I would appreciate any help I could get from you tsuj and Fix reference Arabic vowel sounds. They seem as variable as English vowel sounds, and of course, I don't know when the TTS is pronouncing things correctly versus incorrectly. In عمان, it sounds to me like the alif is being pronounced like the "e" in "bed" and not the "a" as in "father". Also, the damma on ayn/3 seems to be pronounced "o" rather than "u". Are you hearing the sounds the same way I am? 3ommen?
Are there any rules for how the vowels are pronounced, such as they change pronunciation when combined with certain letters? For instance, fatHa sounds like "ah" when combined with "raa/رَ" but sounds like "eh" when combined with "jiim/خَ "?
Help from any knowledgeable Arabic/English speaker is appreciated. I see we have a number on this thread.
Well, in regards to the alif, it's pretty straightforward: what is the difference between ت and ط? They are the same sound, but the latter is pharyngealized, meaning that you tighten the back of your mouth simultaneously as you pronounce it. Much like how Americans/many English people (but not the Irish or Scottish) would pronounce the final L in "final." It sounds like you're pronouncing ت simultaneously with the A-sound from "father." So when a pharyngealized consonant is followed by the "a" sound, it is pronounced like that in "father." There are the obvious ones, like ص ض ط ظ ق, but there are letters that specifically become pharyngealized because they are followed by an "a" sound, like ر, and in Quranic Arabic and some dialects, خ غ.
One thing that really sets the Egyptian accent apart, apart from our stress pattern, is our "pharyngeal assimilation": if there is ONE phayngeal consonant in the word, ALL the vowels in the word become pharyngealized until you reach the stressed syllable.
As far as the damma is concerned, /o/ and /e/ technically aren't phonemic vowel sounds in MSA. But depending on the dialect of the speaker, they can occur as the short variants of /u/ and /i/, so that /u/ and /i/ are always long, and /o/ and /e/ are always short. In the MSA of those speakers, that is, not their dialect, where long /e/ and /o/ can occur, often as reflexes of MSA /ay/ and /aw/, respectively.
As tjus1g1r1 stated, it is really just u and i in MSA. The a does link with certain consonants and switches between both variations, most commonly two: ɑ (as in father - the less common variation) and æ (as in cat - the more common variation and the most common sound in Arabic) depending on the consonant it follows, or the consonant leading to it.
Yes. Install this add-on on your browser, the first link is for Firefox, the second for Chrome:
Then use it to run this userstyle:
Hmmm... I can't vouch for this one out of personal experience I'm afraid, but here you go:
Yes. The Oxford Arabic Dictionary is the best Modern Standard Dictionary out there; it's up-to-date, it's English-Arabic and Arabic-English, it's online, all words and all examples are fully vocalized, it's got an analyser (soooo handy when you'll learn verb forms and pre- and suffixes) and it's only £16 a year. https://premium.oxforddictionaries.com/words/help