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Vowels and Consonants The prominent view amongst the Grammarians is that the Arabic Alphabet has 28 letters , and they are all consonants. There are 3 short vowels which are separate from the Alphabet (they are the markings on the letters), and vowels are needed to pronounce words. So a vowel in Arabic is called a حَرَكَة (haraka), and the plural "vowels" is called حَرَكَات (harakāt). In the English, the vowels are 5 (A, E, I, O, U), whereas in Arabic the vowels are 3: 1. Ḍammah (ضَمَّة) which looks like this _ ُ _ and that little Dammah is written above the consona