Learn to Read Arabic

Lesson 2

Lesson 3..Learn Arabic Online..Home
Vowel Marks

Using our letters SH and N we can add vowel marks

First the short vowels.

The first is an accent mark - a short slanting line over the letter . It is called fatha so this word reads shn with the accent on the sh . It is also used as an aae vowel for example like the a in cAt or mAt

Mark i is called kasra and written below the line. What does this word read as ?

Of course it is shin -part of the leg.

Another short vowel is u called damma as in sUgar . What does this word read ?

Full marks if you got it as shUn as in sUgar .

There is tendency to leave out the short vowels. So when you see

you may have to read it as shin

or as shUn depending on the context.

Long Vowels

Aa is a straight vertical line which is not joined to the letter that follows it. For example this is shAAn

The long OO is signified by using the letter v and putting a damma mark on top .

That word was shOOn

The u (damma) and little i ( kasra) mark may be a little distance from the O as in the figure below which still reads as shOOn.

The next word has the long EE . EE is made by putting a kasra mark next to two dots borrowed from the y letter

It is shEEn

The little i and u marks may be left out altogether so if yous see shOn it may read as shOOn

Next we make an aw sound as in shawn by putting a mark called sukuun on top of the O or V letter.

So the above word reads as shAWn

The AI sound as in mIne is made by putting a sukuun over two dots . One way of writing shIne as in the sun shines

Another use of the open circle sukkun mark is to make an abrupt stop. For example in the word for mother -spelt as mdr in Arabic , we would put sukuun marks over m , d and r to show that these are abrupt m , d and r and do not have a modifying vowel -ie they are not mi or du etc.

When the vowel like the long EE comes at the end of the word the full letter Y with its dots is written . Whats this word ?

The answer was SHE as in she wants to talk.

This is a mark called HAMZA - sounded like A

When a vowel comes at the beginning of a word the first letter alif is written as well as a vowel mark with hamza . For example ashn is written as

ushn is written as

Ishn as

The long aa at the front is marked by a madda mark over the alif . This word is read as AAshn

Another mark is a doubler called tashdeed or shadda . For example in this word the sh letter has to be sounded twice and it reads as shshn

We will meet more examples of vowel marks later.
Lets have a look at all the four forms of each letter. The first group are those which have only one shape . They are joined to a letter which comes before them but not to one after- for example in the word lurk-spelt lrk the r is joined to l but not to k. T' and Z do join the letter coming after and before then but do not change their shape. These stand alone letters are

The next set are B (and P) , T and TH as in THink.

Now the four forms of J, H and K . Note it is quite easy to guess these forms.

S , SH , D and DH

Below are Aine (A) and G

Now follow F , Q, K, L ,M , N , H , Y ( and EE). Note a compound letter LA formed by L and A

Below are the vowel marks . The nn, in and un marks are often put at the end of the word.

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