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Hamza Verbs

What is this Tutorial About?

This tutorial deals with verbs with a Hamza in any of the three radicals. Such verbs are termed الفعل المهموز (pl. الأفعال المهموزة) and they experience some morphophonemic changes that are important to know.

 

For a more detailed picture of where this tutorial fits into Arabic morphology, consult the introduction to this section entitled Introduction to Arabic Morphology, and specifically the section on morphophonemic rules and weak verbs.

Hamza Verbs Made Easy

Letís consider the three cases where the Hamza is the first root letter of a verb, the second, and the third. For each of these three cases, consider an example as indicated below.

 

مهموز لامي

مهموز عيني

مهموز فائي

قرَأ يقرَأ

سأَل يسأَل

أكَل يأكُل

 

Perfect & Imperfect Conjugations

With respect to the past tense verb, there will be absolutely no change in any of the three cases. With respect to the imperfect verb, however, the following rule will take effect.

 

Rule 1

 

 

if two Hamza occur side-by-side in the same lexical word and the first has a vowel while the second does not, the second Hamza must change to the long vowel appropriate to the short vowel on the first

 

The situation described in Rule 1 can be seen when the Hamza is the first radical and the verb is in conjugation 13 (first person singular). Consider the original form of the verb below.

 

أَءْكُل

 

Here is a case where there are two Hamza side-by-side in the same lexical word. The first Hamza has a vowel and the second does not. This situation fits the case described in the rule. The rule says that the second Hamza must change into a long vowel (either و, ا, or ي). In other words, application of the rule must yield one of the three following words.

 

أوكُل، آكُل، إيكُل

 

Which of the three vowels will be chosen is dependent on the short vowel on the first Hamza. In this case, the first Hamza has a فتحة, so the appropriate choice would be to use an الف. This yields the following.

 

آكُل

 

This rule also takes effect in conjugation 13 of the passive table. The original form of the verb was as follows.

 

أُءْكَل

 

Here, too, is a case of two Hamza in the same lexical word, the first with a vowel and the second without. The rule tells us that the second Hamza will change to a long vowel appropriate to the ضمة on the first Hamza. The long vowel appropriate to a ضمة is, of course, واو. Thus the final form of the verb is as shown below.

 

أُوْكَل

 

Imperfect Passive

Imperfect Active

يؤكَل

يأكُل

...

...

أُوْكَل

آكُل

نؤكَل

نأكُل

 

Exercise:

1.       Where else does this rule take effect?

a.       give one derived noun

b.      give one advanced verb paradigm (consider perfect, imperfect, and imperative conjugations)

c.       give one gerund

d.      give one broken plural pattern

2.       Practice the imperative conjugations (and variations of them, such as those with لن and لم) using some of the Hamza verbs provided in the Practice Verbs vocabulary list.

3.       Provide a real-world example of a case where two Hamza occur side by side, the first with a vowel and the second without, but where the two Hamza are not in the same lexical word. What do you think happens in this situation?

Imperative Conjugations

There are two rules relating to imperative conjugations. The first is the following.

 

Rule 2

 

 

if in a basic 3-lettered verb the first radical is a Hamza, this Hamza will drop in the second-person active imperative conjugations

Condition

 

 

this will typically only happen if the eliding Hamza is needed (sometimes it will happen even if it isnít)

 

Given a verb with a Hamza as the first radical, the second person active imperative conjugations would look as follows.

 

2nd Person Imperative Active

اُءْكُلْ

اُءْكُلا

اُءْكُلوا

اُءْكُلي

اُءْكُلا

اُءْكُلْنَ

 

The six conjugations listed above match perfectly the situation described in Rule 1. Hence one would expect Rule 1 to take effect; the Hamza would become a واو. This, however, is not the case. What is done instead is the base letter Hamza is dropped based on Rule 2. For example:

 

اُكُلْ

 

Once the Hamza is gone, the first letter of the word has a vowel. Therefore, there is no longer any need for the eliding Hamza at the beginning and so it too is dropped. Getting rid of the eliding Hamza was in fact the purpose of this rule. The resulting conjugations look as follows.

 

2nd Person Imperative Active

كُلْ

كُلا

كُلوا

كُلي

كُلا

كُلْنَ

 

If the eliding Hamza is not needed in the first place Ė when, for example, the word occurs in the middle of a sentence Ė this rule does not take effect. Consider the conjugations above, only this time with a واو preceding them.

