2cp -kam -kam
3cp -am -ham I -wam
2.5.2.2 Indirect object pronouns
The following are the indirect object pronouns suffixed to verbs:
lcs -li lcp -alna
2ms -lak
2fs -alki 2cp -alkam
3ms -lu
3fs -la
3cp -lam
8 The subject pronouns affixed to perfective and imperfective verbs have
already been dicussed in 2.1, p. 43-47.
The Pronoun 81
5
_
3
Double object pronouns
~   r   a verb takes a double object, the indirect object is suffixed
the verb and the direct object follows independently. In such
~ ~ s   s the direct object is ya- + the pronominal suffix. Thus,
sammalJatli yiiha
dazza/na yanu
gabU1kam yaham
$awwagalna yakam
"She let me hear it (fs)"
"He sent it (ms) to us"
"They brought them to you (cp)"
"He photographed you (cp) for us"
2.5.4 Possessive pronouns
The following are the possessive pronouns suffixed to nominal forms:
post-consonantal
post-vocalic
lcs
-i -yi
2ms
-ak -k
2fs
-ki -ki
3ms
-u -nu
3fs -a -ha 1-wa
lcp -na -na
2cp -kam -kam
3cp -am -warn
2.5.5 Demonstrative pronouns
The demonstrative pronouns in CB are:
ms
fs
cp
hiida
hiiyi
hadi5li
"this"
"this"
"these"
2.5.6 The relative pronoun
hadiik I hadiika "that"
hadik I hadiki "that"
hadoliik "those"
The relative pronoun in CB is either 1 or (a)lli. Thus,
gii aban }ammi 1 kiin ab amegka
"My cousin, who was in America, has come back."
hiida 1-bet kanna gaJ:t nastaginu.
"This is the house we wanted to buy."
82 Morphology
naga/:1 bal-amtal:uin alii siifu ~ a f a b aktig
"He passed the exam which he found very difficult."
bant gfgtinna hayyi lli fenu falayya axilyi
"Our neighbour's daughter is the one my brother has his eye on."
2.5. 7 Interrogative pronouns
The interrogative pronouns in CB are:
manu "who?"
sanu; s (preposed); es (postposed) "what?"
slon "how?" sqad
(s)kam "how many?" les
wen "where?" ay; ayya
2.6 Adverbs
"how much?"
"why?"
"which one?"
The CB adverbs indicating place, time and manner are:
place
honi
"here" honiki "there"
hag-gaha I "this side" hadik ag-gaha I "that side"
h a ~   ~ o b hadak a ~   ~ o b
bagga
"
outside" gawwa "inside"
fal-yamin "on the right" fal-yasag "on the left"
liqaddam "forwards" liwaga "backwards"
time
hay-yom "today" mag gat "sometimes
"
mbeg/:la "yesterday" man zaman "a long time ago"
gada "tomorrow" matill
"as long as"
man waqat " early" ga2san "immediately"
da.Jaman "always" fad gas "directly"
fala fill
"always" taqgzban "about"
manner
hakki "thus, in this
male/:1
"well"
manner"
bal-fagal
"quickly"
/:lei
"quickly"
8wayya "
a little" ktig "a lot, very much"
yaw as
"slowly"
Prepositions 83
z.
7
Prepositions
'fhe following are the main prepositions in CB:
b
"in"
CJala
"on" t;an "about"
man
"from"
wayya "with" t;and
"at, at the
ben
"between, among" matal "like"
house of'
qaddam
"in front of' wag a "behind" qbal "facing"
yamm
"near" foq "above"
~ o   "towards"
"around" I
"to"
dayag
rabat
"under" dayag mandag "all around"
2.8 Conjunctions
The following are the main conjuntions in CB:
ida "if'
bass "but"
lo ... lo ... "either ... or ... "
lo
lakan
w
"if, or"
"but"
"and"
aw "or"
baCJden "then"
SYNTAX
3.1 The Verb Phrase
CB verbs can be divided into four syntactically different forms, the
perfective, the imperfective, the imperative and the participle. There
are two aspects, the non-progressive and the progressive, corres-
ponding to the perfective and the imperfective respectively. "Aspect
refers to the manner in which the verb action is regarded or
experienced" (Quirk et al., 1972: 90). Time, which is "a universal
concept" (ibid., 84), is divided into three parts, past time, present
time and future time.
3.1.1 The perfective
The perfective ordinarily expresses a completed action in an
unspecified past time.
s   m   ~ x-xabag
"I heard the news."
gabalna wgad
'They brought us flowers".
axti f!ayyafat ab sugya
"My sister spent the summer in Syria."
nkasagat saCJati
"My watch broke."
banu bet aqbal bema
"They built a house opposite ours."
gabat banat
"She gave birth to a daughter."
All actions referred to in the examples above can be determined
by adding a modifier.
s   m   ~ x-xabag hay-yi5m
"I heard the news today."
The Verb Phrase 85
mbeg!:za gabalna wagad
"Yesterday they brought us flowers."
axti ab-sugya qabal santen
"My sister spent the summer in Syria two years ago."
nkasagat safati qabl aswayya
"My watch broke a short while ago."
t;am 1-awwal banu betam aqbal betna
"Last year they built their house opposite ours."
giibat banat hay-ytim  
"She gave birth to a daughter this morning."
3.1.1.1 The perfective of stative verbs can sometimes refer to the
present when it occurs with a present verb modifier. Stative verbs are
verbs which refer to an unchanging condition or state, as, for example,
to see, to believe, to contain, to love, to hear, to know, etc.
hassa) )agaftu manu w manu )ada
"Now I know who is a friend and who is a foe."
had- daqfqa ftaham sqa- a)ni
"Now (this moment) he understands, what I mean."
hassa) saftu b)eni sltin qay)amala
"Now I see with my own eye(s) how he treats her."
hal-la!:z(ja sa)agtu aqdag al:zabbam
"This instant I feel I can love them."
3.1.1.2 A present verb modifier occuring with the perfective of a
dynamic verb refers to an action just completed. Dynamic verbs can
be activity verbs like, to ask, to work, to write, to read, to listen, to
look at, to throw; or process verbs like, to change, to grow, to
deteriorate, to improve, etc.
hassa) qagetu g-gagzdi
"I have just read the newspaper."
had-daqzqa labastu hada 1-ablaz
"I have just this moment put this blouse on."
hal-la!:zcja katabtu 1-maktab
"I have this instant written the letter."
ma)a 1-asaf huwwa ma htini had-daqfqa tala)
"I am sorry he is not here, he has just gone out."
86
Syntax
3.1.1.3 Where a perfective verb is preceded by either ida or lo "if',
it denotes an action that has not taken place.
lo git gib xabaz wayyak
"If you come bring some bread with you."
ida katabti ansiiJ aktabi aktag man $a{a/:zi'en
"If you write an essay, write more than two pages."
li5 sa[tanu 1-marwtin sa/mali IJalenu
"If you see Marwan give him my regards."
ida gal:zo 1 pagzz xalliham yzagan al-lilvg
"If they go to Paris let them visit the Louvre."
3.1.1.4 In subordinate clauses introduced by balki I balkat or
gubbamti "perhaps, in case", the perfective can refer to a future
time.
gal:z atgak bab qabbati maftol:z balki daqq at-talafi5n
"I shall leave my bedroom door open in case the phone rings."
Ia taqbalin maw!Jad yom ax-xamis gubbamti IJagabki tagen wayydna
"Don't accept an appointment on Thursday, in case you feel like
coming (out) with us."
qaltallu ysallamli IJala amira balki IJandu waqat ymagg IJalaya
"I told him to give my regards to Amira perhaps he will have
time to drop in on her."
ma qaygid yxabbagam gal:z yagkab   gubbamti t;fall btilam
"He does not want to tell them he is going horse-riding in case
they worry."
3.1.2 The imperfective
The imperfective is ordinarily used to indicate a timeless incomplete
action that does not occur at any definite time. The imperfective is
said to be situational, that is to say it is generally used to state a
fact or provide certain information.
ysaq logi
"He drives a lorry."
tadgas mosiqa klasikayyi
"She is studying Classical music."
adaggas ab kallayyat al- ban at
"I teach at the Girls' College."
The Verb Phrase
87
xuyi ydaxxan sabfl
a k . ,
"MY brother smo es a p1pe.
yastagal bal-S:ayada lli yamm ag-gasag
"He works in the (medical) practice that is near the bridge."
yalS:abiln futbol ab siilJ.at al-madgasi
"They play football in the school courtyard."
Where an imperfective occurs with a modifier it can refer to a
habitual action.
ysilq logi baz-zboS: magga
"He drives a lorry once a week."
tadgas moslqa kllislkayyi kax- xamls w sabat
"She studies Classical music on Thursdays and Saturdays."
adaggas ab-kallayyat al-banli.t agbaS: maggli.t bas-sahag
"I teach at the Girls' College four times a month."
axilyi ydaxxan sabfl baS:d al-S:asa
"My brother smokes a pipe after supper."
yastagal bal-S:ayada lli yamm ag-gasag al-5:a$ag
"He works in the (medical) practice near the bridge in the
afternoons."
yalS:abiln futbol ab siilJ.at al-madgasi kal yom gamS:a
'They play football in the school courtyard every Friday."
3.1.3 Verbal particles
3.1.3.1 The particle preceding the perfective
In CB the perfective is rarely preceded by a particle. The only
exception being kan which is a particle that is fast becoming obsolete.
Although kan has been known to occur with all persons of the
perfective, it is nowadays more commonly found preceding a 3rd
person verb. In such cases kan semantically approximates the -mi$
element in the Turkish mazi nakli. In other words, kan + the perfective
conveys the idea of reported speech.
kan S:agabu 1-falam
"He liked the film." (That is to say, I am told he liked the film,
although he did not tell me so himself.)
88 Syntax
kan txaggagat man kallayyat at-tabbayyi
"She graduated from the Medical College." (It is a well know
fact that she graduated, although I did not witness the n
myself.)
event
kan saf maxratat sagyanayyi
"He saw Syriac manuscripts." (I was told he saw Syriac manuscripts
but I did not witness him seeing them.) '
kan tagadawa  
'They dismissed their maid." (I am told that is what happened.)
3.1.3.2 Particles preceding the imperfective
The particles that ordinarily precede the imperfective are prefix
qa-, denoting a continuous action that is taking place in the present,
and the independent particle ga/:1, denoting a future event or action.
qa- qatatmassa bal-bastan
"She is walking in the garden." (She is actually walking at the
moment.)
qanastagi xabaz man hada 1-fagan ag-gadid
"We are now buying (our) bread from this new bakery." ( We
are in the habit of buying our bread from there, and we shall
continue to do so until some future date.)
qatatbax tabix betangan w la!:zam
"She is cooking an aubergine and meat stew." (She is at the
moment preparing it.)
qanadgas nal:zat ab maCJhad al-faniln ag-gamila
"We are studying sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts." (We
are enrolled at the Academy, and are studying there.)
With verbs of motion and verbs that do not imply a continuous
action qa- (also qa- before a-) + the imperfective refers to the
future.
CJammi qaysafag al-amegka
"My (paternal) uncle is travelling to America." (My uncle has not
set off yet, but he is intending to in the near future.)
ana w axilyi qangol:z las-sinama
"My brother and I are going to the cinema." (We have not gone
yet, but we are going to go.)
The Verb Phrase 89
ana qa-anzal lal-balad qatgidin se?
"I am going down to town, would you like anything?" (I shall be
going to town soon.)
qattfg at-tayytiga s-s6Sa 'la8ga
"The plane will take off (fly) at ten o'clock." (lt will fly later,
but at the moment it is still on the ground.)
tawfiq qayaftab maf'lam ab datroyt
"Tawfiq is going to open a restaurant in Detroit."
qanwaHila 'lata ma<ir;lac;i dahab
"We are going to order a gold bracelet for her."
qatatkallal ab kanist al-agman
"She is getting married in the Armenian church."
qayalbas smokan lal-bafli
"He is going to wear a dinner jacket (tuxedo) to the party."
The future is usually expressed by the particle gab preceding the
imperfective.
gab nastagi bet 'lal-babag
"We shall buy a house by the sea."
gab ygobon lal-'lagaq  
"They will go to Iraq in the summer."
gab yazga'l asgag masmas ab-basttinu
"He will plant apricot trees in his garden."
gab at<iaggab ida mti gab tangaben
"I shall be surprised if you will not succeed."
Prefix da-, which is not common in CB, ordinarily introduces the
imperfective of a subordinate clause where the verb of the main
clause expresses a command or asks a question.
ta'lalu 1-honi da8awwafkam   mal al-aklil
"Come here so I can show you the wedding photographs."
slon ysawwun silan da-at<iallam
"How do they make date syrup, so that I can learn."
wqafi honiki datsufin   absan
"Stand over there, so that you (f.s.) can see the picture better."
xalli 1-btib maftob datatlaf al-bazzuni
"Leave the door open so the cat can get out."
90
Syntax
3.1.4 Auxiliary verbs
3.1.4.1 Auxiliary verbs with the perfective
The most frequently occuring auxiliary verb with the perfective .
kti.n "to be", which can occur in the perfective as kan, or in
imperfective as ykan. kti.n + the perfective refers to an action that
was about to happen but which did not.
kan tzawwag lo ammu mti. maddaxli
"He would have got married, had his mother not interfered."
kanna       hassa5: lo tti.IS:in man waqat
"We would have arrived by now, had we set out early."
kantu gabtu b sayyagtak lo aS:gaf txallfni asaqha
"I would have gone in your car, had I known you would let me
drive it."
kti.n + the perfective frequently refers to an action or an event that
had taken place before another.
kan laqa saga/ /amman xti.li talab mannu yastagal wayyti.nu
"He had already found work when my (maternal) uncle asked
him to work with him."
waqt alli     at-tawra kantu tagaktu bagdad
"When the revolution took place I had already left Baghdad."
/amman     stagu talavazyon kanna nabna stagena wehad
qablam
"When our neighbours bought a television we had already bought
one before them."
When a perfective verb is preceded by the imperfective auxiliary
verb, ykan, a future perfect is expressed.
!amman tagga5: man almanya tkan tlallamat almti.ni maleb
"When you return from Germany you will have learnt good
German."
baS:ad kam sani tkan kabagat hai-sagaga matag
"In a few years' time this tree will have grown a metre."
gada tkiin stalamat maktabi
"Tomorrow you will have received my letter."
The Verb Phrase 91
1
_
4
.2 Auxiliary verbs with the imperfective
3._ + the imperfective refers to a habitual action that used to take
klan e in the past, but which no longer does.
p ac
kantu astagal ab sagakat an-nafa!
"I used to work in the oil company."
hada g-gaggal kan kal yom yastagi moz !amman kanu wledu
zgag
'This man used to buy bananas every day when his children
were young."
kal aha! bagdad kiinu ynaman 'lala $-$ata(l ba$-$e{
"All the people of Baghdad used to sleep on the roof in summer."
The imperfective ykun, preceding the imperfective of the main verb,
ordinarily occurs in the 3rd person singular to express a wish or a hope.
ykun yagi 'lad
"I do wish he would come."
ykan t(labb ham-ma(lbas
"I do hope she will like this ring."
ykun tat$aggaf male/:! 'landam
"I wish she would behave herself at their house."
ykan yanga(lon ab axag as-sani
"Let us hope they pass the examination at the end of the year."
ykun na'lgaf wen nanzal
"I wish we knew where to get off."
The verbs (labb "to love, to like, gad "to want", and the third
person singular verb 'lagab + the pronominal suffix "to feel like",
occur frequently as auxiliaries preceding the imperfective. These
auxiliaries occur in the perfective and the imperfective. Where the
auxiliary is in the perfective the construction refers to an indefinite
action that may or may not have taken place.
(labb yafiaggaf 'lalekam
"He wanted to be introduced to you." (He may still not have
been introduced to you.)
gadna nsufkam man hada ffina man waqat
"We wanted to see you, that is why we came early." (We managed
to see you by coming early.)
92 Syntax
S:agabni ago}]. las-sawed mbog a}J.abb al-baldan al-begdi
"I felt like going to Sweden because I like cold countries."(!
may or may not have gone.)
S:agabam y6.kliln $a/atat xass w axy6.g
"They felt like eating a lettuce and cucumber salad." (They felt
like having some. although they may or may not have eaten
any.)
Where the auxiliary verb is in the imperfective the construction
refers to a future time. The auxiliary can occur with prefix qa-.
y}J.abb yatlallam gasam
"He would like to learn drawing."
qat}J.abb atsafag al amegka
"She would like to go to America."
ngid nabni qabbi foq al-gagag
"We want to build a room on top of the garage."
qangzd ansaggal abanna b madgasat al-gazwit
"We want to register our son in the Jesuit school."
The imperfective of S:agab + the pronominal suffix can only occur
with prefix qa-.
qayaS:gabam yafta}J.on madgasi lal-ammayyin
"They would like to open a school for the illiterate."
qayaS:gabna n6.xad bet xalati 1 babal
"We feel like taking my aunt and her family to Babylon."
3.1.4.3 Other auxiliaries
Some independent verbs like q6.m "to get up, to start doing s.t.",
ga}J. "to go", $6.g "to be, to become", bada "to start", can occur as
auxiliaries with the imperfective. However, verbs of motion, like
q6.m and g6.}J. can also occur with the perfective.
!amman S:agafat aku }J.agami bal-bet q6.mt atlayyat
"When she knew there was a burglar in the house, she began
to scream."
q6.m ysabni w yqalli ana m6. aswa se
"He started to curse me and tell me I was worth nothing."
The Verb Phrase 93
galJat atgfb tamata man as-soq
"She went to get tomatoes from the market."
galJna nfaggagam 5:a1a 1-maS:ga{i
"We went to show them the exhibition."
sagu yS:atbiina 1es rna ga/:lna 1 S:andam
;'They started remonstrating with us why we did not go to (visit)
them."
$agtu axaf man ka1 taqqa
"I began to get scared of every bang."
ga $-$e[ w badena nasgab sagbat begad
"Summer has come, and we have started to drink cold (soft)
drinks."
{iagabata amma w badat tabki
"Her mother smacked her and she started to cry."
qam taS:ani a/:lsan wagdi b bastanu
"He gave me the best flower in his garden."
qamtu sallamtu 5:a1ayya
"I greeted her."
gii./:1 gab maga man kanada les asbayam banatna honi?
"He went and got a wife from Canada, (so) what's wrong with
our girls here?"
ga/:lna xabagnaham bas rna kii.nu ba1-bet
"We telephoned them, but they were not at home."
3.1.4.4 Double auxiliaries
The perfective kan + the perfective or imperfective of the verbs
babb and gad can occur as double auxiliaries preceding an imperfective
verb. The three-verb construction refers to a continuous past time
where an event or action that could have taken place did not.
kantu agid adgas tabb bas dagagati rna kanat 5:a1yi kafayi
"I wanted to study medicine, but my grades were not high
enough."
kan qaygid ykamma1 dagii.satu 16.kan a{i-fj,aguf mii. s6.5:adat
"He wanted to finish his education, but circumstances did not
help."
kanna n/:labb ansiifu qaba1 maysafag
"We would have liked to see him before he went away (lit.
travelled)."
94 Syntax
kiinat qatl)abb tagi wayyiiyi bas talaCJ CJanda saga!
"She would have liked to come with me, but it turned out she
had work to do."
3.1.5 The imperative
There are two types of imperative in CB, the simple and the
compound.
3.1.5.1 The simple imperative
The simple imperative, which was discussed in the section on
morphology, deals with the second persons only.
mse man honi
"Get away from here!" (m.s.)
xadlu ciiy a! abak
'Take some tea to your father!" (m.s.)
xabginu
'Telephone him!" (f.s.)
gzbilna qahwi
"Bring us some coffee!" (f.s.)
smaCJu mosiqa CJagabayyi
"Listen to Arabic music!" (c.p.)
gtahdu datanga/:16n
"Work hard so you would pass the examination!" (c.p.)
3.1.5.2 The compound imperative
The compound imperative deals with the first and third persons, and
is usually made up of a compound construction, comprising the
particle xalli "let" + the pronominal suffix, followed by an imperfective
verb.
xallina nat$aggaf matal rna ngzd
"Let us do as we please (lit. wish)."
xallinu yakal aklu
"Let him eat his food."
xallayam yagon
"Let them come."
xallini adig biili 1 nafsi
"Let me look after myself."
The Verb Phrase
xallayya tkammel dagiisata
"Let her finish her education."
xallinu ya/:lki
"Let him speak."
95
xalli + the pronominal suffix can occur as an independent imperative
in the second persons, where the meaning conveyed is "to stay".
xallik honi
"Stay here!" (m.s.)
xalliki qeldi
"Stay sitting!" (f.s.)
xallikam t.landna hay-yom
"Stay at our house today!" (c.p.)
3.1.6 The participle
3.1.6.1 The active participle
The active participle ordinarily refers to a timeless event or action.
The active participle inflects for gender and number.
nal:zna semt.lin binu
"We have heard of him."
yqill ketabli maktilb
"He says he has written me a letter."
gal:ztu l t.landa laqetawwa nezli las-soq
"I went to her house, and found that she had gone down to the
market."
$adiqati geybi man al-madgasi
"My friend is absent from school."
The active participle of durative verbs, like saf "to see", labas "to
wear", refers to an action that started in the past and which is still
effective.
t.lammati lebsi l:zwes nahiig al-al:zad
"My aunt is wearing her Sunday best clothes." (My aunt put on
her clothes, and she is still wearing them.)
ana semt.la !:zagaki bagga
"I am hearing movement outside." (I started hearing movement
outside, and I am still hearing it.)
96 Syntax
taygin man fag/:latam abnam gega1 ba1ad agba1 asnin ab amegk
"They are thrilled Oit. flying because of their happiness) t h   i ~
son is coming back after four years in America." (They were
happy when they first found out he was coming, and their
happiness continues.)
abuyi ma6aggab asli5n rna }agaftinu
"My father is surprised how you (f.s.) did not recognize him."
(My father was surprised when he first found out, and he is
still surprised.)
$addaq hawwa nesi antam zalllanin
"Believe me, he has forgotten you (c.p.) are not on speaking
terms." (He is still unaware you are not on speaking terms.)
The active participle of verbs of motion can refer to a future time.
na/:lna msefgin ab llid al-agbig
"We are going away at Easter."
ana nezli 1 bagdad gada
"I am going down to Baghdad (i.e. to the city centre) tomorrow."
mudig sagakatna gaya/:1 hay-yom al xanaqin w gegalJ ballad yi5men
"The director of our company is going to Khanaqin today, and
coming back in two days' time."
na/:lna mesyin man honi s-sa1a xamsi
"We shall set off from here at five o'clock."
msaggaf
1
al honi balld acf.-r.jahag
"He is coming here in the afternoon."
The active participle of verbs of motion can refer to a past time
when it is preceded by the auxiliary verb kan, or when there is in
the sentence a verb modifier referring to a past time.
!amman sa{tanu kan gegalJ man as-satt
"When I saw him he was coming back from the river."
matal hay-yom qabal sani kanu kallatam msefgin lal-mi5$al
"A year ago today they had all gone away to Mosul."
saggaf "to honour with one's presence" is often used sarcastically in
CB to mean "to come".
The Verb Phrase 97
wasalna lam-mal:zarra s-saSa tas1a bas kan mesi qatag astambill
"W.e arrived at the station at nine o'clock, but the Istanbul train
had (already) left."
nahna gay/:zin lam-matl:zaf mit magga
"'<VJe have been to the museum a hundred times."
ana msefag al almanya qabal
"I have travelled to Germany before."
antam gayyin 1andna kam magga
"You have been to our house several times."
Where kan precedes the active participle of durative verbs the
reference is to an action that was continuous in the past, but which
is no longer effective.
kan nayyam 1andna mbegl:za
"He was sleeping at our house yesterday."
kanna nalbas tablayyat lam- madgasi
"We used to wear overalls to school."
kan beqi 1andi n   ~ dinag
"I had half a dinar left."
kanat qe'ldi honi bas hassa1 tala1at al fi5q
"She was sitting here, but now she has gone upstairs."
kantu l:zessi b waga1 gas bas hassa1 rna qayi5ga1ni gasi
"I had a headache, but now my head is not aching (any more)."
3.1.6.2 The passive participle
The passive participle which functions as an adjective, in that it
agrees with the substantive it qualifies in gender and number, ordinarily
refers to an event or action that is still effective.
sabbak qabbati maksog
"My bedroom window is broken." (It is still broken.)
tayyal bastankam gadid m   q ~ i l ~
"Your garden lawn is newly cut." (It looks like it has just been
cut.)
dafotagki kallatam masqoqin
"All your (f.s.) exercise books are torn." (They are torn at this
moment.)
98 Syntax
hii.y al-beljtiyi masl6qa
"This egg is hard-boiled." (It has been hard-boiled and is still
here.)
gantati ma}:!tfita h6ni
"My handbag has been placed here." (It is still where it was
placed.)
1-f:!alib makbab fJal-mez
"The milk is spilt on the table." (One can still see that it has
been spilt.)
The passive participle can refer to a habitual action when it occurs
with a modifier.
d-dakktin mazdild kax-xamis
"The shop is closed every Thursday."
btib ak-kanisi kal waqat mafto/:1
"The church door is always open."
stilJata dii2aman maksoga
"Her watch is always broken."
kal mti tatbax anltiqiha    
"Whenever she cooks we find her flustered."
kal mti ngol:z al fJandam ansuf kalbam magbilt
"Every time we go to their house we find their dog tied up."
When the passive participle is preceded by ktin it refers to a past
event.
d-dakktin ktin mazdud
"The shop was closed."
btib ak-kanisi ktin maftol:z
"The church door was open."
stifJata ktinat maksoga
"Her watch was broken."
!amman ktinat qatatbax ktinat    
"When she was cooking she was flustered."
kal mti kanna ngol:z al fJandam kalbam ktin magbilt
"Every time we went to their house their dog was tied up."
The Noun Phrase 99
3.Z The Noun Phrase
A noun phrase is a word, or a group of words, consisting of nominal
Iements only, with a pronoun or a noun as the head or main part.
~ e head can be preceded by an article or another noun, and
followed by an adjective, a prepositional phrase or a relative clause.
The noun phrase functions as subject, object or complement.
The following are examples of the noun phrase as subject:
hawwa "he" ]
] honi baq-qabbi "is here in the
Milsa "Musa" (proper name) ] room."
banat "girls" ] qaygol:zon lam-madgasi "are going to school."
m-maga "the woman" ] qatgol:z las-saga! "is going to work."
banat l:zalwi "a pretty girl" ] qatamsi yammu "is walking beside
kalab aswad "a black dog" ]
h
. ..
Im.
] qayamsi "is walking."
g-gaggal at-tawil "the tall man" ]
The first four examples are single noun phrases, while the last
three examples are referred to as appositional noun phrases. In
each of the last three noun phrases the first noun functions as an
identifier while the second noun acts as a postmodifying adjective.
In the first two examples the single noun phrase is followed by an
adverb of place, honi "here" and a postmodifying prepositional phrase
baq-qabbi "in the room".
The noun phrase as object
The following are examples of the noun phrase as object:
saftu axta 1-agges
"I saw Grace's sister."
q a ~ a   U 1-abnu 1-agbig
"He punished his eldest son."
laqetu xamas dananig bad-dagab
"I found five dinars in the street."
stagena xyag w tamara man al-baqqal
"We bought cucumber and tomatoes from the grocer."
!UU
Syntax
In the above four sentences the noun phrase objects are axt
1-agges "Grace's sister", abnu 1-agbig "his eldest son", xamas dano.nt
"five dinars" and xyag w tamttta "cucumber and tomatoes" respective}:.
The noun phrase as complement
The complement ordinarily occurs at the end of a sentence, and
can function as both subject and object.
subject complement
zog axatki gaggiil malel:z
"Your sister's husband is a good man."
abnam atlazz azdaqii2i
"Their son is my dearest friend."
asgiig bastiinna kallata a8giig matmaga
"All the trees in our garden are fruit trees."
banat gigiinna hassa5:   tiilaba giima5:ayyi
"Our neighbours' daughter is now a university student."
object complement
5:ayyanilni mudigat madgasi
"They appointed me the headmistress of a school."
$a/;Jagat sa5:ga a$[ag
"She tinted her hair blond."
      a.J:zsan ansiin
"I thought you were the best person."
ntaxabilnu ga2is as-sagaka
"They elected him the director of the company."
In the above sentences the complements are gaggiil male/:! "a good
man"' a5:azz azdaqii2i "my dearest friend"' as gag matmaga "fruit
trees", flilaba giima5:ayyi "a university student", mudigat madgasi "the
headmistress of a school",     "yellow", al:zsan ansiin "the best
person", and ga2is as-sagaka "the director of the company" respectively.
Noun phrases are frequently conjoined. In one of the above
examples of object noun phrases, viz. xyag w tamata, the two single
noun phrases are conjoined by the conjunction w "and". The following
are more examples of conjoined noun phrases:
The Noun Phrase 101
m-maga w ag-gaggal g6.(u5 las-sinama
''The woman and the man went to the cinema."
habib w 5'6.dal a§tag talamid ab  
;,Habib and Adel are the cleverest pupils in my class."
kalabna aswad w /:talu yanu
"Our dog is black and beautiful."
l6gi gbig w     ragas sayy6.gati
"A big and dirty lorry splashed my car."
3.2.1 Concord
When an adjective qualifies a substantive it agrees with it in number
and gender. A masculine adjective, therefore, qualifies a masculine
substantive, and a feminine adjective qualifies a feminine substantive.
ms kalab aswad
gaggal male/:t
talmid s6.fag
aban na5's6.n
  qahwa?i
sa5'ag 5'agabi
fs kalbi soda
maga male!:za
talmidi s6.tga
banat na5's6.ni
bazzuni qahwa?ayyi
gagidi tagkayyi
"a black dog"
"a good man"
"a clever pupil"
"a sleepy boy"
"a brown horse"
"Arabic poetry"
"a black bitch"
"a good woman"
"a clever pupil"
"a sleepy girl"
"a brown cat"
"a Turkish newspaper"
Where a substantive is determined by the definite article, the
adjective is also determined.
g-gaggal al- male/:t
s-sa5'ag al-5'agabi
g-gagidi 1-fgansawayyi
t-talmidi s-satga
"the good man"
"the Arabic poem"
"The French newspaper"
"the clever pupil"
A plural substantive is ordinarily qualified by a plural adjective. A
broken plural adjective is of common gender, qualifying both masculine
and feminine substantives.
102
wled sattag
bantit sattag
kleb sad
kalbtit sad
gawegin gaddad
sayytigtit 5:attaq
fallti/:lin /:lafftiy
taffti/:ltit f:iamag
Syntax
"clever children"
"clever girls"
"black dogs"
''black bitches"
"new neighbours"
"old cars"
"barefoot gardeners"
"red apples"
The sound masculine plural adjective sometimes qualifies feminine,
as well as masculine dual and plural substantives.
ms waladen na5:stinin "two sleepy children"
kalben magbatrn "two tied up dogs"
taltimid saxifin "silly pupils"
xatttig m?addabin "polite guests"
fs xytigten maggin
bantiyten mhaddamin
taffti/:ltit /:ltimrjin
bantit ma/:lbabin
"two bitter cucumbers"
"two dilapidated buildings"
"sour apples"
"lovable girls"
The sound feminine plural adjective occurs sometimes with feminine
plural substantives referring to human beings. This is a fairly recent
development in CB, showing the influence of LA, particularly in the
speech of the better educated.
2
naswtin gayyagtit
gahbtit fganstiwayytit
ttilabtit mu?addabtit
bantit maf:ibabat
"jealous women"
"French nuns"
"polite students"
"lovable girls"
Broken plural substantives, referring to animals and inanimate
objects are frequently qualified by feminine singular adjectives.
sntin 5:tigayyi "false teeth"
byat 5:atiqa "old houses"
katab anglizayyi "English books"
~   w   g amlawwani "coloured pictures"
2 Cf. 2.3.4.2
kleb makliibi
 
