-I- Arabic Letters and Phonics And their Similarities with Hebrew Letters

Corresponding English/ French and phonic

Corresponding Hebrew and phonic

Arabic Letter and phonic

Or-der

A

[a:]

א

[alif]

ا

[alif]

إأءؤـــئ

1

Meaning In Arabic: The noun ‘alif or elif’ is derived from the simple verbal root [‘alifa] أَلِفَ (in the past tense), يألُفُ [‘ya.a-loofoo] in the present tense, أُلْفَةٌ [Olfa] noun which means (for an animal) to become tame, (for a human) to become intimate (but not necessarily on a physical level). Similar to the word soul mate, but not exactly the same meaning. The noun olfa, means a combination of love, agreement and intimacy.   

similar to = mate/ feels family love/docile.

The more complex root [‘alla.fa], means to produce a peace of writing or music, or to make a thousand of something. Also to unite.

B

[b]

ב

[bet]

ب

[ba:]

بــ    ـــبـــ

2

The Meaning in Arabic: the letter gives the same sounds as in the verb     [‘ba:a] (with the 1st a being a vowel, and the 2nd consonant). The past     tense and the infinitive of this verb is باءَ  [ba:a}, the present tense is [‘ya.boo.oo], the noun is   [‘baw.an] and [‘bawa.an]  the doer is [ba.en]  يبوءُ               1st meaning: to lead, to make someone to come back.  2nd meaning: to confess one’s sins or to be grateful to someone, to repent.  The noun [el.ba:] means sexual relationship . 

باءَ بـ يَبُوء ، بُؤْ ، بَوْءًا [‘baw.an]  وبَواءً [‘bawa.an]  ، فهو باءٍ  [ba.en] 

T

[t]

ת 

[taw]

ت

[ta:]

       ـــــتــ    ـــــة

3

Arabic meaning: this in some dialects may sound like the word ( ) for tea, although it is not. 

In dictionary : In two locations only, can be used instead of B or W (and)  for oath in classic literature.

In Grammar: it is a very important letter in Arabic grammar, as plays two fundamental roles:

1- It is a feminine mark, added to all feminine nouns (at the end). e.g:  [layla.ton]  with (on) being a vowel – nikud, In spoken and colloquial language, we don’t bother to pronounce the [t] at the end of nouns, but instead, they are replaced by a short breath  towards the letter (h). This is why [t] and [h] are very similar at the end of words ( ـــــه/ ـــــة

2- It is one of the signs of the past tense, added towards or at the end of all verbs.  e.g: I went = dhahabtoo, ذهبتُ  / You (feminine) went =   dahabtee ذهبتِ ,/ You (group of people) went =  dahabtom   ذهـبــــتـُـــم .

3- It is used for pronouns that deal with ‘ the addressed/the spoken to’ in its singular, plural, muscular or feminine forms, e.g: You masculine = [anta] أنــتَ, you feminine [antee] أنــتِ, you group of people masculin or mixed [antom] اَنْـــتُــــمْ, you group of people (feminine only) = أنــتُــنَّ [antonna]

4- It is also added to the verbs that are conjugated with these pronouns in the present tense. you (masculine) go -present tense ; أنـــتَ  تـَـــذهبُ [anta tadhaboo] – You go (as a group of people) – [antom – tadhaboona] أنتم تــــذهبون   .

Th

– [th] as in for thief

ث

tha:

4

G/J

french [j] or [g]

Formally – Jolly

Colloquial – glass

ג

  [gimel]

ج

[jeem]

[gueem]

5

Note: The UK pronunciation of G/J should be without the d sound at the front; more like the French g.

This form of the letter written with 3 dots rather than one     , is added to the abajadia, because of the way some regions pronounce this letter. It is designed to cope  with pronouncing the letter like the G in (glass).

  ג   gimel

ה

[hei]

when pronounced in some words-

ح

[ha:]

6

J

in Spanish

ח

  [chet]

خ

[kha]

7

This sound exist in Gaelic British, Spanish and Germanic languages. It is the first phonic in the name of the artist Julio Iglesias – kholio iglesias –

D– D    D

ד

  [dalet]

د

[dal]

8

In Arabic, it sounds like the doer of the verb: dalla, to indicate, to guide. The doer [dallon] in colloquial [dal].

The guide is [daleel]. [daleela] or Delila in the bible, derives from this word. It is the female version of guide.  The extended, complex verb [tadallala], for a person, it means to be spoiled, treated softly. The noun [dalal] derives from it, and it is also a name. 

The Hebrew letter sounds like the verb [dalla] conjugated in the past tense with the pronoun she – she indicated, guided.

English  [th] as in the

ذ

[dhal]

9

In Arabic, it sounds like the doer of the verb [dhalla] which means to humiliate someone.

R

ר 

[resh]

ر

[ra:]

10

The Hebrew R (20) is like the French, Parisian pronunciation of the letter. The Hebrew pronunciation is translated to a new Arabic letter ( غ). However, the use of the letter in Hebrew words translates to the letter (ر) in Arabic rather than the letter (غ).

Z

צץ

[tzadi]

ز

[zay]

11

S

ס

[samech]

س

[seen]

12

The Hebrew name of ‘samech’ means ‘forgiveness’ in Arabic. It is even a girl’s name ( سماح)

[sh]

ש

[shin]

ش

[sheen]

13

The Arabic name of the letter [sheen] means ugly in colloquial languages.

