Question about alphabet

I'm doing the Arabic course, and have hit the "Description" section. I'm getting a letter that that section transliterated as "3." Can anyone tell me what letter this is, and how it is supposed to sound in English?


July 9, 2019


in Tips and Notes of the tenth topic "Phrases" it is explained:

3 = ع" Today, you’ll hear a sound that we don’t have in English: ع !

Pronouncing ع can be a bit tricky at first. Some people compare its sound to the sound you make when you yawn, some say it’s the sound you make when you hurt yourself and it hurts real bad — some even say it sounds like a duck.

You can try this: get close to a mirror, open your mouth wide and fog up the mirror with your breath. You should feel how tight your throat gets when you do this. Now, while doing this, say the vowel a as in cat. That’s about the right sound.

Because this letter, when it’s not connected to another letter, looks like a reversed 3, we’ll write it as a 3 in English letters. For example, we write the word عَرَبِيّ as 3arabiyy."

here are a couple good videos demonstrating the sound of ع

July 9, 2019

I just tried your mirror method and i can't say it worked for me. I got more of an "aaaahhh". Also in the first video i noticed that the person says غ wrong which would make him less reliable if mzala2 decided to use them to learn the whole alphabet.

July 9, 2019

1.) It isn't my mirror method. That is cut directly from the DuoLingo Arabic course notes topic 10 "Phrases"

2.) What makes you think he pronounced غ incorrectly in the first video?

The video is presented by Ahmed Eissawi.

He is an Arabic Language instructor for non-Arabic speakers. He has been teaching the language since he graduated from Ain Shams University: College of Languages in Cairo, Egypt in 1980.

Ahmed has taught in the Language Courses Program in the United Nations since 1991. He is the founder and director of the Arabic Language Institute located in Queens.

He leads educational cultural programs on various Arabic networks in New York and has a YouTube channel, Arab-American Cultural TV, which presents Arabic programs for non-Arabic speakers.

Ahmed also published a conversational audio program entitled "Arabic Conversation with Ahmed Eissawi."

He currently teaches Modern Standard Arabic:

July 9, 2019

1) Sorry. I did not know that you cut it from the lesson. I thought only the first paragraph was cut from the lesson. I apologize for wrongly using the word "your".

2) I may be wrong, but I live in a community filled with arabs, and I have never heard anyone call it "Gheen". I learned that it was pronounced "Ghuyn". Again I may be wrong and this might be from a different dialect as I speak "Fusha" and this might be "3amia". Just pointing out, in the second video you linked, the person said "Ghuyn", not "Gheen". Does that mean that second video is wrong? If you search The pronunciation, I am sure that you will not find "Gheen" very often. Also, where is he from? He may be speaking a different kind of arabic.

July 9, 2019

The letter ع is called 3ayn. You can make the sound by practically choking or gagging (on purpose though- Duo doesn't want people dying 'cause of an attempt to sound out a letter). When you gag, you constrict the muscles in the back of your throat in just the right way.

July 9, 2019

Thank you!

July 9, 2019

The letter is ع. They write it as three cause it looks the same just backwards. I have no idea how to to write how its supposed to sound. That's probably why they write it as a three, cause it is impossible to describe how it sounds with typing. The closest i can get with typing is "eyen" as in eye with an "n" at the end. This link might help:

July 9, 2019

Thank you! This is very helpful.

July 9, 2019
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