!:zayeyi semmi
The Noun Phrase
"dogs with rabies"
"thoroughbred horses"
"poisonous snakes"
103
Where a dual or a plural substantive is determined by the definite
article the qualifying adjective is also determined.
k-kalben as-sild "the two black dogs"
t-talabten as-sattag "the two clever students"
s-sabebik az-zgag "the small windows"
n-naswan as-silgayytit "the Syrian women"
3.2.2 Adjectives as substantives
Some adjectives may function as substantives. In such cases they
can be determined by the definite article.
f-faqaga yat<laddabiln ba/:1-/:lagg
"The poor suffer in the heat."
m-male/:1 mal:zadd yqadgu
"No one appreciates the good."
ga!:ztu lad-dakkan w xadamatni s-saqga
"I went to the shop and the blonde served me."
k-kaddab yrjall da?aman kaddab
"The liar will always be a liar."
1-hand baya ktig foqaga
"India has a lot of poor (people)."
sqadd aku kaddabin bal-5'alam
"There are many liars in the world."
qaygid saqga tmattal ab masga!:zayyatu
"He wants a blonde to act in his play."
mastasfa ma baya magarja
"There cannot be a hospital without sick (people)."
3.2.3 Possession
Possession in CB is of two kinds, simple and compound. Simple
possession involves the suffixation of the possessive pronouns to
nouns.
kalb "dog" + lcs possessive pronoun -i > kalbi "my dog"
bet "house"+ lcp possessive pronoun -na > betna "our house"
104 Syntax
aban "boy" + 2c.p. possessive pronoun -kam > abankam "your son"
qalam "pencil"+ 2f.s. possessive pronoun -ki > qalamki "your pencil"
l:zzem "belt" + 3m.s. possessive pronoun -u > l:zzemu "his belt"
axat "sister" + 3f.s. possessive pronoun -a > axta "her sister"
Compound possession is subdivided into two categories, marked
and unmarked. The marked possessive compound involves the use
of particle mal (m.s.l p.) I malat (f.s./p.) "of, belonging to" between
two nominal elements.
Thus: head noun phrase + mal I malat + modifying noun phrase
s-sabebzk am-maftol:za mal bet gzganna
"The open windows of our neighbours' house."
m-masekal mal kall al-5'alam
"The problems of all the world."
t-tayyaga g-gadzdi malat ag-gays al-5'agaqi
"The new plane of the Iraqi army."
s-samsayyi x-xa{iga malat gaddati
"My grandmother's green umbrella."
In the above examples the head noun phrase is determined by the
definite article. Where the reference is to a collective substantive
the head noun phrase can occur without the definite article.
kafofi l:zageg mal aklili
"Silk handkerchiefs from my wedding."
dafotag gadidi mal ~   f f as-sadas
"New exercise-books of the sixth form."
taffo/:1 stagkan mal sagagatna
"Starking apples from our tree."
matagat madanayyi mal al-5'agaq
"Civil airports of Iraq."
mal I malat agrees with the head noun I noun phrase it follows.
Thus, if the head noun I noun phrase is masculine singular or plural
the particle following is mal. If it is feminine singular or plural the
particle is malat. mal I malat occurs also with the possessive
pronominal suffixes.
The Noun Phrase 105
mali
I malati "mine"
malak
I malatak
"yours (m.s.)"
malki
I malatki
"yours (f.s.)"
malu
I malatu
"his"
mala
I mtilata
"hers"
malna
I malatna
"
ours
"
malkam
I mtilatkam
"yours (c.p.)"
malam
I malatam "theirs"
With the pronominal suffixes mal follows a masculine singular noun I
noun phrase, while mtilat follows a feminine singular noun I noun
phrase.
hay malati
"This (f.s.) is mine."
s-samsayyi malatkam
"The umbrella is yours."
hada 1-lbes malu
"These underpants are his."
m-masat malak
"The comb is yours (m.s.)."
However, the particle following a plural noun I noun phrase is
usually mtilat. Thus compare:
hadoli s-sayyagat malatam
"These cars are theirs."
but hadoli s-sayyagat mal bet 5'ammi
"These cars belong to my uncle's."
k-katab malatki ba$-$a[f
"Your books are in the classroom."
but k-katab mal gorg ba$-$aff
"George's books are in the classroom."
$-$anediq ax-xa§ab malatna honi
"Our wooden crates are here."
but $-$anediq ax-xasab mal xalati honi
"My aunt's wooden crates are here."
106 Syntax
b-bazezin miilatna sad
"Our cats are black."
but b-bazezin miil ifgiinna sad
"Our neighbours' cats are black."
miil + the pronominal suffix can sometimes follow a defined or
undefined plural noun, where the noun in question is a collective
substantive.
tafteb miilam
"their apples"
batt miilkam
"your (c.p.) ducks"
sagag miilna
"our trees"
wagad miilki
"your (f.s.) flowers"
n-nal:zal miilam
"their bees"
t-tamag miilna
"our dates"
miil + the modifying noun frequently functions as an adjective, as,
for example,
maniic}.ag miil samas
"sun-glasses"
sii}a miil id
"a wristwatch"
miikina miil id
"a hand sewing-machine"
sayyiiga miil agga
"a car for hire; a taxi"
kleb mal ~ e  
"gun dogs"
sagal miil igiin
"Iranian handicraft"
kondaga mal bet
"house-shoes"
silan mal tamag
"date-syrup"
mgabba mal masmas
"apricot jam"
dondagma mal fastaq
"pistachio ice cream"
kanisa mal agman
"an Armenian church"
The Noun Phrase 107
The unmarked possessive compound consists of two nominal elements
occuring as a construct. The first element is undetermined, while
the second is determined by the definite article or a pronominal
suffix, unless it happens to be a proper name when no determiner
is needed. Where the first nominal element ends in a vowel (-a/
-i}, -t is added to the first element of the construct.
aban 5'ammi
"my uncle's son"
qabbat 5'ammi
"my uncle's bedroom"
kteb axuyi
"my brother's book"
axuyi
"my brother's ruler"
sa5'b al-5'agaq
"the Iraqi people"
  al-5'agiiq
"the capital of Iraq"
taffo/:1. as-sani
"this year's apples"
gantat al- banat
"the girl's handbag"
al-5'iilam at-tiilat
"the destiny of the Third World"
badiiyat az- zaga5'i
"the beginning of the agrarian· reform"
bet amelda
"Imelda's house"
lVO Syntax
s   w e g   ~ bagdad
"the streets of Baghdad"
sahag nfsan
"the month of April''
l:zkayyat t:.iali baba
"the story of Ali Baba"
angz1 yul:zanna
"the Gospel according to John"
naba?at asat:.iya
"the Book of Isaiah"
3.2.3.1 Cardinal numbers
Cardinal numbers in CB may occur in the construct. we/:zad (m.)/
wal:zdi (f.) "one" is never used in the construct. tnen "two" is only
used in the construct when emphasis is required, as, for example,
t:.iandu tnen banat ma tlati
"He has two daughters, not three."
ma kan aku bal- qat:.ia geg atnen gayaiil
"There was no one in the auditorium, except for two men."
Otherwise "two weeks", "two books", "two girls", etc. are expressed
by the dual.
zbot:.ien "two weeks"
banten "two girls"
l:zazzogten "two puzzles"
sahgen
kagten
bazzunten
"two months"
"twice"
"two cats"
The feminine form tanten occurs on its own, usually as an answer
to a question when the reference is to two feminine units, or the
time. Sometimes tanten can be used interchangeably with the
masculine form tnen.
kam mozayi akalti?
"How many bananas have you eaten?"
tanten or tnen
kam kanisa aku b mal:zallatkam?
"How many churches are there in your district?"
tanten or tnen
The Noun Phrase
s-sa2a bes or bes as-sa2a?
"What time is it?"
tanten ''Two o'clock."
109
The following are examples of cardinal numbers in the construct:3
tlat naswan "three women" xamas katab "five books"
satt awgud "six flowers" tman banat "eight girls"
tasa} "nine pictures" 2asag sayyagat "ten cars"
As can be seen from the above examples, the substantives occuring
with the cardinal numbers 2-10 are all in the plural. The substantives
occuring with the numbers 11 onwards are in the singular, as, for
example,
tlatin sani
"thirty years"
xamsin maga
"fifty women"
tnen w sattin bet
"sixty-two houses"
mit dakkan
"a hundred shops"
a/fen  
"two thousand horses"
mit ala{ dfnag
"a hundred thousand dinars"
tlattalaf w sattin
"three thousand and sixty people"
3 The construct forms of the numbers 3-10 and 100 are given in 2.4.1 in
the morphology.
uu
Syntax
3.3 The Closed-System Items
The closed-system items ordinarily consist of articles, pronouns,
prepositions, conjunctions, interjections and vocatives.
3.3.1 Articles
3.3.1.1 The definite article
The definite article in CB is usually 1-. However, it is frequently
assimilated to the consonantal sound it precedes. In LA and. MB
a distinction is made between "sun" and "moon letters", the former
assimilative, and the latter non-assimilative, as, for, example,
LA a!+ sams
al + qamar
> as-sams
> al-qamar
"the sun"
"the moon"
In CB however, there is no such clear-cut distinction, and the
majority of CB consonants are assimilative. Thus compare:
MB CB
1-warad w-wagad "the flower"
1-yom y-yom "the day"
1-xatt x-xatt "the line, the handwriting"
1-kursi k-kagsi "the chair"
1-barad b-bagad "the cold"
1-/:larr /:l-/:lagg "the heat"
The definite article is not assimilated before consonants like 1 or 2
in order to avoid articulatory problems. It is also rarely assimilated
in loan words from LA.
4
1-S'amag
 
1-adab
1-awedam

1-kiirata
"the age"
"the sparrow"
"the upbringing,
manners; toilet"
"the good people"
"the simplicity"
"the calamity"
1-S'agiiq
1-S'anab
1-amag
"Iraq"
"the grapes"
"the order"
1-asam "the name"
1-mu2tamag "the congress"
1-gani "the rich man"
4 There is a great deal of fluctuation in the assimilation of the definite
article among CB speakers as a result of MB majority influence, and
possibly due to LA interference.
The Closed-System Items 111
'fhe definite article carries no lexical meaning, and is used to give
definite status to the substantives and adjectives it is prefixed to.
g-gawegab "the socks" s-samak "the fish"
1-1aiTabi "the doll" k-kastaban "the thimble"
f-{aqeg "the beggar" 1-axxas "the dumb one"
1-azgaq "the blue one" s-saxif "the silly one"
Some place names are preceded by the definite article, while
others are not. Thus compare:
1-1agaq "Iraq" igan "Iran"
1-ugdun "Jordan" 1abnan "The Lebanon"
s-sa1dan "SaCdun" (a district of Baghdad)
kaggadat magyam "Karradat Maryam" (a district of Baghdad)
The names of the majority of the Iraqi provinces are preceded by
the definite article.
  "Basrah" 1-ka{a "Kufa"
1-mantafak "Muntafik" d-diwanayyi "Diwaniyyah"
d-dalem "Dulaym" s-salemanayyi "Sulaymaniyyah"
 
