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Media Arabic Booster 02 24 road in the desert

Media Arabic Booster 02/24

This month (02/24) in Media Arabic Booster: How to write about people with disabilities (al-Akhbar newspaper) and a translation of an article about how Algeria is strengthening ties with Mauritania (al-Arab newspaper).

Last updated: 2 months ago

As a journalist, I read Arabic newspapers daily, especially the opinion section. Every month, I want to share with you on Arabic for Nerds what I find interesting from a linguistic perspective and which vocabulary might be worth learning. I call it the Media Arabic Booster.

A close look at a headline

Headlines in Arabic media are generally easy to understand – but there are also some tricky words.

al-Akhbar (Egypt): people with disabilities

On Thursday, February 29, the Egyptian daily newspaper al-Akhbar had the following headline on its front page.

al akhbar headline media arabic booster 02 24
Media Arabic Booster 02/24 14

We want to focus here on the terms that journalists use for people with disabilities.

Above the headline

الرَّئِيسُ يَشْهَدُ النُّسْخَةَ الْخامِسَةَ لِاِحْتِفالِيَّةِ ذَوى الهِمَمِ

The president attends the fifth edition of the People with Disabilities Ceremony


تَوْجِيهُ الحُكُومَةِ بِتَخْصِيصِ 15 مِلْياراتِ جُنَيْهٍ لِصُنْدُوقٍ قادِرُونَ بِاِخْتِلافٍ

Government directive to allocate EGP 15 billion to the fund “Differently Abled”

Let's focus on the word ذَوَى. What does it mean?

It is a form of the word ذُو which literally means owner; possessor of (صاحِبة); one who has; one with. In a more abstract way, it simply expresses that a person has certain qualities, for example, power or influence, but also physical things, like a beard or Dhu al-Qarnayn (ذُو الْقَرْنَيْنِ), lit. The Two-Horned One, who appears several times in the Holy Qur'an (most famously, as one who builds a wall to keep away Gog and Magog). So why do we have the letter ى here?

ذُو is one of the so-called five nouns (الْأَسْماءُ الْخَمْسةُ – al-asma' al-khamsa); some also say six nouns (⁧الْأَسْمَاء السِّتَّة⁩ – al-asma' al-sitta). The most famous of the five nouns is probably أَبٌ (father).

ذو is an intriguing word in Arabic. It means the owner of, one who has or one with. They are marked in Arabic by long vowels rather than short vowels, so the three cases are ذو (nominative – مرفوع), ذا ( – منصوب), and ذي (genitive – مجرور).

Since al-Akhbar is an Egyptian newspaper, the ي is written without dots (ى), so we actually have here: ذَوِي الْهِمَمِ.

Now let's quickly go through all possible forms of ذُو:

singular nominativeذُوذَاتُ
singular accusativeذاذَاتَ
singular genitiveذِيذَاتِ
nominativeذَوَاذاتا or ذَواتا
dual accusative/genitiveذَوَيْذاتَيْ or ذَواتَيْ
plural nominativeذَوُو⁩ or ⁧أُولُوذَواتُ
plural accusative/genitiveذَوِي⁩ or أُولِي⁩ذَواتِ
The Arabic word ذُو – singular, plural, nominative, genitive, accusative

➤ So what we have here is the masculine plural form ذَوُو which turns into ذَوِي in the genitive case.

Vocabulary list

All the words marked in yellow above are explained here.

