The Arabic Alphabet (2)

In the previous lesson, you learned the Arabic Alphabet and their pronunciation which varies according to the short vowel (i.e. al-Harakah al-qaSiirah) that accompanies them. For example, the letter ل can be pronounced as لَ la, لِ, li, or لُ lu. What if they are followed by the long vowels, to what degree the pronunciation differs.

If the Arabic Alphabet are followed by long vowels (i.e. al-Harakaat aT-Tawiilah), their pronunciations remain comparatively similar, except for the lengthening of the short vowel. For example, بَ is pronounced as ba, but if it is followed by the corresponding long vowel, i.e. ـا, it is pronounced baa بَا. Likewise, بِ bi becomes بِي bii, and بُ bu becomes بُو buu. And so is the case with the remaining letters.

As you can see in the table above, the long vowel always forces the appearance of the corresponding short vowel on the preceding letter, hence the alif triggers the fatHah, as in سَا, بَا, and مَا; the yaa’ triggers the kasrah, as in سِي, بِي, and مِي; and the waaw triggers the [DHammah], as in سُو, بُو, and مُو.

The [hamzah] ء is written as آ when it is accompanied by [fatHah]and followed by alif; as ـئـ when it is accompanied by [kasrah] and followed by ي [yaa’]; and as ؤ when it is accompanied by [DHammah] and followed by و [waaw].

You may be wondering what the difference between the [hamzah]ء and [alif]ا is. The [hamzah] is accompanied by the short vowels, while the [alif] is not; that is, it (the alif) is always accompanied by [sukuun] (sukuun = the absence of short vowels).

In the next lesson, you will get to know how to join these letters cursively to form Arabic words.

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