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Different pronunciation of word endings?


I was wondering why words ending sound different when playing complete sentance vs. playing each word separately.


أَنْتِ مُعَلِّمة جَيِّدة يا سامْية.


when played alone: Mualima

when playing the whole sentence: Mualimatun


when plated alone: Samia

when playing the hole sentence: Samiatan


October 21, 2019



so this depends on the grammar, or in arabic النحو (Al Nahw), I don't really know a lot about duolingo's arabic course, therefore i don't know if it covers this topic, or even mentions it or not, but very briefly:

as you might have noticed, the letters have little accents on/under them, ( ا اُ اَ اٍ اٌ اِ) this is the same letter (ا) with different "accents", or in arabic it's called (التشكيل) (Al Tashkil)

so now back to the grammar or "Al Nahw".

the "accent/Tashkil" of the LAST letter only of EACH word, changes, based on the word's position in the sentence, that's why the same word might sound slightly different in different locations.

it all depends on the word's position in the sentence and which "accent/Tashkil" is being used.

it's a tricky subject not gonna lie! i hope this wasn't confusing and made at least a little bit of sense, and if you need further help don't hesitate to ask, my advice to you is to not pay that much attention to the grammar/nahw, until you've got a good grip of the language, and can some what speak/understand it well!

even native speakers don't start learning the grammar/nahw in schools until they're a little older, aka somewhat progressed

so yes! ignore the hell of those little troublemakers for now lol!

hope that helped and best of luck!


Thank you, I think I understand what you mean. It sounds like declensions in Latin (word ending changes depending on the word function in a sentence).

What I found strange is that the words are partially marked with some of those "little marks", just not the marks on the endings. The course teaches these: ا اُ اَ اٍ اٌ اِ also, there is huge emphasis on reading the script and figuring out the sounds by all the different letter-marks combinations, so it seems odd that when finally we get a real sentence, we are not able to put those reading skills into practice.

just out of curiosity, how would you write this sentence properly, without omitting any mark?

أَنْتِ مُعَلِّمة جَيِّدة يا سامْية.



It’s exactly how you described it, the ending changes based on the word’s function in the sentence, except it’s only the little mark of the last letter.

and yes, all letters or at least most of them are marked with those little marks, for the sole purpose of distinguishing words, because two words with the exact same letters can have a different meaning, for example:

الذرة (no little marks) you can only know the meaning based on the context provided.

but if we add the accents:

الذَرة (Al Tharah) means Atom

الذُرة (Al Thorah) means Corn

another example:

ولد no little marks

وَلد (Walad) means boy

وُلِد (Woled) means was born (v.)

and so it goes on and on, these marks on most letters (except the last one) don’t change based on the word’s function/position but based on it’s meaning,

and you’ll notice that most trouble comes with the letter ة just like in your example bc it tends to turn into an “n/tan/ton/tin” sound with the different accents, Mualimah Mualimaton

but i’d say that it doesn’t really matter and everyone uses it in it’s natural form (aka the “ah” sound like in Mualimah.

what i’m trying to say is, Mualimah/Mualimaton,, it doesn’t really matter, it’s the same word and everyone can understand it, so you should be just fine using the letter ة original sound which is again the “ah”.

i’m not sure how you want me to write the sentence but i’m assuming in english letters? if not let me know!

so to write your sentence it’d be:

“Anti Mualimah J/Gaidah Ya Samiah”

this sentence ^ is totally understandable and it doesn’t need the little marks at the end to make it more understandable or distinguishable.

I hope this didn’t get too confusing, again i’m sorry if this wasn’t clear enough or didn’t make much sense, if you still have any questions let me know! i’d be glad to answer them!


This is great! thank you very much.

What was new and surprising to me is the fact that both forms of pronunciation are valid and make sense. If I got it right, مُعَلِّمة can be pronounced Mualima or Mualimaton and both are ok in daily talk.

In Hebrew, there are also many words with similar letters but with different meanings depending on the punctuation, however, there is no such freedom as you describe with respect to the final letters.

