; An English Guide to Classic Qur'anic Arabic: 2.1 - Making Words with Alphabets

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2.1 - Making Words with Alphabets



 


Chapter 2 – Making Words with Alphabets

 If you know how to read Arabic, You can skip this section and go to next section 2.2. 

 

Section 2.1 – Alphabet Shape Changes for Joining to make a word

 

As mentioned before, Arabic is written from right to left, unlike the English language. In English, to make a word, you simply put alphabets one next to the other. When making a word with Arabic alphabets, unlike English, the alphabets are cut and reduced to a shape that can be easily merged with other alphabets. For example, if you write ز ي د, this is not quite readable because:

 

1) it does not have any harakahs that can give it any short vowels. For a native Arabic reader, it may not make much of a difference, since most of the writings are without harakahs and he will generally know the correct pronunciation. But for the non-Arabic reader, this could be especially difficult. Since al-Qur’an always has harakahs on it and there are rules for reading the words in a particular way, the presence of vowels has great importance.

 

2) In this example, if we give it the harakahs زَ يْ دٌ(the first alphabet with a fathah is pronounced as “za”, second alphabet with jaz-mun (zero duration harakah, a short vowel) is pronounced as “ay” and the last alphabet with dammah tanween is pronounced as “dun”. Combining these three will give the sound Za-ay-dun or Zaidun.

 

3) In the native way of writing, يis shortened and the word is written as زَيْدٌ

 

4) As mentioned before, it is a common practice in Arabic to also not pronounce the harakah on the last alphabet of the word at the end of a sentence or a proper noun/name, so the example here is pronounced as Zaid and not Zai-dun.

 

Since we are studying the grammar and it is important to know all the harakahs, we will be doing the trans-literation in full form to know what harakaheach word ends with.

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