A phonetic question
I have paid attention that the letter ا in different combinations is sometimes pronounced like "aa" (sound as in English "sun" but longer) and sometimes like "ee" (sound as in English indefinite article "a" but longer). Was it done on purpose? Does it make difference in Arabic?
Well, if were are talking about the letter Alif, there are a number of uses:
- Vowel: It is used as a long vowel (aa) or (á) - I like to use accents better than double letter here.
- Consonant: Here, we have two types of usage: a) as a glottal stop, specially when combined with the Hamza (ء) above or under it. b) somewhat as a schwa at the beginning of a word (most famous example is the definite article AL الـ). In this position the letter Alif sometimes even disappears giving way to the last vowel in the preceding word to take over.
By the way, I've posted yesterday in the forum an explanation about this if you like to read it; It's about a proverb.
Thank you and sorry to make you repeat it. I've found your post. It is very sad. It's my third way to learn Arabic and seemingly not the right one again. Maybe I should just find a native speaker to teach me reading. The funny thing is, my first try was language courses with a professor from Syria. With what I've learned from him, audio seemed quite adequate to me. Arabic phonetics truly is very tricky to an European ear...
By experience, Syrians are the best to teach Arabic. At least for me, since most of my teachers in high school for Arabic were Syrians. Their educational system as I remember was one of the toughest in Arabic.
As a learner for various languages, in fact I see European vowels and consonants are tricky to some extent. Specially when the language requires slender and broad consonants like Irish and Russian.