Because it’s cold season

This enterprise is “word a day” in an aspirational sense only, but if you want to know what’s causing me grief just now…

عِندي رَشْح (ʿindī rashḥ) means “I have a cold”

Other variations:

لَدَيكَ رَشْح (ladayka rashḥ) “You (masculine) have a cold”

عِندَكِ بَرْد (ʿindaki bard) “You (feminine) have a cold”

لَدَيهُ بَرْد (ladayhu bard) “He has a cold”

عِندَها زُكام (ʿindahā zukām) “She has a cold”

لَدَينا زُكام (ladaynā zukām) “We have a cold”

عِندَكُم رَشْح (ʿindakum rashḥ) “You (plural, all male or mixed) have a cold”

لَدَيكُنَّ بَرْد (ladaykunna bard) “You (plural, all female) have a cold”

عِندَهُم زُكام (ʿindahum zukām) “They (all male or mixed) have a cold”

لَدَيهُنَّ رَشْح (ladayhunna rashḥ) “They (all female) have a cold”

عِندَكُما بَرْد (ʿindakumā bard) “You (dual) have a cold”

لَدَيهُما زُكام (ladayhumā zukām) “They (dual) have a cold”

Time for a lesson, unfortunately. Arabic essentially lacks a verb of possession. Constructs like “I have X” are created with a phrase that literally translates as “To me (or near me) is (belongs) X” (there’s also no verb for “is,” but we’ll get to that in a couple of days). There are several prepositions that can accomplish this: one, مَع (maʿ), really means “with” and doesn’t apply to something more abstract like “having” a cold, and another, لِ (li, which attaches to the word that comes after it), mainly is used for personal relationships, abstract concepts, and to express “belonging to” as intention rather than fact (something may “belong to me” yet I may not actually possess it). The two that I’ve used above are عِنْد (ʿind) and لَدى (ladá, becomes laday when attached to a pronoun), to which I’ve added each of the pronoun suffixes above (possessive/objective pronouns are suffixes in Arabic). These are somewhat synonymous but ladá is less common and means only something that is on or about one’s person, whereas ʿind signifies possession whether the thing is present or not.

As far as the options for “cold” are concerned, rashḥ comes from a verb that can mean “to leak, sweat, secrete,” so its connection to a cold should be clear if a little gross. Bard comes from the verb meaning “to be or become cold,” so it’s a full translation of the English but also retains the ambiguity of our word “cold.” Zukām comes from the passive verb (more on those at a future date) زُكِمَ (zukima), which means “to catch a cold,” so it’s the most literally accurate of the three possibilities but also the one you’re least likely to encounter.

Also, for those who didn’t get their shots this year, “flu” is إنْفْلُوِنْزا (influwinzā).

Also also, yes, Arabic has a special dual form. Let’s ignore it for now.


4 thoughts on “Because it’s cold season

  1. Pingback: Under the weather? | Persian Word a Day
  2. Pingback: Come down with a cold? | Turkish Word a Day

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s