FuSHa to Shami 7: Past tense

The past tense in Shami is basically pretty similar to FuSHa in its uses and structure.

Conjugation

The suffixes used for conjugating all past tense verbs are as follows:

درس daras
‘study’

ana daras-t درست انا
inte daras-t درست انت
inti daras-ti درستي انتي
huwwe daras درس هو
hiyye dars-et (dars-at) درس هي
ni7na daras-na  درسنا نحنه
intu daras-tu  درستو انتو
hinen daras-u درسو هنن

 

As you can see, they generally line up with fuSHa but without the final vowels, except -et. In Palestinian -at and not –et is used, as in fuSHa. There are no dual forms and no plural feminine forms, and the forms for ana and inte are identical and can only be distinguished by context. The consonant cluster at the end of darast is often broken up with a helping vowel: daras@t.

There isn’t really space here to provide exhaustive conjugation tables for all of the different kinds of verbs, but two important differences from fuSHa deserve mentioning. The first is fé3el or fi3el (in Pal/Jor) verbs. These are the equivalent of fa3ila verbs in fuSHa, and are very common. They drop their first vowel when the second syllable is stressed and retain it when it isn’t:

طلع Téle3
‘go, come up’

ana Tlé3-t (Tle3-t)

طلعت

انا

inte Tlé3-t (Tle3-t)

طلعت

انت

inti Tlé3-ti (Tle3-ti)

طلعتي

انتي

huwwe le3 (Tile3)

طلع

هو

hiyye Tél3-et (Til3-at)

طلعت

هي

ni7na Tlé3-na (Tle3-na)

طلعنا

نحنه

intu Tlé3-tu (Tle3-tu)

طلعتو

انتو

hinen Tél3-u (Til3-u)

طلعو

هنن

 

The second is doubled verbs. The good news here is you no longer have to worry about when to split the doubled consonant apart – wherever the suffixes begin with a consonant in Shami, we stick in an -ee- similar to what happens with weak verbs in fuSHa:

 

حبّ ‭7abb
‘love, like’

ana 7abb-eet

حبّيت

انا

inte 7abb-eet

حبّيت

انت

inti 7abb-eeti

حبّيتي

انتي

huwwe 7abb

حبّ

هو

hiyye 7abb-et (7abb-at)

حبّت

هي

ni7na 7abb-eena

حبّينا

نحنه

intu 7abb-eetu

حبّيتو

انتو

hinen 7abb-u

حبّو

هنن

 

Usage

As in fuSHa, the past is used for single instances (i.e. not continuous or habitual action) in the past tense, meaning it generally lines up with the English simple past (‘I went’ etc). It is also often used in places where in English we would use the present perfect (‘I have been’):

هلأ قريت بزماني شي سبعين تقرير، وشفت شي ميتين فيلم halla2 2areet bzamaani shi sab3iin taqriir, w shéf@t shi miiteen fil@m – now in my time I’ve read some seventy reports, and seen some two hundred films…

مرة رحت ع السفارة marra ré7@t 3a ssafaara – one time I went to the embassy

An important usage that is very common is with verbs of becoming. With these verbs the past is used in a way that often lines up with the use of an adjective in English:

نعست n3és@t – I’m sleepy (I’ve become sleepy)

شبعت shbé3@t – I’m full (I’ve had my fill/become full)

مليت malleet – I’m bored (I’ve become bored, got bored)

عرفت 3réf@t – I know (I’ve found out, I’ve worked out what you’re talking about)

The past tense verb also, as in fuSHa, has an important secondary use in conditionals of various kinds which we will discuss in the introduction to conditional sentences.

Note that the past tense is always negated with maa. There is no lam and – good news for you – no jussive in colloquial.

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