Hollow verbs (past)

Hollow verbs are those verbs which have a weak consonant (a w or a y) as their middle root letter. In these verbs, the weak consonant appears as a long vowel, a short vowel, or a consonant, depending on the suffixes added and whether it’s past, present, or a maSdar.

In the past, hollow verbs in forms II, III, IV, V, VI and IX act for all intents and purposes like their sound counterparts because the weak consonant always appears as a consonant (either a y or a w) and does not change into a long or short vowel: فوّت fawwat شاور shaawar أوصل awSal  تفوت tfawwat تشاور tshaawar, اسودّ swadd. For the conjugations of these verbs, see the equivalent sound forms. Some form I verbs from hollow roots, typically those with the internal vowelling fé3el (like طول Téwel ‘get long’), also conjugate exactly like their sound equivalents.

Form I verbs

Depending on whether the dialect concerned merges stressed u and i to é or not, there will either be one or two possible past conjugation patterns for form I hollow verbs. Those dialects which do not merge the vowels are like MSA in that they have two main patterns, one with i and one with u. These generally correspond to roots with a yaa2 or a waaw as their middle root consonant (and long i and u in their present tense forms respectively), but as in MSA, there are occasional exceptions (نمت nimt ‘I slept’ < n-w-m). Those dialects which merge the two vowels in stressed syllables only have one main pattern, which has the é vowel. Some speakers treat the verb راح irregularly, creating a third pattern restricted to this verb; this is a regional form.

 

قال ‭ 2aal
‘say’

ana 2élt (2ult)

قلت

انا

inte 2élt (2ult)

قلت

انت

inti 2élti (2ulti)

قلتي

انتي

huwwe 2aal

قال

هو

hiyye 2aalet

قالت

هي

ni7na 2élna (2ulna)

قلنا

نحنه

intu 2éltu (2ultu)

قلتو

انتو

hinen 2aalu

قالو

هنن

With this pattern, the ‘basic form’ is faal, with a long aa standing in for the middle consonant of the root, no matter what it may be. When suffixes beginning with vowels are added, or no suffix at all, this form is maintained. When suffixes beginning with consonants (-t -t -ti -na -tu) are added, however, the long vowel is shortened and becomes either u or é, depending on whether the dialect distinguishes between u and i or not.

The final consonant of the root and the suffixes -t -t are often broken apart with a helping vowel: فتت fét@t ‘I entered’.

Hollow verbs in general are unusual in that whilst object suffixes do not affect their internal vowelling, attaching an indirect object suffix which begins with a consonant (-li, -lak, -lik, -lo) to the ‘he’ form causes it to shorten its long vowel. Generally in the past the long aa shortens to a short a: شافلك shaf-lak. However, the verb قال is slightly irregular in that in many Syrian and Lebanese dialects, it instead becomes 2él- (rather than 2al-) before these suffixes: قللك ‭2él-lak ‘he said to you’.

For most verbs, the indirect object suffixes which begin with two consonants (-lha, -lna, -lkon, -lhon) have a vowel inserted between the final consonant of the verb and the beginning of the suffix: شافلنا shaaf-élna ‘he saw [someone] for us’. But قال is again slightly irregular in many Syrian and Lebanese dialects in that for many speakers, the final -l at the end of the ‘he’ form merges with the initial -l of these suffixes: قللها ‭ 2él-lha ‘he said to her’.

The other forms of the verb are generally unaffected by the addition of suffixes other than the usual process of lengthening final long vowels and the related stress shift: شافولها shaafuu-lha ‘they saw [someone] for her’. But قال is again irregular in most Syrian and Lebanese dialects in that the ‘they’ form قالو can shorten its long vowel to é when indirect object suffixes are added: قلولك ‭2éluu-lak ‘they said to you’.

For speakers who have the contracting -et, these verbs display it: شافته shaafto ‘she saw it’.

نام naam
‘sleep’

ana némt (nimt)

نمت

انا

inte némt (nimt)

نمت

انت

inti némti (nimti)

نمتي

انتي

huwwe naam

نام

هو

hiyye naamet

نامت

هي

ni7na némna (nimna)

نمنا

نحنه

intu némtu (nimtu)

نمتو

انتو

hinen naamu

نامو

هنن

These verbs only exist as a distinct category in dialects (Palestinian, Jordanian, Homsi, some rural Syrian and Lebanese) which do not merge stressed u and i to é. In these dialects, these verbs – which generally have a long i in their present tense forms – contract the long aa in their ‘he’ form to a short ‘i’ when past suffixes beginning with a consonant (-t -t -ti -na -tu) are added.

The final consonant of the root and the suffixes -t -t are often broken apart with a helping vowel: نمت nim@t.

Hollow verbs in general are unusual in that whilst object suffixes do not affect their internal vowelling, attaching an indirect object suffix which begins with a consonant (-li, -lak, -lik, -lo) to the ‘he’ form causes it to shorten its long vowel. Generally in the past the long aa shortens to a short a: نملك nam-lak ‘he slept for you’. The indirect object suffixes which begin with a consonant (-lha, -lna, -lkon, -lhon), meanwhile, have a vowel inserted between the final consonant of the verb and the beginning of the suffix: ناملنا naam-élna ‘he slept for us’.

