FuSHa to Shami 9: Subjunctive

The form in Shami that looks more like the fuSHa present tense (and the present tense in lots of other dialects), without b-, is very similar in behaviour to subjunctives in European languages.

Conjugation

The b-less present conjugates almost identically to the forms with b-:

درس daras
‘study’

ana é-dros (a-dros)

ادرس

انا

inte té-dros (ti-dros)

تدرس

انت

inti té-dros-i (ti-dros-i)

تدرسي

انتي

huwwe yé-dros (i-dros)

 يدرس

هو

hiyye té-dros (ti-dros)

تدرس

هي

ni7na né-dros (ni-dros)

ندرس

نحنه

intu té-dros-u (ti-dros-u)

تدرسو

انتو

hinnen yé-dros-u (yi-dros-u)

يدرسو

هنن

 

درس darras
‘teach, put through school’

ana darres (a-darres)

بدرس

انا

inte t-darres

بتدرس

انت

inti t-darrs-i 

بتدرسي

انتي

huwwe y-darres

 بدرس

هو

hiyye t-darres

بتدرس

هي

ni7na n-darres 

مندرس

نحنه

intu t-darrs-u

بتدرسو

انتو

hinnen y-darrs-u

بيدرسو

هنن

 

One thing which is important to note is that in Syr/Leb, on verbs like darras, there is no first person prefix. This means that the first person singular form – darres – looks identical to the masculine singular imperative (also darres). This does not apply in Jor/Pal.

Usage

The use of the subjunctive is largely triggered by environment – that is, there is usually some other word you can identify as the trigger. This post would be far too long if we listed all of the triggers for the subjunctive, but we’ll list some of the most common ones. It is used following expressions of desire, hope, fear, ability and compulsion:

بدي روح béddi ruu7 ‘I want to go’

بحب امشي b7ebb émshi ‘I’d like to leave’, ‘I like walking’

يا ريت تعرفلي وقت الموعد yaa reet ta3réf-li wa2t él-moo3ed ‘I’d really like you to find out the time of the appointment for me’

خايف تروح عليي الفرصة khaayef @truu7 3aleyyi élférSa ‘I’m scared I’ll miss the opportunity’

معي وقت اتمشى شوي ma3i wa2@t étmashsha shweyy ‘I’ve got time to walk around for a bit’

اضتريت انو ارجع ع البيت éDTarreet énno érja3 3albeet ‘I was forced to go home’

It is also used very commonly with expressions combining a preposition with ma and meaning for example ‘without’, ‘instead of’, ‘before’, ‘after’, ‘until’ etc (the equivalent of fuSHa من دون أن and other expressions):

بلا ما يفوت ع البيت bala ma yfuut 3a lbeet ‘without him coming inside’

بعد ما ينام ba3@d ma ynaam ‘after he sleeps’

It is used with كان to form a past habitual, as in fuSHa. kaan does not need to appear in every sentence, and often once the timeframe of a story is established the b-less present is used with all verbs throughout the narrative, which can be confusing for a non-native.

كان يروح كل يوم kaan yruu7 kéll yoom ‘he used to go every day’

It is used without any triggering word commonly in prayers and invocations (‘may/let X happen’) and in negative imperatives. This is the only construction in colloquial which is negated by laa (as in MSA) rather than maa:

يعطيك العافية ya3Tiik él3aafye ‘[God] give you health’

لا تكون راجع لهون laa tkuun raaje3 lahoon ‘I hope you’re not coming back here’

The negative imperative can use laa (in Syrian) or maa (acceptable everywhere):

لا تفوت laa tfuut ‘don’t come in!’

ما تفوت maa tfuut ‘don’t come in!’

It is also very commonly used in suggestions for personal action:

سمعك الغنية؟ samm3ak élghanniyye? – shall I play you the song?

شو اعملك؟ shu a3mel-lak? – what should I do for you?

In Lebanese however the b- form is used for suggestions where the question does not have a yes or no answer but has a question word or presents answers, as in the second example above (where Lebanese speakers would say شو بعملك shu ba3mel-lak).

In Pal/Jor, the subjunctive form is also used in suggestions to another person. In Syr/Leb, the b-present is used here:

تشرب شاي؟ tishrab shaay? – (would you like to) drink some tea?

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