February 25, 2009

Somehow I feel better about the War on Terror, long term...

From a note from my son the linguist. (He's the one who used to be my son the pilot, until he changed his field.)

Here's a little tid-bit of Arabic grammar for you guys to read over and thank the high heavens you never decided to take this language yourself.

Arabic has some peculiarities when it comes to its nouns.

For nouns:

You have the singular form, the dual form, and the plural form.

If you have 1 of something, use the singular form.

If you have 2 of something, use the dual form.

If you have 3-10 of something, use the plural form.

If you have 11-100 of something, use the *SINGULAR* form.

If you have 101 or more of something, then go back to the plural form.

In Arabic, to say "I have 15 books," you would literally say: "I have 15 book."

Yes, little intricacies like that make Arabic fun and interesting, but at the same makes one want to bang their head through the wall, thankfully for some reason my brain has decided to just stop asking "Why?" which most people would do when faced something strange like that, which eventually leads them to give up the language.

It is best, I've found, in cases like these to just not ask why the language has this little peculiarity or another, and just trust native speakers when they tell you that the way you are saying it is correct. There are plenty of things in English that really don't make sense when you stop to think about them.
Posted by John Weidner at February 25, 2009 4:13 PM
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