نُسْخةcopy, but also: edition
هِمّةٌ – plural: هِمَمٌambition; effort; energy
ذَوُو الْهِمَمِ or أَصْحابُ الْهِمَمِpeople with disabilities
احْتِياجات خاصّةspecial needs – for example: children with special needs (أَطْفالُ ذُو اِحْتِياجاتٍ خاصَّةٍ)
اِحْتِفاليّةٌcelebration; ceremony; festival. This is an artificial infinitive noun (مَصْدَرٌ صِناعِيٌّ) of اِحْتِفالٌ
تَوْجِيهٌdirecting/directive; instruction, but also: guidance, as in career guidance (التَّوْجيهُ الْمِهْنيُّ). This is the infinitive noun (مصدر) of وَجَّهَ – يُوَجِّهُ which means to steer; to send; to turn; to warn/accuse. In Arabic media, you will often encounter the following expression: وَجَّهَ الْكَلامَ إلى شَخْصٍ which means to address someone.
تَخْصِيصٌallocation; designation; in economics also: privatization. For example: allocation of a sum of money (تَخْصيص مَبْلَغٍ); privatization of state companies (تَخْصيص شَرِكاتٍ حُكوميّةٍ).
صُنْدُوقٌbox; fund. For example: The International Monetary Fund – IMF (صُنْدُوقُ النَّقْدِ الدُّوَلِيُّ).
قادِرٌcapable; able. The word is also used in dialects and occurs in many phrases. For example: to no longer be capable of something (لَمْ يَعُدْ قادِرًا عَلَى شَيْءٍ). The word الْقادِرُ is one of the 99 names of Allah (أسماء الله الحسنى) and means The All-Powerful; The All-Capable; The Omnipotent.
Vocabulary List – Media Arabic Booster 02/24 – © Gerald Drißner

Translation of an article

To really get to the core of Arabic newspapers and magazines, you have to know a bunch of words. Plus, the way they phrase things and put sentences together can sometimes be a real challenge. That's why I'm all about translating whole sentences, so you can gain more confidence and speed up your Arabic skills.

Let's focus on certain parts of the text and translate each sentence carefully. The words marked in yellow can be found further down in the vocabulary list.

al-Arab (London): Algeria strengthens ties with Mauritania

On February 11, the newspaper Al-Arab (صحيفة العرب), published in London, featured a front-page story about Algeria's relationship with Mauritania. Even though Mauritania doesn't get much attention in the Western media, it plays an important role in the tensions of North Africa. So let's see what is happening there.

Al-Arab (alarab.co.uk) is the first Arabic daily newspaper in London since 1977. It was launched as a secular pan-Arab daily. The founder and first editor-in-chief, Ahmed el-Houni (أحمد الصالحين الهوني), was a former Libyan minister of information. Until today, the paper has a special focus on the North-African region.

media booster 02 24 al arab
Media Arabic Booster 02/24 15

Let's examine a big section of the article more closely.

الجزائر تعزز علاقتها بموريتانيا تحسبا للتوترات الإقليمية

Algeria strengthens ties with Mauritania anticipating regional tensions

قام وزير الخارجية الجزائري أحمد عطاف بزيارة إلى موريتانيا، أين التقى وزير الخارجية الموريتاني محمد سالم ولد مرزوك، واُسْتُقْبِلَ من طرف الرئيس محمد ولد الشيخ الغزواني، وسلمه رسالة خطية من الرئيس عبدالمجيد تبون.

Algerian Foreign Minister Ahmed Attaf visited Mauritania, where he met with Mauritanian Foreign Minister Mohammad Salem Ould Marzouk. The [Mauretanian] president, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, also received Attaf and the latter handed him a written letter from [the Algerian] president Abdelmajid Tebboune. (Lit.: He was received by Mohamed Ould Ghazouani…)

وتأتي هذه الزيارة في سياق حركية لافتة بين البلدين، حيث سبق لوزير خارجية ورئيس مجلس النواب الموريتانيين زيارة الجزائر منذ أيام. كما تندرج الزيارة في إطار جولة إقليمية لرئيس الدبلوماسية الجزائرية هادفة إلى تحسين العلاقات مع دول الجوار وكسر ما بدا أنه مسار للعزلة تعيشه الجزائر بسبب توتر علاقاتها الإقليمية.

The visit falls in the context of a noteworthy movement between the two countries, as the Mauritanian foreign minister and speaker of the parliament paid a several-day-long visit to Algiers a view days ago. The visit also falls in the context of a regional tour by the head of the Algerian diplomatic corps aimed at improving the relations with the neighboring countries and breaking what seems to be an isolation that Algeria is experiencing due to its tense regional relations.

