Why is there an extra A after 2ayn? In the separate pronunciations of all the words, it's just 2ayn, but when in the sentence, it's ayna. I keep hearing this intrusive A. Please will someone explain it to me? It can't even be due to a dislike of two consonants together, because 2ayn 2anti... oh, is 2 considered as a consonant?
Well, first of all, the "2" or glottal stop is indeed a form of consonant in Arabic, not a vowel.
Then, there is a concept in Arabic, that the last vowel in a sentence is dropped because nothing comes after it. This is something related to the continuation and the fluency of speech. For this reason, when you hear the word separately it is simply (2ayn) but when it is in the sentence, its ending appears (2ayna...).
Likewise, we have for example the Ta-Marbúta case ة - which mostly mark feminine words but with exceptions - where it is considered (H) when the word is spelled alone or it comes at the end of the sentence, but it changes to (T) when it is moved by a vowel:
- School: مدرسة (madrasah).
- The girls' school: مدرسة البنات (madrasat-ul-banát).
This said, some common expressions or words do keep the last vowel in the word one reason or another, like شُكرًا (šukran) - you won't hear someone say (šukrá) and dropping the last Tanwin in the word, or عفوًا (3afwan) as well, you won't hear someone say (3afwá). These are like some special expressions and that rule for dropping the last vowel is just for the common sentences and speech. Hope that clears it!
Dear TJ (or is your name TJ_Q8?) Thank you very much for your answer. I don’t think I managed to understand it in full. I don’t quite see the logic of “the last vowel in a sentence is dropped because nothing comes after it”. Why not then drop the last consonant, then the vowel before that…? You say “when [a word] is in the sentence, its ending appears (2ayna...).” This implies that the full word, in this case, is 2ayna. But we were taught that the word is 2ayn… Also, would the “full word” appear if it was followed by a word beginning with a vowel? I feel there’s too much I don’t know at this stage. I should just do the exercises and keep my head down. But thanks for pointing out that the glottal stop is a consonant. Of course it is. I suppose I’m prejudiced against it because in British English at least, it is not a bona fide sound, occurring largely in the London dialect. But I’ve just checked with the IPA list, and of course it’s a perfectly respectable voiceless glottal plosive.
Maybe your confusion comes from the fact that you are used to Latin letters, as most of European languages are written in an "alphabetical" system where vowels are given their own characters.
Arabic on the other hand, is written in an "Abjadic" system, where consonants are the base or the structure, and they are modified with diacritics to show the vowels (except for long vowels which are full letters).
This said, the writing system is in fact a reflection of the speech itself. Declination or the grammatical status of a word in Arabic shows off at the end of the word mostly, and thus a vowel (short one that is) at the end of a word at the end of a sentence was deemed unnecessary to add unless a continuation of speech is required. This is because we count words by its consonants not by consonant and short vowels - so the basic word is أين whatever its ending is.
One of the first things that struck me when I started learning Arabic was that it was not the case that there were only consonants. I was hugely relieved that though there were indeed three usually not written (short) vowels, there were in fact just as many – three – written long vowels. So that reading wasn’t quite as daunting as expected. I have now learnt that this writing system is known as an impure abjadic. And I do not think my confusion was due to my being used to Latin letters (in any case I also know Russian and Greek), but to my lack of any knowledge of the workings and history of the Arabic abjad. Thanks to a link I was given on this site, I now have the glimmerings of understanding, but in particular I was enchanted to learn the reason for the apparently arbitrary addition of a T to the ending of words ending in Ta marbuta. Also, why that letter is called Ta marbuta. But I’ve got a long way to go. And I’m finding huge pleasure in the process of discovery.
Well, Ta-marbútah literally means (Tied Ta). This is because it is like a ت but tied into a loop. Just some imagination there.
If I recall, in Hebrew for example, there are feminine words that end in (H) but when added to other words (Genitive) for example, this (H) is changed to (T); i.e. the whole letter is changed.
In Arabic, we don't change a letter; We made a new letter: Ta-Marbútah. This letter is (H) when the word is pronounced alone, or at the end of the sentence for example - not moved by any vowel. But when it is moved by a vowel, like the word falls in the beginning of the sentence or in the middle, automatically this (H) changes to (T).
As a reminder, a script is usually a reflection of the speech itself, and not vice versa. So, it is how Arabic developed naturally and changing (H) to (T) just sounded natural for some reason in the subconscious mind; We speak it without thinking about it that is. Of course not all words ending with (H) would change that to (T), because some words end in pure (H) sound (e.g. وجه -wajh:face-); Such words don't change its ending to (T) when, for example, are in Genitive bond: وجه الرجل (wajhu-rrajul: the man's face). In fact وجه is even masculine and not feminine.
Good luck discovering!
The way you put it is somewhat dialectical and not standard Arabic. Anyway, the one you mean here is: wain ent(a) or wainak ent(a) or wainik ent(i) - the last one for a female --- all the previous mean (where are you) but not (where are you from). To say (in dialectical form) where are you from just put the preposition (min) before the previous examples (min = from).