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The confrontative approach to the case category in the languages of Azerbaijani and Arabic

Abbasova Elnura Alim – the scientific researcher at Linguistic Institute of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences.

Abstract: This paper is devoted to the case category in Azerbaijani and Arabic languages. The confrontative approaches are used for the analysis of case category. Through this method, the abthor was able to conduct an analysis of the case category in Arabic and Azerbaijani languages and he identified the most significant points and distinctive features in the present languages.

Keywords: Irab, declention, locative, accusative, genitive construction, Arabic case category, hal in Azerbaijani language

In order to identify the similar phenomenon in different languages, the definition of language categories is one of the main conditions by referring to the same principles [1, 68]. Each of the world languages has its specific grammatical structure and natural development, whereas they have different grammatical categories. That is, the grammatical categories do not appear in same form in different world languages [2, 94]. Case category is one of the categories that has especial importance in the grammar system. The grammatical structure of a language is one of the dimensions that distinguishes it from other languages. This difference has the appearance in case category too. In different languages, the case category differs from each other both in specific aspect and in terms of number. For example, the number of cases is five in greek, three in Arabic, four in German, and six in Azerbaijani etc. (3, 23; 4, 73).

As regards the origin of the concept of case category, the analyses show that the roots of this concept go back to the ancient Greek. So, the case in ancient Greek means “ptotis” (πτωτισ) that is casus in Latin. It was spoken about case category in the Aristotle's Poetry for the first time [3, 23].

The word ofحال [hālun] “state, position, status” is Arabic origin and it expresses the term of ‘case’ in Azerbaijani language. This word has derived from the verb حَالَ [hāla] that means ‘to change, convert, transform, to be changed etc.’ [5, 447] and is used in Arabic as a syntactic term to describe the adverbial modifier of manner.

Azerbaijani literature language in Azerbaijan Republic is now written in Roman letters. Cyrillic is still encountered, and there is a one-on-one correspondence between the two alphabets, though the order of letters is different. As noted above, Modern Standard Azerbaijani has six cases: Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative, Locative, Ablative. The Nominative has zero ending. The following case endings are:

Genitive (Yiyəlik): -ın4, -nın4 (that is, there are four allomorphs: -ın, -in, -un, -ün)

Dative (Yönlük): -a, -ya

Accusative (Təsirlik): -ı4, -nı4

Locative (Yerlik): -da2

Ablative (Çıxışlıq): -dan2 [6,154]

The word ʻirab signifies the analysis, parsing, syntax, inflection, declension etc. in the grammar and expresses the relations between different elements in speech process. In other words, ʻirab means expressing and it is true of system, as it expresses relationships between different elements of an utterance (communication) in very clear and explicit way. In the case marking system, each word is marked by a certain vowel, or suffix for its case, i.e. its function in the sentence [7].

In this paper we will focus on the brief discussions of the most important concepts in the study of declension in Arabic and Azerbaijani and will research the relationships between morphological and grammatical functions, in particular the principles governing the assignment of the grammatical cases, i.e. Nom. and Acc. All work on case distinguishes grammatical or syntactic (Nom., Acc); lexical (to verbal arguments); and semantic (to adverbial adjuncts) kindes of case-assignment. According to J.Maling, “it is often assumed that the grammatical cases are used to encode grammatical functions (GFs)” [8, 49].

The case category according to its means of expression has morphological character, and according to its function is syntactic character. The double character of the case category comes from the fact that the words are changed by the affixes, and, as a result of the change, they express various grammatical means combining these affixes in the sentence. The meaning of the case category applies to all languages. However, the way of expression of this meaning is not the same in all languages [2,96].