S

ס

[samech]

ص

sa:d

14

[Sa:d] is only an amplification of the letter S (ص) and (ס  ).

The Arabic name [sad],  similar to the meaning of the doer of the action of rejecting someone or holding them at arms length, not allowing them to get any more intimate.  It is derived from the verb [sadda], [yasuddu].

[th]

ض

tha:d

15

[thad] is only an amplification of the English sound [th] in ‘the’ or ‘them’.

The Arabic name [tha:d] is similar to the doer of the verb to oppose or to be harmful to.

T

ט

[tet]

ط

[ta:]

16

[ta:a] is an amplified [t].
     [th]

ظ

tha:

17

[tha:a] is an amplified English [th].
None

ע 

ayin

ع

ayin

18

Similar to the sound of the letter [a] but lower at the level of throat.- It means: eye.
R

ר

resh

  غ

Rayn

19

This letter is an alternative sound of the letter [R], pronounced in in Paris, France. In Arabic, it means cloud ( غين) by changing the order between the (y) and the (n). From the verb [Rana], the noun is [Raynan]غانت السماء، غينا، و غِينَتْ، غَيْنًا: طبقها الغيم.
F

פ  pei

  ف

fa:

20

These two Arabic and Hebrew letters don’t have similar pronunciation, but the Hebrew letter is the nearest to the sound [f] that we find in Arabic and Latin. On the other hand, this Arabic letter is the nearest letter to [p] or [v] that we find in Hebrew and Latin. This is why they are used interchangeably, when writing names.

None

ק

qof

  ق

qaf

21

Similar to [k] but pronounced more from the throat.

K

כך

kaf 

ك

kaf

22

The meaning of the Arabic letter resembles the doer of the verb [kafa], which is [kaf.in] if vowels were added to the ‘f’ consonant.

L

ל

lamed

ل

lam

23

The Arabic letter [lam] is similar to the verb [lama], [yaloomoo], if the vowel in [lama] changed to ‘soukoun’; [lam]. The verb means to blame, criticise, judge.

M

מם

[mem]

م

[meem]

24

N

נו

[nun]

ن

[noon]

25

The Arabic letter means fish. The plural is [anwan] and [neenan] (أنوان و نينان). The [noon] is used to mark the duality of verbs that are conjugated in the past tense with the pronoun [homa] (هما) which is a pronoun which replaces two doers. So, we say: homa yajlisani (يجلسان يسكنانيمرحان ).  It also marks the ending of verbs conjugated with the feminin, plural, absent pronoun [honna] (هن), the equivalent of (elles) in French. This takes place with all tenses. Example: [honna: (past tense) ktabna, mashayna, (present) yajlisna, yamrahna) 

From right to left:  هن (الماضي) كتبن، مشين، (الحاضر) يجلسن، يمرحن)

H

ה

[he]

هـ

[ha]

26

The Arabic letter [ha] is used for a few grammatical purposes. El-Jawhari said that it is a letter used before the speech begins, in order to alert the listener’s attention. Ibn El-Haitham said that it is an introductory letter that helps to open up the dialogue. We say: (هــــــذا أخوك)  [Ha-this your brother] – ها إن ذا أخوك

W

ן

[vav]

و

[waw]

27

Both in Arabic and Hebrew, the letter is used phonetically as a consonant and vowel at the same time. The vowel is the equivalent of the sound [oo] in English. When [alif] as a consonant needs to take the latter vowel [oo], it is then supported by the [waw], rather than the [alif] itself. e.g: in the same verb: tanabba:a ( تَنَبَّــــأَ  ), yatanabbaoo (يتنبـــؤُ). We see how the ‘hamza’ (the consonant equivalent to letter A), has moved from being supported by the Alif (ا), to being supported by the waw (و). The alif also turns automatically into waw, in the ending of verbs, with the vowel changes from ‘fat.ha’ [a:] to ‘dham.ma’ [oo]. Finally, in plural, where the doers are either masculine or both genders, the waw is used as a vowel (niqud), to mark the ending of those verbs, along with the alif ( وقف، وقفـــوا/ جلس، جلســــوا).

In terms of meaning, in both languages [waw] is used as a linking word and the equivalent to ‘and’ in English and ‘et’ in French.

[waw] in Arabic is also used for oath, as an important tool in an oath phrase. This one letter replaces the whole of the English phrase: “I swear on the name of”. If it is translated literally, we’ll have something down the line of: “and God” (والله) [wallahe]

Y

י

[yod]

ي

[ya:a]

28

In Grammar, the Arabic letter [ya:a] is used to mark a long vowel [ee].  The two dots underneath it distinguish it from the letter (ى)which is the way to write the alif in some cases. This letter is used in grammar to mark the ending of the verbs which are used with the pronoun she in the present tense. Example: [odkholee – okhrogee- takallamee] (  ادخلــــــي،اخرجـــــــــي،

The letter is also used to call the attention of the spoken to (the listener). It is the equivalent of ‘O’ in English, although the [ya] is really a very common form of calling in day to day language to this day. It is almost added in front of each name, when being called.