"Mosul'' n-nagaf "Najaf'
3.3.1.2 The determination marker fagad
fagad and its syncopated variant {add "one, some", is a common
feature of the dialects of Baghdad, which Blanc (1964: 118) calls the
"indetermination marker". fagad I {add precedes singular nouns, and
occasionally dual and plural nouns, especially when they follow
cardinal numbers in the construct. Although fagad I {add does not
define the noun it precedes, it tends to particularize the item it
refers to. Thus compare:
gagga1 "a man" fagad gagga1 "one man, a par-
ticular man"
man {lag "a view" fagad man{iag "a certain view"
banat " a girl'' fagad banat "a specific girl"
magga "once" fagad magga
5
" once, one par-
ticular occasion"
5 fadmagga and fadgiis are used as adverbs meaning "at once" and
"straightaway" respectively.
Syntax
tnen atlati
"two or three" fagad atnen atlati "some two or
alaf "a thousand"
satt maggti.t "six times"
wled "children"
tyiig 'birds"
/:lalwi "beautiful
pictures"
three"
fagad alaf "some thousand"
fagad satt maggat "some six times"
fagad awled "some children"
fagad atyiig   "certain strange
birds"
fagad $awag balwi "some beautiful
pictures"
fagad I fadd occurs in forms beginning with some-, like someone,
somewhere, etc.
fagad wel:zad
fagad se
fad waqat
fad yom
3.3.2 Pronouns
"someone" (m.s.) fagad wal:zdi
"something" fad ma/:lall
"sometime" fad zaman
"someday" fad sakal
"someone" (f.s.)
"somewhere"
"sometime"
"somehow"
Pronouns ordinarily act as nouns, hence their name. Unlike nouns,
however, pronouns do not occur with determiners. Other differences
between pronouns and nouns is that the former are a closed-system
item, while the latter are an open-class item. Pronouns show a
case-contrast for subject and object and a person distinction, as
well as a gender-contrast, in the second and third persons singular.
3.3.2.1 Subject pronouns
In CB, as in all Arabic dialects, the subject is an intrinsic part of
the verbal form, as, for example,
aktab "I write"< base pattern -ktab + subject pronominal prefix a-
katabu "they wrote" < base pattern katab + subject pronominal
suffix -u
In the first example neither part of the verbal form, viz. a- or
-ktab can occur independently. In the second example katab can
occur without the pronominal suffix, in which case it would mean
"he wrote", since the subject implied in the perfective base form is
the third person masculine singular subject pronoun. Since the
subject pronouns are implied in the verbal forms, the inde-
The Closed-System Items 113
pendent subject pronouns are used when stress is required. Thus
compare:
saddat a!- btib
"She shut the door"
hayyi saddat al-btib
"It was her who shut the door"
katabli maktii.b
"He wrote me a letter"
hawwa katabli maktiib
"It was him who wrote me a letter"
xtibagtak
"I phoned you (m.s.)"
ana xtibagtak
"It was I who phoned you"
gabtii.lna wagad
"You (c.p.) brought us flowers"
antam gabtii.lna wagad
"It was you who brought us flowers"
safntikam
"We say you (c.p.)"
nal:zna safntikam
"It was us who saw you"
tkallalti
"You (f.s.) got married"
anti tkallalti
"It was you who got married"
3.3.2.2 Direct object pronouns
Direct object pronouns are ordinarily suffixed to the verbal forms,
as, for example,
samaOOnu
"I heard him"
l:zabasni
"He imprisoned me"
nasa/:zntikam
"We advised you (c.p.)"
:Syntax
xaggabawa
"They wrecked it (f.s.)"
qay/:labba
"He loves her"
gal:z yatgaka
"He is going to leave her"
qayanfafni
"He is useful to me"
gal:z ybahda1am
"He is going to reprimand them"
jhaminu
"Understand it!" (f.s.)
xallanu
"L . , .. ( )
eave 1t. c.p.
ktabu
"W. . , .. ( )
nte 1t. m.s.
sammawam
"Smell them!" (c.p.)
xagmasatni bau;anati
"My cat scratched me"
1-mudig qczyQ$am
"The headmaster punished them"
hadoli gassokam
"These people cheated you (c.p.)"
sal:zaqata sayyaga
"A car ran her over"
3.3.2.3 Indirect and double object pronouns
Some verbs in CB take an indirect object. The indirect object
suffix differs from the direct in having morpheme -1-, implying the
idea of action to, or at, or for someone, as, for example,
gamazla
"He winked at her"
qalli
"He said to me"
gabntilkam
"We brought (to) you"
The Closed-System Items 115
samal:zlu
"He allowed him"
haffatlam
"She fanned them"
fagasatlu
"She spread for him"
sabagniilam al-qabbi
;,We painted the room for them"
!:zagaqatla tannogata
"She burnt her petticoat for her"
gattabatli !:zwesi
"She tidied my clothes for me"
qabaliilna abanna bal-madgasi
"They accepted our son (for us) at the school"
!:zagazntilna log bas-sinama
"We reserved ourselves a box at the cinema"
xayyattilla bliiz al CJid miltida
"I sewed a blouse for her for her birthday"
talaCJlu l:zabb CJala gabinu
"Spots have appeared on his forehead"
There are several verbs in CB which take a double object. In a
construction in which two object pronouns occur, the pronoun
referring to the person for whom the action is performed comes
first, as, for example,
nassiinayytinu
"He made me forget it"
talltikytiham
"He gave them to you (m.s.)"
fahham akyiinu
"He made you (m.s.) understand it"
faggagtawwamytiha
"You (c.p.) showed it (f.s.) to them"
CJallamathayyiinu
"She taught it (m.s.) to her"
s aggablinuyytinu
"You (f.s.) gave it to him to drink"
116
Syntax
3.3.2.4 The anticipatory pronominal suffix
An anticipatory pronominal suffix followed by the object it refers to
introduced by prefix 1-, is of common occurence in CB. The   o n ~
struction involving an anticipatory pronominal (ant. pro.) suffix, (subject
+ verb + ant. pro. suffix + l + object), has the same semantic value
as a subject + verb + direct object construction. Thus:
qagetu 1-akteb and qagetilnu lal-akteb
"I read the book"
fata/:lu s-sabebik and fata/:lawwam las-sabebik
'They opened the windows."
saddu m-madgasi and saddawa lam-madgasi
"They closed down the school"
tagattam ax- xtidmi and tagattawa lax- xtidmi
"You (c.p.) sent away the maid."
The ant. pro. suffix implies definiteness, and hence cannot approximate
a construction involving an indefinite object. Thus compare:
gammartu $awag
"I collected pictures."
qa$$ basis
"He cut grass."
sammeti wagdi
"You (f.s.) smelt a flower."
/:lagaqtu xabaz
"I burnt bread."
gammaltawwa la$-$awag
"I collected the pictures."
qa$$U la/:l-/:lasis
"He cut the grass."
sammetayya law-wagdi
"You (f.s.) smelt the flower."
/:lagaqtilnu lax-xabaz
"I burnt the bread."
The ant. pro. suffix occurs also in nominal constructions, involving
possessions, as, for example,
magru 1-axilyi
"my brother's wife, my sister-in-law"
kalbu l-aban gzgtinna
"our neighbours' son's dog"
$a/:l/:lata l-$adiqati
"the health of my friend"
la1abem lal-awled
"the children's toys"
The Closed-System Items 117
3.
3
.3 Prepositions
Prepositions express a relationship between a verb/ noun/ noun
hrase/ pronoun and another element, usually referred to as the
P.object" of the preposition. There are a number of prepositions in
CB. the most frequently occuring being b "in" and I(-) "to". The
following examples show the occurrence of the preposition in a
sentence or a nominal phrase.
hattetu gantati fi5q at-talliiga
;,1 put my handbag on top of the fridge."
/-abgi hawwena 'lala k-kagsi
"Here is the needle on the chair."
siifagtu I amegka  
"I went to America in the summer."
gabtu xabaz man af-fagan
"I brought bread from the bakery."
katabna b qa/am
"We wrote with a pencil."
1-bazzilni gawwa 1-mez
"The cat is under the table."
3.3.4 Conjunctions
Conjunctions ordinarily connect two items. The most common con-
junction in CB is w "and" which connects verbal-verbal and nominal-
nominal elements.
verbal-verbal
gii siifna w gii/:l
"He came, saw us and went."
t/:labb tazbab w tagkab
"She likes to swim and to go horse-riding."
/:lagaqu w xaggabu ka1 se
"They burnt and wrecked everything."
t-teg tag w wakka 'la1a sagagat a1-'lagmilt
"The bird flew and landed the pear-tree."
118
Syntax
nominal-nominal
garnil w fa{lal bal-bastan
"Jamil and Fadel are in the garden."
ana w axti nafs at-till
"My sister and I are the same height."
  w al-rnazbal:z rnal:zalten ab-bagdad
"Sulaykh and Masbah are two Baghdad quarters."
abu z6gi w abu aS'azz axwi
"My husband's father and the father of my dearest friend are
brothers."
Other conjunctions in CB are ida "if'; 16 which functions as both
"if' and "or"; aw "or"; bass "but"; ldkan "but"; baS'den "then"; rnb6g
"because"; 1a?ann "because"; 16 ... 16 ... "either ... or ... ", etc. The
following examples show the occurrence of the conjunction in sentence
contexts:
ida @tu a@b1ak hadayyi wayyayi
"If I come I shall bring you a present with me."
16 ta1aS'at la1- bastan qattaS'a1na agbaS' xarnas wagdat
"If you go out to the garden pick us four or five flowers."
natgadda hassaS' 16 nasrnaS' axbag et;i-{lahag qabal?
"Shall we have lunch now. or shall we hear the noon news
before (we have lunch)?"
rna S'andi rnanaS' ida xtageti hada aw hadak
"I have no objection if you (f.s.) choose this or that."
kan gal:z yastagi1u pantag6n bas rna yaS'gaf l:zagmu
"He was going to buy him a pair of trousers, but he does not
know his size."
kanat qatgid tadgas tabb lakan gayyagat fokga w dagasat handasa
"She had wanted to study medicine, but then she changed her
mind and studied engineering."
gal:ztu 1as-s6q baS'den rnaggetu S'a1a rnaggagit
"I went to the market then I dropped in on Marguerite."
rna qaygid yagi wayyana rnb6g S'andu saga!
"He does not want to come with us because he has got some
work."
The Closed-System Items 119
stagetu moz 1a2ann abilyi yl:zabb a1-moz aktig
"I bought bananas because my father likes bananas very much."
qti1 1o ygiba1na hawwa 1-maktilb 1o yxalli axilnu ygibu
"He said he would either bring us the letter himself or let his
brother bring it."
3.3.5 Interjections
Interjections are exclamations expressing emotion. An interjection
does not occur in a sentence but is sometimes used to initiate one.
The following are some of the more frequently occurring interjections
in CB:
oy
ax
ox
walli
yalla
mse
an expression of dissatisfaction
an expression of pain
an expression of pleasure or satisfaction
"get away from here!"
"come on!"
which is frequently reduplicated as mse mse "go on!"
implies incredulity and even dissatisfaction. This
particle inflects for number, thus: mso mso.
which occurs also as dagol:z gob "go on! get away!"
implies incredulity and perhaps dissatisfaction. This
interjection inflects for gender and number to agree
with the gender and number of the person(s) addressed.
In each of the following examples an interjection initiates a sentence.
oy htida 1-azda/:ltim asqadd y{iawwag
"Oh, this traffic jam is so annoying!"
tix sanni qayogaCJni
"Ouch, my tooth is aching."
ox s1on man{iag 1:za1u
"Oh, what a beautiful view!"
walli ana z;aCJltini wayytiki
"Get away from here! I am angry with you."
yalla manu yqill ax-xabagayyi  
"Come on! Who says the news is true?"
mse mse baCJyilni rna
"Go on! I swear I do not believe you!"
120 Syntax
dagobu gobu les ana ga8imi rna qti-aftaham
"Get away (c.p.)! Am I so innocent that I do not understand!"
3.3.6 Vocatives
A vocative is a nominal element added to a sentence or clause
optionally, denoting the person(s) to whom it is addressed. A vocative
in CB is frequently expressed by the particle ya preceding a proper
name or noun I noun phrase. The vocative particle + the noun 1
noun phrase may occur in initial, medial or final position.
ya astag banat b a ~   ~ a f f wen kanti yom ax-xamis
"You, who are the cleverest girl in the class, where were you
on Thursday?"
ya klemontin wenki?
"Clementine, where are you?"
ana saftiiki yti banti kanti qe2di qaddam
"I saw you, my girl, you were sitting in front."
hay ad-danyi slon qatatgayyag yom }an yom ya bibi
"How this world is changing from day to day, Granny!"
A vocative may also be a proper name or noun I noun phrase
without a particle.
sesil xalliki b afgansa 1-bayiit absan honiki
"Cecile, stay in France, life is better over there."
stagetillak hadayyi qalbi
"I bought you a present, my darling."
abn al-kalb tfakkag taqdag atgasni?
"Son of a bitch! Do you think you can cheat me?"
Another vocative particle is walak "hey you (m.s.)" which inflects for
gender and number to give walki (f.s.) and walkam (c.p.). It should be
stressed that the use of this particle is a very familiar. and perhaps
impolite way of addressing people.
walki ba1adki honi?
"Hey you (f.s.)! Are you still here?"
walkam sbikam tagsin?
"Hey you (c.p.)! What's the matter with you, are you deaf?"
The Sentence 121
walak ana rna qa-a/:zki wayyak
"Hey you (m.s.)! I'm not talking to you!"
A person may be addressed familiarly by the use of the verbal
form aqiil "l say" initiating a sentence, or formally by starting a
sentence with "please", gaga?an or man far;Jal- + the pronominal
suffixes.
aqill wen /:lii!fin as-sagbat?
"I say, where have you put the soft drinks?"
aqill hada 1 labastinu sqadd basa)
"I say, what you are wearing is so hideous."
gaga?an taqdag atqalli wen mawqaf l   b a ~
"Please, could you tell me where the bus stop is."
gaga?an agid gaqam tala{on 1a?ala b a l   b a ~ g a
"Please, I'd like the phone number of a family in Basrah."
man far,llak hada 1-akteb wen aqdag alqi matlu?
"Please (m.s.), where can I find a book like this one?"
man far,lalki sili 1-mez wayyayi
"Please (f.s.), could you carry the table with me."
man far,lalkam xallilni amagg
"Please (c.p.), could you let me pass."
3.4 The Sentence
A sentence is the largest grammatical unit consisting of different
parts of speech, like nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, prepositions,
etc. There are three types of sentence, the declarative, the negative,
and the interrogative. A sentence can be either simple, containing
one nominal or verbal clause only, or complex, containing an indepen-
dent clause and one or more dependent clauses; or it can be com-
pound, containing two or more independent clauses joined by co-
ordination.
3.4.1 The declarative sentence
A declarative sentence ordinarily functions as a statement, and
consists of a subject and predicate. The predicate is either nominal
or verbal, depending on the type of clause.
122
Syntax
3.4.1.1 The simple declarative sentence
3.4.1.1.1 The nominal sentence
The shortest type of a simple declarative sentence consists of one
subject and one predicate only. In nominal sentences the two nominal
elements, the subject and the predicate, are frequently followed by
a postpositional copula yti- + a pronominal suffix.
6
The postpositional
copula functions as an affirmation of the predicate. Although its use
seems to be optional nowadays,
7
the postpositional copula tends to
emphasize the predication, as, for example,
(1) hayyi l)alwi
"She is pretty"
hayyi l)alwi ytiha
"She is pretty" or "she is indeed pretty"
(2) anta siifag
"You (m.s.) are clever"
anta safag yak
"You are clever" or "you are indeed clever"
(3) htida t-talmid dabang
"This pupil is a blockhead"
htida t-talmid dabang yiinu
"This pupil is certainly a blockhead"
(4) wledna naymin
"Our children are asleep"
wledna naymin yiiham
"Our children are definitely asleep"
{5) antam kalkam ma5'ziimin 5'andna
"You are all invited to our house"
antam kalkam ma5'ziimin yiikam 5'andna
"You are all definitely invited to our house"
(6) banat axiiyi 1-azgegi bam-madgasi
"My brother's younger daughter is at school"
6 Blanc (1964: 124) suggests, that the usage of the postpositional copula,
which is a hallmark of CB, "is old-fashioned and obsolescent".
7 Cf. Blanc (ibid.). Single-word constructions, such as malel:t "he is good"
are rare, and the postpositional copula seems to be compulsory, giving
· malel:t ylinu.
The Sentence 123
banat axuyz 1-azgegi bam-madgasi yaha
"My brother's younger daughter is clearly at school''
3.4.1.1.2 The verbal sentence
There are five different elements in a verbal sentence, viz. (S)ubject,
(V)erb, (O)bject, (C)omplement and (A)dverbial. The shortest type of
a simple verbal sentence consists of SV elements only. Longer
sentences can have different combinations of SVOCA, with SV
always present and occuring in initial position, and OCA frequently
occurring in post-verbal position.
8
The various combinations which
make up a simple sentence can be of two, three, four or even
five-element patterns, as, for example, SV, SVO, SVA, SVOO, SVOC,
SVOA, SVCA, SVOOA, SVOCA. Thus:
0-0
A
SV OC- A
OA
CA
sv gti
"He came"
qtil
"He said"
namna
"We slept"
aka/at
"She ate"
qattikal
"She is eating"
gal:z yotkallal
"He is going to get married"
8 While 0 invariably occurs in post-SV position, A, and to a lesser
extent C, can occur in pre-SV position, as, for example, mbegQa
saftunu "I saw him yesterday"; l)alwi ~ i i y g   bantu "his daughter has
become beautiful."
124 Syntax
SVO gabtilnu
"I brought it"
safniinu
"We saw him"
katab maktilb
"He wrote a letter"
miigseJ qayasmal mosiqa
"Marcel is listening to music"
axti qatadgas gusi
"My sister is studying Russian"
aban 'lammi qayatzawwag banat xayyiitatna
"My cousin is going to marry our dressmaker's daughter"
SVA gii honi
svoo
"He came here"
'liidal ysilq bel
"Adel drives fast"
    kan atgayyagat aktig
"My friend (f) has changed a lot"
abilyi qaysiifag qagiban
"My father will be going away soon"
maietu bal-'lagal
"I walked quickly"
gab tabdi 1-'lat[a gada
"The holiday will start tomorrow"
taS'iini bzemu
"He gave me his belt"
sammaS'atna mosiqa kliisikayyi
"She made us listen to classical music"
{lagabatu gasdi
"She slapped him; she gave him a slap"
       