For speakers who have the contracting -et, these verbs display it: ضافته Daafto ‘she added him’.

راح raa7
‘go’

ana ra7t

رحت

انا

inte ra7t

رحت

انت

inti ra7ti

رحتي

انتي

huwwe raa7

راح

هو

hiyye raa7et

راحت

هي

ni7na ra7na

رحنا

نحنه

intu ra7tu

رحتو

انتو

hinen raa7u

راحو

هنن

راح, for some speakers, is irregular in that it contracts its long aa to a. Otherwise it is totally regular. Many speakers have é or u (depending on dialect), as expected.

Form VII verbs

Form VII hollow verbs only have one possible vowelling, nfaal:

 

انداق ndaa2
‘be tasted’

ana nda2t

اندقت

انا

inte nda2t

اندقت

انت

inti nda2ti

اندقتي

انتي

huwwe ndaa2

انداق

هو

hiyye ndaa2et

انداقت

هي

ni7na nda2na

اندقنا

نحنه

intu nda2tu

اندقتو

انتو

hinen ndaa2u

انداقو

هنن

 

Form VIIs are pretty much exclusively passives of form Is (and occasionally of other forms).

With this pattern, the ‘basic form’ is nfaal, with a long aa standing in for the middle consonant of the root, no matter what it may be. When suffixes beginning with vowels are added, or no suffix at all, this form is maintained. When suffixes beginning with consonants (-t -t -ti -na -tu) are added, however, the long vowel is shortened to a.

The final consonant of the root and the suffixes -t -t are often broken apart with a helping vowel: اندقت nda2@t.

Hollow verbs in general are unusual in that whilst object suffixes do not affect their internal vowelling, attaching an indirect object suffix which begins with a consonant (-li, -lak, -lik, -lo) to the ‘he’ form causes it to shorten its long vowel. Generally in the past the long aa shortens to a short a: اندقلك nda2-lak ‘it was tasted for you’. The indirect object suffixes which begin with two consonants (-lha, -lna, -lkon, -lhon) have a vowel inserted between the final consonant of the verb and the beginning of the suffix: انداقلنا ndaa2-élna.

I can’t think of any form VIIs which are transitive, so contracting -et doesn’t apply.

Form VIII verbs

There is only one possible internal vowelling for form VIII hollow verbs, ftaal:

اعتاز ‭3taaz
‘need, want’

ana 3tazt اعتزت انا
inte 3tazt اعتزت انت
inti 3tazti اعتزتي انتي
huwwe 3taaz اعتاز هو
hiyye 3taazet اعتازت هي
ni7na 3tazna اعتزنا نحنه
intu 3taztu اعتزتو انتو
hinen 3taazu اعتازو هنن

 

With this pattern, the ‘basic form’ is ftaal, with a long aa standing in for the middle consonant of the root, no matter what it may be. When suffixes beginning with vowels are added, or no suffix at all, this form is maintained. When suffixes beginning with consonants (-t -t -ti -na -tu) are added, however, the long vowel is shortened to a.

The final consonant of the root and the suffixes -t -t are often broken apart with a helping vowel: اشتقت shta2@t ‘I missed’.

Hollow verbs in general are unusual in that whilst object suffixes do not affect their internal vowelling, attaching an indirect object suffix which begins with a consonant (-li, -lak, -lik, -lo) to the ‘he’ form causes it to shorten its long vowel. Generally in the past the long aa shortens to a short a: اشتقلك shta2-lak ‘he missed you’. The indirect object suffixes which begin with two consonants (-lha, -lna, -lkon, -lhon) have a vowel inserted between the final consonant of the verb and the beginning of the suffix: اشتاقلنا shtaa2-élna.

For those speakers who have it, these verbs take contracting -et: اعتازته ‭3taazto ‘she needed it’.

Form X verbs

Form X hollow verbs only have one possible vowelling, stafaal:

استفاد من stafaad min
 ‘benefit from, make use of’

ana stafadt

استفدت

انا

inte stafadt

استفدت

انت

inti stafadti

استفدتي

انتي

huwwe stafaad

استفاد

هو

hiyye stafaadet

استفادت

هي

ni7na stafadna

استفدنا

نحنه

intu stafadtu

استفدتو

انتو

hinen stafaadu

استفادو

هنن

 

With this pattern, the ‘basic form’ is stafaal, with a long aa standing in for the middle consonant of the root, no matter what it may be. When suffixes beginning with vowels are added, or no suffix at all, this form is maintained. When suffixes beginning with consonants (-t -t -ti -na -tu) are added, however, the long vowel is shortened to a.

The final consonant of the root and the suffixes -t -t are often broken apart with a helping vowel: استفدت stafad@t.

Hollow verbs in general are unusual in that whilst object suffixes do not affect their internal vowelling, attaching an indirect object suffix which begins with a consonant (-li, -lak, -lik, -lo) to the ‘he’ form causes it to shorten its long vowel. Generally in the past the long aa shortens to a short a: استشرلك stashar-lak ‘he consulted for you’. The indirect object suffixes which begin with two consonants (-lha, -lna, -lkon, -lhon) have a vowel inserted between the final consonant of the verb and the beginning of the suffix: اشتشارلها stashaar-élha.

For those speakers who have it, these verbs take contracting -et: استعانته sta3aanto ‘she sought his help’.