This will be a short but important lesson that will allow to add another layer of depth to your speech.

Repetition

The suffix އޭ is used to emphasise a word, with the implication that you have said it before. It also highlights that word as the main/important part of a sentence. Depending on the way a person says it, it can add a sense of urgency to a sentence. When adding it to a word, the same changes discussed in the previous lesson apply. It can be used with most types of words (be they nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.) but we will look mainly at nouns in this lesson since you already know some. When it comes to nouns, this suffix is mostly found attached to indefinite nouns, but there is no reason it can’t be used with other nouns.

  • ބުޅާ – (the) cat / ބުޅަލޭ – (the) cat!
  • ބުޅަލެއް – a cat / ބުޅަލެކޭ – a cat!
  • ރަށް – (the) island / ރަށޭ – (the) island!
  • މަންމަމެން – (the) mothers / މަންމަމެނޭ – (the) mothers!
  • ދޫނިތަކެއް – some birds / ދޫނިތަކެކޭ – some birds!
  • ދިވެހިން – Maldivians / ދިވެހިންނޭ – Maldivians! (Note the double ނ. This is how non-family human plurals take the suffix)

Quotation

The suffix އޯ emphasises a word with the implication that someone else has said it before. Just like އޭ, it can be used with most types of words, and the sound changes occur as usual. I won’t provide translations for the examples here because there is no context (And this concept doesn’t really translate into English)

  • ބުޅަލެކޯ – ބުޅަލެއް
  • ދިވެހިންނޯ – ދިވެހިން
  • އަތޯ – އަތް
  • ތައްޓޯ – ތަށި

Word Order

Word order in Dhivehi is flexible, but typically, sentences are are Subject-Object-Verb. However, a noun that takes the suffix އޭ or އޯ usually goes at the beginning of a sentence, regardless of whether it is the subject or the object.

Examples Using English Sentences

These examples should help to clarify how these suffixes are used.

  • A cat ate the apple – simple statement
  • A cat-އޭ ate the apple – I said before that it was a cat that ate the apple, and not something else.
  • A cat-އޯ ate the apple – Apparently a cat ate the apple. I don’t know for certain that it was a cat. I got the information from somewhere/someone else.
  • The apple-އޭ a cat ate – It was that apple and not something else that the cat ate. (note word order)
  • The apple-އޯ a cat ate – It turns out that the apple was eaten by a cat. I don’t know for certain that it was the apple. I got the information from somewhere/someone else. (note word  order)
  • A cat ate-އޭ the apple – The cat didn’t do something else with the apple.
  • A cat ate-އޯ the apple – Apparently the cat ate the apple the apple and didn’t do something else with it. I don’t know this for certain. I got the information from somewhere/someone else.
  • He is well – simple statement
  • He is well-އޭ – I am emphasising his wellness
  • He is well-އޯ – Someone else told me that he is well (he may have even told me himself)

Sometimes subjects and objects can consist of more than one word, for example an adjective and a noun. The suffixes އޭ and އޯ are attached to the subject/object as a whole. To emphasise the adjective only, you would have to change the sentence.

  • A [black cat] ate the [red apple] – The subject and object are a unit
  • A [black cat]-އޯ/އޭ ate the [red apple] – correct
  • The [red apple]-އޯ/އޭ a [black cat] ate – correct
  • A [black-އޯ/އޭ cat] ate the [red apple] – incorrect
  • The cat which ate the red apple was black-އޯ/އޭ – correct
  • A [black cat] ate the [red-އޯ/އޭ apple] – incorrect
  • The apple which the black cat ate was red-އޯ/އޭ – correct

Try doing this with your own simple sentences in English and see if you can work out the implied meaning.

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