وجاءت زيارة رئيس الدبلوماسية الجزائرية إلى موريتانيا في إطار جولة إقليمية لعدة عواصم إقليمية على غرار تونس وطرابلس، أين نقل رسائل خطية من طرف الرئيس تبون، مما يترجم رغبة الجزائر في تحريك محاور الجوار لبلورة مقاربة مشتركة بغية مواجهة التحديات القائمة، لاسيما دخول قوى إقليمية على خط النفوذ في المنطقة.

The head of the Algerian foreign minister to Mauritania is one of many visits to several regional capitals, such as/including Tunis and Tripoli, where he conveyed written letters from President Tebboune, which explains Algiers' desire to stir the neighboring axes into establishing a common approach to deal with the present/existing challenges, especially since regional powers have stepped into the line of influence in the region.

ويبدو أن الجزائر المنزعجة من حملة مناهضة لها، بقيادة المجلس العسكري الحاكم في مالي، خاصة بعد إعلان المجلس إنهاء العمل باتفاق السلم والمصالحة، واتهام الجزائر بـ “رعاية الإرهاب والتدخل في شؤون بلدهم الداخلية”، تريد تطويق الأزمة في إطار محدود، وبلورة مقاربة بين دول الجوار، قياسا بما تراه “مغامرة تهدد أمن مالي ووحدتها والمنطقة عموما”.

It appears that Algiers is upset over a campaign against it led by the ruling Military Council in Mali, especially since the Council announced the termination of the Peace and Reconciliation Treaty and accused Algeria of “sponsoring terrorism and interfering in the country's internal affairs”. Thus, Algiers is seeking to contain this crisis by coming up with a joint approach between the neighboring countries to address the “adventure” threatening Mali's security and unity, and the region in general.

ويقول مراقبون إن رهان الجزائر على موريتانيا هدفه تأمين الطريق إلى غرب أفريقيا ومنافسة المغرب، وهو ما يفسر حرص الجزائر على الاستمرار في إنجاز طريق برية بمسافة تقارب 800 كيلومتر، ويهدف إلى تقليص التباسات حركة الأفراد والمركبات التي كانت تُضْطَرُّ إلى قطع جزء من رحلاتها في إقليم الصحراء.

Observers believe that Algeria's bet on Mauritania aims at securing a way into West Africa and competing with Morocco. This explains Algiers' keenness on building a land road of around 800 kilometers to improve the movement of individuals and vehicles that were forced into crossing the desert when traveling.

ولم يستبعد مراقبون في المنطقة أن تكون الزيارة قد حملت ردا للرئيس الموريتاني على رسائله التي وجهها في وقت سابق لكل مِن قادة تونس والجزائر والمغرب وليبيا والسودان ومصر، ويُرَجَّحُ أن تكون قد تَمَحْوَرَتْ حول الوضع في الشرق الأوسط والحرب الإسرائيلية على قطاع غزة، وفي منطقة الساحل الأفريقي، فضلا عن طموح نواكشوط لتولي رئاسة الاتحاد الأفريقي.

Observers in the region also believe that the visit [by Attaf] probably brought a response to the Mauritanian president's earlier messages to the leaders of Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Sudan, and Egypt. It is likely that the [Algerian] response focused on the situation in the Middle East, the Israeli war on Gaza, and the African Sahel area in general, in addition to Nouakchott's desire to head the African Union.

وتولي الجزائر أهمية كبيرة لتطوير علاقاتها مع موريتانيا، حيث تم الاتفاق على تأسيس آلية مشتركة للتشاور السياسي وتعزيز التعاون الاقتصادي والتجاري والأمني، خاصة في ظل التوترات التي تعيشها المنطقة.

Algeria attaches great importance to (is very much interested in) developing its relations with Mauritanian. Thus, an agreement was reached on establishing a joint mechanism for political discussions (consultations) and strengthening the economic, commercial, and security-related cooperation, especially in light of the tensions (lived) in the region.

Vocabulary list

All the words in the above article marked in yellow can be found in this table with explanations.