"We gave him advice"
hadatu     man saS'ga
"She gave him a lock of her hair"
labbasata tannogata
"She put her skirt on for her"
5
vooA
The Sentence
saggabatu d-dawa fagad kag)a
"She gave him the medicine to drink in one gulp"
r;fagabu abgi honi
"He gave him an injection here"
qatsawfu 1-fa1am ba1-}aga1
"She is showing him the film quickly"
t;allama geyiir;la male/:!
"He taught her gymnastics well"
xabbagatu x-xabagayyi b ka1 bagud
"She broke the news to him very coolly"
}assetanu biimya w ap1iiw qabl a8wayya
125
"I gave him a supper of okra and rice a short while ago"
SVOCA yantaxbanu mandabam ka1 magga
"They elect him as their representative each time"
siitag aktig
"I imagined him to be very clever"
}iima1awwa xiidmi honiki
"They treated her like a servant there"
magtu sawwatu as}ad man qaba1
"His wife made him happier than before"
siifa /:la1wi ktig
"He found her very beautiful"
  biib betna azgaq
"We painted the door of our house blue"
3.4.1.2 The complex declarative sentence
S, V, 0, C and A are elements of clause rather than sentence
structure (Quirk et al., 1972: 342). A complex sentence, made up of
an independent clause, and one or more dependent clauses, therefore,
can have more than one S, V, 0, C and A.
(1) a/:labba 1 }ammati 1a?anna ktig ma1e/:la
"I love my aunt because she is very nice"
(2) sqadd qii-atlab }alenu 1 abni bas hawwa rna male/:1 yiinu
"I am really exerting myself for my son, but he is not good (i.e.
worthy)"
.. ,u
Syntax
(3) iibi axaki wayyaki !amman tagen gada
"Bring your brother with you when you come tomorrow"
(4) ida bas-sagaka ga/:l astagal male/:!
"If they employ me in the company, I shall work well"
(5) ktig nas ygon   waqt alii yatnawalan awledam
"Many people come to church when their children take their
first communion"
(6) bass flus ga/:l a$tagz1ki qmii.S txaytifki mannu tannoga
"As soon as I shall have some money, I shall buy you material
so you can make yourself a skirt out of it"
(7) naga/:ltu bal-amta/:lan lakan axti ma naga/:lat w man hada maqhoga
"I passed the exam, but my sister did not pass and that is why
she is upset"
(8) saftawa qatatmaSsa lamman ga/:ltu b sayyagati bas hayyi ma
safatni
"I saw her walking when I went in my car, but she did not see
me"
In sentences (1) and (2) the independent clause is followed by a
dependent nominal clause, while in (3) and (5) it is followed by a
dependent verbal clause. In (4) the dependent clause occurs at the
beginning of the sentence. In each of (6), (7) and (8) there are two
dependent clauses.
(6)
[bass flus][ga/:l a$tagzlki qmii.S][txaytifki mannu tannoga]
dependent independent dependent
(7)
[ naga/:ltu bal-amta/:lan] [ lakan axti ma naga/:lat] [ w man hada maqhoga]
independent dependent dependent
(8)
[Saftawa qatatmassa] [ lamman ga/:ltu b sayyagati] [bas hayyi ma stifotni]
independent dependent dependent
The Sentence 127
).4.1.3 The compound declarative sentence
A compound sentence is ordinarily made up of two or more
independent clauses joined by co-ordination. The most frequently
occuring co-ordinator is the particle w "and". Other common co-
ordinating particles are lakan and bass "but"; aw and lo "or". Conjoined
clauses in a compound sentence are usually referred to as conjoins.
These are ordinarily semantically related to each other.
(1) hayyi zgegi yaha lakan kallas qawayyi
"She is small, but she is strong."
(2) hadoli ~ i n   y y i n lo yii.banayyin yii.ham
"These (people) are Chinese or they are Japanese."
(3) sa'lgu tawil w pantagonu masqoq
"His hair is long and his trousers are torn."
(4) 'ladal w salwa tkallalu qabal santen w hassa'l hamma b wasantan
"Adel and Salwa got married two years ago, and they are now in
Washington."
(5) amagg asilfak gada li5 yamkan axabgak
"I shall drop in to see you tomorrow, or I might phone you."
(6) masa lam-madgasi bam-matag w hassa'l qayqal)l)
"He walked to school in the rain, and now he is coughing."
(1), (2) and (3) are made up of two nominal conjoins each, while
(4) consists of a verbal conjoin followed by a nominal, and (5) and
(6) consist of two verbal conjoins each. In (1) the second clause,
referring to the same subject, introduces a contrast. In each of (2)
and (5) the second clause is an alternative to the first. In (3) the
second clause is an addition to the first. In ( 4) the second clause is
chronologically sequent to the first, and in (6) the clause is a
consequence of the first.
The following compound sentences consist of three conjoins each:
(1) baqat bal-bet w gasalat sa'lga w ba'lden giiJ:Lat namat
"She stayed at home and washed her hair, and then she went
to bed."
(2) yamkan angol) las-sinama li5 ngol) lal-ma(lam li5 nabqa bal-bet
"We shall go to the cinema, or we shall go to the restaurant, or
we shall stay at home."
128 Syntax
(3) l)att kam diniig ab idu w hawwa ykayyaf w ydig balu CJalek maleJz
"Put a few dinars in his hand, and he will be pleased and wiil
look after you well."
(4) yakgah gigiinu w ana ma qa-aflaggab la2an grgiinu mazCJagrn
"He hates his neighbours, and I am not surprised, because his
neighbours are tiresome."
(1) consists of three chronologically sequent clauses. (2) has three
clauses, with each clause occuring as an alternative to the other
two. In (3) the second and third clauses are consequences of the
first, and the third clause is a sequent of the second. In ( 4) the
second clause is a comment on the first, and the third clause is an
explanation of the second.
3.4.2 The negative sentence
3.4.2.1 The simple negative sentence
A negative sentence is formed by the addition of a negative particle
immediately before the predicate in a simple nominal sentence, and
before the verb, or the auxiliary verb, or the verbal particle in a
simple verbal sentence. There are three negative particles in CB,
mil which is prenominal, and mii and Iii which are preverbal.
mil in subject implied nominal sentences:
mil bagCJa yaha
"She is not rude"
mil /:liima{i yiinu
"It is not sour"
mil gaddad yiiham
"They are not new"
mil gasimi yaki
"You are not ignorant"
mil in subject stated nominal sentences:
hal-akli mil taybi yaha
"This food is not tasty"
hada g-gaggal mil aban CJammi yanu
"This man is not my cousin"
The Sentence
s-satr hay-yom mil xabat yanu
"The river is not choppy today"
m-ma(lebas mtilati mil dahab yaham
"My rings are not gold"
129
ma. which frequently occurs wirth a short vowel as rna, negates all
verbs and verbal constructions.
rna gado se
"They did not want anything"
rna tlallamtu miisiqa
"I did not learn music"
rna qa- aqdag asmaS: !f6tki
"I cannot hear your voice"
rna ga(l yatkallal has-sani
"He is not getting married this year"
aban S:ammati rna qayagi S:andna hal-ayyam
"My cousin (paternal aunt's son) is not visiting us these days"
rna gagaS:at axti man as-siiq baS:ad
"My sister has not come back from the market yet"
matgo(len wayyanu
"Don't (f.s.) go with him!"
matasgabiln waski
"Don't (c.p.) drink whisky!"
mataddaxal ab amgi
"Don't (m.s.) interfere in my business!"
As can be seen from the above examples, ma is frequently affixed
to an imperative verb.
hi, which often occurs with a short vowel as Ia, negates an
imperative verb in simple sentences.
latqallu se
"Don't (m.s.) say anything to him!"
latafta(len as-sabbak
"Don't (f.s.) open the window!"
latgzbilnu wayyakam .
"Don't (c.p.) bring him with you!"
latxalli a(lad yafj.(lak S:alek
"Don't (m.s.) let anyone laugh at you!"
IJO
Syntax
la'tatfaggaftn tQfagguf banat bala tagbayi
"Don't {f.s.) behave like girls with no manners!"
latlawdawam  
"Don't (c.p.) accustom them to spending (money)!"
3.4.2.2 The complex negative sentence
Complex negative sentences are formed by the addition of negative
particles to complex declarative sentences.
hiiy ax-xabzi ma maf:zgi5qa yiiha hadiki ma(lgoqa
"This piece of bread isn't burnt, the other one is"
ma tawil yiinu walaw abanu gaggiil tawil
"He is not tall, even though his father is a tall man"
ma kaddiibi yiiha (latta li5 kall an-niis qiilu hayyi kaddiibi
"She is not a liar, even if everybody said she was a liar"
mastagetu badli gadldi da-albasa b Clid al-agbig
"I did not buy a new suit so that I could wear it at Easter"
al-kalab yfilt Cial-bet (latta idii cjall aClawwi
"The dog must not go into the house even if he goes on barking"
aku aftag mannu
"Don't (m.s.) think there is anyone cleverer than him"
latqalalu yastagal ida ma qaygzd
"Don't (c.p.) tell him to work if he doesn't want to"
latgibuli hadayyi ham-magga idii ga(ltam lal-ugdun
"Don't (c.p.) bring me a present this time if you go to Jordan"
latxallaya ta(lmal kall ak-kagiisi
"Don't (f.s.) let her carry all the chairs"
3.4.2.3 The compound negative sentence
In compound negative sentences both clauses are usually negated.
ma negates a first nominal, while mii and Ia negate a first verbal
conjoin. The negative particle of the second and subsequent conjoins
is ordinarily the compound walii, made up of the two elements w( a)
"and" and Iii "no, not".
ma (lalu walii basaCl yiinu
"He is neither handsome nor ugly"
d-danyi ma mgaymi walii kallas amsamsi yiiha
"It is not cloudy, nor is it very sunny"
The Sentence 131
ma gaf:ttu 1 2andu wala xabagtanu
"I did not visit him, nor did I phone him"
hadi5li kallatam rna yat?ammaniln wala      
"All these (people) cannot be trusted nor can they be believed"
la hayyi gbigi wala hayyi zgegi
"She is neither old nor young"
la katab wala xallani aktab
"He did not write, and he did not let me write"
sayyagati mil f:tamga wala xar,lga wala zagqa
"My car isn't red, nor is it green, nor is it blue"
rna saftilnu wala sama2tu wenu wala 2agaftu 2annu se
"I did not see him, nor did I hear where he was, nor did I
know anything about him"
latgi5/:t wala tatladdab wala tt;fayya2 ay waqat 2alayam
"Don't go, nor put yourself to any trouble, and don't (even)
waste any time on them"
3.4.3 The interrogative sentence
There are three kinds of interrogative sentences in CB. They are
sentences which are initiated by interrogative particles; syntactically
declarative sentences which are realized as interrogatives by means
of a falling-gradually rising( ...... ,/) intonation pattern; and tag-appended
sentences. Interrogative sentences, moreover, can be divided into
two groups according to whether the answer expected is yes-no or
a reply supplying the missing information.
3.4.3.1 Interrogative sentences intitiated by interrogative particles
These are formed by the introduction of interrogative particles at
the beginning of declarative sentences, and expect answers other
than yes-no.
manu hay al-banat?
"Who is this girl?"
manu qalki ana gaf:t atkallal?
"Who told you I am getting married?"
sli5n kefkam hay-yi5m?
"How are you today?"
sli5n saftaya 1 amelda?
"How did you find {lit. see) Imelda?"
132
sqadd S:amgu abanki?
"How old is your son?"
Syntax
sqad tat$awwagen na/:ttag /:tatab?
"How much wood do you think we need?"
swaqat mawgudi bal-bet dazilgki?
"When are you at home so I can visit you?"
swaqat yabdi 1-falam?
"When is the film starting?"
sxabag kal hal-aka! na/:tna nafagen atlati bass?
"How come all this food, we are only two or three people?"
sxabag qatabqa bal-bet hay-yom?
"How come you (ms) are staying at home today?"
kam bet S:andu )amid kallayyatkam?
"How many houses has the dean of your college got?"
kam magga
9
tzaS:alti wayyanu?
"How many times did you get annoyed with him?"
ay dagas had a?
"Which lesson is this?"
ay we/:tad
9
qayaS:gabki /:latta astagilki yanu?
"Which one do you like so I can buy it for you?"
wen gantati?
"Where is my handbag?"
wen xalletaya 1 banatki?
"Where did you (fs) leave your daughter?"
les anta axag we/:tad ba$-$a[f?
"Why are you the last in class?"
les qayatladda S:alenu?
"Why is he molesting him?"
bes at-tamata hal-mawsam?
"How much are the tomatoes this season?"
bes astagetaya I ham-mazhagayyi k-kgastal?
"How much did you buy this crystal vase for?"
9 kam and ay invariably precede nominals. They may, however. occur in
verbal sentences provided they precede quantifiers like wel:zad "one"
and magga "once", or nouns functioning as quantifiers, as in the following
example, kam banat txaggagat man al-kallayyi has-sani "how many
girls graduated from the college this year?"
The Sentence 133
sanu "what" and saku "what is there" (< s- "what" + aku "there is")
introduce nominal elements only. sb- "what is the matter with ... "occurs
with pronominal suffixes, while s- "what" is prefixed to verbal forms.
ScJnU hal-/:zagaki bagga?
"What is this noise outside?"
sanu gaJyak ab gaJis gamhugayyat amegka?
"What's your opinion of the American president?"
saku axbag man abankam w magtu?
"What news are there from your son and his wife?"
saku CJandkam adgiis yti wled?
"What homework have you got, children?"
sbik rna qataf:zki wayyayi baCJad?
"What's the matter with you that you are not talking to me
any more?"
sbaya xtilati nsalla malef:za?
"What's the matter with my aunt, I hope she is well?"
sbikam nasetu kal se qalntilkam ytinu?
"What is the matter with you (c.p.) have you forgotten every-
thing we told you?"
sbinu htida stiyaq at-taksi rna qayandall?
"What's the matter with this taxi driver that he does not know
the way?"
slaqeti gawwa 1-mez?
"What did you (f.s.) find under the table?"
stalabat man papa nawel ygzblak bal-CJid?
"What did you ask Santa Claus to bring you at Christmas?"
ssawwet bad-daftag alli .taCJak yanu amil?
"What did you do with the note-book Emile gave you?"
3.4.3.1.1 Exclamatory and rhetorical questions
Most interrogative particles can introduce exclamatory or rhetorical
questions, as, for example,
manu yadgi wen $tig ay-yom
"Who knows where he is today!"
wen hawwa w wen ana
"What a difference there is between him and me!" {lit. "where
is he and where am I!")
134 Syntax
sqad l:zalwi banta lax-xayytita
10
"How pretty the dressmaker's daughter is!"
kam magga qaltalki ma taftal:zen al-btib ida rna ta5:agfin manu
"How many times have I told you not to open the door if you
do not know who it is!"
sltin matkabbag /:zanna
10
"How arrogant Hanna has become!"
bes at-tin bas-soq
"How much do figs cost in the market!"
sxabag rna qaya5:gabam al:zad
"How come no one appeals to them!"
les na/:zna y-yom ambegl:za na5:gafam
"Is it only recently that we got to know them!" Oit. "why, did
we only know them today or yesterday!")
swaqat ana qaltu rna l:zabbetanu x-xafib banti
"When did I (ever) say I did not like my daughter's fiance!"
3.4.3.2 Declarative questions
Declarative questions are syntactically equivalent to statements, but
differ from them in intonation. Declarative questions with a falling-
gradually-rising intonation pattern expect a yes-no answer.
qaystifgon kallatam  
"Are they all going away in the summer?"
t?aggafat 5:alenu ba/:1-l:zafti?
"Did she get to know him at the party?"
gtibula hadayyi man amegka?
"Did they bring her a present from America?"
t?axxagtam bal-azdal:ztim?
"Did you (c.p.) get delayed in the traffic jam?"
xalleti malal:z bal-apltiw?
"Did you (f.s.) put any salt in the rice?"
mudig madgasatam htida lli ktin abnu wayytiyi bal-kallayyi?
"Is the headmaster of their school the one whose son was with
me at college?"
lO sqadd "how, how much" and slon "how" function as adverbs in exclamatory
sentences. See 3.4.4.1 below.
The Sentence 135
satti w atlatfn talmid w talmidi gal)o safga?
"Did thirty-six schoolboys and schoolgirls go on a school outing?"
atgul)atki lli kanti badetaya qabal xams asnin?
"Did you finish your thesis, the one you started five years ago?"
banatkam t<iallamat fgansawi /amman kanat b afgansa?
"Did your daughter learn French when she was in France?"
3.4.3.3 Tag-appended questions
Tag-appended questions consist of statements followed by tags
asking yes-no questions. There are a number of tags in CB that can
be appended to a declarative sentence to turn it into a question, as,
for example,
rna tamam?
"Isn't that right?"
tamam 16 lti?
"Is that right or not?"
rna
"Isn't that true?"
rna  
"Isn't that correct?"
rna hakki?
"Isn't that so?"
e lo Ia?
"Yes or no?"
16 galat?
"Right or wrong?"
tal rna wayyaham rna tam am?
"All his life he did not let them down, isn't that right?"
ana lli qaltalki hilda g-gaggiil rna maleb alki tamiim 16 Iii?
"It was I who said to you that this man was not good for you,
is that right or not?"
kiinat wayyiinu qabal rna tnesanu rna
"She used to go out with him before they got engaged, isn't that
true?"
hiiy awwal magga qatangab amiga b amtal)iin fizya rna
"This is the first time that Amira passes a physics exam, isn't
that correct?"
136
Syntax
ana ybayyan zaiTaltilki rna hakki?
"It seems I've upset you, isn't that so?"
qaggagat taqbala las-sagli b dakken e 16 Ia?
"(I take it) you've decided to accept the job at my uncle's shop,
yes or no?"
yqalan gada gal:z a$ig rnuljahagat $al:zel:z 16 galat?
"They say that there is going to be a demonstration tomorrow,
is that right or wrong?"
3.4.3.4 Negative interrogative sentences
Negative interrogative sentences are negative declarative sentences
with the same falling-gradually rising intonation pattern as in declarative
questions. In a negative interrogative sentence the negative particle
is rna in prenominal and rna in preverbal position. Negative interrogative
sentences ordinarily expect yes-no answers.
rna rnalel:z gztarn kalkarn hay-yorn?
"Isn't it good you all came today?"
rna hada aban 1 gozef alii kan bat-tabbayyi?
"Isn't that Joseph's cousin, the one who was at the medical
college?"
rna as rna ganet axt ag- gahbi lli tdaggasna
"Isn't she called Janet, the sister of the nun who teaches us
grammar?"
sayyagatkarn rna soda yaha?
"Isn't your car black?"
rna hawwa lli bal-ba$ga?
"I don't know, isn't he the one we met in Basrah?"
sanu hada lli b idki rna rnaktilb ali?
"What's that in you hand, isn't it a letter for me?"
rna saftayarn kanu kallatarn bas-sayyaga?
"Didn't you see them, they were all sitting in the car?"
rna qatgol:z banatki 1 nafs arn-rnadgasi wayya banatna?
"Doesn't your daughter go to the same school with our daughters?"
rna tatrna8siln bal-bastiin?
"Don't you (cp) feel like having a stroll in the garden?"
rna qay?attag hal-rnal:zit  
"Isn't this learned atmosphere having any effect on him?"
The Sentence 137
A negative imperative construction, with the particle rna prefixed to
an imperfective verb, frequently implies "why don't you do s.t.?"
when it occurs with interrogative intonation. Thus compare:
negative imperative
matg6h wayyanu
"Don't go with him!"
  al foq
"Don't (fs) go upstairs!"
matgzbanu 1 honi
"Don't (cp) bring him here!"
negative interrogative
matgol:z wayyanu?
"Why don't you go with him?"
  al f6q?
"Why don't you go upstairs?"
matgibunu l hi5ni?
"Why don't you bring him here?"
matadgas kfmya matadgas kfmya?
"Don't (ms) study chemistry!" "Why don't you study chemistry?"
mal:zadd "nobody, anybody" (< rna "no, not" + al:zad "somebody")
frequently occurs in negative interrogative sentences.
mal:zad qayallam wagad man as-sal:za 1-lj'amamayyi?
"Hasn't anybody told them they must not pick flowers from the
main (public) square?"
les rna tagen mal:zad yaqdag
"Why don't you come, can't anybody give you a lift?"
mal:zad ax- xabag axayi gagalj' man kanada?
"Nobody gave you the news that my brother came back from
Canada?"
mal:zad qaygfd ba1ad aplaw?
"Nobody wants more rice?"
3.4.4 Adverbs and adverbial clauses
Adverbs deserve a special mention. According to Quirk et al. (1972:
26 7) "the adverb class is the least satisfactory of the traditional
parts of speech. Indeed it is tempting to say simply that the adverb
is an item that does not fit the definitions for other parts of speech."
The adverb has two main functions:
(1) as a modifier
(2) as a clause constituent
Syntax
3.4.4.1 Adverbs as modifiers
Adverbs function as modifiers of verbs or adjectives, as, for example
da2aman ysaq f:zel
"He always drives fast"
kan kal waqat ysafag al labnan
"He always used to travel to Lebanon"
gawabni bal-t;agal t;ala maktabi
"He answered my letter quickly"
tf:zammalat kal magat;l absagat;a
"She endured every illness bravely"
kallas sat;idin yaham
"They are very happy"
1-falam al safnanu mbegf:za kan aktig f:zalu
"The film we saw yesterday was very nice"
slon   kan dagas )alm an-nabat
"How difficult the botany lesson was!"
sqad saxifi anti kal se
"How stupid you (f.s.) are, you believe everything!"
The adverb kallas "very" occurs also as a modifier of other adverbs,
as, for example,
ma f:zabbetu asaq kallas f:zel
"I did not like to drive very fast"
lal-f:zalla man ba)qoba kallas absat;
"We reached Hilla from BaCquba very quickly"
ma samat;na ay lazam fat 1al-bet kallas baskat
"We did not hear any noise, he must have gone into the house
very quietly"
ana asaf banatkam gaf:z tangaf:z ab kall amtaf:zanata kallas bashali
"I think your daughter is going to pass all her exams very
easily"
3.4.4.2 Adverbs as clause constituents
A clause consists of a group of words which occur as a grammatical
unit. A subject and a verb are essential elements of clause structure,
whqe an object, a complement and an adverb are, on the whole,
The Sentence 139
optional. Adverbs as clause constituents can be divided into two
groups, those that are an integral part of a clause and those that
are peripheral to clause structure. Where an adverb is integrated
into a clause it is referred to as an adjunct. Where an adverb is
peripheral to clause.' . which can as
it, it is called etther a dtsJunct or a conJunct. As tts name tmphes, a
conjunct has a connective function in a clause, while the function
of a disjunct is non-connective.
The following are examples of adverbial clauses where the adverb
in each case is an adjunct:
mii gal:zna lab-befa yom al-al:zad liikan kanna honiki s-sabat
bal-lel
"We didn't go to church on Sunday, but we were there Saturday
night"
!amman tagak al-l:zafli t;fef as-sagaf kanna kalna naqdag na!la<.l
wagiinu b kall ashfili
"When the guest of honour left the party we could have all
gone out after him very easily"
ana 1-l:zaqiqa mii aqdag hawwa biiq al-aflils
"I personally can't really believe that he stole the money"
nal:zna nqaddag mawqafki kal taqdig
"We fully appreciate your (f.s.) situation"
ya<.lgaf adgilsu ma<.lgafi   bass
"He knows his lessons only superficially"
qamu yatniiqasiln ab <.liili ktig
"They started to argue in a very loud voice"
The majority of disjuncts in CB are prepositional phrases. Most
disjuncts are loans from LA, and hence tend to occur in educated
speech. The following examples show the occurrence of disjuncts in CB:
ab kal   ana agaggal:z as-safag bat-tayyiiga
"In all honesty, I prefer travelling by plane"
badiln mugiimala mii aku al:zsan mannak al hal-magkaz
"Without any flattery, I do not think there is anyone better than
you for this position"
ana afat;ft;ial tagon kalkam wayyiina gaddayyiit
"I prefer that you all come with us, seriously"
140
Syntax
ba1a saqa qayaiJgabki pantagonu g-gadid
"Joking apart, do you like his new trousers?"
atmannii1kam kall as-saiJiida man ka1 qa1bi
"I wish you every happiness, with all my heart"
tabiJan ana awiifaq lJala kal se qatqiilu bas gab alJiigt;fak ab
naqta wel)di
"Of course, I agree with you on everything, but I shall disagree
with you on one point"
In the above examples the adverbials or disjuncts are peripheral to
the sentences they occur in. Each sentence would have the same
clause structure and semantic value if it were to occur without the
disjunct. Because ab kal !fagli/:la "in all honesty"; badiin mugiima1a
"without flattery"; gaddayylit "seriously"; bala saqa "joking apart";
man kal qalbi "with all my heart"; tabiJan "of course" are not integrated
into the sentences, they can occur in initial or final position.
Conjuncts, like disjuncts, are peripheral and hence not integrated
into sentences. Yet conjuncts tend to have a closer relationship with
sentences than disjuncts do. This is primarily because conjuncts
function as connectives whereas disjuncts do not. The following are
examples of conjuncts:
ba1-awwa1 ktabaya lal-ma/:lfiit;ia
11
maswaddi w baiJden bayt;iaya
"At first write out the poem in rough, and then copy it out in
neat"
askagki iJa1a 1-akteb w ba1-munlisaba a/:labb aqalki iJagabni ktig
"I thank you for the book, and incidentally I'd like to tell you
that I liked it very much"
tnenna iJandna nafas waghat nat;iag aw bal-a/:lga nafs at-tafkig
"We both have the same point of view, or rather the same way
of thinking"
qaba1 ma tatzawwag liizam talqi bet aw iJala 1-aqall at?aggag
saqqa
"Before you get married you must find a house, or at least (you
must) rent an apartment"
11 This is the name applied to short poems, usually learnt by heart at
school, hence its name (< l:tafarJ "to learn by heart").
The Sentence 141
q6.l gal:z yatfa$al bfkam ab awwal fag$a 'lala kal l:zal rna gal:z
yxallfkam bala axbag mannu
"He said he would get in touch with you at the earliest opportunity,
at any rate he is not going to leave you without any news from him"
abilyi w 'lammi wa'ladani yantoni saga! mahma ykan ga!:z ysaglilni
wayyahom
"My father and uncle promised to give me work, whatever
happens they are going to let me work with them"
latotxa$$a$ bal-6.d6.b awwalan al-6.d6.b maku manna manfa'la
hay-yom t6.nayan kal wel:zad al ya'lgaf ma$la/:zatu yadgas 'lalilm
t6.latan alli yatxaggag man qasm al-6.d6.b rna yalqi sago!
"Don't specialize in arts, firstly there is no benefit from the arts
nowadays, secondly anyone who knows what is good for him
studies sciences, thirdly the person who graduates from an arts
faculty finds no work."
In the above examples ba'lden "then"; bal-mun6.saba "incidentally";
bal-af:zga "rather"; 'lala 1-aqall "at least"; 'lala kal f:zal "at any rate";
mahma ykan "whatever happens"; and awwalan ... t6.nayan ... t6.latan
"firstly ... secondly ... thirdly" are all conjuncts connecting dependent
clauses or noun phrases to main clauses.
All adverbial clauses, be they adjuncts, disjuncts or conjuncts may
be classified according to the type of adverb they contain.
12
Thus,
an adverbial clause consisting of an adverb of time would be called
an adverbial phrase of time, an adverbial clause with an adverb of
place would be referred to as an adverbial clause of place, etc.
3.4.5 Cleft sentences
A cleft sentence is so called because it consists of a clause divided
into two parts, each with its own verb. In CB cleft sentences frequently
consist of a relative clause introduced by (a)l I (a)lli. The relative
clause helps to give additional information about a noun I noun
phrase which is always defined.
12 See morphology, 2.6
142
Syntax
hay al-banat alii kanat honi hay axta 1  
"This girl who was sitting here is Sonya's sister"
1-astad ta5'ani 1-akteb alii katabu hawwa qabal santen
''The teacher gave me the book which he wrote two years ago"
fjayya5'tu samsayyati hadik al-leli lli kii.nat qatmattag w {ialamat
"I lost my umbrella that night when it was raining and pitch
black"
qatastagal ab kallayat al-handasa lli hassa5' at!:zawwalat lal-
wazigayyi
"She is working at the engineering college which has now moved
to the Waziriyya district"
ma qaya5'gabni as-saga! al qa-astaglu hal-ayyam
"I am not liking the work I am doing these days"
hay am-maga 1 kanti takgahaya saftawa mbegl:za bsaga5' ag-gasid
"That woman whom you used to dislike, (well) I saw her yesterday
in Rashid Street"
In all the above sentences the relative clause functions as a
postmodifier of the defined or focused noun or noun phrase. There is
another type of cleft sentence in CB which does not involve a relative
pronoun, and where the focused element is an adverb.
bama anna tadgas ab gadd qaggagna na5'foya man al-amtal:zan
"Because she studies hard, we decided to excuse her from the
exam"
la?annu tmaggafj ma qadag yofi b wa5'du w yaxadna lal-
!:zabbanayyi
"Because he became ill, he could not fulfil his promise and take
us to Habbaniyya"
matalkam kammaltam amgawwi w gitam maggu 5'ala gadditi
"Since you made the effort and came, drop in on my grandmother"
lamman ga ab w ma gaga5' man kanada 5'agaftu ma ga!:z yagga5'
has-sani
"When August came and he did not return from Canada, I knew
he would not come back this year"
A BRIEF SOCIOLINGUISTIC SURVEY
4.1 Triglossia vs. diglossia
Ferguson's definition of diglossia (1959) that (H)igh and (l)ow, two
varieties of one language, refer to the formal and the everyday
respectively, like classical and vernacular Arabic, has been extended
by Fishman (196 7) to include two totally different languages. Fishman
gave Paraguay, with its two official languages, Spanish and Guarani,
as an example of a diglossic community. Fishman and others have
also recognized the co-occurrence of three or more languages, or
varieties of one language, in a given community, which they called
triglossia and polyglossia, (Abdulaziz Mkilifi, 1978 [ triglossia]; Gumperz,
1964; Fishman 1967 and Platt, 1977 [polyglossia]). Some scholars
have found, moreover, that the vernacular, or a L variety for one
group of speakers, can function as a H variety for another group,
(Gumperz, 1964; Platt, 1977; Krysin, 1979; Eckert, 1980).
In Baghdad LA is the H variety shared by MB and CB speakers.
MB is the L variety for Muslim Baghdadis, whereas it is another H
variety for Christian Baghdadis, falling between LA and their own CB
dialect, which is their L variety. MB functions as a H variety for
Christian Baghdadis, since it is not learnt at home and not spoken
with in-group members, but used in situations requiring a certain
level of formality and perhaps more guarded behaviour.
1
CB speakers,
therefore, are triglossic because they use three distinct varieties of
Arabic, viz. LA, MB and CB, for three different communicational
purposes, in highly formal, less formal,
2
and informal situations
respectively.
1 In my Christian primary school in Baghdad in the early fifties, the
conversation between the teachers, who were all Christian women at
that time, and the pupils, was often in CB. But whenever a teacher
referred to the text or assumed a more serious tone, even with a
Christian child, she would switch· to MB.
2 Some CB speakers think that MB is closer to LA than CB. Cf. Ghanima,
op.cit., p.302.
144
A Brief Sociolinguistic Survey
The following examples were provided by two CB speakers. Each
example is divided into three parts, (i) in CB, (ii) in MB, and (iii) in
LA, demonstrating the triglossic repertoire of CB speakers:
1. (i)
(ii)
(iii)
2. (i)
(ii)
(iii)
3. (i)
(ii)
(iii)
4. (i)
(ii)
(iii)
5. (i)
(ii)
(iii)
6. (i)
(ii)
(iii)
7. (i)
(ii)
(iii)
stagetu gawantit mal $e[
staret naftinif $efiyya
staraytu fastitina $ayfiyya
"I bought summer dresses."
kan sama) anta honi
sama1 anta hnti
laqad sami1a annaka hunti
"He heard you were here."
axilyi gah yatkallal gada
axilya ra/:1 yatzawwag bticar
sayatazawwagu axi gadan
"My brother is getting married tomorrow."
1-kalab agbig ytinu
1-calab cabir
al-kalbu kabirun
"The dog is big."
htida s-siltin mil malel:z ytinu
htiga 1-dabas mil zen
htiga 1-dibsu laysa gayyidan
"This date syrup is not good."
gasalet al:zwesa qabal rna tmartag
xaslat ahdilmha gabal rna tumtur
gasalat fiytibaha qabla an tumtir
"She washed her clothes before it rained."
ktinu kallatam qe2din lamma wa$allam al-xabag
ctinaw kulhum gti1din man Wo$alalhum al- xabar
ktinu gamiluhum gtilisina 1indama wa$alahum al-xabar
"They were all sitting down when the news reached them."
8. (i)
(ii)
(iii)
9. (i)
(ii)
(iii)
lO.(i)
(ii)
(iii)
11. (i)
(ii)
(iii)
12.(i)
(ii)
(iii)
13.(i)
(ii)
(iii)
14. (i)
(ii)
(iii)
Triglossia vs. Diglossia
ta1ana plaw kan tabaxatu gaddatu
ntana tamman tabxata bibita
qaddama lana aruzzan tabaxathu gaddatuh
"He gave us rice which his grandmother had cooked."
tagadawam man al-madgasi mbog kasali yaham
tardohum man al-madrasa cef kaslanin
taradilhum min al-madrasati li?annahum kaslaniln
