This lesson was authored by Mohtanick Jamil

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The Letter Aleph

 

        The first letter of the Arabic alphabet is Aleph

 

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ا

 

        Remember that all 29 letters in the alphabet are consonants
Well, this is not exactly true for Aleph
Aleph doesnít have its own sound; it is used to stretch the short A vowel to form the long AA vowel

 

compare the A sound in Bath & Father

the first is a short A and second is a long AA

 

Listening & Pronouncing

 

        Listen to the words below. Each recording has two words that sound very similar except that the first word has no Aleph and the second word has one Aleph. Repeat the words you hear.

 

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hadatha & haadatha

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suwwam & suwwaam

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jariha & jarihaa

 

        Sometimes itís hard to hear the Aleph when itís at the end of a word

 

        Exercise (easy): how many Alephs do you hear in the following?

 

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Answer [7]

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Answer [12]

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Answer [9]

 

        Exercise (medium): how many Alephs do you hear in the following?
The pace of the reading is now faster

 

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Answer [6]

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Answer [27]

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Answer [17]

 

        Exercise (hard): how many Alephs do you hear in the following?
The pace is faster and the Alephs arenít exaggerated
This is how normal Arabic sounds

 

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Answer [18]

 

Recognizing in Text

 

        Writing the Aleph is easy; itís just a straight line

This is how the Aleph looks in the four cases

 

end

middle

beginning of a word

by itself

ـا

ـا ـ

ا ـ

ا

 

        Notice that the Aleph cannot connect to the letter after it
There will be a small gap between the Aleph and the next letter

 

        All the letters in a word must be closely connected
The only spaces between letters are the spaces between the last letter of one word and the first letter of the next word
So donít confuse the small gap after the Aleph with a space between words

 

        Aleph is one of 6 letters that cannot connect to the following letter
The other 5 will be discussed later

 

        There are 4 other letters that include a straight line
Letís look at these letters briefly so we donít confuse them with Aleph

 

ط ظ ك ل

        Itís easy to tell Aleph apart from the first 3 letters because they have very distinct shapes. The first two look like a golf club, and the third one has a special squiggle on top
The last one is more difficult, though. Letís look at the 4 forms for the last one and compare with the Aleph

 

end

middle

beginning of a word

by itself

 

ـا

ـا ـ

ا ـ

ا

ا

ـل

ـلـ

لـ

ل

ل

 

        Look carefully. You can tell the difference between Aleph and this letter when itís in the beginning or middle of a word because Aleph doesnít connect with the following letter, but this one does
And you can tell the difference when itís at the end because Aleph is just a straight line and this letter has a curve like the English letter J

 

        Exercise: scan the following texts and identify all instances of Aleph

 

قالوا

ولو تقول

كيف كانت صلوة نبيك

فتبارك اسم ربك ذي الجلال والاكرام

 

        Answers: [2, 0, 1, 7]

 

        Notice that when Aleph comes after the letter ل, it looks like this: لا
The Aleph curves in to the left a little

 

Writing

 

        When you write the Aleph and it doesnít connect to the letter on the right, start from the top and draw a line downward

 

        When you write the Aleph and it does connect to the letter on the right, come in from the right and draw a line upward

 

        Exercise: practice writing Aleph by copying the table below several times

 

end

middle

beginning of a word

by itself

ـا

ـا ـ

ا ـ

ا