عَزَّزَ – يُعَزِّزُto strengthen; to consolidate. It is a II-verb.
تَحَسُّبًا لِin anticipation of; in case of. It is the infinitive noun of V-verb تَحَسَّبَ – يَتَحَسَّبُ لِ which means to take precautions; to be careful; to watch out; to look into. The preposition لِ indicates the matter or topic.
تَوَتُّرٌ – تَوَتُّراتٌtension
إِقْلِيمِيٌّregional; provincial
مِن طَرَفِon the part of; by
فِي سِياقِin the context of… You may also often read: in this context (فِي هٰذا السِّياقِ)
لافِتٌnoticeable; remarkable. If you need the adverb remarkably, you can say: عَلَى نَحْوٍ لافِتٍ
سَبَقَ – يَسْبِقُto precede
Vocabulary List – Media Arabic Booster 02/24 – © Gerald Drißner
مَجْلِسُ النّوّابِparliament; the House of Representatives (USA)
اِنْدَرَجَ – يَنْدَرِجُto fall within; to be included. VII-verb
إطار – plural: إطارات or أُطُرframe; framework; scope
هادِف إِلَىaimed at; purposeful; determined
دُوَلُ الْجِوارِneighboring countries
بَدا – يَبْدُوto seem; to appear; to turn out. I-verb; root: ب-د-و
مَسارٌ – plural: مَساراتpath; course. For example, career path (مَسارٌ وَظِيفِيٌّ).
عُزْلةisolation; separation
عاصِمةٌ – plural: عَواصِمُcapital (city). Note: If the country and a city share the same name as it happens with in Arabic with Tunis or Algiers, you include the word عاصِمة. For example: Algiers (الْجَزائِرُ الْعاصِمةُ)
Vocabulary List – Media Arabic Booster 02/24 – © Gerald Drißner
عَلَى غِرارِin the manner of; following… Often, you can translate it also simply as such as. Another example: one way or another (على غِرارٍ ما).
تَرْجَمَ – يُتَرْجِمُto translate; to convert; in IT: to compile. It is a I-form verb with four root letters.
رَغْبةٌ – plural: رَغَباتٌ or رِغابٌdesire; wish
تَحْرِيكٌsetting in motion; moving. It is the infinitive noun of II-verb حَرَّكَ – يُحَرِّكُ which means to move.
مِحْوَرٌ – plural: مَحاوِرُaxis. Watch out: مُحاوِر with “u” means speaker or conversationalist.
بَلْوَرةٌformation; developing. It can also express crystallization.
مُقارَبةٌapproach. It is the infinitive noun of III-verb قَارَبَ – يُقارِبُ which means to approach.
بُغْيةَwith the aim of; in order to. For example: in order to arrive at a solution (بُغْيةَ التَوَصُّلِ إلى حَلٍّ)
لا سيَّماespecially; in particular; mainly. If you are eager to know more, check this article.
Vocabulary List – Media Arabic Booster 02/24 – © Gerald Drißner
نُفُوذٌinfluence; authority
مُنْزَعِجٌannoyed; upset; irritated
حَمْلةٌ – plural: حَمَلاتcampaign; operation
مُناهِضٌ لِagainst; opposing; anti-
رِعايةٌcare; sponsoring; nursing
تَطْوِيقٌcontaining; enclosing. It is the infinitive noun of II-verb طَوَّقَ – يُطَوِّقُ which means to surround; to besiege; to control.
قِياسًا بِcompared to. You may also read: بِالْقِياسِ إِلَى. The noun قِياسٌ means dimension, proportion or analogy, relation.
مُغامَرةٌadventure; risky thing
مُراقِبٌsupervisor; observer. But also: censor (for example, in media)
Vocabulary List – Media Arabic Booster 02/24 – © Gerald Drißner
رِهانٌ عَلَى(a) bet on
مُنافِسٌcompeting; it can also mean competitor. It is the active participle of III-verb نافَسَ – يُنافِسُ which means to compete with somebody over something (نافَسَ شَخْصًا عَلَى \ فِي شَيْءٍ).
فَسَّرَ – يُفَسِّرُto explain; to comment. II-verb
حِرْصٌdesire; wish. Often you encounter it in the phrase حِرْصًا عَلَى which means in the desire for.
إِنْجازٌachievement; completion
بَرِّيٌّland, ground (adjective for a noun)
تَقْليصٌdecrease; reduction
اِلْتِباسconfusion; ambiguity. It is the infinitive noun of الْتِباس – يَلْتَبِسُ which means to be vague; to be unclear; to be dubious.
