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- what is a word segment?
- unconnected arabic letters
- table of joined arabic letters
- writing practice
- exercise 1
- exercise 2
Please note that in this lesson we are not learning the pronunciation of Arabic words. This lesson is about understanding the Arabic letters that connect or unite. that is, how do the Arabic letters connect to each other? The above explanation becomes necessary because this lesson contains some complete Arabic words. these are just to show the connectivity of the letters and not to learn the pronunciation.
Reading: How to connect letters in arabic
most characters of the Arabic alphabet connect with neighboring letters. thus, an Arabic letter can be at the beginning of a word or word segment, in the middle, or at the end of a word or word segment. with the change in the position of a letter in a word or word segment, the appearance of a letter also changes.
learning the connection pattern of Arabic or other languages written in the Arabic script is the most difficult task for an English speaker. we have tried to simplify it here.
Without recognition of these joined forms, it is impossible to read Arabic. In the next lesson, we will learn how to read Arabic words, even without knowing their meaning. skipping to the next lesson without knowledge of Arabic connection patterns is of no use. so take your time learning these patterns. this task can take up a weak spot for absolute beginners.
Since the goal in the initial stage is to read the Arabic words, it is important to recognize the shapes of the letters in the initial, middle and final positions of a word or word segment.
what is a word segment?
Note that word segmentation has nothing to do with syllables. syllables are discussed under a completely different topic.
To understand the concept of a word segment, we take an example word that is pronounced almost similarly in Arabic and English.
Take the example word washington, in Arabic, it is written as: (read the Arabic letters from right to left).
the arabic spelling of the word washington is
و ا ش ن ط ن
but we see three segments in this word.
- the letters و and ا are in their solo forms.
- then we have a combination of four letters, i.e. شنطن
So, we have 3 segments in the word واشنطن.
some Arabic words are segmented and some are not (single-segmented words). the division of a word into segments depends on the letters that are not connected. As discussed at the beginning of the current lesson, most letters in the Arabic language connect with their neighboring letters, but some letters cannot connect, causing a word to be split into two or more segments.
arabic letters not connected
a simple rule to keep in mind when creating words with Arabic letters is:
explanation of Arabic connection letters through examples
To understand more about connecting Arabic letters, we take the word واشنطن (washington) and analyze it, why it contains three segments. the spellings are و ا ش ن ط ن.
From the rule explained above, we know that the letters و and ا cannot be connected with the letter that follows them. that’s why we see a cut after the letter و and then after the letter ا. these two cuts are responsible for the division of the word واشنطن into three segments/sections.
we have the letter ن twice in the word واشنطن . the first occurrence is in the middle of the third segment, and the second time ø is at the end of the third segment. we see that the form of the letter “noon” is different when it is in the middle of a word or word segment from its isolated form.
but the letter ن can be in the first position of a word or word segment, as in the word دنیا meaning world, where ن is in the first position of the second word segment .
or in the word نخلة (palm tree), where ن is the first letter of the word. the word نخلة (palm tree) is not divided into segments/sections because all the letters are connected letters of the Arabic alphabet and the letters ا, د, ذ, ر, ز و, which are responsible for dividing a word into segments, do not appear .
a letter can be in the isolated position in a word. this means that the letter is not connected with the letter before or after it, like the letter ن is in an isolated position in the word باكستان (Pakistan). the word باكستان is divided into 3 segments. this division of the word is due to two occurrences of the letter ا. which belongs to the six Arabic letters that do not connect with the letter that follows them. however, ن can be connected with the letter that follows, but here in باكستان it is the last letter and must be written in isolation. similarly, و (waw) and ا (alif) are in isolated forms in the word واشنطن (washington) for the same reason.
then, there can be four positions of a letter in a word or word section/segment.
- a letter can be at the beginning,
- in the middle,
- at the end of a word, or
- in isolation.
the four positions of the Arabic letters are discussed below with examples.
table of joining arabic letters
In the following table, below the connecting character forms are example words that show the use of the particular character form in a word or word segment. these example words are not actual significant Arabic words. they are just to represent the connecting letters. the green color in the example words shows the form described above.
Read the table from right to left. ➜
Letter tracing practice for connecting letters is included in the workbook for all alphabetic letters. see the following workbook preview pages.
splits the following words into individual characters. you can use arabic keyboard, arabic keyboard online to fill individual letters. There is also a pdf form of this practice available, you can download, print and practice with a pen, which is an even better option for long-term memory.
once you have completed the task and want to see the results, the buttons are located at the end of the exercise.
Note also that whenever the special Arabic letter ء (hamza) appears above or below a letter, that particular letter is written with ء in isolation.
Just as we have extracted letters from words, we are now going to build words from letters. This practice helps in learning to write. This exercise is a bit more difficult than the previous one but it is important in the direction of learning Arabic writing. In case you can’t build words from letters, re-read the rules explained above, which letters connect with the letters on the left and which don’t.
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