Introduction to Arabic Alphabet:
Lesson 23

By Carl Kenner

You can also put a dot above the D. The dot changes it into a TH sound, like in the English word "the". Now maybe you are thinking "didn’t we already learn the TH letter??". Most English speakers don’t realise that English actually has TWO different TH sounds. But English spells them both the same way. Arabic spells them differently. The TH sound in "three" is different from the TH sound in "the".

Say the contraction "this’ll" (this will) and then say the plant "thistle". The only difference is the TH sound at the beginning. "Thistle" has the same TH sound in "three". But "this’ll" has the same TH sound as "the". Another example is the word "sooth" and the word "soothe". The only difference is the TH sound at the end. "sooth" has the "three" TH, but "soothe" has the "the" TH. Try saying "theocracy" and then saying "the ocracy" as if there was such a thing as ocracy.

So this letter:


Is the sound in: the, this, that, then, them, soothe, lathe, loathe, either, smooth, breathe etc.

But this letter:


Is the sound in: three, thin, thing, thought, sooth, tooth, thistle, growth, both, etc.

When they transcribe the D with a dot above it in the English alphabet, they write it as DH, while the THree dots are written as TH.

But in Egypt they can’t pronounce either of those TH sounds. For TH they say T and for DH they say D.

There is one last normal letter, and it is a bit hard to read because it changes its shape. It is the letter h. This is the normal h, exactly like in English.

This letter always looks like some kind of a knot or bow. I don’t know of any reason for that. But if you write three of them in a row, then one by itself, it looks like this:

ههه ه

At the start it looks like some kind of knot, then in the middle it looks like a bow, then at the end it looks like a string sticking up with some kind of loop tied in it. By itself it looks like a circle. h is a very hard letter.

Here is the word for he, huwwa:


Note that it leaves out the vowels so it is just h w.

Can you read this word (it's the word for she):



Answer: heya
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