Saturday, 17 July 2010

Advanced Arabic clauses: using الذي and forms of ما

In this lesson we will learn ways of dramatically improving the quality of our Arabic by using subordinate clauses and coordinating conjunctions to add greater detail and length. In other words, using that, which, with whom etc

Here is an example of what I mean in English:

Tom Smith is a member of the judges’ panel

­­­­­...Tom Smith, who is the acclaimed novelist behind Secret Doors, and (who) has won several international literary awards with which many are familiar, is a member of the judges’ panel.

In Arabic, the basic way to introduce subordinating clauses is by جملة صلة by using a form of الذي (which, that). But this rather limits what we can do and must be used with definite nouns in Arabic:

تعرفت على بنت تعمل في البنك I met a girl who works in the bank.

تعرفت على البنت التي تعمل في البنك I met the girl who works in the bank

Note that the Arabic requires both a definite noun and a form of الذي whilst English can just use the definite article ‘the’.

When using verbs that require a preposition, the pronoun is added to the proposition which results in English translations like with which, under which:

تعرفت على بنت في الجامعة التي التحقت بها I got to know a girl at the university in which I enrolled.

تبنّت أمريكا  هذه السياسة التي لن تتنازل عنها America has adopted this policy from which it will not back down.

Now, let’s look at how this technique can be applied to make intermediate level sentences into advanced ones by using advanced conjunctions such as الأمر الذي\مما\ بحيث\فضلا عن\ناهيك عن etc.

انكمش الاقتصاد الاردني بنسبة 0,4 بالمئة في السنة الماضية 
The Jordanian economy contracted by 0.4 percent last year  

The above sentence could be vastly improved (in terms of the mark a professor might give it) like this, for example:

انكمش الاقتصاد الاردني الذي يلعب فيه القطاع الخاص دورا هاما بنسبة 0,4 بالمئة في السنة الماضية, مما أدى إلى ازدياد طفيف من البطالة وانخفاض الرواتب كذلك, الأمر الذي أثار القلق بين الكثير من المواطنين.

The Jordanian economy, in which the private sector plays an important role, contracted last year by 0.4 percent, which led to a slight rise in unemployment as well as a decrease in salaries that has raised concern amongst many citizens.

 مما أدي إلى which led to

الذي.....فيه\ التي ....فيها in which

الأمر الذي also means ‘which’ but is used to mean the entire clause instead of a sentence. Compare the two following sentences:

 منظمة ناسا بصدد إطلاق مكوكها الفضائي الجديد الذي سوف يتمكن من حمل 5 ركاب. 1)

NASA is in the process of (is concerned/ preoccupied with) launching its new space shuttle which will be capable of carrying 5 passengers.

منظمة ناسا بصدد إطلاق مكوكها الفضائي الجديد إلى كوكب المريخ, الأمر الذي سيلفت الانتباه على نطاق واسع 2)

NASA is in the process of launching its new space shuttle to Mars, which will attract attention on a wide scale.

Notice that in the first sentence the word الذي can be used only to refer to one object (the space shuttle). However in the second sentence الأمر الذي is used to refer to the whole clause that preceded it. In the second sentence it the launching of the shuttle that attracts attention and not simply the shuttle itself. The scope of الأمر الذي is much wider than الذي although both are translated as ‘which’.

Note how variants of ما can also be used in the following examples:

انسحبت القوات المحتلة وفقا لما أفادت به الأنباء الواردة من كردستان.  (1)
The occupying forces have withdrawn according to news coming in from Kurdistan.

 انهارت صفقة الاندماج حسبما أعلن عنه المتحدث باسم الصفقة في  بورصة لندن(2)
The merger deal fell through (lit. collapsed) according to what the deal’s spokesperson announced in the London Stock Exchange.

 اتفقت الدول الاضاء في الاتحاد الأوروبي على تنفيذ إجراءات تقشقية, مما يعني أننا نستطيع أن نتوقع المزيد (3)
 من التظاهرات.  
The member states of the EU agreed to implement austerity measures, which means we can expect more demonstrations.

4) كل من هب ودب له جهاز الأيفون, مما يزيل قيمته الحقيقية)
Every Tom, Dick and Harry has an Iphone, which takes away its real worth

5) اشتمل التحقيق على كل التفاصيل, بما فيها مكان الجرائم المزعومة)
The investigation covered every detail including the location of the alleged crimes

6) فيما يتعلق بالمفاوضات المباشرة بين الطرفين, فلم تنته بعد)
Regarding the direct negotiations between the two sides, they have yet to finish

  بما أنه كان طبيبا, رافقها إلى المستشفى(7)
Being a doctor/ seeing that he was a doctor, he accompanied her to the hospital

    انفجرت سيارتان مفخختان وقتلتا ما لا يقل عن اربعين ضحايا (8)
Two car bombs (lit. booby-trapped cars) exploded, killing at least 40 victims

  مهما كان الأمر, فإن ....(9)
Whatever the case may be...

  استهدفت المروحية العسكرية قبائل موالة للقاعدة, مما أسفر عن مقتل العشرات.(10)
The military helicopter targeted tribes loyal to al-Qaeda, resulting in the death of dozens

                                                              Other conjunctions

Besides, let alone فضلا عن-  (1)

يشارك 9500 جندي بريطاني في أنشطة عشكرية في أفغنستان فضلا عن عدد غير محدد من القوات الخاصة
9500 British troops are taking part in military activities in Afghanistan besides an unspecified number of special forces

not to mention, let alone, notwithstanding - ناهيك عن (2)

يعاني الاقتصاد الامراتي من عدم الاستثمارات ناهيك عن الازمة المالية التي لا تظال أن تلقي بظلالها على اقتصاد العالم كله.
The Emirates’ economy is suffering from a lack of investment not to mention the economic crisis that is still casting its shadow over entire world economy.

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