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[02] unique sounds in the Arabic language - heavy vs. light letters

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challenge level for grammar module

         See also: Light versus heavy, Be careful, Drill, Video
 



                              
Compare the light to the heavy letters



Now here is a matter of phonetics...

Arabic has seven heavy sounds that do not exist in the English language.

As well as seven lighter sounding counterparts that do exist in both the English and the Arabic language.

The seven heavy letters, or the "tricky" sounds, are the ones covered in this module.

Let's take a look together!

  Listen and repeatas you compare the light to heavy letters...

 

14-2 light v.s. heavy sounds

 

LIGHT LETTERS

 Found in Arabic & English 

 

HEAVY LETTERS
Found only in Arabic NOT English




        د 

       1 d   (day)




      ض

       2



      هـ 
                    
3 h   (happy)



       ح

       2

                               



      س
               
5 s   (sad) 



      ص
              
6

See more examples of heavy sounds


Be careful


1- Differentiating between light and heavy letters is critical to pronouncing Arabic correctly.

Let's say it again: Critical.

Try not to be a student of Arabic who says light letters instead of heavy letters... when the letter is clearly heavy.

Learning Arabic means putting a little extra time, in the beginning, to hear the difference between isolated heavy and light sounds.

Then as you get better try to capture the heavy letters within the midst of a word. Which gets more challenging!

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English speakers have a hard time capturing the heavy sounds -- and tend to alter them to light sounds or skip over them entirely. They just look the other way and ignore the letter all together!

Revisit the above table over and over and over again until you get it!

A native speaker becomes unintentionally distracted as s/he listens to you replace heavy for light sounds.

falookaplaces a dot under transliterated heavy sounds. For example: - - -

2- Is there any good news?? Yes!

Heavy letters are frequently replaced by light letters in Egyptian colloquial/spoken Arabic.

Why is this good news?

Because light sounds are much easier to capture.

Note: MSA/Classical Arabic or more formal Arabic, preserves the heavy sounds.

 

3- The letters on the right side are replaced by the left column when speaking Egyptian colloquial/spoken Arabic:

used in both classical & colloquial Arabic

used mostly in classical & and not colloquial Arabic

د ذ
ت    ث
ء   ق 

4- For MSA/Classical Arabic remember to gently stick out the tongue from the mouth for the following letters: 

ث  ذ  ظ 
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