Pronunciation of Arabic Letters3 min read

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PRONUNCIATION OF ARABIC LETTERS

Pronunciation of Arabic Letters المخارج

 

In the human body, the area of speech is divided into five main sections:

  1. al-jawf الجوف the interior or chest area
  2. al-ḥalq الحلقthe throat
  3. al-lisaan اللسانthe tongue
  4. ash-shafataan الشفَتَانthe lips
  5. al-khayshūm اْلخيشومthe nasal passage

These are further subdivided into seventeen subsections, the actual points of articulation. They are listed in order (from innermost to outermost) below, along with the letters which are formed in each makhraj:

The interior is one makhraj for three letters:

  1.  – ا ْلجوفThe interior is one makhraj and includes the empty area of the open mouth. From it emerge the vowel sounds of ( اalif ) pronounced “aa,” ( وwaaw) pronounced “oo,” and ( يyaa) pronounced “ee.” The throat section contains three makhaarij for six letters:
  2.  – أَقصى الحلقThe deepest part of the throat is the makhraj of ( ءhamzah), a glottal stop (pronounced in English at the beginning of words that start with vowels such as: ate, eat, out). It is an indeed written consonant in Arabic and must be pronounced clearly whether it occurs at the beginning, middle or end of a word. From this section of the throat also, but slightly higher, emerges ( ھhaa).
  3.  – وسطُ ا ْلحْلقThe mid-throat is the makhraj of ‘( ع ayn), and just above it, ( ح ḥaa), a sharper “h” sound than .ھ
  4.  – أَدنَى ا ْلحلقThe nearest part of the throat (to the mouth) is the makhraj of ( غ ghayn) followed by ( خkhaa). A standard error in the pronunciation of ghayn and khaa is caused by allowing them to emerge from the mouth rather than the throat. The tongue contains ten makhaarij for eighteen letters:
  5.  – أَقصى اللِّسان مما يَلي اْلحْلق The innermost part of the tongue next to the throat along with what corresponds (i.e., is opposite) to it from the roof of the mouth. This is the makhraj of ( ق qaaf ).
  6. أَقصى اللِّسانمما يَلي ا ْلفَمThe innermost part of the tongue toward the mouth and what corresponds from the roof of the mouth is the makhraj of ( ك kaaf ).
  7.  – َ وسطُ اللِّسانThe middle of the tongue: the upper surface ظَهر اللِّسان with what corresponds from the roof of the mouth is the makhraj of ( جjeem), ( شsheen) and ( يyaa) when it begins a syllable as the consonant “y.”
  8. حافة أو حافتا اللسان One or both edges of the tongue, along with the upper back molars (more often on the left side), is the makhraj of ( ضdhaad).
  9.  – َ حافَّةُ اللِّسانBetween the edge of the tongue (usually the right side) and the gums of the upper front molars, canine teeth and incisors is the makhraj of ( ل laam).
  10. رأس اللِّسانBetween the tip of the tongue and the gums of the two upper central incisors is the makhraj of ( ن noon).
  11.  رأس اللِّسانمما يَلي ظَهرهBetween the upper part of the tip of the tongue and the gums of the two upper central incisors emerge the letter ( رraa).

12. رأس اللسان مع ظهره Between the tip, including a portion of the upper surface of the tongue and the roots of the two upper central incisors is the makhraj of ( ط ṭaa), ( د daal) and ( ت taa).

  1. رأس اللسان مع قريب من الثنايا The tip of the tongue near the inner plates of the upper central incisors is the makhraj of ( ص ṣaad), ( س seen) and ( ز zaa).
  2.  ظهر اللسان مما يلي رأسه Between the upper surface of the tongue near the end and the tips of the two upper central incisors is the makhraj of ( ظ thaa), ( ذ dhaal) and ث (thaa). From the lips come four letters:

15. بين الشفتينBetween the two lips is the makhraj of ب (baa), ( مmeem), and ( وwaaw) when it begins a syllable as the consonant “w.”

  1. بَطن الشفَة السفلَى Between the inside of the lower lip and the tips of the upper incisors is the makhraj of (ف faa).

The nasal passage:

  1.  – ا ْلخيشوم The nasal passage, which like the interior, is a single makhraj, is the makhraj of ( الغنَّة al-ghunnah). Al-ghunnah is not a letter but a quality belonging to the letters (ن noon) and (م meem), a sound coming from the nose in which the tongue has no part. It is said to resemble the voice of a female gazelle if her child is lost. It will be dealt with further in sections on noon and meem.

NOTE: In order to feel the makhraj of a given letter, pronounce that letter with sukoon preceded by hamzah – for example, say: أَقْ The instructor will help if any adjustment of the makhraj is necessary.

JazakAllahu Khairan for reading. If you have found this information beneficial, please share it with your loved ones and friends. May Allah reward you abundantly for your efforts.

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Hassan Ali

Hassan Ali

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