you speak

The first verb Pimsleur usually introduces in any of their language courses is something along the lines of to speak, to understand, to know. In the case of Arabic, they introduce “to know” first, and “to speak” comes a few lessons later. But by the time it does get introduced, certain conjugation patterns have already been introduced.

To know/understand
I know ba’aref
you (m) know bta’aref
you (f) know bta’arfee

To eat
I eat ‘akul
you (m) eat t’akul
you (f) eat t’akalee

But when “to speak” is introduced, something strange appears, and I’d love to understand the meaning behind the apparent weirdness.

To speak
I speak beHkee
you (m) speak b’teHkee
you (f) speak b’teHkee

So here are my main two questions:

  1. Why on earth are you (m) and you (f) the same? In this instance, it appears that you (m) has adopted the ending that you (f) usually uses — ee (ي) Seriously: is there a reason for this? Or is it just random and isolated?
  2. Are there other verbs where you (m) appears to mimic the you (f) version?

At this point, I don’t know if my blog posts are going to follow this kind of random WTH pattern of questioning, or if I’ll settle into a more streamlined linguistically appropriate methodology. Probably the former, but we’ll see.

In any case, feel free to chime in with thoughts, theories, facts, or whatever.

till then,
مع السلامة



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