Lesson 4

Arabic Vowel Marks (Tashkeel or Harakat)


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As you should have guessed; the words from last lesson's example were as follows: The first was "DISK" and the second was "TELEPHONE"...... Now, let's go on with the the lesson:

    In Arabic there are three kinds of vowels:
  1. The three vowel letters, which are (Alef, Waw and Ya') and are used for long vowels (You should be familiar with them by now).
  2. The "Hamza" which will be explained in the last lesson.
  3. The vowel marks which are used for short vowels. They are called "Tashkeel" in Arabic and they are explained in this lesson (They are also known as Harakat.. just a different name by some references).

To make short vowels distinct from long ones when words are read, the Arabic script uses vowel marks to do so. This is implemented by writing the marks over or under a letter. Let's write the letter "Seen " with the four different vowel marks applied to it:

The Mark's Name Applied to the letter
Pronounced as..
Fat-ha Sa
Dhamma Su
Kas-ra Si
Sukoon S

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Let's take a look at how a "Tashkeel" is applied to letters:
  1. The "Fat-ha" is an accent mark (a short slanting line over the letter). It is put over a letter when a short sound of "A" is supposed to be pronounced after the letter.
  2. The "Dhamma" is a small letter "Waw" over a letter. It is put over a letter when a short sound of "U" is supposed to be pronounced after the letter.
  3. The "Kasra" is a short slanting line under the letter. It is put under a letter when a short sound of "i" is supposed to be pronounced after the letter.
  4. The "Sukoon" is a small circle over the letter. It is put over a letter when no sound should be pronounced after the letter.

Notes :

There are two other marks used in Arabic script and they represent an extra letter, they are:

1 - Shadda:
"Shadda" represents the doubling of a letter and it is a small shape that looks like the letter "Seen" and is put over the letter. For example, the following is the word "Qissah" (which means "Story" by the way) notice the "Shadda" over the letter "Sad":

Notes :

InfoI know that this is confusing but I just wanted to give you an idea about the "Ta' Marboota" to understand its concept for a start.

2 - Tanween :
The "Tanween" is pronouncing the letter "Noon" at the end of a word (This is also grammar, so just have a general idea for now!!). It has three forms very similar to the "Tashkeel" but it is only put over or under the last letter of a word. The following table show the "Tanween" for the letters "Alef", "Ba' " and "Ta' ":

The letters Pronunciation

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Fadi's Arabic Tutorial. 1999 (Fadi S.)

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