145
"They expelled them from school because they were lazy."
hay-yom qayagi5n IJandna xattag
hal-yom dayagun IJadna xattar
saya?tfna 1-yawma zuwwar
''Today guests are coming to (visit) us."
abilyi ma}gaf asbinu ybayyan IJalenu za1lan
abilya madri sbi ybayyan }ale za1liin
Ia adri rna huwa 1-amru maiJa walidi yabdu annahu
musta?un
"I don't know what is the matter with my father, he seems
to be angry."
giganna IJandam aban aw banat
gzranna IJadhum walad w abnayya
gzranuna IJindahum !fabiyyun wa bint
"Our neighbours have a son and a daughter."
kan qayaliJab caqqi w qas
can daya[IJab duiJbu[ aw Xa!far
kana yaliJabu bil-dal:w1 wa xasir
"He was playing marbles and lost."
!ftam;iagatu las-saiJa tnaiJas aw baiJden ga!:zat namat
natrata 1as-sa1a tnaiJas aw baiJden ral:zat namat
intazarathu l:zatta 1-saiJa 1-taniya IJasara tumma gahabat ila
1-nawm
"She waited up for him until twelve o'clock, and then she
went to bed."
146
A Brief Sociolinguistic Survey
4.2 Variation within CB
There is a fairly high level of phonological variation within CB
which is not only noticeable in the difference between the speech
of one idiolect and another, but can also be found in the repertoire
of the same speaker. This variation, therefore, does not appear to
be related to social variables, like gender or generation. For example,
one elderly woman informant gave both tmiim and tamiim "complete,
whole", while a man from the younger group of informants provided
the two variants nhiig and nahiig for "day". This variation can be
detected in the examples provided by Blanc's informants. Blanc
(1964: 80) cites nhiig as the CB equivalent of MB nhar, whereas he
gives sagiib "wine" as the CB variant of MB sriib.
Blanc (p 82) gives biyilt "houses", for which I have both bayat
and byilt. Similarly for Blanc (p 83) fosad "corrupt", gehal "child",
!:zefi "barefoot"; (p 85) kasliin "lazy", (p 86) fagl:ziin "glad", I have
fosad and fasad, giihal,
3
kasliin and kasliin, fagl:ziin and fag/:ziin,
respectively. In my data also sayyiiga and sayyiiga "car", and tayyiiga
and tayyiiga "aeroplane", seem to be in free variation. Another form,
nes appears to be in free variation with ntis "people". Jastrow (1979:
53) gives nits as the form current in Mosul, and nes in both Bdi:tzani
and Mardin. For "schools", Blanc (p 87) gives both maderas and
madiiras. Apart form the elii vocalic variation, I have found in my
data examples of this form with glr consonantal variation. Thus:
mad eras, madaras and madegas . Blanc also gives cawedar "tents",
for which I have only cawedag. gbig "big" with initial g, was used
more frequently by my informants than its variant kbig which both
Oussani (p 97) and Blanc (p 81) give to the exclusion of gbig.
Evidence that this form is current in some qaltu dialects was provided
by Jastrow (1973: 15 and 1978: 47) who found it in Mardin.
4
As far as morphological variation is concerned, for the plural of
the pattern CaCeC!C, Blanc (p 89) gives the following examples:
xabebiz "bakers", xayeyit "tailors", and mal:zelil "quarters", for which
I have xabbiizin, xayyiitfn and mal:zalliit respectively. For m   q e ~ i ~
"scissors", I have also mqii$i$. Blanc says (p 99) that some Stem I
verbs of the base form CvCvC have a dual pattern of CaCaC and
CdCdC, as, for example labas and labas "to wear", samaiJ and sama1
3 I have not come across gehal with imiila.
4 See 1.1.4.
Variation within CB 147
"to hear", kabag and k   b   ~ "to grow". This feature is still current in
the CB of my informants. For the third person plural of Stem I
perfective verbs of the CaCa pattern, I have both bano and bano
"they built"; baqo and baqo "they stayed". Blanc (p 102) gives bano
with long 6 only, while Jastrow (1979: 46) gives bano with short o
for the qaltu dialects he has surveyed. In third person pronominal
suffixes gemination occurs frequently. Blanc (p 122) gives the following
forms:
CJalayya "on her" CJalayyam "on them"
I have also come across these forms without gemination, thus:
falaya and CJalayam. Similarly, in pronominal suffixes in verbal forms
my informants gave both giibawwa and giibawa "they brought her",
and fagadawwam and fagadawam "they expelled them, they sent
them away", etc.
An interesting variation at the syntactical level was provided by
three informants who used the independent pronouns instead of the
postpositional copula, as, for example,
siitag hawwa
taCJbiini ana
sahgiinin na!:zna
gaddati CJaguzi hayyi
mii xos awedam hamma
for siifag yiinu "he is clever"
for taCJbiini yiini "I (f.s.) am tired"
for sahgiinin yiina "we are staying up
late"
for gaddati 1aguzi yiiha "my grand-
mother is old"
for mii xos awedam yiiham "they are
not nice people"
This variation within CB is rare, and could be attributed to
hypercorrection.
Particle kan preceding a past tense verb, which still occurs in
CB, does not seem to have been recorded by Blanc. The following
CB text which appeared in Oussani's article shows the occurrence
of kan separating a past tense verb from its auxiliary, kiin. The
transliteration of the text has been adapted according to the system
I have used throughout this work.
5 See 2.1.1.1
148
A Brief Sociolinguistic Survey
mbe/:la ga/:ltu S:and abayi bas-soq w mti saftilnu honiki mbogar kan
kan gtil:z al geg maken w-azS:altu ktig w baS:du rga)tu lal-bet w
qaltala I-ammi w xabbartawa w hayyi hammena n/:la$agat aktig. w
lamma $tig al-masa sa2altu abayi w qaltalu wen kanat yti abuyi
hal-yom a$-$aba/:1 w hawwa gtiwabni w qalli yti Naladi kantu gahtu
las-soq /:latta atallaS: a$-$anediq alii wa$[atni mbe/:la man or6pa
w bai:Jdu sawwafni ytiha w afga/:lna baya ktig.
The following translation of the text is by Oussani, and has been
reproduced here verbatim.
When I had gone yesterday to (see) my father in the market, I did
not see him there; he had gone to some other place. I was very
much disappointed. Then I went home and told my mother and
informed her. She, too, was very much disappointed. When the
evening came, I asked my father, and said to him: "Where were
you this morning, father?" He answered and said to me: "My boy,
I had gone to the market to take out the trunks which had been
sent to me yesterday from Europe." Thereupon he showed them
to me, and we both liked them very much.
In the above text Oussani uses both g < r and r as in mbogar
"because"; rgaltu "I returned"; xabbartawa "I told her", and ga/:ltu "I
went", geg "other", ktig "very", fga/:lna "we were happy", or as he
translates it, "we both liked". This shows that there was variation in
CB in the use of g and r, even at the turn of the century, and that
this variation is not altogether a new development. Oussani uses
baS:du "then" which still occurs in CB, although baS:den seems to be
more common nowadays. mbogar "because" is no longer current,
having been replaced by mb6g.
6
There is no glottal stop between
particle 1- and ammi "my mother", which occurs in the Arabic text
as Iammi. lamma "when", which occurs in the text, is the older
variant of lamma or !amman provided by my younger informants.
There is variation also in the realization of yawtiS I yawtis "slowly".
Oussani, elsewhere in his article, gives yawtis. Among my informants,
the older ones seemed to prefer yawtiS while the younger ones
invariably preferred yawtiS. In the text there is /:latta "so that", an
archaic variant of /:latta, which is far more common nowadays.
6 My older informants were not familiar with mbogar.
Levelling or non-levelling 149
4.3 Levelling or non-levelling
Most CB salient features are levelled during CB non-CB interaction.
Some sociolinguists, like Dorian (1973) and Trudgill (1983; 1986),
have found that levelling can sometimes be long-term resulting in
the complete reduction of certain salient features. CB appears to be
under a great deal of threat from several directions. Blanc (1964)
found that certain overtly stigmatized features, like dental t for inter-
dental 1. and the postpositional copula, were optional among the
speakers he interviewed. According to some of my older informants,
these and other CB features are Christian markers which many
young people do not want to retain in their speech. Most of my
younger informants saw the postpositional copula and particle kan as
redundant. These two features, therefore, may well become obsolete
in due course. The imtila is another feature which is frequently being
levelled. Most LA loans are realized with medial ti, as, for example,
tamtitil "statues"; maxtizon "shops". Other well-established forms
seem to be shedding the imtila also. maken "place", which appears
in Oussani's text, was invariably realized as maktin by my informants.
madegos "schools", which appeared in the speech of the older
informants, was frequently realized as madtiros by the younger
members of the group. This variant was also recorded by Blanc (p
87)_7 Although at the present time nes and ntis are in free variation,
ntis could well become the only variant, just as it appears to be in
the Mosul dialect, (Jastrow 1979: 53).
Dentals for interdentals appear to be fairly stable among the Christians
I spoke to. As Blanc found (p 19), t is the interdental which is more
frequently realized by CB speakers. The following LA and non-Arabic
loanwords occur in CB with the interdental of the donor language:
tamttil
ta2attur
tayatar
tarapi
7 See 4.2 above.
"statue"
"influence"
"theatre"
"therapy"
150
A Brief Sociolinguistic Survey
Loans with d and rj usually occur with their corresponding dental
variants in CB. In my data only two LA forms were realized with d
These were mugil "broadcaster" and mugakkarat "memoirs".   h e ~
were no instances of forms with LA rj. LA loans like munarjrJama
"organization"; ganan "suspicions"; marjhar "appearance", were realized
with CB g. g for r seems to be quite stable also. Dentals for inter-
dentals, and g for r do not appear to be undergoing long-term
levelling. In spite of the fact that the diffusion of LA forms into CB
is seen by some Christian Baghdadis as a threat to their dialect, it
should be remembered that most LA loans are not replacing CB
forms, but are filling lexical gaps in the dialect.
The most immediate danger to CB which could lead to dialect
death, similar to the fate Dorian (1981) predicted for Scottish Gaelic
'
is due to social, rather than to linguistic factors. CB speakers nowadays
are scattered throughout the world. Since the 1960s many have
settled in non-Arabic speaking communities, either individually or in
small groups, where they have little chance of speaking CB. In spite
of the fact that many Christian Baghdadis who are living abroad
appear to have preserved their dialect, it is difficult to predict
whether they will be able to maintain it indefinitely, and to pass it
on to the next generation.
TEXTS
The following transcribed texts were selected from numerous
recordings of CB speech made in Baghdad and London. In order to
give an overview of the dialect as a whole, the twenty texts were
transcribed from recordings by twenty different speakers of varying
ages. All recordings which were marred by constant repetition or
hesitation were avoided. Only recordings of spontaneously produced
speech with a narrative slant were chosen, since these needed little
or no editing. Texts which gave a personal view of Baghdadi or Iraqi
culture and way of life seemed appropriate to include here, because
they contained a larger number of CB forms and expressions than
texts with a more general bent. Footnotes were restricted to a
minimum and used only where an expression or a lexical item
appeared vague or contradicted CB phonology or grammar. Many
informants expressed the wish to remain anonymous. It is not difficult,
however, to tell in some texts whether the speaker is male or
female, elderly or young.
152 Texts
Text 1
sarr dogla binu madd w gazag. ba$-$e{ yanqa$ mayy as-sarr w
tatla(j binu gazag tabqa till a$-$e{ ila an yagi b-bagad wam-matag w
tatgarta g-gazag. kanu bat.iar;l t.ia2ilat bagdad yJ:zarron matol bayat
azgegi man sa(jaf naxal )ala g-gazag ysammawam cagadfg ... al-
mafgad cagdag. hadi5li b-sakal xayam yaham. kall alli )andam cagdag
ysawwan (jazfmi binu (jal aqall magga aw magten ba$-$e{ ya(jazman
azdoqa2am w aqagabam w yashagi5n la$-$aba]J.. akal w kef w
mi5siqa ... bal-awwal kanat mi5siqa sagqayyi yaS'ni calgi bagdad ...
maqam ... al-gabbanci w nar;lam w salima ~     baS'den $ago ygzban
agani faygaz
2
w J:zatta amm kaltam
3
... w maggat mi5siqa gagbayyi
matal atwfst hay ag-gaq$a mal as-sattinat wal-bitalz war-ri5lang asti5nz.
na]J.na kanna bal-(jaraq ansammi 1-bitalz xanafas matl al-J:zasaga.
addakkag sani b sahag ab ysammiinu (jandna ab al-lahhab
kanna kall yi5men taqgiban angi5/:t al-S'and azdoqa2 S'andam cagdag w
nashag las-saS'a tleti agba)a $-$aba/:t. naggaS' lal-bet halkanin. bass
kanna natwannas aktig w hadi5lak al-ayyam man a/:tsan ayyam
qar;fr;lenaham.
kan aku S'a2ilat matmakkanfn S'andom matogat. kanna natlaS' bam-
mati5g angi5/:t al-naH as-sart w-ancayyat w nazba/:1. kan aymagg man
yamna $ayyadin samak talS'en yat$ayyadiin sabbiit w bazz.
4
aktag
$ayyadin dagla yazba]J.i5n male/:1. hayyi s-sabti/:ta bas-sarr mii halqad
sa]J.J:zayyi yiiha w xatag. yqiiliin aku kosag bas-sarr bass ana b-S'amgi
rna saftu se man hada w ana qar;fr;letu aktag sababi azba/:1 bas-saft.
1 These are the Iraqi singers Mu]:lammad al-Qabbanchi, popularly known
as al-Gubbanchi, N a ~ i m al-Ghazali and Salima Murad.
2 The Lebanese singer.
3' The famous Egyptian singer.
4 Two types of large freshwater fish found in Iraqi rivers.
Translations 153
Translation 1
The river Tigris has high and low tides. In the summer the water of
the river decreases and small islands appear in it which stay all
summer until the cold and the rain come and the islands become
submerged. Some Baghdadi families used to put up little palm-leaf
huts on the islands which are called cariidfg . .. singular cardiig.
These are like tents. Everyone who had a cardiig would give a party
in it once or twice in the summer. They would invite their friends
and relatives and stay up until morning. Food and fun and music .. .
At first it used to be Oriental music, that is Iraqi classical music .. .
maqiim ... Al-Gubbanchi, Na<;iim and Sali:ma ... Later they started to
bring songs by Fayruz and even Umm Kulthum ... And sometimes
Western music, like the Twist, that dance of the sixties, and the
Beatles and the Rolling Stones. We, in Iraq, used to call the Beatles
"beetles", like the insect.
I remember one year in August, (which) they call "flaming August"
in our part of the world, we went practically every other day to
friends, who had a cardiig, and we used to stay up until three or
four o'clock in the morning. We would go home exhausted. But we
used to enjoy ourselves very much, and those days were among the
best we have ever spent.
There were well-off families who had motorboats. We used to go
out in the motorboat as far as the middle of the river, and we
would dive in and swim. Fishermen used to go past us on their way
to fish sabbut and bazz. The majority of the Tigris fishermen swim
well. Swimming in the Tigris is not that healthy and is dangerous.
They say that there are sharks in the river, but in all my life I did
not see anything of the kind, and I have spent most of my youth
swimming in the river.
154 Texts
Text 2
madgasati kanat madgasat banat w madgasi ah1ayyi. ab-bagdad
kanat am-madegas a1-abtada?ayyi 1-/:lakilmayyi max.talata wam-madegas
at-tanawayyi
5
kallata mil maxtalata yaha. lakan aktag am-madegas
al-abtada?ayyi al-ah1ayyi 16 la1-banat 16 la1-walad. baS:den !fago yaftaf:i6n
madegas ahlayyi maxtalata bax-xamsinat was-sattinat. am-madgasi
1-ah1ayyi taqba1 manu rna kiin. tabS:an ygidiin nes yadfa5:ii1am.
ida we(lad gasab santen waga baS:(iam yantagad man am-madgasi
1-/:lakiimayyi mb6g ba1-S:araq S:a1a t-tagiqa 1-afgansawayyi ida tdlab
gasab ab-axag as-sani yabqa b-!faffu yS:idu sani 1axxi. ida gasab
ab-maw(i65: aw atnen yqiililn ta1a5: akma1
6
w yaqdag ida mtaf:ian
bayam ab-axag as-sani w naga/:1 yat1a5: a1-!faff a5:1a. ida gasab
magga 1axxi tabS:an yabqa b-nafs a!f-!faff
aku maggat kanu t-talamid yanga/:!6n nagaJ:z S:af:z-l:zaffi. yaS:ni ykiln
maS:adda1am ben ax-xamsin wax-xamsi w xamsin. waqta yqilliln
talaS:o akma1 bal-maS:adda1. alii akma1 ba1-maS:adda1 yaxtag dagas aw
dagsen yamta/:lan bayam /:latta yS:alli maS:adda1u w yanga/:1.
madegas a1-S:araq hayyi abtada?ayyi w tanawayyi. w at-tanawayyi
maqsiimi qasmen m a t a w a   f ~ a t a w aS:dadayyi. bam-madgasi a1-
abtada?ayyi satt !fafiif amtaf:ian !faff as-sadas ysammiinu l-balw16gya.
al-matawaHata t1at asnin w a1-aS:dadayyi santen. ab-axag !faff ba1-
m a t a w a ~ ~ a t a w hawwa !f-!faff at-tdlat at-tanawi t-taldmid S:andem
amtaf:zan baka16gya w wagiinu yaxtiig6n 16 fagaS: S:a1mi 16 fagaS: adabi
ba1-aS:diidayyi lli baya !f-!faff ag-gabaS: wax-xiimas tiinawi. w ab-axag
a!f-!faff ax-xamas yamta/:lniin amtaf:ziin baka16gya lax qaba1 mii yg6/:16n
1ag-giimaS:a aw a1-kallayyat at-tagbayi aw kallayi takn6l6gayyi.
5 In Iraq primary schools are usually co-educational while secondary
schools are all single sex.
6 akmiil (lit. "completion"; "conclusion"). This implies that the result of
th.e examination is not outright failure and that it is possible to resit
the subjects one has failed in.
Translations 155
Translation 2
My school was a girls' school, and a private one. In Baghdad state
primary schools were mixed, and all secondary schools not mixed
(not co-educational). But the majority of private primary schools
were either for girls or for boys. Then in the fifties and sixties they
began to open co-educational private primary schools. Private schools
accept anybody. Of course they want people who can pay them.
If one failed two years running one would be expelled from a
state school, because in Iraq it is according to the French system
that if a pupil fails at the end of the (school) year he stays down in
his class and repeats it another year. If he fails in one or two
subjects they say he has not failed completely, and he would be
able to go to a higher class if he is examined in them at the end of
the year and is successful. If he fails (in them) one more time of
course he stays down in the same class.
There were times when pupils used to have borderline passes.
That is when their average would be between 50°/o and 55°/o. In
such situations they say that they failed in their average. The one
who fails in his average chooses one or two subjects to be examined
in so that he would increase his average and pass.
Iraqi schools are primary and secondary. Secondary schools are
divided into two parts, intermediate and preparatory. There are six
classes in a primary school. The exam at (the end of) the sixth
class is called the baccalaureate. The intermediate (section is) three
years and the preparatory two years. In the last class of the interme-
diate (section), which is the third class of the secondary school,
pupils take a baccalaureate examination, and after that they choose
either the sciences or the arts division in the preparatory school
which has the fourth and fifth secondary classes. At the end of the
fifth class they take another baccalaureate examination before they
go to university or to teacher training college or a technological
college.
156 Texts
Text 3
na/:lna b-betna rna kan a/:lad ya/:lki bad-din "hada masfl:zi yanu. hay
masalmayyi yaha. hada yahiidi yanu." bass gaddati kanat tasma1ni
aqiil abana lladi fi s-samawati w as-salamu 1alayki ya magyam.
kanat 2andna $an2a katolfkayyi w [amman kanat tasma2na ana w bibi
qa- n$alli kanat at$ alii wayyana. e 2ala kall /:lal rna kan baba y/:zabb
al:zad yqill se }an din geg nes. kan }andna azdaqii2 aktagam aslam
w kantu at$awwag kallatna nafs as-se ya}ni kantu at$awwag $adiqati
banat giganna hayyi hammena ga/:l tatnawal matli !amman Y$fg
2amga tman tasa2 asnin. !amman agbagtu $agtu a§}ag baf-fagaq ben
adyan an-nes. hada se tabili xa$$atan ab-balad matl al-CJaraq baya
man kall al-adyan. bam-madgasi kanna ngi5/:l lab-be2a kall al-banat
a/-masi/:layyat rna }ada 1-pgotastan la?an madgasatna kanat madgasi
katolikayyi .. . madgasat gahbat.
awwal rna gal:ztu lam-madgasi kano aktag ab-banat masi/:layyat li5
asga?ilayyat
7
ya}ni yahiid hakki kanna nsammayam qabal. $adiqatna
1-masi/:layyat hammena rna kiino ya/:lkiln bad-din. ba2den $iigo yagi5n
banat man baggat bagdad mii matlawwadin }ala l:zayiit madini gbigi.
hadoli bass kano yas?aliin "anti sanu dinki?" wa/:ldi banat agbag
manni b-aktig qalatli magga "anti na$ganayyi yaki." qaltiila "la Ia ana
masi/:layyi." kantu ba2adni zgegi ma2gaf na$ganayyi w masi/:zayyi
fagad se. za2altu w abkitu w hayyi tqalli "bali bali anti na$giinayyi."
kanna q€ldin )al-}asa qalli biiba "sbiki banti?" qaltiilu "mii se." qalli
'1azam aku se. md qa-ta/:lkilna y-yi5m }an a$fil[ki w adguski." sakattu
swayya. ba}den qaltiilu "baba sanu na$gani $a/:leb mat! al-masf/:li?"
qalli "e miiku fagaq. masi/:li ya2ni yatba2 al-masi/:l w na$giini yatba)
yassi52 al-masi/:l alii kiin man an-ntzyaga." waqta kayyaftu w mii
za2altu ba2ad ida a/:lad qalli "anti na$giinayyi yaki."
7 Up until the fifties Iraqi Christians frequently referred to Jews as
asgii2flayyfn (lit. "Israelites"). This was considered a more polite form
than yah ad "Jews". It was only when the word Israelite took on a
political meaning that this practice was dropped.
Translations 157
Translation 3
In our house nobody spoke about religion. 'This man is a Christian.
This woman is a Muslim. That one is a Jew." But my grandmother
used to hear me recite "Our Father who art in heaven" and "Hail
Mary". We had a Catholic maid, and when she heard my granny and
me praying she used to pray with us. Anyway, Daddy did not like
anyone saying anything about other people's religion. We had friends
who were mostly Muslim, and I used to think that we were all the
same, that is to say I used to think that my friend, our neighbours'
daughter, was also going to make her first communion like me at
the age of eight or nine. When I got older I started to be aware of
the differences between people's (different) religions. That is natural,
especially in a country like Iraq which has all the religions. At
school we used to go to chapel, all of us Christian girls, except the
Protestants, because our school was a Catholic school ... a school
run by nuns.
When I first went to school most of the girls were Christian or
Israeli, I mean Jewish, that is what we used to call them in the
past. Our Christian friends also did not talk about religion. Later
girls from outside Baghdad, who were not used to life in a big city,
started to come. Only those used to ask: "What is your religion?"
One girl who was much older than me said to me: "You are a Christian
Oit. Nazarene)." I said to her: "No, no, I am a Christian." I was still
young and did not know that a Nazarene and a Christian were the
same. I got angry and cried. She went on saying to me: "Yes, yes,
you are a Nazarene." We were sitting down to supper (and) Daddy
said to me: "What's wrong, my girl?" I said: "Nothing." He said to
me: "There must be something. You're not talking to us today about
your classes and lessons." I was quiet for a little bit. Then I said to
him : "Daddy, what is a Nazarene? Is it true that it is the same as
a Christian?" He said to me: "Yes, there is no difference. A Christian
means (someone) who follows Christ, and a Nazarene follows Jesus
Christ who was from Nazareth." It was then that I felt happy and I
did not get angry after that if someone said to me: "You are a
Nazarene."
158 Texts
Text 4
awwal a$an$6g
8
ya)ni ma:f)ad kahgaba?i saftilnu b-bagdad kan ab
6gazdi ... maxzan binu kall se ... bad/at lar-ragal wan-nasa? wal-atfal
w atat bet
9
w-aqmasat w :fil[ w kall se (latta mati'am . .. maqha ...
ng6/:l naqS:ad binu w nakal d6ndarma. kanat waqta d-d6ndarma s-
silgayyi kan astahagat ba[-)araq. sqadd $ago yafta/:16n ma(lallat ybil6n
baya d6ndarma w (lalawayyat silgayyi w labnanayyi. b 6gazdi kano
yg!biln d6ndarma mat! ad-d6ndarma al-mash6ga b-damasq hay alii
msawwayi man /:lalib sada 16 fastaq. baS:den qamo yatfannaniln y6m
afgez y6m masmas y6m m6z 16 battex.
kanna na/:lna ng6/:l al-6gazdi hakki bass nastamm hawa swayya.
ida gadna nastagi se kanna ng6/:l a/-)and (lasso, yaS:ni maxzan (lasso
axwan. abilyi kan yaS:gaf al-madig. S:ti?ilat (lasso kallatam sabtayyin
hamma ashag S:a?ila sabtayyi b-bagdad.
e fa awwal ma gabo ma$5:ad kahgaba?i b 6gazdi $agat an-nes
atg6/:l tagkab binu yatfa5:6n w yanzaliln se gadid yanu b-bagdad.
magga kantu bal- ma$5:ad wayya wa(ldi amm al- S:abayi kanat wayya
wa/:ldi safiig. as-safiig qalatla 1-amm al-S:abayi "sl6n qatsilfin al-
ma$5:ad?" qalatla "mil halqad fagad se male/:! yanu. al-ma$a5:ad ab-
mQ$ag agbag w a(lsan b-aktig man hada. h6niki kall mQ$5:ad binu
mgayi w maqc.iad." bass ban-nasbi 1-geg nes kan se )ar,/im. yqilliln
!amman gabo awwal dagag kahgaba?i /-bagdad kano nes aktag
yg6/:16n bass (latta yatla5:6n w yanzaliln. hadak al-waqat ana ma
kantu b-bagdad kantu bag-gama)a b-amegka.
8 < the French ascenseur.
9 While enumerating the articles sold in the department store this infor-
mant reverted to the use of literary Arabic while retaining CB t for
t i'n atilt "furniture"; "furnishings".
Translations 159
Translation 4
The first lift, that is elevator, that I saw in Baghdad was in Orozdi
Back ... a department store which has everything ... clothes for
men, women and children, household furnishings, materials, wool and
everything, even a restaurant .. . a cafe . .. where we used to go and
sit down to have ice cream. At that time Syrian ice cream was
famous in Iraq. So many shops which sold Syrian and Lebanese ice
cream and sweets opened (then). So at Orozdi Back they used to
sell ice cream like the famous Damascus ice cream, the one which
is made of plain milk or pistachio. Later they started to vary (it).
One day (there would be) strawberry (ice cream), another day apricot,
another day banana or melon.
We used to go to Orozdi Back just for a breath of air. If we
wanted to buy something we would go to Hasso's, that is Hasso
Brothers' Store. My father knew the manager. All the Hasso family
are Seventh-day Adventists. They are the best known Seventh-day
Adventist family in Baghdad.
Yes, so the first time they brought an electric elevator to Orozdi
Back people started to go there and get into it to go up and down.
It was a novelty in Baghdad. Once I was in the elevator with a
woman wearing a 5:abaya. She was with a bareheaded woman. The
bareheaded (woman) said to the one in the 5:abaya: "How do you
find the elevator?" She said to her: "It's not all that good. The
elevators in Egypt are a lot bigger and better than this one. There
each elevator has a mirror and a seat." But according to other
people it was fantastic. They say that when they brought the first
escalator to Baghdad many people only wanted to go up and down.
At that time I was not in Baghdad. I was at university in America.
160 Texts
Text 5
ntaSagat as-sinama b-bagdad bal-agbaCJinat wal-xamsinat qaba1 ma
yagi 1-ta1avazyon. awwa1 mal:zattat ta1avazyon anfata!:zat
ab-sant a1-xamsi w xamsin. qabl a1-talavazyon as-sinama kanat
ahamm 1ahu 1-5:ti2ilat bagdad ya5:ni ba5:d as-sahgat ba1-abyat.
as-sinama n65:en satwi w   bagga. ab-ayyam al:z-/:zagg
wel:zad yabqa gawwat banayi alla ida kanat ambaggadi. kall
as-sinamat kan bayam maqa5:ad w 1ogat kall lOga baya agba5: kagasi.
maggat ida kanna xamsi 16 satti na!:zgaz kagsi aw kagsayyen yl:zattawam
ba1-1oga. nastiJ wal:zdam aw 5:a?ilat yaq5:adan bal-1ogat. gyagz1 w
sabab w ganad yaq5:adan ab-maqa5:ad ysammawam abu 1-agba5:in w
abu 1-sab'i:in. la?an awwal ma nfatal:zat as-sinamtit kan sa5:g al-maq5:ad
a1-liqaddam agba5:in falas wal-a!:zsan sab5:in folas. baqo hakki ysamma-
wam /:latta ba5:ad ma agla.
a1-aflam al-amegakayyi hayyi IIi kanat sa5:bayyi aktag. awwalan
amsawwayi male/:l w tanayan tagi las-sinamat al-mal:ztagama. qalfl
5:ti2ilat kano ygol:zon las-sinamat alii bayam aflam 5:agabayyi ya5:ni
la?an aktagam kano b mal:zallat qadfmi w faqfgi. al-aflam
al-amegakayyi kanat bal-laga   wayya taggami bal-5:agabi
wal-fagansi. as-sfnamti.t kanat aktig ala sa5:bayyi w baqat hakki ila
awwal as-sattinat.
Text 6
bal-5:araq aku !:zagaki fannayyi qawayyi. man al-agba5:inat astahago
1-fannanin al-5:araqayyin bag- gasam wan-nal:zat. kan qabal yagon
fannanin ogoppayyin lal-5:araq yagasman w aygaggon fotografoyyi
lal-ti.tag al-5:araqayyi wal-mal:zallat al-qadfmi ab bagdad w
  a/man ahtammo b fQ$wfg al-bayat al-qadimi
hadoli 1-bayam sanesil w /:los ab-nafoga w a§gag mat[ al-bayat
al-aspanayyi ... al-andalusayyi. w gassamin angaliz yagon
Translation 161
Translation S
Cinemas in Baghdad became widespread in the forties and fifties
before television arrived. I think the first television channel opened
in 1955. Before television the cinema was the most important pass-
time for Iraqi families, that is to say after evemng gatherings in
(people's) homes.
There are two kinds of cinema, indoors {lit. for winter) and
open-air (lit. for summer). Open-air is outdoors. On hot days it is
difficult to stay inside a building except when it is air-conditioned.
All cinemas had (individual) seats and boxes. Each box had four
chairs. Sometimes if we were five or six we would book a chair or
two which they would put for us in the box. Women on their own
or families would sit in the boxes. Men, young men and soldiers
would sit in the seats which they (still) call those at forty fils and
others at seventy fils. That is because when cinemas first opened
the price of a seat in front was forty fils, and the better (seat)
seventy fils. They kept calling them that even after they became
more expensive.
It was American films which were more popular. Firstly they
were well made, and secondly they came to respectable cinemas.
Few families went to cinemas which showed (lit. had) Arabic films,
that is Egyptian (films), because most of them were in old and poor
quarters. American films were in the original language with subtitles
in Arabic and French. Cinemas were very popular and remained so
until the beginning of the sixties.
Translation 6
There is a strong art movement in Iraq. From the forties (onwards)
Iraqi artists became well known in (the fields) of painting and sculpture.
Previously European artists used to come to Iraq to paint and take
photographs of Iraqi landmarks and old quarters, especially in Baghdad
and Mosul. German photographers took an i n t   r   ~ t in photographing
old houses, those which have overhanging windows and a courtyard
with a fountain and trees, like Spanish ... Andalusian houses. And
162
Texts
lal-t;araq w yagasman mana{lag mat;magayyi w agtamat;ayyi. bass
al-fannanfn al-t;araqayyfn baddat;o.
bax-xamsfnat bado 1-fannanfn yat;ag{lan ab a/wan zaytayyi w
mti.?ayyi
10
b mat;aga{l w qamo n-nes yastagon w
astahago 1-fanntinfn al-t;araqayyfn bas mil nafs
ad-dagagi lli stahago baya bag-gasam.
Text 7
al-at;yad bal-t;araq ma kanat abadan. al-masalmfn t;andam
at;yadam wal-aqallayyat matl   wal-yahiid wal-agman
wal-atiigayyfn wal-akgad kallatam t;andam at;yadam. w tabt;an da?aman
aku 1-at;yad al-watanayyi matal t;fd mflad al-malak w l]fd al-tatwig
11
hadoli bal-t;ahd al-malaki. bag-gamhiigayyi aku qabal kall se l]fd
al-tawra
11
yat;ni agbatat;as tammiiz w yom ag-gays satti kaniin
at-tani.
ab at;yad al-masalmin kall al-awlti.d kano yalbasiin gadidi
mlawwani 1-banat yagabtun sagayat tafta mlawwani b sat;gam. yagkabiin
bat;-t;agabanat w yganniin. al-banat hammena
idayam w gaglayam.
bat;d al-masalmin kano 1-yahiid yahtammiin aktfg ab-at;yadam ...
yom kipog w t;id gas as-sani malatam w !amman t;agazil

