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Letter of the Week (ظ) Thaa Posted by on May 27, 2020 in Uncategorized

Moving on to our sixteenth letter of the Arabic alphabet (ظ). Compared to other Arabic letters, you won’t find as many words beginning with the letter ظ, which is why in this post, I included various words that both begin and have the letter ظ in them, along with more culture/language related facts.

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

Initial ظـ‎, as in the word “ﻇُﻬﺮ” meaning “noon”.

Medial ـظ‎ ‍, as in the word “لَحْظَة” meaning “moment”.

Final ـظ‎, as in the word “حَظ” meaning “luck”.

The letter ظ is another Arabic letter that does not have an equivalent sound in English. Since we have already covered in the past weeks the letters ذ, ض and now ظ, I thought to share this short concise video explaining how each of these letters are pronounced. I know these letters can be considered tricky and sometimes difficult to distinguish for Arabic learners. I thought a little pronunciation review through this video would help. 😊

Arabic alphabet question – Tricky ones: ذ ظ ض

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

ظَلام: darkness  .الظَّلام يُخيفُني في بَعْض الأحيان

The dark scares me sometimes.

Image via Pixabay

نَظَّارَة: eyeglasses .لا أستطيعُ قِراءة هذه العلامة. أعتقد أنني بِحاجة إلى نَظارة

I can’t read that sign. I think I need glasses.

ظِل: protection/shelter/shadow/shade

.سأجلِسُ في الظل حتى لا أصابُ بِحروق الشمس

I’m going to sit in the shade, so I don’t get sunburn.

The three following words all have the same three letters but differ in diacritics and meaning.

ﻇُﻬﺮ: noon  .سَنكون في هذه الطائِرة حتى ظُهر الغَد

We’ll be on this plane until noon tomorrow.

ظَهَرَ: to appear .ظَهَرَت على المَسرَح وهي تَرتَدي ثوباً جميلاً

She appeared on stage wearing a beautiful dress.

ظَهْر: back  .أعاني مِن آلام شديدة في الظَهر

I suffer from severe back pain.

محْفَظة: wallet  .كُن حَذِراً، يُمكِن لِشَخص ما سَرِقة مَحْفَظتك

Be careful, someone could steal your wallet.

حَظ: luck  !حظاً طيباً  Good luck!

عَظيم: great

🎇When attending a funeral where there are Arabic speakers, or if you know an Arabic speaker who has lost someone dear to them, you will want to say the appropriate phrase to give your condolences.

عَظَّمَ اللهُ أَجْرَكَ said to a male or عَظَّمَ اللهُ أَجْرَكِ to a female or عَظَّمَ اللهُ أَجْرَكُم to a group.

The literal meaning translates to: “May god increase (make great) your reward (recompense)”. Or,  “May God multiply your reward.” This phrase is the closest equivalent to the English phrase “My sincerest condolences.”.

نَظّمَ: to organize  .نظموا احتجاجاً مِن خِلال وَسائِل التَواصُل الإجتماعي

They organized a protest through social media.

اِسْتَيْقَظَ: to wake up  .أستيقظُ كُل صَباح في الساعة السادِسة

I wake up every morning at six o’clock.

وَظيفة: job/position  هل تَقدمتَ للوظيفة التي أخبرتك عنها؟

Did you apply for the job I told you about?

ظَنَّ: to think/to assume .ظَنَّ أنه سيفشل في الإختبار، لكنهُ نَجَحَ

He thought he was going to fail the test, but he passed.

نَظَّفَ: to clean  .أنا أنظفُ غُرفَتي مرة كُل أسبوع

I clean my room once every week.

نَظيف: clean .لا يُمكنني الطبخ إذا كان المَطبَخ غير نَظيف

I can’t cook if the kitchen is not clean.

نَظَرَ: to look  .انظر إلى هذا المَنظَر الجَميل

Look at that beautiful view!

حَفِظَ: to memorize/to store/to preserve

🎇يَحْفَظُكَ الله or الله يحفظك is a common phrase used as a close equivalent to “God bless you”. It literally means “May God protect/preserve you.” There are many contexts where this phrase can be used. Adults often say it to children. It can be said to someone who offers the other help as a way to thank them. It can also be said after saying goodbye to someone.

اِحْتَفَظَ: to keep  .احتفظ بِجواز سَفرك في مَكان آمِن

Keep your passport in a safe place.

لاحَظَ: to notice هل لاحظتَ قَصة شعره الجديدة؟

Did you notice his new haircut?

اِنْتَظَرَ: to wait  هل يمكنك الإنتظار لَحظة مِن فَضلك؟

Could you please wait a moment?

اللَفْظ: pronunciation  كيفَ تَلفُظ اسمك؟

How do you pronounce your name?

🎇Speaking of لَفْظ, in Levantine Arabic, Arabic words that contain the sound ظ, are very often pronounced instead as ز or ض. There is no rule of thumb to know when to pronounce which as which. That comes with practicing the dialect.

For example, the word لَفْظ would be pronounced as لَفْز and the word نَظَّفَ would be pronounced as نَضَفَ.

Image via Pixabay

What do you know about the city أبو ظبي Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates?

One of it’s main attractions is لوفر أبو ظبي The Louvre Abu Dhabi; an art and civilization museum مُتحَف.

Here is video that begins with describing the مُتحَف in Modern Standard Arabic with English subtitles to help you follow along. Listen then to the Emirati dialect as an Emirati man describes the مُتحَف as he takes you on a tour inside.

My visit to Louvre Abu Dhabi زيارتي لمتحف اللوفر ابوظبي

Here is the link to the museum’s official website which will open in Arabic. Of course, you have the option to choose English and compare to the Arabic words you read as you browse the site.

اللوفر أبو ظبي

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.


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