Vocabulary List – Media Arabic Booster 02/24 – © Gerald Drißner
مَرْكَبةٌvehicle; wagon
اضْطَرَّ – يَضْطَرُّto force; to oblige. It is often used in the passive voice (as in our example): to be forced/compelled to do something (اُضْطُرَّ إلى شَيْءٍ).
اسْتَبْعَدَ – يَسْتَبْعِدُto consider something unlikely; to consider (too) far; regard as unlikely; rule out. Oftentimes, this verb occurs in the passive voice or with a negation device. So, watch out: to consider it unlikely that (اسْتَبْعَدَ أنْ) versus it is not inconceivable that (لا يُسْتَبْعَدُ أنْ). In the last example, the verb يُسْتَبْعَدُ is in the passive voice!
قائِدٌ – plural: قادة or قادات or قوَّد or قوّادleader; commander
رَجَّحَ – يُرَجِّحُto consider it likely; to assume that. II-verb. Watch out: Usually, you use this verb in the passive voice (المَبْني للمَجْهولِ) to express: it's likely, that (يُرَجَّحُ أَنْ or يُرَجَّحُ أَنَّ).
تَمَحْوَرَ – يَتَمَحْوَرُto revolve; rotate. This is a II-verb of four root letters (م-ح-و-ر)! Usually, you place حَوْلَ (around; about) after it.
ساحِلٌ – plural: سَواحِلُcoast; shore. For example: offshore (أمامَ السّاحِلِ); the north coast (السّاحِلُ الشَّمالِيُّ)
فَضْلًا عَنْaside from. If you want to say besides, moreover, you can use فَضْلاً عَنْ ذٰلِكَ.
طُمُوحٌambition. Watch out, with the vowel “a”, it means ambitious (طَمُوحٌ).
Vocabulary List – Media Arabic Booster 02/24 – © Gerald Drißner
تَوَلَّى – يَتَوَلَّىto take upon oneself; to occupy; to take/be in charge of; to hold; manage. V-form-verb. For example: to come into power/to seize power (تَوَلَّى الْحُكْمَ).
طَمَحَ – يَطْمَحُ إِلَىto be ambitious; to aspire to
آليّةٌmechanism; also: vehicle. For example: the mechanism of supply and demand (آليّةُ الْعَرْضِ وَالطَّلَبِ)
تَشاوُرٌdialogue; also: consultation. For example: consultation between the two parties (التَّشاوُرُ بَيْنَ الطَّرَفَيْنِ)
تَعاوُنٌcooperation. For example: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development = OECD (مُنَظَّمَةُ التَعاوُنِ الاِقْتِصادِيِّ وَالتَنْمِيَةِ). It is the infinitive noun of the VI-verb تَعاوَنَ – يَتَعاوَنُ (root: ع-و-ن) which means to work together; to collaborate. If you want to express with whom you work together, use the preposition مَعَ.
ظِلٌّ – plural: ظِلال or ظُلول or أَظْلالshadow. This is sometimes difficult to translate because in English, you would not say “shadow”, but rather “light”, which is quite the opposite.
Vocabulary List – Media Arabic Booster 02/24 – © Gerald Drißner

NOTICE: If there are any errors or mistakes in this article, please let me know or use the comment section below. I am not a native English speaker, and inaccuracies can quickly creep in with more complicated texts. We are all here to learn.

DISCLAIMER: Just so you know, my focus is purely on the language, and my selection of texts does not express any political views. The Arab world is currently full of sad conflicts. If a text excerpt hits someone personally or makes them angry, please remember that as a journalist, I listen to all sides without judgment, and I do not want to spread any political views or engage in discussions on Arabic for Nerds. All I care about here is the wonderful language of Arabic, and that we can all use it to understand each other better.

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Muhammad Saleem Khan
Muhammad Saleem Khan
4 months ago

Thanks for sharing such an interesting and informative article.
I have a question:
Is it (لَمْ يُعَدْ قادِرًا عَلَى شَيْءٍ) or (لَمْ يَعُدْ قادِرًا عَلَى شَيْءٍ).
Thanking you in advance!

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