12
al-t;agziili msawwayi man sat;af naxal. kanna ngo/:1 al-t;and
azdaqti.?na nsiif t;agazilam. hay qabal ma
13
al-yahiid man
10 There are no CB forms for oil or water colours, and so informants
usually code-switch to literary Arabic.
11 With non-CB forms informants frequently retain the I of the definite
article instead of assimilating it to the following phoneme.
12 This practice refers to the celebrations of Succoth or the Jewish
Feast of Tabernacles.
13 < gansayyatu "he renounced his (Iraqi} nationality"
came to mean that an Iraqi Jew had left or was about to leave Iraq.
Translations 163
English painters started to come to Iraq to paint architectural and
social scenes. But Iraqi artists in fact excelled themselves.
In the fifties (Iraqi) artists began to exhibit their oil and water-
colour paintings in special exhibitions. People started to buy their
pictures. They also became well-known for (their) sculpture and
etchings, but not to the same extent as for (their) paintings.
Translation 7
There was no dearth of feasts in Iraq at all. Muslims have their own
feasts, and (so do) the minorities like the Christians, the Jews, the
Armenians, the Assyrians and the Kurds who all have their feasts.
And of course there are always the national festivals, like the king's
birthday and Coronation Day; these were during the monarchy. In
the republic there is first of all the anniversary of the Revolution,
that is on 14 July, and Army Day on 6 January.
During the Muslim feasts all the children used to wear brand
new colourful clothes, the girls used to tie coloured taffeta ribbons
in their hair. They used to ride in horse-drawn carriages and clap
their hands and sing. Girls also used to put henna on their hands
and feet.
After the Muslims it was the Jews who used to make the most
of their feasts ... Yom Kippur and their new year (Rosh Hashanah)
and when they put lJarzillas on the roofs. An lJarzilla is made of
palm leaves. We used to visit our friends to see their lJarzillas. That
was before Jews started leaving from the forties (onwards). How
they used to enjoy their festivals! They would take with them hard-
164 Texts
awaxag al-agbaCJinat. sqad kano ykayftln ab-aCJyacmm. yagdan wayyaham
tabit
14
be{l w geg ygof:zon al-pagk as-saCJdan alli qageb man betna.
kantu asufam samawag w ysawwan cay bal-pagk.
naf:zna 1-masif:zayyfn CJandna CJid al-milad w gas as-sani w CJid al-
agbig yaCJni   al-ogtodoks w al-agman CJid al-mflad
CJandam yam satti kanan at-tani baCJad CJid gas as-sani. w aktag
as-sanfn CJid   CJandam ykan baCJad CJid   malat al-katolik
wal-apgotastan. kanat as-sani kallata CJandna b-bagdad malyani aCJyad.
as-siCJa yaf:ztajlan ab CJid nawgoz bag-gabeCJ. ysammanu bal-CJaraq
CJid dogt as-sani !amman as-sani ddog CJala noCJ f:zaywan. ysawwan
kallata namnamat w yzawqawa b yas. kal Iazam ykan
baya tamag. yf:zattan asmoc; lan-nadag alli yandag se yf:zatt dambas
bas-samCJa. se ktig f:zalu yanu. nes aktag y?amnan binu masalmin w
masif:zayyfn. am-maga lli ma   wllid tandag ida aban
aw banat atqom hayyi tsawwilam kall sani xlilati nadagat ab
magt al-fallaf:z malatam. I amman waladat awwal abna qalatla
magt al-fallii/:1 "lazam kall sani tsawwflu hada as-sagar."
qamat xalati kal nawgoz atsawwi 1-abna ila an matat a!!a
yagf:zama.
al-masalmfn baCJa{l mannam bal-qaddisin al-masif:zayyfn.
kan aku waf:zdi maga masalmayyi naCJgafa qalatla   1-masif:zayyi
"asCJalfli samc;a lal-CJadga yom al-af:zad." mbog abna kan qayf:zabb
wa/:ldi ma mnasabi 1-CJa?alatam. !amman abna tagaka 1-hay w atnesan
wayya waf:zdi yaCJagftln ahla ammu tdazz ajlas ab id
lak- kan fsi.
14 .lit. "left overnight". Eggs and chicken were cooked on Friday afternoon
and put on low embers to keep warm for the Sabbath.
Translations 165
boiled eggs and boiled chicken and they would go to SaCdun Park
which is near our house. I used to see them putting up samovars
and making tea in the park.
We Christians have Christmas, New Year and the Great Feast,
that is Easter. The Orthodox, and especially the Armenians, have
their Christmas on 6 January, after New Year. And most years their
Easter falls after the Catholic and Protestant Easter. Our whole year
in Baghdad was full of feasts.
The ShiCites celebrate Nawruz in the spring. They call it in Iraq
the revolving of the year, when the year revolves on a kind of
animal. They prepare trays full of tidbits which they decorate with
privet leaves. Each tray has to include dates. They (also) put candles
for making wishes. Anyone wanting to make a wish sticks a pin in a
candle. It's something very nice. Many people believe in it, (both)
Muslims and Christians. A woman who has no children (usually)
makes a wish. If she has a boy or a girl she has to prepare a tray
for them every year. My (maternal) aunt made a wish in the tray of
their gardener's wife. When she had her first child the gardener's
wife said to her: "You must prepare a tray every year. That is a
must." So my aunt began to prepare a tray for her son every Nawruz
until she died, God have mercy on her soul.
Some Muslims believe in Christian saints. There was a Muslim
woman we knew who said to her Christian maid: "Light me a candle
to the Virgin on Sunday." (This was) because her son was in love
with a woman who was not suitable for their family. When her son
left this (woman) and got engaged to someone whose family they
knew, (his mother) began to send money to the church with her
maid.
166
Texts
Text 8
kal madgasi bal-2araq yom we/:lad bas-sani d-dagasayy;_
  man ygo/:lon safga 1-xagag al-madini. qalil taliimid mii
ygo/:lon. aku maggat awlad ahlam ma yxallawam ygo/:lon wayya baqayyat
azdaqa.Jam. ygilz yxafiin 2alayam. bass al-aktagayyi yantazhiln  
w ygol:zon wayya
l-azbo2 kallu qabl as-safga ykilniln al-awliid fag/:liinin w magtahdin
bam-madgasi. kantu ana w azdaqa.Ji ma naqdag nagfa qabal lelt
as-safga halqad ma nkiln fag/:lanin. kantu I-ammi idii ma
saftawa qat/:la{i{iagli gadayi las-safga. tqalli "abni ba2ad waqat." kantu
aqom   w bal-2agal agzd ago/:! lam-madgasi. yqalli abilyi
"les al-2agali hay-yom?"
!amman kantu lam-madgasi ago/:! adawwag 2ala kall azdaqa2i
w nat/a2   mal am-madgasi. safgatna kano lo 1-babal lo lal-
l:zalla naq2ad 2ala siita2 al-fagat lo 1-abu greb. honiki aku mazga2a
w nahag w asgiig anqa{i{ii n-nahag nal2ab sambela w xatteba
wal-baniit yaxdiln wayyiiham /:labal. w nagga2 kallatna ta2banin
lal-bet al-magrab.
Text 9
1-mosiqa 1-S:ariiqayyi hayyi no2en 1-aklasikayyi was-sa2bayyi. 1-akliisi-
kayyi ya2ni 1-maqam was-sa2bayyi 1-agani 1-badawayyi 1  
bass al-maqiim hawwa mafxagat al-2araq al-mosiqayyi. bal-waqt
al-/:liidag kan atgayyag aktig mamma kan ab 2ahd al-2abbiisayyin.
15
mii2gaf idii l-alqii2 ba2du matal mii kiin qabal. liikan kan
man qaballi2an mastama2in qagn al-2asgzn mii 2andam lti nafs  
wa Ia waqat yaqdagon yabqon sii2iit yasma2on qiigi 1-maqam yalqi
maqiim we/:lad waga laxxi. 2iid al-qiigi yalqi maqiim lo tnen w
15 'It is generally believed that the contemporary Iraqi maqiim is a direct
descendant of Abbasid court songs.
Translations 167
Translation 8
Every school in Iraq dedicates one day in the school year for each
one of its classes to go on an outing outside the city. There are
few pupils who do not go. There are sometimes children whose
parents do not allow them to go with the rest of their friends.
Perhaps they worry about them. But the majority take the opportunity
and go with their class.
The whole week before the outing the children are excited and
work hard at school. My friends and I could never get to sleep the
night before an outing, so excited were we. I used to pester my
mother if I did not see her preparing me a (packed) lunch for the
outing. She used to say to me: "It's still early, my boy." I would get
up in the morning and want to rush to school. My father would say
to me: "Why the hurry today?"
When I got to school I would go and look for all my friends and
(then) we would get into the school bus. Our outings were either to
Babylon or to f:lilla where we would sit on the bank of the Euphrates,
or to Abu Ghraib. There is a farm there and a river and trees
where we would spend the day playing leapfrog and hide-and-seek,
and the girls used to take a skipping rope with them. We all used
to go back home in the evening exhausted.
Translation 9
Iraqi music is of two kinds, the classical and the popular. The
classical means the maqdm, and the popular (consists of) songs
which are of bedouin origin. The maqdm, however, is the musical
pride of Iraq. At the present time it has changed a great deal from
what it was in the Abbasid era. I do not know whether the recitation
is still as it used to be before. But (the maqam) has become shorter
than before because twentieth century audiences have not got the
same patience nor the time to be able to spend hours listening to a
reciter delivering one maqam after another. So the reciter delivers
one short maqam or two, and . then the orchestra starts to play a
popular ditty or a folk song and the audience starts to clap to its
rhythm and join in the refrain.
168 Texts
ba2den yqilm ac-ctilgi ydaqq li5 pasta li5 gannayyi sa2bayyi al-mastama1in
yqi5mi5n 2ala nagmata w yastagkiln bag-gadd.
mti baqa qaggii2 maqtim matal qabal. aktag al-magannin as-sabab
yganniln agtini gadidi mat?atga b mi5siqa gagbayyi. awwalan hakki
ni52 mi5siqa margob aktag w ttinayan mti baqa magannin qadimin
y2almiln al-magannin as-sabtib alqti? maqiim 2ala t-tageqa t-taqlid.ayyj.
2ala kall /:!til ba2ad wel)ad yaqdag yalqi sahgiit wayya ciilgi bagdad
ba/:1-bafliit li5 bal-a2giis ... sahgiit alii tabda man as-sii)a tas)a w
tabqa ilii s-sii2a tliiti   !amman al-flazmin yqadmiln al-xattagam
paca.
16
Text 10
al-agman ab-bagdiid mil man as-sakkiin   matal baqayyat
al-fa? at al- masil)ayyi mat alan al- kaldiin w iiti5gayyin way-ya2qi5bayyin.
bass al-agman qasam mahamm man ag-giilayi 1-masi/:layyi
bal-)ariiq. aktagayyat al-agman i5gtodoks. liikan aku mannam kiiti5lik.
baflat;f mannam ysammawam agman mahiigagin hay !amman ygzdiln
yfagqi5n benam w ben alli go qabal mannam alii ysammawam agman
bagdad.
al-agman al-mahiigagin kiino mii ya/:lkiln )agabi male/:1 w aktagam
yal)kiln tagki w agmani. agman bagdad mii ya2agj'iln tagki w lagatam
al-agmanayyi maxli5ta b kalamiit w )abiigiit )agabayyi ktigi. b qagn
al-miit;fi kiino agman bagdad maqsilmin ben hadi5li lli yl)abbiln
gusya w ben alli yl)abbiln al-malaka vakti5gya. tab2an al-agman
al-mahiigagzn gi5 b-badiiyat haq-qagan ba2d al-madiiba/:1 alii
4a44 al-agman. )adatan al-i5gtodoks yatzawwagun qagayab.
aqall qagiibi beniitam lazam atkiln )ala ba)ad saba) maggiit. bass
[latta Iii yanqagt;filn al-agman al-batgak man zamiin qiil yguz zawiig
ben qagiiyab. w man hiida aku kam agmani matzawwag bant xalatu
li5 bant )ammatu.
16 It is customary to eat tripe following a maqiim concert.
Translations 169
There are no longer maqam reciters as before. Most young singers
sing new songs influenced by Western music. Firstly, this type of
music is more popular, and secondly, there are no longer old (style)
singers (who can) teach the young singers maqam recitation according
to the traditional method. Anyway, one can still find evening gatherings
with (traditional) Iraqi music at parties or weddings ... evening gatherings
which start at 9 o'clock and go on until 3 o'clock in the morning
when the hosts offer tripe to their guests.
Translation 10
The Armenians in Baghdad are not among the original inhabitants of
Iraq like other Christian groups, for example, the Chaldeans, the
Assyrians and the Jacobites. But Armenians have become an important
part of the Christian community in Iraq. The majority of Armenians
are Orthodox. But there are Catholics among them. Some of them
are known as "Refugee Armenians", that is when people want to
differentiate between them and those who had come before them
whom they call "Baghdadi Armenians".
"Refugee Armenians" did not use to speak Arabic well and most
of them speak Turkish and Armenian. "Baghdadi Armenians" do not
know Turkish, and their Armenian language is mixed with a lot of
Arabic words and expressions. In the last century "Baghdadi
Armenians" were divided into those who liked the Czar of Russia
and those who liked Queen Victoria. Of course "Refugee Armenians"
came at the beginning of this century, after the massacres which
took place against the Armenians. Ordinarily the Orthodox cannot
marry relatives. The nearest blood ties (between relatives) have to
be seven times removed. But in order not to allow the Armenian
(population) to die out, a long time ago the Patriarch said that it was
permissible for relatives to marry each other. That is why there are
some Armenians who have married cousins Oit. a maternal aunt's
daughter or a paternal aunt's daughter).
170 Texts
Text 11
at-tamag man ahamm al-agdayi $-$a/:zl:zayyi. al-vittiminiit was-sakag
binu magaddayi ktig. yqilliln al-badu $a/:z/:zatam malel:za yiiha mbog
yiikliln tamag w xabaz w yasgabiln J:zalib taza. at-tamag anwas
maxtalafi. honiki 1-xastiiwi yqilliln hiida al:zsan noCJ w ycf.iiyan w man
hiida ygaffafiinu w yiiklilnu bas-sata. baCJden CJandna 1-/:zalliiwi wal-
maktilm alii l:zabbatu zgegi yiiha wal-bagban alii l:zabbatu gbigi yaha.
hadoli 1-anwiiCJ maCJgofin male/:1.
an-naxil alii bal-bayilt kallatam aniit. wab-basetin tamag xa$il$ayyi
yazgaCJon naxil dakag. bag-gabeCJ yagon CJagab man ab-basetin w
gaybin wayyiiham sam[ dakag. ydaqqon al-bibiin w yasJaliln ida
al:zad ygid naxilu tatlaqqal:z. yatsallaqon hadoli matal aggedayyat
naxal w yagabtiln kall saCJaf dakag ab saCJaf anta. tabqa hakki as-
sam[ ilii awwal a$-$€[ lamma toqa'l as-sam[ ad-dakag l·vat-tamag
yqom ybayyan.
Text 12
nal:zna b-betna kanna nl:zabb xabz al-aCJgoq. hiida noCJ xabaz yaxabzilnu
wayya baqayyat al-xabaz lal-CJiiJila bass yl:zattiln binu lal:zam qima w
maCJdanos w-akgafas w kammiln baCJ-CJagzn qabal mii yaxabzilnu
bat-tannilg. kiin CJandna bab-bastiin tannilg w kiinat tagi maga CJagbayyi
taxbazalna kall atlat ayyiim magga.
hay am-maga kiinat atl:zabba I-ammi ktig. kalma tatlaCJ ammi 1-bagga
tsilfa w hayyi qa-taxbaz kiinat tabtasam w atqill "nilg nilg talaCJ amnat-
tannilg." kiinat tagi maggiit rna tal:zki w Iii tqill "slonkam" bass atgol:z
dagn lat-tannilg w-atqilm taCJgan. magga agat w CJena 1-yasga soda.
saJalata ammi qiilatla "sbiki /:zilgayya?" ... kiin asma /:zilgayya ...
qiilatla "mii se. ana malel:za yiini les qa-tasJalin?" qiilatla ammi "lii
ya /:zilgayya hay-yom anti mil CJala baCJacj.ki."
17
hay atqalla "ana male/:za
yiini" w hadiki tqalla "mii mbayyan CJaleki male/:za yiiki." baCJden xattayyi
17 lit. "you are not altogether" or "you are not up to scratch".
Translations 171
Translation 11
Oates are among the most important nutritional foods. The vitamins
and sugar in them are very nutritious. They say that bedouins are
healthy because they eat dates and bread and drink fresh milk.
Oates are different varieties. There is the xasUiwi which they say is
the best variety and is long-lasting. That is why they dry it and eat
it in winter. Then we have the /:lalliiwi, the maktilm which is small-
grained, and the barban which is large-grained. These are the best
known varieties.
The palm-trees (one finds) in houses are all female. In special
palm-groves they plant male palm-trees. In spring bedouins from the
groves come bringing with them male branches. They knock on
doors and ask if anyone wants his palm-trees pollinated. These
(men) climb (the palm-trees) like squirrels and tie each male branch
to a female one. The branches stay (tied) in this manner until the
beginning of summer when the male branches fall off and the dates
start to appear.
Translation 12
In our house we used to like herb bread. That is a kind of bread
which they bake with the rest of the bread for the family, except
that they put in the dough ground meat, parsley and cumin before
they bake it in an earthenware oven. We used to have an earthenware
oven in the garden, and a bedouin woman used to come to bake us
bread once every three days.
That woman loved my mother very much. Whenever my mother
went out to see her while she baked, (the woman) would smile and
say: "Oh light, light, that has come out of the earthenware oven".
There were times when she came and did not speak or say "how
are you". She would just go straight to the oven and start to knead
(the dough). Once she came with her left eye black. My mother
asked her and said: "What is the matter, tfuriyya?" ... Her name
was tfuriyya ... She said to her: "Nothing. I'm all right, why are you
asking?" My mother said to her: "No, tfuriyya, today you're not
yourself." (So they went on) this one would say (to the other): ''I'm
all right", and the other would say to her: "You don't look all right".
172
Texts
l:zugayya qamat tabki. xabbagata I-ammi zoga 4-agaba mbog ma
ta5'atu kall ajlasa. hayyi xattayyi tastagal w ajlas w hawwa
yaq5'ad baq-qahwi yasgab cay w yal5'ab aqmag.
Text 13
bagdad baya swaq aktigi. qasam mannam mashogen matal soq as-sogga.
hadoli b-bagdad al-qadimi bam-ma/:lallat alii bayam abyat qadimi w
dagabin w sawega5' rna mballata. kantu agol:z wayya gaddati w gassa-
latna 1-soq al-agbig mbog kantu al:zabb   wal-alwan malat
as-soq wam-mal:zallat al-qadimi wa law kiinat kallata tin w
w gel:za rna taybi. lakan al-manat;lag layqa   ... maxazan
al-aqmasat baya alwan l:zalwi a/:lmag w agq.ag w w banafsagi
wa-qmasat talma5' w taghag ... wal-hagagat !amman maga tafliigak
wayya bayya5' .. . ba5'den makanat ybi5'i5n bayam aka! w namnamat
matal /:labb w w loz w bahagat falfal a/:lmag w aswad
w kammiln w dagsin qahwa?i. yan5'agfi1n hadoli ma/:lallat
a!- 5'attagen man gel:zatam man ba5'ed. aku hammena mal:zallat ybi5'on
bayam w an/:liis w yansama5' ad-daqq bayam man masafa.
Text 14
qabal mii tagi 1-koka kola wal-papsi kola wal-savan ap lal-5'ariiq
kano n-nes ysawwiln sagbat bal-bet. ay bet wel:zad ygol:zlu bag-gabe5'
aw   !amman l:zagga d-danyi yalqi sagbat begad. kanna
na/:lna nsawwi anwa5' aktigi mnas-sagbat w naxzan al-abtuli bak-kalag
alii maysilf samas aw ay nilg /:latta s-sagbat yabqa sani kiimli w mii
yaxxab.
18
kano ymaggi5n bayya5'en ab sawega5' bagdad ybi5'i5n anwm
as-sagbat bala gaz w binu gaz. alii binu gaz kano ysammanu namlet
18 < yaxrab "to be spoilt"; "to spoil" where r is assimilated to x. See
1.1.2 on the treatment of r.
Translations 173
Then poor f:luriyya started to cry. She told my mother that her
husband had beaten her because she had not given him all her
money. She, poor (woman), used to work and earn money, while he
Gust) sat in the coffee-house drinking tea and gambling.
Translation 13
Baghdad has a lot of old markets. Some of them are famous like
the Shorja market. These are (situated) in old Baghdad, in quarters
which have old houses, alleys and unpaved streets. I used to go
with my grandmother and our washerwoman to the large market
because I liked the sounds and colours of the market and old quarters,
in spite of the fact that they were full of mud and dirt and an
unpleasant smell. But the scenes were worthy of being photographed
... Fabric shops with beautiful colours, red, green, yellow and
purple, and materials which shone and sparkled ... And the uproar
when a woman would quarrel with a vendor ... Then there were
places where they sold food and titbits like melon seeds, chick
peas, almonds and spices, red and black pepper, yellow cumin and
brown cinnamon. These spice shops could be felt from far away
because of their smells. There were also places where they sold
brass and copper, and one could hear the banging in them from a
distance.
Translation 14
Before coca-cola, pepsi-cola and seven-up were brought to Iraq
people used to make soft drinks at home. Any house one went to in
spring or summer, when the weather became hot, one would find
cold soft drinks. We used to make different kinds of soft drinks and
store the bottles in the larder which did not see the sun or any
light so that the soft drinks would keep a whole year and not spoil.
Vendors used to pass through the streets of Baghdad selling different
kinds of drinks, still and fizzy. Those which were fizzy were called
174 Texts
wal-bayyti.<ien !amman yqilliln "btigad bagad gallab fal-qalab··.19
fandna bal-bet kano gaddati   ysawwiln sagbat kall sani
... sagbat may wagad w qadda/:1 w nilmi /:lama(i w pagtaqal w masmas
w gamman w zabib. sagbat may wagad /:latta kan at-tabbti.x yastafmalu
ba/:1-/:lalawayyat. kanna nastagi mnas-soq fasag kilowat aw aktag
wagaq wagad gilgi
20
w an/:lattam ab gadag fage(l man ta/:lat w (iayyaq
man foq w natgasu may w an/:lattu fala nag xafifi. !amman yfog
al-mayy anqom an/:latt bilgi xezagan bag-gadag w angakkab falenu
bilgi lastik tawil anmaddu 1-gagga. lamma yat[af al-baxag yqilm
al-bilgi ynaqqat swayya swayya qatgat may wagad. may qadda/:1
hammena ysawwilnu b nafs at-tageqa w yqilliln male/:! lal-qalab. alii
