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Arabic Pronunciation in Alphabet 3, Level 4

As I'm working my way through the Arabic course, I'm working through Alphabet 3, level 4, and there are many instances where the person speaking seems to be adding letters to the end of a word.

A prime example is when you're asked to write "Baku and Riga."

Choosing these words, I write this:

بَكو وَ ريجا

What I'm hearing sounds like the speaker is adding an "N" to the end of Riga -- as if it were 'Riijan.'

My native Arabic speaking husband says it is being pronounced incorrectly in that the only way there would be an "N" at the end of ريجا would be if there was a "Tanwin" (diacritical mark of two left to right upward facing dashes below the ا such as اٍ -- giving you ريجاٍ).

Can anyone confirm or deny this? I'm trying to understand why I'm hearing an "N" sound when it is not indicated.


July 23, 2019


  • 1362

Yes. Actually the problem here is with the text-to-speech machine which is not prepared well enough to spell Arabic text. Unfortunately, the guys working on this course in Duolingo still use it and I've posted about it (and others did) - about the need to have native speakers record the sentences and all.
What is happening here is, the workers in Duolingo typed the names of capitals (Baku) and (Riga) in Arabic. The text-to-speech, automatically "thought" that the last Alif in Riga (ريجا) is a sign for Tanwin bel Fath^ (Tanwin = Nunation), that is -an sound at the end of the word because in Arabic, when this Tanwin appear, it is accompanied by Alif at the end of the word (for reasons related to reading possibilities, beyond the scope of this post). Other Tanwin vowels do not add Alif or any other letters. So, it is largely a mistake from the speech machine here.


Thank you - that's helpful to understand. I didn't realize Duolingo was using a speech synthesizer so I can understand there being some erroneous pronunciations.

  • 1362

Best of luck!


I too remarked that I hear some sounds in some words that are not quoted. I don't mean short vowels or an added syllable after the ta marbuta, but other sounds.

For example : تَنّورة = skirt. I expected "tannuura", but I hear "tannenura". 4 syllables instead of 3.

And for words finishing with a ta marbuta, sometimes I hear something at the end which is added, sometimes not.

  • 1362

Generally speaking, the vowels at the end of the sentence are sometimes dropped (well, most of the time) because it's the end of the sentence and it is not necessary to do the full vowel thing - they would be added usually if there is a continuation of the speech to keep the words connected.


I'm so glad to read this post! I'm hearing the same.


Ok, thanks for the explanation, as the level increases understanding actually becomes more difficult because a lot of times the "N" sound is added, making really difficult to figure out what the real words are!

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