Arabic just has "the" the definite article. It does not have the indefinite articles, such as "a, an" (but are expressed in as a plural form below-- i.e. collective plurals). Arabic, though, has what is called moon and sun nouns. The article is affected based on which noun it proceeds.
* 7 = ح (haa) - sounds like an aspirated "h"
* 2 = أ (hamza) - glottal stop
* 3 = ع ('ain) - a "choked" letter sounding like an "a" you can't represent with the English alphabet
For MOON NOUNS:
"The" translates into "el" in arabic.
book - kitaab
the book - el kitaab
girl - bint
the girl - el bint
For SUN NOUNS:
If the noun starts with the letters d, n, r, s, sh, t, or z then the "l" from "el" is dropped and the first consonant of the noun takes its place.
Masalan (for example)...
sun - shams
the sun - ish shams
back - dahr
the back - id dahr
dog - kalb
the dog - ik kalb
In Arabic: nouns are either feminine or masculine.
Feminine nouns mostly end with an "a" or "ya"
Masculine nouns end with any letter
book - kitaab
morning - saba7
table - tarabeeza
year - sana
** However, there ARE exceptions!! Some masculine nouns can end in a "a" and some feminine nouns end is random letters! (mostly from parts of the body or countries).
Exceptions for feminine nouns:
Egypt - masr
hand - eed
sun - shams
mother - omm
sister - okht
Exceptions for masculine nouns:
air - hawa
Three types of plurals:
1. The standard takes some memorizing. Regular masculine nouns have the ending "-een." This is added directly after the noun. For regular feminine nouns, you take off the ending of "a" and add the ending "-aat"
engineer (m) - mohandis --> engineers (m) - mohandiseen
engineer (f) - mohandisa --> engineers (f) - mohandisaat
** Irregular plurals need to be memorized.
house - bayt --> houses - boyoot
school - madrassa --> schools - madaaris
day - yom --> days - ayaam
2. The dual is used when you are talking about two of something. If it ends with an "a," then you take off the "a" and add "-tayn." For every other ending, just add "-ayn" to the end of the word.
library - maktaba --> two libraries - maktabtayn
book - kitaab --> two books - kitaabayn
3. The collective plural is used when talking about a group or class of items (such as fruits or vegetables). You use this when talking about a specific number or amount of something. It is also what can be translated into the indefinite article as "a" or "an". For form a collective plural, you just add "-a"to the end
eggplants - bitingaan --> an eggplant - bitingana
apples - tofaa7 --> an apple - tofaa7a
trees - shagar --> a tree - shagara
Credits to Lonely Planet - Egyptian Arabic