Darija – Definite Articles

English has the definite article (the); in standard Arabic we use (al).

Now, in Moroccan Darija -as we drop vowels most of the time- we simply say (L) when the word starts with a (moon letter); and when it starts with a (sun letter), this letter is doubled.

These names of the letters refer to the words sun and moon in Arabic. Moon is (qamar قمر), the moon is (lqamar لقمر). Sun, it’s (shms شمس), and the sun is (sh-shms الشمس).

This rule comes from classical Arabic, to distinguish the pronunciation of (L) from doubled letters while defining a word, according to the following classification of letters:

Sun letters are: t, T, d, D, r, z, s, S, sh, l, n.

Moon letters are the rest of the alphabet.

Examples:

Words with moon letters:

School = Mdrasa مدرسة à The school = lmdrasa لمدرسة.

Door = bâb باب à The door = lbâb لباب.

Building = 3imâra عمارة à The building = l3imâra لعمارة.

Words with sun letters:

Trousers = srwâl سروال à The trousers = ssrwâl السّروال.

House = dâr دار à The house = ddâr الدّار.

PS: There are no indefinite articles in Darija, such as (a) and (an) in English. The word said independently is considered as indefinite.

Exception:

The letter J is a lunar letter in MSA, but it’s a solar one in Moroccan Darija.

Example:

Neighbor = jâr جار à The Neighbor = jjâr الجّار.

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Exercise:

Give the definite form of the following words:

Shrjm شْرجم (window)

Ktâb كتاب (book)

Wrqa ورقة (paper)

Râjl راجل (man)

Qr3a قْرعة (bottle)

NDâDr نْضاضر (glasses)

Brâ برا (letter)

Drhm درهم (Dirham)

Balîza بَليزَة (suitcase)

Tbsîl طبسيل (dish)

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