You will note that, in English language, you have the word "is".
In Arabic this word doe s not exist, so the arab will say... "what this?"
.. ma hatha.
ma mean what, and
hatha is "this", one of the difficult think to learn is, most of the object is divided into
male and female.
'hatha' is for male and if it is a female, then you will say..
we need to remember that cannot translate the arabic word, word by word.
This is because the mean reside in the phrase, so
for the phrase 'what is this' the arabic phrase is 'ma hatha'.
The word 'ma' is one of the word that can have different meaning, depending on the phrases.
I was puzzled when I learn that some of the arabic words had many meaning. I did appear odd
until someone remind me that some word is English language have the same characteristic, on having multiple meaning.. take example the word "in" or 'out'.