Although we agree partly with the view which is mentioned above, it should be noted that the meaning of each cases can also vary according to the languages. For example, the genitive case is monosemantic in Azerbaijani, however it is polysemantic in Arabic. So, this case in Azerbaijani indicates, as a rule, the possession, whereas in Arabic it expresses both the possession and ablative, genitive, locative and dative by using different prepositions. While speaking of Arabic case category it is important to mention that unlike Azerbaijani, Arabic declension does not only include the nouns, it also contains other parts of speech. This fact is noted by C.Ryding in her book named “Ara¬bic: A Linguistic Introduction”. The author emphasizes that some parts of speech such as nouns, adjectives, participles, demonstrative and relative pronouns can be declined [9, 91-92]. That is why the Arabic case category is considered to be a general grammatical category [10, 210]. From this we can conclude that the category of the Azerbaijani language can be considered a special grammatical category. It is true that the case category in Azerbaijani appears not only in nouns, but also in other word classes. Because of this feature, some of Azerbaijani linguists refer it to the general grammatical category. All the same, Y.Seyidov does not approve this idea that the categories of case and possession are general grammatical categories. He says: “Let's just say that, in our opinion, the categories of state and possession can never be considered as general grammatical categories. Both of these categories belong only to the noun. In other words, no part of speech is inflected, except the noun.” [11, 159-160]. The author accepts the idea that although the other parts of speech take part in the declension, these variations can not be considered as the declension of those parts of speech, because none of these parts of speech has specific inflection forms, or affixes. That is, any part of speech can not to be declined in its real position. Each of these makes declension by the way of substantivization. He states that it is wrong to consider the case category in Azerbaijani as a general grammatical category. In order to justify his opinion, the author cites the incomplete quotation from Salim Jafarov's book named "Theoretical foundations of noun teaching". He writes: “The case category is a category that belongs to noun, however it uses in any parts of speech in Azerbaijani” [11,160-161]. Actually, S.Jafarov considers in his work the case category of noun as general grammatical category [12, 63-64]. In referring to P.Sunik the Azerbaijani linguist A.Akhundof distinguishes two kinds of the grammatical category: general grammatical categories and special grammatical categories. He refers the case category to the row of special grammatical categories [13, 152]. At this point, prof. Q. Kazimov writes: “The case various, that is, inflection are specific morphological features of nouns. The declension is a category that belongs to noun. In spite of that, the adjective, the numeral, the pronoun, the infinitive, the participle, and some adverbs are declined along with nouns. But the declension of the mentioned parts of speech is related to the condition and their variations do not show that the case category is a general grammatical category.” [14,62].

So, in our point of view, the case category is a special grammatical category, if we appreciate it on the level of Azerbaijani grammar. It is worth mentioning that in Azerbaijani the syntactic position of the adjectives, the numerals and some pronouns consists of their function of attribute before the noun.

Arabic three cases are indicated merely by changing the vowelling of the final consonant. The “n” sound of nunation occurs after the final vowel in all three cases where required. Arabic cases are: 1) رفع [rafʻ] (nominative, vowelled with damma), e.g. بَيْتٌ [baitun] ‘a house’; البَيْتُ [al-baitu] ‘the house’; 2) نَصْبٌ [nasb] (accusative, vowelled with fatha), e.g. بَيْتاً [baitan], البَيْتَ [al-baita]; 3) جَرٌّ [jarr] (genitive, vowelled with kasra), e.g. فِى بَيْتٍ [fī baitin] ‘in a house’; فِى البَيْتِ [fī-l-baiti] ‘in the house’. The English translation of case names given above by Haywood and Nahmad is sometimes misleading. The authors think that it would be a great mistake for students to assume that where, for example, “a word would be considered accusative in English, or any other language… As a rough guide, the student would do well, at this stage, to think of nasb as adverbial as well as objective. For example, حالاً [hālan], at present, at once, is really the accusative indefinite of ḥālun, a state, or condition. Jarr, the genitive, is used for possession or after prepositions. While rafع, the nominative, is used as the subject of a sentence, we have also seen that it is used for the predicate of a nominal sentence.” [15, 33-34]. In the Arabic the words fully declined are called [munṣarif]. Nevertheless, a number of nouns are not fully declined. They are termed [ghair munṣarif].

In contrast to Azerbaijani language, while Arabic nouns are declined, their attributes are also declined [16,39]. Let us have a look at the same sample in both languages: qır¬mı¬zı kitabın cildi [gyrmyzy kitabyn ʤildi] جِلْدُ الْكِتَابِ الْأَحْمَرِ [ʤildu-l-kitābi-l-̕aḥmari] ‘the cover of the red book’. As we have seen in the sample of Azerbaijani language, the word “qır¬mı¬zı” is the attribute of the word “kitab” and did not accept the case ending. However, in the Arabic variant of the same sample, the attribute of “qırmızı” (أحمر) ‘red’ was added to the noun of “kitab” (كتاب) ‘book’ and agrees with it.

In Arabic the category of case is studied in the parts of al-irab and al-bina. Therefore, the words are divided into two parts, namely murab (معرب) and mabni (مبني). Muʻrab (declinable) is the word that changs its suffics due to the position in the sentence. However the nouns with an uninflected end in the sentence are termed mabni (indeclinable) [10,210].

