Gulf Arabic Grammar:
Adjectives.

The adjectives are words describing nouns (things or people): The car is fast. The town is small. In Arabic there’s two genders: masculine and feminine. In Gulf Arabic the noun and the adjective must agree in gender and number. If you want to say 'the small town', you’d say the-town the-small, المدينة الصغيرة il-madiinat is-saghiira Nouns usually precede adjectives.

Other examples:

حجرة
Hijra (pl. حجر Hujar) - room
الحجرة الكبيرة
il-Hijra il-kebiira – the big/large room
الحجرة الصغيرة
il-Hijra iS-Saghiira – the small room

But, if you only say الحجرة صغيرة il-Hijra Saghiira , that would mean "The room is small" (a short descriptive sentence).

Many adjectives become feminine when we add ة –a at the end of the masculine form, e.g.:

الولد الطويل
il-walad iT-Taweel – the tall boy (Taweel also means ‘long’.)
البنت الطويلة
il-bint iT-Taweela – the tall girl


Arab tent decorationsIn Gulf Arabic, duals (see section G.3.2) and plurals of nouns representing inanimate objects are considered grammatically plural or feminine singular, thereby attracting either plural adjectives or feminine singular adjectives. The best way to learn is by example:

شركات كبيرة
sharikaat kebiira – big companies
حجر صغيرة
Hujar saghiira – big room

But you say
الرياييل الزينين
ir-rayyaayiil iz-zayiniin (the good men), not ir-rayyaayiil iz-zayna because rayyayiil is not an inanimate object.

Nisba. There are adjectives and nouns, called nisbas, easily derived from nouns by appending ي -i or –iiy (masc.) and ية -iyya (fem.) at the end of the noun. You have already encountered some:

بحريني
baHrayni – Bahraini (something or someone from Bahrain)
كويتي
kweiti – Kuwaiti (something or someone from Kuwait)

Other examples follow. From:
خارج
xaarij – outside
داخل
daaxil - inside
we get:
خارجي
xaariji – exterior, of the outside
داخلي
daaxili – interior, of the inside
وزارة الخارجية
wizaara il-xaarijiyya – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (lit. Ministry the-Exterior; it's an iDaafa where the word الشؤون ish-shu'uun meaning 'affairs' is omitted between wizaara and il-xaarijiyya)
ملابس داخلية
malaabis daaxiliyya – underwear (lit. clothes interior)

As the above examples show, the feminine of nisbas is formed by simply adding ة –a to the masculine form. The masculine plural is formed by adding ين –yiin, and the feminine plural, of course, by adding يات -iyyaat for example:

ولد
walad (pl. أولاد awlaad) – boy
الأولاد الاماراتيين il-awlaad il-imaaraatiyiin – the Emirati boys

بنت
bint (pl. بنات banaat) - girl
البنات الاماراتيات il-banaat il-imaaraatiyaat - the Emirati girls

TEST YOUR GRAMMAR >> (Available to members only.)