It is true that knowing the basic rules of Arabic and Arabic alphabets is of utmost importance for successful English to Arabic translation and vice versa. With that in mind in our previous articles we had covered a lot of Arabic alphabets and subsequently the Arabic alphabets Jiim, Haa and Khaa in some detail. In this article we will cover some special symbols and the subsequent letters in Arabic alphabet.
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An important symbol in the Arabic alphabet is "sukuun". It is a symbol which is used as a pronunciation marker to indicate the absence of a short vowel. The Arabic language has various short vowel symbols, such as fatHa, damma and kasra. They are used over consonants to indicate short vowels. However in fully vowel texts, all consonants have at least one marking, even if no vowel occurs, because there is a special symbol to indicate even the absence of a vowel. This symbol is called "sukuun", which literally means "silence". It is shown in the image below.
Just like the short vowel symbols, the symbol "sukuun" is rarely used in unvowelled or partially vowelled texts. When it is written, it appears as a small open circle above a letter not followed by a vowel. Remember that the shape of "sukuun" is a circle and not a dot.
"Yaa" is a long vowel in Arabic alphabet. It is pronounced like the letter 'y' in 'yes'. "Yaa" also functions like a consonant when used at the beginning of a word or when preceded or followed by a vowel. Below is an image of "yaa".
If the long vowel "yaa" is preceded by a "fatHa" and followed by "sukuun", the pronunciation is like a diphthong, which is a sound formed by the combination of two vowels in a single syllable, in which the sound begins as one vowel and moves towards another. The resulting sound will be like the sound of letters 'ay' in 'say'. To use "yaa" as a diphthong, one can either use both "fatHa" and "sukuun" as mentioned above, or use either of the two alone along with yaa.
The eight alphabet in Arabic alphabet is the consonant "daal". It is pronounced like the letter 'd' in dentist. The shape of consonant "daal" is provided in the image below.
The alphabet "daal" is a non connector as it does not connect to any letter that follows it. In below image the letter "daal" is shown in various positions depending on where it is used in a word. Starting from right to left, the image first shows the letter "daal" when it is used independently. The second box shows "daal" when it is used at the start of a word, and the third and fourth boxes show when it is used in the medial or final positions.
The correct method of writing the alphabet "daal" when it is at the beginning of a word is to start well above the line and slant down. Then just before hitting the line, angle sharply and finish along the line into a tiny hook. Three examples of Arabic words which use the letter daal are "juhd", "adl" and "dimashq", which are translated versions of the English words "Effort", "Justice" and "Damascus" respectively.