Unlike Arabic there are not in Azerbaijani indeclinable nouns. In Arabic, the term "irab" refers not only to the names (nouns, adjectives, participles, demonstrative pronouns, or relative pronouns) but also to the declension of the verbs. We talked previously about the cases and mentioned that there are three kindes of cases in the Arabic language: marfū (مرفوع – nominative), maʤrūr (مجرور – genitive), mansūb (منصوب – accusative).

Marfū: One of the most important points in Arabic is that there are the grammatical signs, or the suffixes for nominative both in definite and indefinite. Thus, “damma” (ٌ) which is placed on the last consonant of the word and resembles the numeral of 9 (nine), expresses the nominative of definite words and is pronounced as shourtly “u”. Let us take a look at writing of the word pen in Arabic: ألْقَلَمُ (al-ga¬lam+u), قَلَمٌ (galam+un). Naturally, this context is only about declinable nouns (muʻrab), not indeclinable ones. The nominative mark in Azerbaijani language is zero affix. For example: kitab (book), top (ball), meşə (forest) etc.

Macrūr: The genitive case in Arabic is generally used everywhere the nominative and accusative cases are not used. The simple genitive case comes into being by adding kasra (the short vowel i ِ) to the final consonant of the noun. We use the same ending regardless of gender and number. The following are several definite nouns in the genitive: الصديقِ [as-sadīgi] ‘of the friend’; المدينَةِ [al-madīnati] ‘of the city’; القَلْبِ [al-galbi] ‘of the heart’ etc. In Arabic the second term of Idafa is almost always in genitive case. The noun that preceded by a preposition, it takes the genitive case. The indefinite genitive affix is used to express the genitive case of an indefinite noun. Take a look at few examples: صديقٍ [sadīgin] ‘of a friend’; مدينَةٍ [madīnatin] ‘of a city’; قَلْبٍ [galbin] ‘of a heart’ etc.

Unlike Arabic there is not any marker of indefinite genitive in Azerbaijani. For example: Bakının gecələri [Bakinin geceleri], Bakı gecələri [Baki geceleri] (the nights of Baku, or Baku’s night).

Mansūb: The accusative case, in Arabic, is called nasb or mansūb. The accusative case in Arabic is frequently used adverbially in instance where the Latin would employ the ablative, or the accusative with a preposition. The accusative in Arabic is sometimes equivalent to the Azerbaijani accusative. The definite accusative case comes into being by adding fatha – the short vowel a (ِ) to the final consonant of the noun. The mark of indefinite accusative is tanvin-fatha (ٍ) that is pronounced like an. For example:

1) أكتبُ رسالةً [aktubu risalatan] ‘I am writing a letter’; 2) قرأْتُ الكتابَ [gara̕ tu-l-kitāba] “I have red a book” etc.

In contrast to Azerbaijani, there are not dative, locative and ablative in Arabic language. As we have already mentioned above, the Arabic genitive can express dative, locative and ablative with the help of various prepositions. For example:

إلى البيتِ [ila-l-bayti] – to the home; في البيتِ [fi-l-bayti] – at the home; من البيتِ [min-al-bayti] – from the home.

Short content: 1) In Arabic language the case category is a general grammatical category and is characteristic for the noun and other parts of speech. But in Azerbaijani the case catrgory it is a special grammatical category and is characteristic for names, however the other parts of speech can be declined after substantivisation.

2) While there are three cases for noun and other parts of speech in Arabic, Azerbaijani language is characterized by six cases of nouns and substantivized words.

3) The mood category in Arabic is identified with the case category. Because, the verbs also are termed marfūʻ, maʤrūr, and mansūb as the nouns while declining. Whereas, the case category of the verbs in Arabic concords to some extent with the mood category of Azerbaijani according to the content.

4) Even if the declension of the words is named ʻirāb in Arabic, it is termed hal in Azerbaijani language.

5) The word hal in Azerbaijani language denotes the name of the adverbs which expresses the manner of action as a syntactical term.

6) Whereas each of cases in Arabic has definite and indefinite forms, the indefinite form in Azerbaijani belongs to the genitive and the accusative.

7) There is grammatical marker of the nominative case (in definite, or indefinite) in Arabic, however there is no any morphological marker of the nominative case in Azerbaijani language.

References

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  7. blogs.transparent.com/arabic/the-arabic-case-marking-system
  8. Maling J. On Nominative and Accusative: The Hierarchical Assignment of Grammatical Case in Finnish // Case and Other Functional Categories in Finnish Syntax by Anders Holmberg, Urpo Nikanne. Walter de Gruyter, 1993, 248 p., pp. 49-75.
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