This lesson was authored by Mohtanick Jamil

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Double Vowels

 

·        Recall that Arabic has 3 short vowels
These are symbols placed on top or underneath letters

 

بُ

بَ

بِ

 

·        And Arabic has 3 long vowels
These are letters of the alphabet that have the potential to be used as vowels
Long vowels correspond to the short vowels and they stretch their sound

 

بُوْ

با

بِيْ

 

·        Arabic also has 2 semi-vowels – or “diphthongs”
These are vowel-like sounds

 

بَوْ

بَيْ

 

·        Now, you can actually double the short vowels
So we have 3 new vowels

o   the doubled Damma

o   the doubled Fatha

o   and the doubled Kasra

 

·        What do they look like?
A doubled Damma looks like 2 Dammas written beside each other
But sometimes it just looks like 1 Damma with a squiggle after it
A doubled Fatha looks like 2 Fathas on top of each other
A doubled Kasra looks like 2 Kasras on top of each other

 

بٌ

بً

بٍ

 

·        What are they called?
A double vowel is called a Tanween; it doesn’t matter which of 3 it is
You say “This letter has a Tanween”
Or, to be more specific, you can say “This letter has 2 Dammas / 2 Fathas / 2 Kasras”

 

تنوين

 

·        What do they sound like?
If a letter has a Tanween, you will pronounce the single vowel and follow it with an N sound

 

بٌ = بُنْ

بً = بَنْ

بٍ = بِنْ

 

·        What’s the purpose of these?
That’s a question we can’t answer here
For details on this topic, please sign up for some online Arabic classes

 

·        But we can say one thing: you will never see a Tanween in the beginning or middle of a word
Tanweens only come at the end of a word. Period

 

·        But not all words have Tanween

 

·        One last point: if a word has a Tanween at the end, and that Tanween is two Fathas, there will be a silent Aleph at the end of the word

o   Exception: there will be no Aleph if the last letter is a Hamza

o   Exception: there will be no Aleph if the last letter is a ة (Taa)

 

بٌ

باً، ةً، ءً

بٍ

 

·        Exercise: read the following

 

تَأْكِيْداً

مَساءٍ

سَحابَةٌ

مَلْبُوْساً

سَماءً

قَيْلُوْلَةً

 

·        By the way: how do I know if the word I hear has a Tanween at the end or a real Noon?
In general, you don't know. But if you know Arabic you can figure it out almost all the time