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Learning Arabic -- Introduction to Vowels

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( بسم الله الرحمـٰنِ الرحيم )

 

Learning Arabic -- Introduction to Vowels

 

Lesson two deals with the vowels of the Arabic language. You would have noticed that the alphabet is composed entirely of consonants. This type of alphabet is useless because we speak in syllables, and in order to create syllables, we require vowels between our consonants.

 

Syllables are the building blocks of speech and they come in three types; 1) consonant vowel, 2) vowel consonant, and 3) consonant vowel consonant. That is to say, a syllable may be formed by having a consonant followed by a vowel, such as in the word 'TO', a vowel followed by consonant, such as in the word 'OF', or two vowels with a consonant in between, such as in the word 'FOR'. In Arabic, we use only types one and three.

 

Since the Arabic alphabet has no letters which are vowels, there are symbols that are placed either above or beneath the consonants and these act as vowel sounds. They are three.

 

Furthermore, towards the end of words, the vowels may be doubled. When a vowel is doubled i.e. two of the symbols for that vowel are placed atop or underneath the letter, the sound of the word ends with an 'N'. Click on the vowels in the charts to hear the demonstrations. The long vowels will be discussed in chapters to come.

 

Note that each vowel has a name, the vowels collectively have a name, the letters which contain a vowel have a name, letters are named specifically depending on which vowel they hold, and doubled vowels are also given names. The first row of the charts contain the examples, the second rows show the individual names of the vowels, the third rows show the adjective used to describe the letter which is attributed with the given vowel, the fourth rows show the English equivalents, and the columns to the right show the collective name for the group.

 

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