yasgab may qadda/:1 yat/:lasa n-nawbat
21
al-qalbayyi. may wagad
male(llag-galad. kano 1-banat qabal rna yaktasfiin 1-akgemat
axdildam w gabinam binu /:latta rna yat[aflam /:labb as-sabab.
22
as-sagbat alii kantu a/:labbu ana aktag se hawwa sagbat az-zabib.
kanna n/:latt kilo zabib ab-tasi w angatri z-zabib ab-may begad. bafd
yomen !-may w an/:lattu fala w angatri z-zabib ab-may
gadid. nfid al-famalayyi magga laxxi bafad yomen laxag. al-mayy
  man az-zabib an/:lattu b-batal bat-tallagi w bafad azbof
anqom nasta1malu. ida we(lad tagak sagbat zabib sani aw aktag
sagab. qasam man al-yahild kano yasgabiln sagbat zabib ambadal
sagab ab al-yahild.
19 lit. "refreshingly soothing for the heart".
20 A special kind of scented pink rose petals are used for extricating
rose water.
21 As nawba qalbayyi "heart attack" is a loan from literary Arabic, the
·diphthong aw is retained.
22 lit. "the spots of youth".
Translations 175
ntimlet. When the vendors called out they used to say: "Cold, cold,
refreshing drinks."
At home my grandmother and the maid used to make soft drinks
every year ... Rose water, orange blossom water, lemon, orange,
apricot, pomegranate and raisin. The cook even used rose water in
sweetmeats. We used to buy from the market ten or more kilos of
rose petals which we would put in a pot, wide at the bottom and
narrow at the top. We used to fill (the pot) with water and put it
on a slow fire. When the water boiled we would put a cane pipe in
the pot and fix a long rubber tube to it which we would direct into
a jug. When the steam came up the tube would start dripping rose
water little by little. Orange blossom water is also made in the
same way, and they say that it is good for the heart. Anyone who
drinks orange blossom water avoids having heart attacks. Rose water
is good for the skin. Before they discovered (cosmetic) creams,
girls used to apply it to their cheeks and foreheads to stop acne
developing.
The soft drink which I liked best was raisin water. We used to
put a kilo of raisins in a bowl and cover them with cold water.
Two days later we used to drain the water and put it aside, and we
would cover the raisins with fresh water. We would repeat the
operation another time after a further two days. The water which
was drained off the raisins we would put in a bottle in the refrigerator.
A week later we used to start using it. If one left raisin water a
year or more it fermented (lit. it became wine). Some Jews used to
drink raisin water instead of wine during Jewish Passover.
176 Texts
Text 15
bat-tliiti w sattin abni 1-agbig gti/:1 al amegka l gtima1at andaytina.
baqa honiki agba1 asnin w atlaggaf 1ala banat ahla man bal-
a$al bass hayyi mawlildi b amegka. ba1den atkallalu w ga/:lo 1 ditr6yt
yamm ahla hayyi. ana w ammu rna qadagna ngo/:1 lal-aklil bass
axiinu 1-azgag mannu ga/:1 w angaram ab amegka. kan yastagal
mikanik ab bagdad w b-ashiili laqa saga[ hi5niki. hawwa kan .vastagal
ab ma/:lall $a/:lbu zog banti fa $ag yla/:1/:1 1ala axtu w zoga yg6/:16rt 1
amegka /:latta yafta/:lon mahall ta1migtit sayytigtit. [amman qaggago
banti w zoga ygi5/:16n al ditroyt kan abni 1-azgag al-kali kan ga/:1 al
)amman yastagal ab i5tel. baqena ana w magti bass ab bagdad. ya1ni
ktin 1andna qagayab hayyi axwi tnen w amma w ana axat w axx.
bat-tnen w sab1in atwaffat magti alla yag/:lama w baqetu /:lazin ma
a)gaf aslon yamcja n-nahag. kanat /:ltilati t/:lazzan. ga abni lli hawwa
b )amman yanu w qalli "baba lazam li5 tagi wayyayi lo tgo/:1 al ameg-
ka." qaggagru as a fag al ditroyt. awwal ayytim hi5niki ltahetu swayya
w nasetu /:lazni. ba1den $agat al-ayyam atbayyan tawili. n-nes ab
amegka kallatam masgiilin w rna )andam waqat al a/:lad. kantu aq1ad
ab wa/:ldi sti1at. ba1den qtimat banti gattabatli dgiis angalfzi b ma1had
!an-nes alii matli gbag bas-sann w gayyin man geg baldan wayya
ahlam. bam-ma1had yadagsiin angalizi /:latta yaqdagi5n ya/:lkiin wayya
ahlam w a/:lfadam. ana a/:lfadi kallatam ya/:lkiln angalizi bass
w rna aqdag atfciham wayyaham. rna qadagru adabbaga. ana a1gaf
kam kalami angalizayyi w bass. w ba1ad at/at ashi5g kantu )ala nafs
as-se. qaltillu 1-abni 1-agbig qaltillu "qatsilfni aslon dabang yani 16.
a/:lsan w Ia adga man qabal."
baqetu santen ab amegka w ba1den $allabtu w w qamtu
maseru. gagaltu 1 bagdad al )and axti.     awladi kallatam bagga
w bagdad rna baqa baya se man qabal lakan ba1ada madinati w
madinat agdadi w al-ma/:lall alii madfilni baya magti alia yag/:lama.
Translations 177
Translation 15
In 1963 my eldest son went to America, to Indiana University. He
stayed there for four years, and he met a girl whose parents are of
Italian origin, but who was herself born in America. They later got
married and went to Detroit (to be) near her family. His mother and
I couldn't go to the wedding, but his younger brother went and fell
in love with America. He used to work as a mechanic in Baghdad,
and he found a job there easily. He used to work in a shop owned
by my son-in-law, so (my son) started to urge his sister and brother
-in-law to go to America so that they could open a car servicing
shop. When my daughter and her husband decided to go to Detroit
my youngest son had already gone to Amman to work in a hotel. My
wife and I only remained in Baghdad. I mean she had (other) rela-
tives, two brothers and her mother, and I had a sister and a brother.
In 1972 my wife passed away, may God have mercy on her soul,
and I was left grief-stricken not knowing how to pass (each) day. I
was in a pitiable state. My son who is in Amman came and said to
me: "Daddy, you must either come with me or go to America." I
decided to go to Detroit. During (my) first days there I found some
distraction and I forgot my grief. Then the days began to seem long.
People in America are all busy and have no time for anyone. I used
to sit for hours on end by myself. Later my daughter arranged
English lessons for me at an institute for people who are like me,
advanced in years and who have come from other countries with
their families. At the institute they learn English so they can speak
to their families, and especially their grandchildren. All my grand-
children speak only English, and I can't communicate with them. I
couldn't manage it. I only know a few words of English and that's
all. And three months later I was still on the same (words). I told
my eldest son, I said to him: "Do you see how I am a blockhead,
neither better nor wiser than before?"
I stayed for two years in America, and then I crossed myself,
prayed and got up and went away. I returned to Baghdad to my
sister's. It's true that all my children are abroad and Baghdad has no
longer anything left in it of the past, but it is still my home-town,
and the home-town of my grandfathers, and the place where my
wife is buried, God rest her soul.
178 Texts
Text 16
bas-sata kanna naqCJad nastagal 16 ntaggaz. da?aman wal:zdi bal-
5:ti?ala tkun l:zamal w anqum kallatna nl:zar;fr;fagla ghez lat-tafal. ana
wladi xamsatam stagaltalam w ammi w xalati hammena. w  
nalam CJala l:zwes mtaggazi CJand al-masegat.
23
kanu mashogin bat-
tatgfz w saglam aktig nar;fif
24
yanu. kanu ytagzun cagacaf
mandaga dante! w al:zwes kallata baya kagt az-zambog
baCJyuni
25
se badaCJa rna yaltaqa matlu baCJad. has sac; kas-se l:zar;fag
yanu. banati tlatatam estago kas-se. gabonu man amegka w /:latta stago
man honi. w Ia wahdi mannam rna taCJgaf tastagal . .. Ia
saga! e lakan Ia kgose lti tatgfz ... mCJawwadin 5:al:z-l:zar;fag.
Text 17
aku wel:zad gzgiinna sqad lawca. bass yl:zabb yal:zki w ybayyan ga?yu b
kas-se man sayasi 1 mosiqa I CJalam 1 handasa l gamaCJ tawiibaCJ ...
/:latta baf-filtbol hawwa yafham al:zsan man ag-geg. Ia
yabqa CJandam w lti fallal:z hawwa yr;fall yqallam "hakki hada
sawwunu w antam rna qataCJagfiln hada." xattayyi magtu maskini lti
tal:zki w Ia taski bass atgaggab mal:zall alli hawwa mxaggab
binu. !amman ywaddi wal:zdi man banatu lad-daktog hawwa
yqallu lad-daktog asbaya bantu. lamma d-daktog yqasmag CJalenu w
yqallu "f/:za$a anta" yqum yfakkag ad- daktog qayastasigu w yqul
baCJden "rna qattalkam? /:latta d-daktog yas?alni ga?yi ana." sqad
gaggabu yar;IJ:lakun CJalenu w hawwa yfakkag bass qayas?alanu mbog
maku al:zad yafham ab qaddu.
23 < The French rna soeur "sister" and the sound feminine plural ending
-at. Many older women still use this form instead of the more common
giihbiit "nuns".
24 When referring to handiwork na(;lif invariably means "neat".
25 Most Christians avoid using the name of God in oaths, and prefer
expressions like ba1yuni (lit. "by my eyes").
Translations 17':1
Translation 16
In winter we used to sit and knit or embroider. There was always a
pregnant woman in the family, and we would all (help her) prepare a
layette for the baby. I knitted for all five of my children, and so did
my mother and aunts also. And we ordered for them clothes em-
broidered by the nuns. They were famous for their embroidery and
their work was neat. They used to embroider sheets with lace
borders, and clothes with smocking on the bodice. I swear it was
something exquisite and nothing like it can be found any more. Now
everything is ready-made. My three daughters bought everything.
They brought (things) from America, and even bought some here.
Not one of them knows how to knit ... no, I think knitting yes, but
not crochet or embroidery ... They're used to ready-made things.
Translation 17
There is a neighbour of ours who is very chatty. He loves nothing
better than talking and expressing his opinion about everything, from
politics to music to science to architecture to stamp collecting ...
even football, he thinks he understands better than others. No
servant or gardener stays with them (because) he keeps telling
them: "Do this like that, and you don't know this." Poor thing, his
wife is docile, she neither speaks nor complains. She merely tries
to put right where he has caused damage. When he takes one of
his daughters to the doctor he starts to tell the doctor what is
wrong with his daughter. When the doctor makes fun of him and
says to him: "You examine her", he starts to think that the doctor
is consulting him, and he later says: "Didn't I tell you? Even the
doctor asks me my opinion." They often tried to make fun of him,
while he would think that they were just consulting him because
there is no one who understands as much as he does.
180 Texts
Text 18
talali yalini welJ.ad talali al-{Oq w nazal yalini nazal algawwa. bass
bal-liaraq yastalimaliln talali w nazal ab geg malina hammena. matalan
t;adatan yquliln naza1 5:a1ayam IJ.agami mb6g a/:1.-IJ.agamayyi yat1a5:6n
5:a1a IJ.ayat liali . .. bayat bagdad kallata dayag mandaga IJ.ayatzn26
tab6q ... liad a/:1.-IJ.agami yat[af liala se magtafaf yanu w baliden yanzal
lial-bet alii qaygid yb6q mannu. w yquliln ta1aliat IJ.ayyi 1 liandam
mb6g a/:1.-IJ.ayyi tat1af man ta/:lat ... man nahag 16 man fasab ... w
tatlalJ al f6q. ida qaltu matalan ta1a5: am-masmas yafni talaf t.las-
sagaga. bass ida qaltu nazal am-masmas yat.lni nazal las-s6q.
Text 19
nalJ.na bat.lad S:andna 1-agbag yaddaxaliln ab amug 1-azgag. matalan
ana hassat; maga gbigi lakan ammi bat;ada tfakkag ana matal rna
kantu qabal S:asgin sani taqdag atqalli "Ia tsawwen hada w Ia talbasin
hadaka." alii yg6n man al-xagag rna yaqdag6n yatlJ.ammalan hakki
se. axuyi w magtu w awledam kanu seknin ab labnan. /amman :tagat
al-IJ.ali h6niki rna tangagali gagaliu 1 bagdad. bant axuyi famga tnen
w fasgin tlati w liasgin sani. kanat tastagal ab bank ab begat w fanda
sayyaga tg6/:l w tagi wayya azdaqa.Ja w $adiqata. f$awwagat xattayyi
h6ni b bagdad taqdag tatlaf w tadxal aswaqat rna tgid w rna alJ.ad
yqalla se ... hey ... hey ... ammi tqalli "hay sl6n banat yaha wen
qatat:fawwag hayyi qelidi
27
b h6/iwad? hay bagdad h6ni. les hayyi
aban yaha tat$aggaf matal rna qayafgaba 16 matal banat asqaqat?
bahdaltawwa kagten
28
w rna fad."
26 /:layliffn "walls" implies a number of walls, not necessarily in close
proximity, while /:lfflin usually refers to the walls of one room.
27 qefdi (lit."sitting") in this context means "living".
28 kagten "twice" < kagga "once" is a variant of magten < magga.
Translations 181
Translation 18
To go up means to go upstairs and to go down means to go downstairs.
But in Iraq they use to go up and to go down in other contexts as
well. For example, they usually say a burglar went down to them,
because burglars go up on a high wall ... All houses in Baghdad are
surrounded by brick walls . . . So the burglar goes up on something
high and then he goes down into the house he wants to steal from.
They say a snake has gone up to them, because a snake creeps up
from below ... from a river or from undergrowth ... and goes up. If
I said, for instance, that apricots have come up, it means they have
appeared on the tree. But if I said apricots have gone down, it
means they have appeared in the shops.
Translation 19
We still have older people interfering in younger people's business.
For example, I am now a grown woman, but my mother still thinks I
am as I used to be twenty years ago, and that she can say to me:
"Don't do this and don't wear that!" Those who come from abroad
can't stand such things. My brother, his wife and children used to
live in Lebanon. When the situation there became unbearable they
returned to Baghdad. My niece is about twenty-two or twenty-three
years old. She used to work in a bank in Beirut and she had a car,
(so) she used to go and come (as she pleased) with her male and
female friends. She thought, poor thing, that here in Baghdad she
could go out and come in whenever she wanted and no one would
say anything to her ... ha ... ha ... My mother says to me: "What sort
of a girl is she? Where does she think she is living, in Hollywood?
This is Baghdad here. Why, is she a boy to do what she feels like,
or (is she) like badly behaved girls? I told her off twice and it
didn't do any good."
182 Texts
$a'iab aktig gil ammi w abilyi yatgayyag. 'iandam 'iaweyadam w taqalidam
w yat$awwagon hamma ya'iagfiln aktag man alii azgag mannam. ana
matlawdi yani mbog agbitu honi w a'igaf askat ma aqil1 se w ma
agawab. lakan wal:zdi matal bant axilyi m'iawwadi }ala l:zaggayyata ma
taqdag tat$awwag honi sqad yaddaxaliln ab amilg gegam.
Text 20
1-adab alu sa'ibayyi ktig. dug an-nasag fa$dag katab adab aktigi
kas-sani ... ya'ini mil bass adab 'iagabi. man zaman kanna m'iawwadin
'iala dag al-hala1 ab ma$ag ta$dag taggamat man al-adab al-'ialami.
atdakkag ab betna as-sagdab kan malyan katab ... gawiiyat w mas-
gal:zayyat ... al-l:zagab w as-salam al-axwan kagamazof al-bu2asti2
al:zdab notagdam a lam wartar don kisot   madinaten . .. kanna
  naqga ktig ... ayyam tawili w ma 'iandna madgasi ... ana w
axilyi kanna naqga gawayat polisayyi matal agsin lapin w sag1ok
holmz.
1-taggamat alii mawgudi 1-yom kallata malel:za yaha w atlaggaf alii
yaqgon 'iagabi bass }ala 1-adab al-gagbi. taggamat kallata malel:za w
mil bass adab aklasiki ... adab qagn al-'iasgzn w man ba1dan
mashoga bal-adab matal baldan amegka g-gcmilbayyi. 'iandna magallat
aktigi hammena S'an a1-adab al-'iagabi wal-adab al-'ialami matal
magallat al-aqlam alli hayyi sahgayyi w wel:zad yaqdag yqilm ab bal:zat
'ian al-adab al-gagbi man dun ma. yaftagg yaqganu bal-laga l-a$layyi.
Translations 183
It is difficult for my mother's and father's generation to change.
They have their customs and traditions, and they imagine that they
know more than those who are younger than them. I am used (to
their way of thinking) because I was brought up here, and I know
how to keep quiet and not say anything, nor answer back. But
someone like my niece who is used to her freedom can't imagine
how much people here interfere in other people's business.
Translation 20
Literature enjoys a great deal of popularity. Publishing houses produce
a number of literary books every year .. . I mean not only Arabic
literature. A long time ago we were used to the Hilal publishing
house in Egypt which used to publish translations of world literature.
I remember in our house the cellar was full of books ... novels and
plays ... War and Peace, The Brothers Karamazov, Les Miserables,
The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Sorrows of Young Werther,
Don Quixote, A Tale of Two Cities ... We used to read a lot in
summer ... The days were long and we had no school . . . My brother
and I used to read detective novels, like (the adventures) of Arsene
Lupin and Sherlock Holmes.
The translations available today are all good, and they introduce
those who know Arabic only to Western literature. All good trans-
lations, and not only of classical literature ... Twentieth century
literature, and from countries which have become well-known for
literature, like the countries of South America. We have a lot of
periodicals also about Arabic literature and world literature, like the
periodical Al-Aqlam which is monthly, and one can carry out research
about Western literature without having to read it in the original
language.
GLOSSARY
The following is a selective glossary of terms common to CB. The
majority are non-Arabic loan words, some of which occur in MB and
JB also. Arabic words have generally been avoided, and only those
which show variation in CB have been included.
a dab
adabsaz
admi
afandi
agr,la
aku
alaktgik
Q   a n ~ o g
axxas
azfl
'labayi
'lagabani
'lagabanci
'lag ~ a
'lagmilt
flagos
'lagaqcin
flagi
'lagzilli
'laguzi
'lalwi
'lamba
'laqqabi
'laqqoqa
'lay an
toilet (pl. adabat)
bad-mannered (of common gender)
good person
gentleman; presentable (man)
wood-worm
there is
electric, electrical
elevator, lift
dumb
kindergarten
woman's black cloak
horse-drawn carriage
horse-drawn carriage driver; coachman
leasehold property
pear
bride; queen (as in }agos ab-bal:zag "queen of
the sea")
skull cap
false (teeth, hair)
tabernacle (usu. made of palm branches)
old woman
fruit and vegetable wholesale market
mango pickle; mango
scorpion (n. un.)
frog (n. un.)
to look at
babag
badiiSa
badli
bag a
bag baS:
bag bin
bagqaS:
bagram
bahagat
balam
balamci
bali
balk on
balloS:a
banafsagi
baq
baqbaq
baqq
b   ~   t
b   ~ t  
b   ~ t o n
bastoqa
batba,t
batgak
biitgi
battanayyi
batt ex
bawwaq
bazzuni
beS:a
bagaS:
bagbiid
bargi
bags ani
bastanci
bes
batal
baS:yilni
Glossary
slippers
beautiful, exquisite
suit (clothes)
celluloid; plastic
to make the most of s. t.
purslane (bot.) (Portulaca oluracea)
to cover with cloth
to pout
spice(s)
rowing boat; small sailing boat
oarsman; boatman
yes, certainly
balcony
drain
mauve, violet (colour)
to steal
to bulge, to protrude
mosquitoes (n. un. baqqayi)
to smack; to slap
smack; slap
walking stick
185
large earthenware vat in which pickles are
left to ferment
to swell
patriarch
battery
blanket
melon
thief, s.o. who is in the habit of stealing
cat (n. un.)
church; chapel
insolent, rude
awful; very bad
screw
communion wafer
gardener
how much?
bottle
believe me!, I swear (lit. "by my eyes")
186
bazz
bibi
big a
blilz
bobbi
boy
boyambiig
bilgi
ciidag
ciiga
cagcaf
cagdiig
cagak
cagax
cakac
calgi
camca
caqlab
cayyak
cayyat
cagak
cagpiiyi
calliiqa
cangiil
catiiyi
cawit
cawiti
cit
cot
cola
da'iam
dabang
dabb
dabdab
dagbin
Glossary
type of freshwater fish found in the Tigris
and Euphrates
granny; grandma
beer; lager
blouse
doggy
waiter
tie, cravat
pipe, (water) tap; petunia (bot.)
tent
remedy; solution
bed sheet
palm-leaf hut erected on islets which appear
in the Tigris during the summer months
quarter (as in ciigak siila "a quarter of an
hour")
wheel
hammer
Iraqi orchestral music
ladle
to topple
to check (usu. oil and water in car)
to dive (into water)
rotten
iron bed
kick
fork
woman's white headscarf trimmed with small
beads
indigo (dye)
dark blue
calico; chintz
wilderness; desert
hopscotch
to bump; to knock; to crash (car)
blockhead; dolt
to throw
to become plump
binoculars
dagbiini
dagdag
dagdam
dagdas
dagab
dagg
dagnafis
dagsin
dahgi
dalgam
dallal
dalltil
dalli
dambiis
dante!
dassan
datfi
dazz
dawwag
dayag mandag
dgii'l
dnen
dondarma
diiliib
diini
r,laban
r,lalamat
r,lamm
r,layan
r,lagri
e
a ban
aggawan
aklil
Glossary
alley
to tickle
to complain, to grumble
to chat
way; road
to nudge
screwdriver
cinnamon
unconcerned; unperturbed
to frown; to look disturbed
to spoil; to indulge
go-between; matchmaker
187
small brass pot with long handle for making
coffee
pin (dambiis amegakani "safety-pin")
lace
to wear or try out s.t. new for the first time
sweet fritters in syrup
to send
to look for; to ask about
all around
old measurement (usu. from the tip of the
fingers of one hand to the middle of the
neck)
black specks found in rice which has not
been picked over
ice-cream
cupboard
bad person
heel
pitch black, darkness
to hide
to last
straight ahead
yes
boy; son
Judas tree (bot.) (Cercis)
wedding; marriage ceremony (Christian only)
188
akmal

