Learn to Read Arabic from Scratch: Lesson Four
This lesson will cover: four consonants and nunation:


This consonant is pronounced exactly like  z in English zoo, Liz, gazelle.  The name of this letter is      زاي zaay .
Zaay  is non-connective, and its shapes are identical to those of   ر  except it has a dot  above.
Try to read the following items using your former knowledge of the vowels and consonants you learned and the zaay.
Listen to the recording to check your reading.

 

This consonant is pronounced exactly like  sh in English ship, rush, fish.  The name of this letter is       شين   Sheen . It is connective, and its shapes are identical to those of    س  except it has three dots  above.
Listen to the following items and try to imitate and read noticing the various shapes and positions of Sheen.


The Arabic sound   l is like the English l, but there is an important difference between both l’s. l in English can be clear and dark. the clear l is the one in words as late, lame, where as the dark l is usually pronounced with the back of the tongue raised  somehow toward the velum which results in a velarized l. Very much in the same way as Arabic ص is a velarized س . This velarized quality of the English dark l is especially noticeable at the end of words such as table, beautiful and bell, etc. In Arabic, the velarized l is found in the word for ‘God’ الله  Allah and a few others. Elsewhere, however, the Arabic l has a non-velarized or ‘clear’ sound. The clear l is articulated when the back of the tongue is relaxed and not raised. This consonant is called  لام   Laam.. It is a connective letter and therefore, it is written in four positions and shapes.
Notice that:
 ل  Laam followed by ا   takes the special shape  لا . When joined to a preceding letter, it is connected by a vertical line resulting from the line, e.g., بِلا   .
In the final and independent positions, the bottom curve is rounded and may extend somewhat below the line.
When joined to a preceding letter only, Laam is connected to the preceding letter just above the curve; the pen moves upwards and then retraces its path downwards and into the curve.
When it is connected to a following letter only, the pen starts at the top and moves downwards.  Read the following. Listen to the recording to check your reading.
When joined on both sides, the pen moves from the preceding letter upwards, and then retraces its path downwards and into the following letter.

Read and notice the different shapes of Laam


This consonant is called Ťaa’     طاء.  it is a voiceless alveolar stop, like   ص . It is a velarized sound and it is different from the plain ت  in several important ways:
For  ت  t   ( dental stop) the tip of the tongue touches the upper back of the upper teeth. While for  ط  Ť  ( an alveolar stop) a larger area of the front upper surface of the tongue makes contact with the alveolar region (the gum ridge behind the upper teeth).
The ت  t    like English t, is often aspirated ( that is, it produced with a slight puff of breath); while ط  Ť  is not aspirated.
Finally, ت  t  is a plain ( non-velarized) sound, the back of the tongue remaining relaxed and low in the mouth; while ط  Ť   is velarized : the tongue is tense, and the back part is raised towards the velum. Like all velarized consonants, ط  Ť  affects the quality of adjacent vowels. In the following drill, you will hear an Arabic word containing ت  t      , and a similar word containing ط  Ť . Listen carefully and repeat each word imitating as closely as you can both the different consonants and the vowels qualities accompanying each.
ط  Ť has basically the same shapes in all positions.  To write ط  Ť properly and easily follow these steps .
In the independent form, begin the loop at the lower left, move up and to the right (clockwise), then down and back around to the left. Next, add the vertical stroke, beginning at the top; the bottom of this stroke does not need to quite touch the loop.
When ط  Ť is joined to a preceding letter, move into the loop from the preceding letter and then move up and to the right as in the case above; in moving down and back keep the loop above the original connecting line. Then add the vertical stroke, as above.
When ط  Ť is joined to the following letter only, move into the loop as in the first case, but continue immediately into the following letter. Add the vertical stroke only after completing the word, or after the next non-connective letter, if any.
When ط  Ť is joined to both sides, Move into the loop from the preceding letter as in the second case above, but continue immediately into the following letter. Add the vertical stoke only after completing the word. or after the next non-connector, if any.
 
Read and notice the same  shapes of ط  Ť in all positions


Many Arabic nouns and adjectives have inflectional endings –un, -in, and –an, in which the three different vowels indicate different cases, and the –n indicates indefiniteness ( usually indicated in English by the indefinite article ‘a/an’. For example:
The use of – n as an ending indicating indefiniteness is called nunation. The-n of the nunation is written in a special way: by writing the preceding vowel sign twice. Following are details for each of the three cases:

The ending –un may be written with two Dhammah signs over the preceding consonant, one of them usually is in a reversed position. More commonly, however, the doubling is represented by a single Dhammah with an additional short down word stroke.

The ending –in may be written with two kasra signs under the preceding consonant.

The ending –an may be written with two fatHa signs over the preceding consonant. The two fatHas are regularly followed by an alef  ا  , written as the last letter of the word. This alef is a spelling convention associated specifically with the ending –an, and does not indicate a long vowel. The preceding letter is joined to it or not, according to the usual rules.
In unvowelled texts the nunation signs, like the short vowel signs, are usually not written; but the alef which accompanies the ending –an remains:
Read the fowllowing and listen to the recording to check your reading.
 

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