Arabic Class

is Learning Arabic by teaching it

Sun letters and moon letters

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The pronunciation of the definite article ال (Al, meaning “the”) may change depending on the letter following it. Basically: if it would be hard to say the letter following the article when speaking quickly, the ل (Laam) is dropped, and the letter following the article is doubled.Try to pronounce the following: الشمس

Knowing the alphabet you will see the letters ا (Alif), ل (Laam), ش (Shin), م (Mim) and س (Sin). That makes “al-shams”, right? Now try saying that as quickly as you can: you will surely end up with something that sounds very similar to “ash-shams”. Fortunately this is also the rule. In fact it is the rule for the following letters:

ت، ث، د، ذ، ر، ز، س، ش، ص، ض، ط، ظ، ل، ن

These letters are called the ‘sun letters’, for the simple reason that the word شمس (shems, meaning “sun”) starts with one of them. The other letters are called ‘moon letters’, since قمر (qamar, meaning “moon”) does not have a beginning letter from this set.

Note: make sure to double the first letter of the actual noun when pronouncing (ash-shems).

Fancier names for sun letters and moon letters in English are “solar letters” and “lunar letters”.


Written by klaasvanschelven

January 5, 2008 at 11:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

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