axat
'lag bid
'lalak
 
'lataq
fafon
fag
fagiil:zayyat
fagad
fag{agi
faggog
fall a
fallii/:1
fall aS
faggaga
j'ehi
folk a
fandaq
{etal:z
fitagci
ftagg
ggam
ggup

glob
gada
gadd
gag bel
gahag
gahbi
ga/:z.li
gaqqa'l
Glossary
failure in one or two subjects at end of
scholastic year examinations {tala'l akmal "he
failed in one (or two) subject(s)")
gramophone record
sister; scar on face caused by mosquito bite
large snake
chewing-gum
pears
palm tree branch
aluminium
to boil
cheerful
one; a certain
porcelain
chick(s)
wonderful
gardener
to wreck; to break; to pull down
roundabout; paper windmill
faint; colourless; insipid
roundabout around which traffic circulates
hazelnut(s)
light (colour)
mechanic
to go round; to wander
gram
group
glass (for drinking)
light bulb
tomorrow
to retort, to prompt; refrain, prompting
sieve
to sparkle
nun
desk
cobbler
gasab
gas stili
gasdi
gass
gazuni
geg
gef:za
gef:zan
gakbi
gaqlJa
gassad
gal
hagagat
halqad
ham
hamag
hammena
hiisa
hassalJ
hakki
handalas
hie
hoi
f:zabb
f:zabbayi
f:za{iag
f:zagamat
f:zagli
f:zalaq


f:zagami

f:zazzoga
f:zabb
Glossary
to fail (in examination)
washerwoman; washing machine
slap
to water, to sprinkle; to cheat
window-sill
other
smell
sweet basil (bot.) (Ocimum basilicum)
knee
patch
cress (bot.) (Lepidium)
giant; ogre
noise, din, clamour
this much, so much
also
uncivilised, uncouth
also
cow
now
thus; like this
pitch (as in aswad handalas "pitch black")
not
sitting-room
189
melon seeds (these are usu. fried or toasted
with salt and eaten either separately or with
mixed nuts)
spot, pimple; pill, tablet
ready-made
waste, what a waste!
baby's walking frame or support
mouth (f:zalq as-sabalJ "snapdragon" (Antirrhinum))
measles
stone, pebble (n. un.) (pl.  
thief, burglar
to jibe; to taunt
riddle, puzzle
large earthenware vat where water is stored
to keep cool
190
/:labli
/:lei
/:lanttiwi
/:lkayyi
/:164
/:lwes
gaga'i
gagg
gagasi
gahal
gam
gaddayyat
gadag
gadgi
gag dam
gahannamayyi
gegi
ganta
tfgan
go) an
go gab
gozi
ggedi
gugi
kafaskan
kagata
kagat
kagfat
kagfas
kagga
kagkag
kagok
kagton
kaguz
kagwi
kala
Glossary
pregnant
fast
dark-skinned
story
pool
courtyard
clothes
to endure, to bear, to put up with
to pull; to take (pictures)
molar
young, youthful
glass
seriously
cooking-pot
smallpox (gadgi mayy "chicken-pox")
mange
bougainvillea (bot.)
chicken (n. un.) (pl. geg)
handbag, suitcase
neighbour(s)
hungry
sock
light brown
mouse (ggedi n-naxal "squirrel")
rose(s)
room at mezzanine level used for storing
food for winter and other household necessities
shoehorn
card, postcard
to unload in one go
unkempt hair
once (variant of magga)
to chuckle
cradle
cardboard
preacher
rent, hire
canvas footwear worn by Bedouin men
kalabca
kasi
kasax
kasi
kaskas
katttin
kayyaf
kadagi
kef
kaggiit
kagkam
kagt az-zambog
kalag
kampyiili
katli
kgafas
kgesa
kondaga
kosag
kax
kap
laS:! aS:
laga
lagmat
lagwi
lahiina
lappa
liistfk
lataS:
I awe a
liix
lbes
1/:lef
laxxi
log;.
log( a)
mS:abbas
maS:danos
Glossary
handcuffs
bowl
to show off
tile(s)
frill(s)
linen
to be happy, to rejoice
suede
fun, merriment
191
flat-leafed pungent herb of the Allium family
turmeric (bot.)
smocking, honeycombing
larder
bill of exchange
kettle
celery tops (kgafos ab-bfg "maidenhair fern")
seersucker
shoes
shark
hut, hovel
cup
to raise one's voice when talking
to talk at length, to go on talking
to mess up; to muddle; to confuse
nonsensical chatter (n.); long-winded (adj.)
cabbage
mushy rice
elastic
to lick
talkative person; boringly talkative
the other (ms)
knickers, pants
quilt, bed cover
the other (fs)
lorry, truck
box in cinema
frowning (ms)
parsley
192
   
maggag
maggiit
maggi5/:la
magmag
magqa
mahal
ma/:lbas
mabfii(fa
ma/:1/:ltig
mtikina
makkak
mc'iku
mal
mal<Jon
male/:1
mansal
masqof
   
 
masxot
mc'ifog
mattaga
mc'i{Ul
miiwi
maygon
mazad
mazba/:1
mazbaba
mbaqbaq
mbog
ma<J(ia(i
magagg
mandag
manqc'is
manu
maqflifa
     
masmc'ig
massii/:la
Glossary
stabbing pain (usu. stomach pain)
to embitter
sometimes
swing
to mumble (v.); marble (n.)
broth
excellent
ring
poem (short piece learnt by heart at school)
shell(s)
machine
spool
there is not
belonging to
damned, cursed; naughty
good
s .o. who has a cold
grilled fish
to insult
bench
unbalanced, mad
engine, motor; motorboat
thermos flask
as long as
blue
chrism, unction
sale, auction
swimming-pool
rosary
protruding, bulging
because
bracelet
drawer
cushion
tweezers
who?
pencil sharpener
tape-recorder
nail
rubber, eraser
mastamal
mazgzb

mewa
mez
mazgzb
mgabba
mhaffi
m(laggag
mikiinik
min a
mpagpag
mqallam
mqassab
msanniiyi
nabaq
nadag
naddiif
nagbis
niigang
nammilni
namnamiit
 
nasli
nasnas
na$giini
niitog
nayyam
nazza/:1
nes
nisiin
nilmi
i5ggandi
i5goppa
Glossary 193
Iraqi type house with no intercommunicating
rooms, and where each room has three blind
walls and a fourth wall with a doorway leading
to a courtyard or garden
drainpipe
lollipop; baby's dummy or pacifier
fruit
table
drain-pipe
jam
fan
banister, stair-rail
mechanic
vervain (bot.)
ragged
striped
chapped
verandah overlooking the river
(bot.) Zizyphus spina Christi
to vow; to make a wish
carder
hose pipe
Seville orange(s)
specimen
tidbits, roasted nuts and seeds
bell
cold, catarrh
to thrive
Christian (ms) (fs cp na$iiga)
watchman, guard
asleep (ms)
drain cleaner, sewage worker
people
engagement, betrothal
lemon (nilmi /:liimad "lemon"; nilmi (lalu "sweet
citrus fruit native to Iraq"; nilmi ba$ga "lime")
organdie, fine muslin
Europe
194
ogti
ogtodoks
ogag
ore!
opalin
paca
pacata
pagapig
page am
pagda
pagk
paket
pancag
panka
pantagon
pas ali
paskali
pasta
p6.$
paskig
paspas
paysakal
pagtaqal
pagtaqali
panti
pip
pliiw
pokag
poplin
qabal
qabiil
qacag
qaddis
qadifa
qagar
qagib/-i
q   g n   b ~ t
qagqat
Glossary
bedcover; table-cover
Orthodox Christian
oven, cooker
hotel
opal-glass
tripe
napkin
rags
fringe (hair)
curtain
park
packet, package
to have a flat tyre ( v.); puncture (n.)
fan, ventilator
trousers
useless object
tassel
song, ditty; problem, dilemma
bus
towel
to whisper
bicycle
orange(s)
orange (colour)
stingy
large metal drum; dustbin
rice
poker (card game)
poplin
possible
open day for visits among women
contraband
saint
velvet
to crunch
godfather, godmother
cauliflower
to nibble
qagyoli
qahwa?i
qa/:lat
qa/:1/:1
qammat
qamCi
qapag
qappilt
qasab
qasmag
qasoga
qassab
qas
qass
q   ~ ~   g
qat
qaffan
qawan(i)
qayyad
qazmilz
qabbi
qaffi
qamas
qasag
qemag
qgan
qig
qima
qmag
qilgi
qilnayyi
qilt<Jyyi
radyo
raqqi
ratab
raw {fa
raya{ia
rogan
Glossary
wooden bed
brown
dearth
to cough
195
to wrap (baby) in swaddling clothes, to swaddle
whip
lid, cover
coat
to make fun of s.o., to imitate s.o.
to make fun of
spoon
to become chapped
to lose (in a game)
priest
to fall short in one's duties; to overlook. s.o.
suit (man's)
to become mouldy
record
to register, to put down a name
very short person (pejorative)
room
round flat-bottomed boat
material, fabric
peel, skin
clotted cream (made from buffalo milk)
20 fils piece (old currency)
tar
ground meat
gambling
teapot
sack
box
radio
watermelon
salary
kindergarten, nursery
gymnastics, sport
patent leather
196
sabal:z I yazbal:z
sabil
sabzi
siida
saddi
safga
sag sag
sagsagi
saliimat
sal ham
sliqyi
satan
sawwa
saxtaci
sag deb
sagog{a
salaq
sallayi
sam bela
s   m ~ t
sammliq
sand ani
saqqlita
satga
siliin
sis am
slaqi
smokan
sqliqlit
stfkiin
sabbut
sabboy
sadag
saf
safqa
sagiib
saCJgayyi
sakgiiyi
Glossary
to bathe, to take a bath; to swim
pipe (smoking)
vegetables
plain
(Tigris) barrier
picnic
to behave irresponsibly
lout
get well!
to have a glazed look; to stare into space
irrigation ditch
satin
to do, to make
cheat
cellar
insurance
chard (bot.)
nib, pen-point
leap-frog
sesame-covered savoury bread rings
sumac
flowerpot
bolt
jacket (man's)
date syrup
iron (usu. in cagpiiyi sfsam "an iron bed")
greyhound
dinner jacket, tuxedo
streets (usu. occurs in the plural, e.g. baniit
asqliqlit "badly-behaved girls")
small glass for drinking tea
freshwater fish found in Tigris
stock (bot.) (Malcolmia)
turquoise
to see
hat
wine
vermicelli
sweet (n. un.)
Glossary
197
saku what is the matter?
salgam turnip
samga pose
sat; sot; scatter-brained
saqa joke
sawegab moustache
sax bat
to scribble
sayyab old man
sbant dill
sdaflwa that is too much!
se thing
sa gag marrow
sam mas verger
samzi watermelon
sanu what?
saxxtit matches
skarn how many?
slon how?
sqadd how much?
swaqat when?
§wayya a little
!fabboga blackboard
!faffat
to arrange
!jagtiy palace
!jagifi
palm-leaf hut
!fa/:le/:1
true; correct; right
!!til on guest room, best room in house
!jam ax to stay the course
!jtinafl manservant (fs ~   n f l   maid)
~   n g i severe stomach pain
!janta quiet, hush
!jaqat to fail (in examination)
!fa tag
to slap
!fa!ga
slap (n. un.)
!fa fag
brass; zero
!jag!jag cockroach
!jandtil sandals.
!j6b bank (of the Tigris)
!fOg a
picture; present
198
~ o p p  
~   c
tabasfg
tablayyi
taft a
tagalalli
tag as
tanak
tanaki
tanawal
tanki
tannoga
tasgrb
tayag
tayyal
tafga
tel
tala[
talla§;i
ta1a
tabal
tabtab
tag ad
taggaz
tagma
tagrog
tam bag
tantal
tantan
tap pas
taqtaq
taqtaqa
tasat
tasi
tawi
tawwax
taxx
Glossary
paraffin stove
blame, fault
chalk
apron, overall
taffeta
unbalanced (usu. in CJaqlu tagalalli "he is
unbalanced")
to fill up
tin; useless
dustbin; tin; can
communion
tank (water; oil)
petticoat; skirt
a dish of bread soaked in meat broth
tyre
lawn
rifle
wire; chicken wire
dregs
refrigerator
to give
drum
to pat
to expel
to embroider
porch, verandah
good-for-nothing
to look cross or angry; to sulk
very tall person (occurs also as tantawil)
to strum
to thresh about
to bang, to make continuous noise
noise
washing urn
metal water scoop
frying-pan
to overdo s.t.
to knock
taza
 
 
 
   
toppa
tox
wagdi
wagwag
walli
wanwan
waswas
waswas
   
wacc
wen
walki
wayya
 
xabtzya
xabat
xagaba
xagbat
xagat
xagma8
xalti?
xamxam
xarxar
xasxas
xattayyi
xatiln
xattag
xatteba
xo
Glossary
fresh
card game
heads (on coin)
useless; nonsensical; bad
made to order
ball
dark (colour)
pink
revolver
go away! get lost! (of common gender)
to moan
to worry
to whisper
to squeak
face
where?
199
hey you! (cp walkam; ms form is rare in CB)
with
to confuse; to mess up
mess, untidiness
murky; choppy (river; sea)
ruin
to spoil, to wreck
smock; smock-frock
to scratch
toilet
to become musty
to drip
to rattle
what a pity!, poor thing!
lady, madam
guest(s)
hide-and-seek (also occurs as xattela)
(expletive which can best be translated as
"by an¥ chance" eg xo ma qaltallu anta honi?
"You didn't by any chance tell him you were
here?")
200
xos
xrit mrit
yalla
yamm
yaxa
yes
yaw as
yezi
za<ifagan
zalantal)
zambag
zambog
zammag
zangin
zangabfl
zaqnab
zaqnabilt
za)tot
zawwaq
zba<i
zbo<i
zen
zalaz
zmal
zog
zillayyi
Glossary
good (this adjective precedes the noun it
qualifies and does not inflect for gender or
number, eg xos maga "a good woman"; xos
banat "good girls")
utter nonsense
come on!
near, by
collar
privet (bot.) (Ligustrum vulgare)
slowly, gently
enough!
saffron
snail
to blow horn
wasp
to sound (car) horn
rich
ginger
to give s.o. food grudgingly
(expletive expressing annoyance or disapproval)
juvenile
to decorate
finger
week
good
naughty
donkey, ass
husband
carpet, rug
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Abdulaziz Mkilifi, M.H. (1978): Triglossia and Swahili-English
bilingualism in Tanzania. In Fishman (ed.), Advances in the
study of societal multilingualism. The Hague: Mouton, 129-152.
Abu-Haidar, F. ((1990): Maintenance and shift in the Christian Arabic
of Baghdad. Zeitschrift fiir arabische Linguistik, 21, 47-61.
Altoma S.J. (1969): The problem of diglossia in Arabic. A comparative
study of classical and Iraqui Arabic. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard
University Press.
Babu Si:laq, R. (1948): Tiirikh l-1Iraq. Baghdad.
Al-Bakri, H. (1972): Diriisiit fi 1-alfiil al-1iimmiyya  
Baghdad.
Blanc, H. (1964): Communal dialects in Baghdad. Cambridge. Mass:
Harvard University Press.
Coke, R. (1925): The heart of the Middle East. London: Thornton
Butterworth Ltd.
Dorian N. (1973): Grammatical change in a dying dialect. Language
49, 413-438.
--------- (1981): Language death: The life cycle of a Scottish Gaelic
dialect. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Eckert, P. (1980): Diglossia: separate and unequal. Linguistics 18,
1053-1064.
Ferguson C.A. (1959): Diglossia. Word 15, 325-340.
Fiey, J-M. (1970): Jalons pour une histoire de l'eglise en Iraq. Louvain:
Secretariat du Corpusco. (Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum
Orientalium, 310, Subsidia, 36).
Fishman, J. (196 7): Bilingualism with and without diglossia; diglossia
with and without bilingualism. Journal of Social Issues 32,
29-38.
Ghanima, Y.R. (1906): Al-Amthiil al-1iimmiyya fi 1-biliid al-1iriiqiyya
Al-Mashriq 9, 297-302.
Gumperz, J.J. (1964): Linguistic and social interaction in two
communities. American Anthropologist 66: 6 (part 2), 137-153.
202 Bibliography
Harris, G.L. et al (1958): Iraq: Its people, its society, its culture.
Survey of World Cultures 3, New Haven.
Jastrow, 0. (1969): Die arabischen Dialekte des Vilayets Mardin
(Stidostti.irkei). Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenltindischen
Gesellschaft, suppl. 1/2, 683-688.
---------- (1973): Daragozii. - eine arabische Mundart der Kozluk-
Sason-Gruppe (Siidostanatolien). Grammatik und Texte. NUrnberg:
Erlanger Beitrage zur Sprach- und Kunstwissenschaft. Bd. 46.
--------- (1978): Die Mesopotamisch-arabischen qaltu-Dialekte.
Vol. 1: Phonologie und Morphologie. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner
Verlag.
-------- (1979): Zur arabischen Mundart von Mossul. Zeitschrift fiir
arabische Linguistik 2, 36-75.
Krysin, L. (1979): Command of various language subsystems as diglossic
phenomenon. International Journal of the Sociology of Language
21, 141-152.
Longrigg, S.H. (1925): Four centuries of modern Iraq. Oxford: The
Cleveland Press.
Marr, P. (1985): The modern history of Iraq. Boulder: Westview
Press and London: Longman.
Massignon, L. (1914): Notes sur le dialecte arabe de Bagdad. Bulletin
de l'lnstitut francais d'archeologie orientale du Caire 11, 1-24.
Nyrop, R. (ed.) (1979): Iraq: A country study. Washington D.C.:
Government Printing Office.
Odisho, E.Y. (1988): The Sound system of modern Assyrian (Neo-
Aramaic). Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.
Oussani, G. (1901): The Arabic dialect of Baghdad. Journal of the
American Oriental Society 22, 67-114.
Platt, J.T. (1977): A model for polyglossia and multilingualism (with
special reference to Singapore and Malaysia). Language in
Society 6, 361-378.
Qasha, S. (1982): Laml)tit min tarikh   a ~ a r a 1-':ilrtiq. Baghdad.
Quirk, R. et al (1972): A Grammar of contemporary English. London:
Longman.
Trudgill, P. (1983): On dialect. Social and geographical perspectives.
Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
----,---- (1986): Dialects in contact. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Bibliography 203
Wright, W. (1955): A Grammar of the Arabic Language. Jrd edition.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Volume I.
--------- (1951): A Grammar of the Arabic Language. 3rd edition.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Volume II.
.----------- SEMITICA VNA -----------.
Herau gegeben von Otto Jastrow
Peter Behnstedt
Die Dialekte der Gegeod \'On $a'dab (Nord-Jemen)
1987. XXVID, 327 Seiten, 27 Karten, 15 Abb.
(ISBN 3-447-02665-0), br. , OM 154,-
2 Edward Y. Odisho
The Sound System of Modem Assyrian (Neo-Aramaic)
1988. XVll. 146 Seitcn, 19 Abb.
(ISBN 3-447-02744-4). br., DM 64,-
3 Otto Jastrow
Der neuaramaische Dialekt von He.rtevin (Provinz Siirt)
1988. XXV, 234 Seiten, I Karte
(ISBN 3-447-02767-3) , br. , OM 132,-
4 Werner Arnold
Das Neuwestaramiiische
I : Texte aus Bax' a
1989. X, 368 Seiten, Abb.
(ISBN 3-447-02949-8), br., OM 88,-
IT: Texte aus Gubb' adin
1990. X, 454 Seiten, 8 Abb., 1 Karte
(ISBN 3-447-03051-8). br .. DM 112.-
rn: Volkskundliche Texte aus Ma' liila
1991. XU, 382 Seiten, 17 Abb., 2 Karten
(ISBN 3-447-03166-2). br., OM 112,-
[V: Orale Litcratur aus Ma'liila
1991. XIT, 346 Seiten, 1 Abb.
(ISBN 3-447-03173-5), br. , ca. OM 88,-
y : Grammatik
1991. XXI, 410 Seiten, 7 Abb.
(ISBN 3-447-03099-2). br., OM 112,-
5 Olio Jastrow
Der arabische Dialekt der .Juden von 'Aqra und Arbil
1989. XVI. 438 Seiten, Abb.
(ISBN 3-447-02950- 1) br. , OM 112,-
6 Saad A. Sowayan
The Arabian Oral Histor ical Narrative
An Ethnographic and Linguistic Analysis
1991. Ca. 330 Scitcn. In Vorbereitung
'---- VERLAG OTTO HARRASSOWITZ · WIESBADEN -------'