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The Question Word ما maa

The word ما maa means what? You came across it in two important questions:

ما إِسْمُك؟ maa 'ismuk?
What's your (m.) name?
ما إِسْمُكِ؟ maa 'ismuki?
What's your (f.) name?

The first question is what you'd ask a man, and the second is what you'd ask a woman. Notice the different endings on إِسْمُك 'ismuk and إِسْمُكِ 'ismuki. These endings are the equivalent of your, and they're added to a noun, such as إسْم 'ism (name). The ending -uk (or –uka) is your (m.), -uki is your (f.) and -ii is my, whether you're a man or a woman.

إِسْم 'ism
إِسْمي 'ismii
my name
إِسْمُكِ 'ismuki
your (f.) name
إِسْمُك 'ismuk
your (m.) name

There are other endings for his, her, our, your (pl.), and their, and some of them specify gender. Arabic has singular and plural, like English, but it also has dual, which refers to two of something. So, there's a way to say their house, specifying that two people own the house, as opposed to their house, with more than two owners. But we'll come back to that later.

You also learned the pronoun أَنا 'anaa, meaning I, in the expression:

أَنا مِن 'anaa min
I am from

But you’ll learn that pronouns are often dropped in Arabic. You saw this with the expression for I would like. You could say it without the pronoun, or with it:

أُريدُ 'uriidu
I would like
أَنا أُريدُ 'anaa 'uriidu
I would like