Is the ة in مدينة ever pronounced? For other (inanimate) feminine nouns such as جامعة the ة seems to be always pronounced when followed by an adjective, e.g., جامعة جديدة is pronounced jaame3at-un jadida. However, in all examples we have seen so far in the course the ة in مدينة is not pronounced. Is there something special about مدينة?
Actually it is a malfunctioning or a bad execution from the text-to-speech machine that Duolingo is using for Arabic. The proper pronunciation for the phrase above is (Madínatun Muzdah^imatun), and for the last -un sound you can drop that and spell it as "H" (Madínatun Muzdah^imah). Since it is the end of the sentence, the short vowel at the last letter in the last word can be turned silent.
Maybe I missed it earlier in the course, but I see a lot of questions and answers in the forum regarding words ending in -un or -tun. Clearly the TTS engine here is atrocious, and there doesn't seem to be any written indication of such an ending, so how do we know when to use it?
The word مزدحم can be used as "busy" but only in very few instances, in figurative speech. Like saying for example: جدول مزدحم (jadwalun muzdaHim) which literally means (crowded schedule), and it's figurative speech for "being busy".
The adjective "busy" is usually مشغول (mašğúl)