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Letter of the Week (أ) alif Posted by on Feb 5, 2020 in Uncategorized

Hello Arabic learners! In these series of posts titled “Letter of the Week”, we’ll be focusing on one Arabic letter from the alphabet. We’ll begin with 10 random words/phrases beginning with that letter with examples for each one including culture/language related facts about a few. There will also be a word/phrase beginning with that letter in Levantine dialect. In some cases, I will also include a video link where there is talk in Arabic about a word beginning with that letter.

Goal is to help you remember words/phrases and interesting facts that are associated with a particular letter every week. For some of you, these posts will have information you probably already know but will serve as a good review, yet I will try to include material that is appropriate for different levels. Hopefully, you’ll be able to take away some useful vocabulary and fun facts from these posts one letter at a time. 😊

Let’s begin with looking at your basic forms of the letter أ.

 Initial ا , Medial ـا , Final ـا .

Alif with a fatHha:  أَ as in the word أناناس meaning “pineapple”.

Alif with a kasra: إِ as in the word إصْبَع meaning “finger”.

Alif with a damma:  أُ as in the word أُذُن meaning “ear”.

Alif al Madd (Arabic long vowel mark): آ as in the word آمِن meaning “safe” as in a safe place.

Before looking at the following words and phrases, can you think of a name, thing, and place beginning with أ?

  • أَرْض: earth, ground, land      .هذا أرضُنا     This is our land.

  • آسِف: sorry    .أنا آسِف على التأخير       I’m sorry for being late.

  • أمْس: yesterday      .الأمْس كان يَوم الخَميس      Yesterday was Thursday.

  • أدَب: literature      .يَشمَل الأدب العَرَبي النَثر والشِعر المَكتوبين بالعَرَبية

     Arabic literature includes prose and poetry written in Arabic.

  • !أهْلاً وسَهلاً: Hello and welcome!

  • A vectorized image of Egyptian poet Ahmed Shawqi.

    Image by Bakkouz – Own work on commons.wikimedia.or

    أحمد شوقي‎: Ahmed Shawqi‎, (1868–1932), nicknamed the “Prince of Poets” أمير الشعراء‎, is an Egyptian poet who was one of the greatest Arabic poets who introduced the genre of poetic epics to the Arabic literary tradition. To learn more about this poet in Arabic, click on this link: أحمد شوقي‎

 

  • الله: If you are interested in Islamic art, you will most definitely find الله written in Arabic calligraphy to decorate mosques and homes. Yet, Allah being the Arabic word for God, is used by Arabic people of different religions since pre-Islamic times. Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews have used “Allah” to refer to God since well before the emergence of Islam.

  • الألوان: Most of the basic colors in Arabic begin with أ, making it easy to memorize most of your Arabic colors!

    🎨 (أحْمَر، أَخْضَر، أسَوَد، أبْيَض، أصفَر، أَزْرَق)

  • بَني آدَم: You may hear Arabs sometimes refer to someone who is polite or well mannered as Bani Adam بَني آدَم meaning “son of Adam”. This is in reference to the children of Adam since Adam is considered the first man in the Abrahamic religions. Banu Adam technically means “Humankind”. Therefore, ” بَني آدَم” is used as a term for a “human being,” especially when reminding people to act like “human beings” and respect rules of politeness.

  • الأذان: If you’ve visited an Arab country, you most probably remember hearing the أذان echoing throughout the day. In Islam, Muslims are summoned to the five scheduled daily prayers by a formal announcement, called the أذان by the مُؤَذِّن‎ muazzin. The Arabic word أذان means “to listen.” In modern times, the voice of the مُؤَذِّن is usually amplified by a loudspeaker mounted on the minaret. Some mosques play a recording of the أذان instead.

 

Here are a couple of Levantine words beginning with أ:

  • أيش meaning “what” similar to another Levantine word for “what” being “شو”.

  • إمبارِح meaning “yesterday”.

e.g. أيش أكلت إمبارح علفطور؟  What did you eat for breakfast yesterday?

 

Till next week, happy Arabic learning! 😃

 

 

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About the Author: yasmine

MarHaba! I am half Jordanian of Circassian descent and half American. I have a Master's in Second Language Teaching and I teach Arabic as a foreign language here in the US, both MSA and Levantine Arabic. I hope to help you become more familiar and interested in the Arabic language and culture.


Comments:

  1. N:

    Thank you so so much for this!


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