May
19
2015

Arabic Vowels – Kasraa , Damaa and Fathaa

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.

you (m) Ant أنت
you (f) Anti أنتِ
How old are you? (asking a man) km A’omrak كم عمرك
How old are you? (asking a female) km A’omrek كم عمركِ
yours (m) Lk لك
yours (f) Lki لكِ

 

The Fathaaَ

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.

noon Zohr ظهر
to appear zahra ظهرَ

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.

Teacher (f) Modarsah مُدرسة
school MAfrasah مَدرسة
books Kotob كُتب
to write Katba كَتبَ

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.

ask sa’al سأل
question soa’al سؤال
questioner sa’ael سائل
sky sma’a سماء

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”.

where a’yn أين
to ila إلى
America amrica أمريكا
England ingletra إنجلترا

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”.

Thank you shoukran شكراً
very gedan جداً
Hello ahlan أهلاً

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