You already know that to form a sentence with the structure “[noun] is [adjective]”, it is simply a matter of putting the adjective after the noun, for example:
- މިހެދުން ކުޑަ – This dress is small
- ފެން ވަރަށް ހޫނު – The water is very hot
To form a sentence with the structure “[noun] is [noun]”, the suffix އަކީ is added to the first noun. އަކީ is actually a combination of އެއް (the indefinite marker) and އީ (which kind of means “is”, but we’ll get to that later), meaning that whatever noun it is attached to becomes indefinite. Both nouns are usually indefinite in simple noun-noun sentences. In more complicated sentences, they can be definite.
އަކީ is often used in general statements, and implies a constant state of being. Dhivehi uses indefinite singular nouns for such statements, but English can use plural nouns, as you will see.
To negate a noun-noun sentence (that is, to make it “[noun] is not [noun]”), simply add ނޫން at the end.
- އަހަންނަކީ ދިވެއްސެއް – I am a Maldivian (note that it is not އަހަމަކީ)
- ބުޅަލަކީ ޖަނަވާރެއް – A cat is an animal/Cats are animals
- އަނބަކީ ކާއްޓެއް ނޫން – A mango is not a coconut/Mangoes are not coconuts
For the second and third sentences, it is not necessary to use the plural forms of the nouns. In fact, if the sentence were ބުޅާތަކަކީ ޖަނަވާރުތަކެއް, it would mean you are talking about a specific group of cats (in which case it would make more sense to say އެބުޅާތަކަކީ), and not cats in general.
Demonstrative Pronouns in Noun-Noun Sentences
Remember from lesson 6 that demonstrative pronouns replace nouns, unlike demonstrative modifiers which only qualify them (“this is small” vs “this dress is small”). The demonstrative pronouns are:
These word do not normally take the suffix އަކީ. They have the following forms instead:
މިއީ and ތިއީ are pronounced މީ and ތީ respectively, and you will find them written that way too. އެއީ is one syllable. ތިޔައީ is more a formal/literary style. Some would argue whether or not ތިއީ is a proper word. Nonetheless, it is used in writing.
- މިއީ އާފަލެއް – This is an apple
- ތިއީ މޭޒެއް ނޫން – That is not a table
- އެއީ ރަށެއް – That is an island
Pronouns in Noun-Noun Sentences
There are two ways pronouns can be used in noun-noun sentences. One of them, which you have already seen, is to treat them like a regular noun and attach the suffix އަކީ. The other way is to use an appropriate demonstrative form. The following table gives a summary:
Usually, there is no need to use the pronoun and the demonstrative together (especially for 2nd and 3rd person). It can be inferred from the context whether it is a human or a non-human being spoken about.
Sometimes you will see މިއީ and ތިއީ instead of މީ and ތީ. This is another thing for which the standard is not set in stone.
*Other forms of these words are އޭނާއީ and އެމީހުންނީ (this is one of the uses of އީ by itself), but these are literary forms. You are more likely to hear people saying what is shown on the table.
- އެއީ ޑޮކްޓަރެއް – He/She is a doctor
- ތީ މަސްވެރިއެއް – You are a fisherman
Modifying the Nouns
More complex noun-noun sentences have one of the nouns modified, either with a demonstrative, an adjective, a relative clause or a combination of those.
In noun-noun sentences, demonstrative suffixes can be used to make the nouns definite.
- އަހަންނަކީ އެމީހާ – I am that/the person
- އެބުޅަލަކީ ޖަނަވާރެއް – That/the cat is an animal
- އެއީ އެރަށް – That is that/the island
As usual, adjectives come before the noun they qualify.
- އެދޫންޏަކީ ރަތް ދޫންޏެއް – That bird is a red bird
- އަހަންނަކީ މުއްސަނދި މީހެއް – I am a rich person
- ކަލޭ ތީ މޮޔަ މީހެއް – You are a crazy person
- އެއީ ހާދަ ރަނގަޅު ކުއްޖެކޭ – He/she is such a good kid
Keep in mind that even though an adjective follows the first noun, it is not a noun-adjective sentence. Never use އަކީ in a noun-adjective sentence. Take the following sentence pairs for example:
- އެދޫންޏަކީ ރަތް – incorrect
- އެދޫނި ރަތް – correct
- އަހަންނަކީ މުއްސަނދި – incorrect
- އަހަރެން މުއްސަނދި – correct
Consider the sentence “The person who finishes the race first is the winner”. This is just a more complicated noun-noun sentence, where the two nouns are “person” and “winner”. The relative clause “who finishes the race first” modifies the first noun (it’s basically a really long adjective). In Dhivehi, this sentence would use އަކީ. I won’t show you an example here because there’s a long way to go before getting to relative clauses. For now you just need to know that a noun can be modified this way and still be a part of a noun-noun sentence.