|أ إ ؤ ئ ء||'||[ʔ]||glottal stop like in uh-oh|
|glottal stop (urban accent)|
"hard g" as in get (Jordanian, Beduin)
|ع||ʕ||[ʕ]||voiced throat sound similar to "a" as in father, but with more friction|
|ب||b||[b]||as in English|
|د||d||[d]||as in English|
|ض||ḍ||[dˤ]||emphatic "d" (constricted throat, surrounded vowels become dark)|
|ف||f||[f]||as in English|
|غ||ġ||[ɣ]||like Spanish "g" between vowels, similar to French "r"|
|ه||h||[h]||as in English|
|ح||ḥ||[ħ]||"whispered h", has more friction in the throat than "h"|
|ج||j||[dʒ] or [ʒ]||"j" as in jump or "s" as in pleasure|
|ك||k||[k]||as in English|
|خ||ḵ||[x]||"ch" as in Scottish loch, like German "ch" or Spanish "j"|
|ل||l||[l]||as in English|
|م||m||[m]||as in English|
|ن||n||[n]||as in English|
|ر||r||[r]||"rolled r" as in Spanish or Italian; "r" is emphatic unless:|
- followed by the vowel "e" or "i"
- followed by no vowel but preceded by the long vowel "i"
|س ث||s||[s]||as in English|
|ص||ṣ||[sˤ]||emphatic "s" (constricted throat, surrounded vowels become dark)|
|ش||š||[ʃ]||"sh" as in sheep|
|ت||t||[t]||as in English|
|ط||ṭ||[tˤ]||emphatic "t (constricted throat, surrounded vowels become dark)|
|و||w||[w]||as in English|
|ي||y||[y]||as in English|
|ز ذ||z||[z]||as in English|
|ظ||ẓ||[zˤ]||emphatic "z" (constricted throat, surrounded vowels become dark)|
Formal MSA words edit
Some letters preserve the original sound in usually formal words from [[w:Modern Standard Arabic].
|ذ||ḏ||[ð]||voiced "th" as in this|
|ق||q||[q]||guttural "k" pronounced further back in the throat|
|ث||ṯ||[θ]||voiceless "th" as in think|
Additional sounds in loanwords edit
Some sounds that don't exist in Arabic are rendered as follows:
|ج غ ك||g||[g]||"hard g" as in get|
|ب||p||[p]||"p" as in pen|
|ف||v||[v]||"v" as in vat|
Short vowels edit
|ـَ (Fatḥa)||a||near emphatic consonant||[α]||as in got (American pronunciation)|
|elsewhere||[a~æ]||as in cat|
|ـِ (Kasra)||e / i||before/after ḥ or ʔ||[ɛ]||as in get|
|elsewhere||[e] or [ɪ]||as in kit|
|ـُ (Ḍamma)||o / u||[o] or [ʊ]||as in full|
The difference between the short vowel pairs "e" and "i" as well as "o" and "u" is not phonemic. The vowel quality is usually "i" and "u" in stressed syllable.
Stressed "i" and "u" merge in North Levantine. They usually become "i", but might also be "u" near emphatic consonants. Syrian tends to pronounce both of them as schwa [ə].
Long vowels edit
|ـَا||ā||near emphatic consonant||[αː]||as in father|
|elsewhere||[aː~æː]||as in can|
|Imāla in North Levantine||[ɛː~eː]||as in face, but plain vowel|
|in open syllable in Lebanese||/ay/||as in price or in face|
|ـِي||ī||[iː]||as in see|
|ـَو||ō||any||[oː]||as in boat, but plain vowel|
|in open syllable in Lebanese||/aw/||as in mouth or in boat|
|ـُو||ū||[uː]||as in food|
The long vowel "ā" is pronounced similar to "ē" or even merge to "ē" in North Levantine, when it's not near an emphatic or guttual consonant.
The long vowels "ē" and "ō" have envolved form the MSA diphthongs "ay" and "aw". Those diphthongs are preserved in open syllables in Lebanese.
Final vowels edit
Vowels in word final position are shortened. As result more short vowels are distinguished.
|ـَا ـَى ـَة||a||near emphatic consonant||[α]||as in got (American pronunciation)|
|elsewhere||[a~æ]||as in cat|
|ـَا ـَى||e||Imāla in North Levantine||[ɛ~e]||as in get, but closed vowel|
|as in see, but shorter|
merged to "e" in Lebanese
|ـُه||o||[o]||as in lot, but closed vowel|
|as in food, but shorter|
merged to "o" in Lebanese
Helping vowels edit
Helping vowels are optionally inserted in order to simplify pronunciation. They might be marked in romanization as superscript vowels "e" and "o".
The helping vowel is "e" most of the time, but usually "o" if the preceding (usually stressed) syllable has the vowel "o" or "u".
Helping vowels are typically inserted in the following cases:
- Before an initial cluster of two consonants, if the preceding word or prefix doesn't end in vowel
- Between a final cluster two consonants, if the following word or suffix doesn't start with a vowel
- After the first consonant in a cluster of three consonants
- After the second consonant in a cluster of four consonants
- Geminated (doubled) consonants are pronounced as a single consonant if they precede another consonant
The stress in Levantine Arabic can be predicted. It might be marked as bold vowel in romanization.
- If the last syllable superheavy (long vowel + final consonant or vowel + final consonant cluster), it takes the stress.
- Else, if the second last syllable is heavy (long vowel or vowel + final consonant) or superheavy, it takes the stress.
- Else, the third last syllable takes the stress, or the first syllable in shorter words.
- Prefixes as well as Hamza al-Waṣl (initial vowel that disappears if the preceding word ends in a vowel) are ignored.