I also understand that it is ok for words to be partially punctuated, leaving the missing punctuation marks (and hence the sounds) to the reader. Usually, when I see punctuated words I assume the punctuation is complete.

Thank you for taking the time to answer such thorough responses.


No problem at all!

And yes! usually people don’t use the little accents when writing, and, it’s still understandable, the context basically provides all the info one might need!

so it’s totally fine to partially (even completely!) to ignore the little accents!

best of luck with your learning!


I've noticed that too. The course is incomplete. I hope they add more levels soon. The only thing i'v learned until now was how to read in arabic.


Yes, I feel the same way. Are you using other sources as well to fill in the missing parts?


I'm using an app to learn 6000 arabic words.

  • 1417

You have to keep in mind that the audio on Duolingo is 50% (if not more) wrong in pronunciation, as it is a machine-generated speech and not done by a real person.
As for the ending of words (and verbs) in Arabic, the ends change for grammatical reasons mainly.


Ok this makes sense, thought I was going crazy missing something very basic. I'm only on the intro levels but the pronunciations change inexplicably. Like دود is clearly pronounced 'duud' but then in the very next lesson it is 'duuwed'. And I've noticed a lot of these mispronunciations. it's really hard to learn words when your teacher is saying them wrong! lol

  • 1417

Yeah there are a lot of mistakes in the audio and also in written names or words sometimes. The name David in Arabic is Dáwúd and should be written as داوود - some people might write it as داوُد but in my opinion this is wrong because we say a long (wú) in the middle, which means it should be وو and not وُ. I need a book maybe to list other mistakes here.


Thank you, I'll keep that in mind. I was hoping I can rely on that more. Apparently I need to look for additional sources to practice my listening comprehension.


Unfortunately TJ is right. They even give you for learning the letters from time to time the wrong pronunciation. And for words they also change sometimes to the Egyptian dialect instead of using MSA. So you will hear a g for the letter ج. In the following I will try to give you a very short overview if it comes to the vowel signs. Let's say I will do so as far as I understood till now.

  • Vowels in a word gives you the meaning of the word.

  • The vowels at the end of a word are for grammar, e.g. conjugation, cases, indefinite article and so on.

  • Vowels at the and of a word are not spoken when a comma is following or it is the last word of a sentence.

  • You will find hugh differences between Fusha, MSA (Modern Standard Arabic) and the dialects. In dialects, in some more and in other less, they very often skip the vowels for grammar e.g. for cases. And in the Egyptian dialect they go very lazy with the grammar and you will mainly find the ى instead of the ي at the end of the words.

But Duolingo is ok for getting used to the melody of the language. For learning the right pronunciation of words you could also use Memrise and 50 languages. Both are for free. On Memrise you can learn vocabs and you can create your own stacks too. For this you can find pronunciations on Forvo (if you live in Europe) which you can download for free too. On 50 languages you will find the very basic words but they have no good vocab trainer. This one is also in MSA.

I hope I did not confuse you too much. But maybe to have a small overview might help you to get faster into the language.

For everybody, please feel free to correct me if I am mistaken at any point. Thanks.


Thank you! That was very helpful.


Thank you. And what I forgot to tell is that you get the mp3 files on 50 languages for free too. If I remember right then they have 100 lessons and this means 100 mp3 files full of words. ;-)


quote from above discussion: “Apparently I need to look for additional sources to practice my listening comprehension.“

Uh,...yeah...good idea since when the “words” are appearing out of the context of sentences in the course, they usually aren’t words at all...

I am not the best of judge of whether or not this is a good system for learning Arabic or not since I have studied the language in the past and went through the course more as a review, but my sense was that the course is weighted heavily on establishing a strong memory link for people completely new to the language between letter appearance and letter sounds.

A lot of people have been complaining about the pronunciation in the Arabic course. Perhaps they are more discerning than I am, but I didn’t hear anything in the course that wasn’t understandable to me in terms of pronunciation. Keep in mind that in the real world there are many voices in many registers, and each one changes the language a little bit. So if you are so pedantic that you can’t understand a vowel that changes a half-tone, you aren’t really setting yourself up for success with a language in the real world. That’s my two bits.

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