Arabic Vowels – The Arabic Alphabet: Vowels

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The Arabic Alphabet: Vowels

Name Character Explanation Pronunciation Example Transcription
Damma  ُ Damma is an apostrophe-like shape written above the consonant which precedes it in pronunciation. It represents a short vowel u (like the “u” in “but”). u بُت but
Wāw و Wāw is the long vowel ū (like the “oo” in “moon”). It also represents the consonant w. When Waw is used to represent the long vowel, damma appears above the preceding consonant. ū بُوت būt
Fatha  َ Fatha is a diagonal stroke written above the consonant which precedes it in pronunciation. It represents a short vowel a (a little like the “u” in “but”; a short “ah” sound). a بَت bat
Alif ا Alif is the long vowel ā (a long “ahh” sound as in English “father”). ā بات bāt
Kasra  ِ Kasra is a diagonal stroke written below the consonant which precedes it in pronunciation. It represents a short vowel i (like the “i” in English “pit”). i بِت bit
Ya’ ي Ya’ is the long vowel ī (like the “ee” in English “sheep”). It also represents the consonant y. When Ya’ is used to represent the long vowel, kasra appears above the preceding consonant. ī بِيت bīt
Sukūn  ْ Whenever a consonant does not have a vowel, it receives a mark called a sukūn, a small circle which represents the end of a closed syllable (CvC or CvvC). It sits above the letter which is not followed by a vowel.   بِنْتُ bintu
Shadda (or tashdīd)  ّ Shadda represents doubling (or gemination) of a consonant. Where the same consonant occurs twice in a word, with no vowel between, instead of using consonant + sukūn + consonant, the consonant is written only once, and shadda is written above it.   ثَبَّتَ thabbata