The English vowels A, E, I, O & U have no equivalent in the Arabic alphabet. However, the Arabic language has special symbols which serve as vowels. These symbols are placed either above or under the letter which is vocalized. Knowing your vowels will help you identify the proper pronunciation of words. As a beginner, however, you might not need to get into too much detail, many Arabic speakers get by without knowing all about the vowels.
The Kasraa ِ
The Kasr-aa is a slopping stroke and is written directly below the letter When a Kasr-aa is placed under a word, its pronunciation is changed into ee or i. see examples below.
|How old are you? (asking a man)||km A’omrak||كم عمرك|
|How old are you? (asking a female)||km A’omrek||كم عمركِ|
The Fat-haa is represented by a sloping stroke above the letter. Its sound is similar to the English letter “U” as in “up” Notice how the meaning of a word could change according to its vocalizatIon.
The Damaa ُ
The Dani-aa looks like a small w-ow. It sounds like “oo”. Notice how the meaning of the word changes according to its vocalization.
The Hamza ْ
The Hamzaa. has no specific sound. It indicates a glottal stop or a break in pronunciation. The Hamzaa is usually carried on by the alef, the wow or the yeah. It could also appear by itself in the end of a word indicating a glottal stop.
The hamiza and the alef have a unique relationship together. The hamiza can occur above or under the alef. When the hamiza occurs above the alef it is pronounced as an “a” when placed under it the alef is pronounced as an “i”.
The Tanween ً
Tanween means turning into an “N” sound. Theseare two slopped dashes, placed above the alef. The alef in this case resonates like an “N”.