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Letter of the Week (ح) Haa Posted by on Mar 11, 2020 in Uncategorized

Moving on to our fifth letter of the Arabic alphabet (ح), we will look at various words and phrases beginning with (ح) along with more culture/language related facts.

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

Initial حـ‎, as in the word “حَزين” meaning “sad”.

Medial ـحـ‎ ‍, as in the word “لَحظة” meaning “moment”.

Final ـح‎, as in the word “روح” meaning “soul”.

✨ This is the first letter we reach in the Arabic alphabet that can be difficult to pronounce for non-native Arabic speakers. It is very close to the sound we make when breathing on glasses to clean them. ح is pronounced with the mouth fairly wide open. Constrict the muscles in the back of your throat while letting air escape. Keep practicing with the variety of words in this post beginning with ح.

Before looking at the following words and phrases, can you think of words beginning with ح?

💗 We’ll begin with the word “حُبّ” meaning “love”. No doubt, you have heard the word “حَبيبي” a term of affection derived from the word حُبّ used between Arabic speakers and especially in Arabic songs. It literally means (my love/my darling/my dear/my beloved).  حَبيبي is used to address a male while حبيبتي is used to address a female. It is also used between friends as to say, “my dear friend” “يا حبيبي”. It can also be used sarcastically in an argument. Where for example, two people are arguing but call each other حَبيبي or حبيبتي to also avoid calling each other anything disrespectful.

Here is a short video of a native Arabic speaker explaining how Arabs use the term  حبيبي

Here is a link to the famous song mentioned in the previous video. حبيبي يا نور العين -عمر دياب

Note: Despite the singer referring to a woman in the song, he addresses her as حبيبي instead of حبيبتي. Usually both men and women are referred to as حبيبي in music.

حَرْف: letter referring to the alphabet  .حَرف الحاء يأتي بَعِد حَرف الجيم

 The letter Haa comes after the letter jeem.

Image provided by Yasmine K.

Image by KingHusseinFoundation on Flickr.com

Hussein of Jordan المَلك حُسين بِن طَلال is a very well-known Arab leader. Click on the Arabic Wikipedia page below to learn more about his life and achievements. Try reading it first in Arabic and write down the words you recognize or understand. See if you can make out the gist of each sentence. You could always then click on the English language option to compare. الحسين بن طلال

 

 

حَرْب: war  .أنا ضِد هذا الحَرب  I am against this war.

حَفلة: party/event/concert  .يُمْكِنُكَ الذِّهاب إلى الحَفلة إذا أنهَيت مِن عَملك أولاً

You can go to the party if you first finish your work.

حَسَناً: It can be used to mean (Okay!/Good!/Alright!)

   .لا تقلق، أنا سوف أطبخ اليوم    Don’t worry, I’ll cook today.

   .حسناً، شكراً لك    Alright, thank you.

حار : hot in terms of weather and food/spicy

حَجْز: reservation/booking    .قمتُ بحَجزعَشاء في هذا المَطعم قَبِل يَومَين

I made a dinner reservation at this restaurant two days ago.

حَمام: bathroom/bath    عَفواً، أينَ الحَمام؟ 

Excuse me, where is the bathroom?

حَفيد/ة: grandson/daughter   .اليَوم هو عيد ميلاد حَفيدَتي

Today is my granddaughter’s birthday.

Things we wear:  حِذاء: shoes, حِزام: belt, حَقيبة: bag

Food: حَلويات: sweets/dessert, حَليب: milk, حُمص: chickpeas

Animal حَيوان the plural being حَيوانات such as حِصان: horse and حوت: whale

Zoo in Arabic translates to “Animal park” حديقة حَيوانات

✨ حَلال و حَرام

You probably have come across the word Halal حلال stamped on food products. حلال technically means lawful or permitted. In reference to food, it is the dietary standard or (of an animal or its meat) slaughtered or prepared in the manner prescribed in the Quran.

The opposite of حلال is Haram حرام, which means forbidden, unlawful or prohibited by Islamic law. If somebody says that something is حرام, they usually mean it is ‘forbidden’. حرام  refers to anything that is prohibited in the Quran or would result in sin when committed. For example, murder, cheating or stealing. It can also refer to certain foods and drinks such as pork or alcohol, that are considered حرام.

However, حرام can also mean, “what a shame” or “what a pity”, (yaa Haraam يا حرام). This is usually pronounced with a different intonation. For example, if your friend says she was stuck in traffic for an hour, you can say يا حرام meaning “you poor thing”.

In the Arabic speaking world, حلال and حرام are terms that apply to all facets of life. Therefore, as an Arabic language learner, it is good to add these two concepts to your vocabulary.

✨ Two Middles Eastern cities that begin with ح are حَلَب in Syria and حَيفا in Palestine.

.حِلِب هي مِدينة في سوريا وهي أكبِر المُحافَظات السورية مِن ناحية تِعداد السُّكان

Aleppo is a city in Syria and is the largest Syrian governorate in terms of population.

.تَقع حيفا على ساحِل البَحر الأبيَض المُتَوَسِط في شمال فِلَسطين

Haifa is located on the Mediterranean coast in northern Palestine.

Here is an article about حيفا written by Al Jazeera. While reading the article, try to pay attention to your pronunciation of the letter ح in its different positions of words.

مدينة حيفا – الجزيرة

✨ Levantine Arabic:

The word حلو in Standard Arabic means “sweet”, yet in Levantine dialect it is used very often to also mean (nice, beautiful, cool, good, great, interesting). For example:

.هاد الكِتاب كتير حلو، لازم تقرأه 

This book is really interesting, you must read it.

.مِنلتقي بالمطعم الساعة خمسة    We’ll meet at the restaurant at five.

.حلو، مِنشوفك هناك    Cool, we’ll see you there.

.بدي أشتري فستان حلو لِلحفلة    I want to buy a nice dress for the party.

Until 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.


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