 

2nd Person Imperative Active

وَاءْكُلْ

وَاءْكُلا

وَاءْكُلوا

وَاءْكُلي

وَاءْكُلا

وَاءْكُلْنَ

 

As indicated in the rule, even when such verbs occur in the middle of a sentence, the Hamza can be dropped. This is done when a particular word is extremely common. So one may see the following, for example.

 

وَكُلْ

 

Exercise:

1.       Practice the imperative conjugations (the entire table for both active and passive) using the following verbs. Be cautious with the middle letter vowel when applying Rule 2. In how many of the 28 conjugations do rules 1 or 2 take effect?

a.       أخَذ يأخُذ

b.      أسِف يأسَف

c.       أبَد يأبِد

2.       Practice the same verbs again, this time with each conjugation preceded by the conjunction فَـ.

 

 

The second rule applying to the imperative conjugations is as follows.

 

Rule 3

 

 

if a vowelled Hamza is preceded by a non-vowelled letter in the same lexical word, the Hamza may optionally transfer its vowel to the preceding letter and then drop

Condition

 

 

for the 2nd-person active imperative conjugations of basic 3-lettered verbs, this rule is mandatory if the eliding Hamza is needed and prohibited otherwise

 

Consider an imperfect verb whose second radical is a Hamza, as in يسأل. Notice that the Hamza is vowelled while the سين before it is not. Hence, according to Rule 3, we may transfer the فتحة from the Hamza to the سين and then drop the Hamza. The result is as follows.

 

يَسَل

 

This rule is a concession which is almost never used because the above verb can be confused with a hollow verb under certain circumstances. Where this rule does take effect is in the imperative conjugations. The original forms are given below.

 

2nd Person Imperative Active

اِسْألْ

اِسْألا

اِسْألوا

اِسْألي

اِسْألا

اِسْألْنَ

 

Notice that in these six conjugations the Hamza is vowelled and the letter before it is not. We thus transfer the vowel and drop the Hamza, yielding the following for example.

 

اِسَلْ

 

Since the first letter is now vowelled, the eliding Hamza is no longer required and so it is dropped. The resulting table is as follows.

 

2nd Person Imperative Active

سَلْ

سَلا

سَلوا

سَلي

سَلا

سَلْنَ

 

Just as in Rule 2, if the eliding Hamza is not necessary in the first place, this rule will not take effect and the original conjugations will be used. Consider the above conjugations, only this time with a واو conjunction before them.

 

2nd Person Imperative Active

وَاسْألْ

وَاسْألا

وَاسْألوا

وَاسْألي

وَاسْألا

وَاسْألْنَ

 

Exercise:

1.       Practice the imperative conjugations (the entire table for both active and passive) using the following verbs. Be cautious with the middle letter vowel when applying Rule 3. In how many of the 28 conjugations do rules 1, 2, or 3 take effect?

a.       سئِم يسأَم

b.      بؤُس

c.       نأَم ينئِم

2.       Practice the same verbs again, this time with each conjugation preceded by the conjunction فَـ.


 

More Complicated Rules for Enquiring Minds

 

#

Rule

Example

4

if a vowelled Hamza is preceded by another (non-Hamza) vowelled letter in the same lexical word, the Hamza may optionally change to the long vowel appropriate to the vowel on the letter before

سَأَل becomes سَال

5

same as 4, except that the Hamza is non-vowelled

بِئْر becomes بِيْر

6

Rule 1 will cause a Hamza in the first base letter of a verb in paradigm افتعال to become a ياء. This ياء will not change to a تاء based on the rules for assimilated verbs. Exceptions include اتخذ

اِءْتَكَلَ becomes اِيْتَكَلَ which does not become اِتَّكَلَ

7

if two Hamza occur together in a word, any one of them being مكسور, the second Hamza will become a ياء; this is optional in the word أئمة and when the first Hamza is علامة المضارع المفتوحة

أَئِنّ becomes أَيِنّ

8

if two Hamza occur together in the same lexical word, the first vowelled (even كسرة) and the second مضموم, the second becomes a واو; this is optional when the first Hamza is علامة المضارع المفتوحة; if the second Hamza is the last letter of the word, it will become a ياء instead

أَؤُمّ becomes أَوُمّ

9

if two Hamza occur together in the same lexical word, the first being مضموم or مفتوح and the second being vowelled (not كسرة), the second becomes a واو

أٌؤَمِّل becomes أُوَمِّل

 



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