Notes based on Arabic FAQ from http://arabic.desert-sky.net/index.html
Short vowels are usually not indicated in writing.For example, looking at the word فلفل
, you would see "f-l-f-l" and not know what vowels come in between those letters. The good news is, this gets easier with time and practice. And if you memorize the verb forms (more on them below), that really helps in figuring out the correct pronunciations for lots of words.
Therefore, a beginning student would see كتب
as k-t-b, and not know which vowels to insert between letters. This word could be "kataba" (he wrote), "kutiba" (it was written), or "kutub" (books). How do you know which one it is? Well, if you're an absolute beginner, you won't know all the possible pronunciations, and you simply won't know how to pronounce it without checking a dictionary or asking a native speaker. This is frustrating, but as you learn more vocabulary and grammar, things will get easier. Once you gain more knowledge of Arabic, you'll know that كتب
could be a verb in the regular past tense (kataba) or the passive voice (kutiba), or a noun (kutub). Then you'll figure out the correct pronunciation from context.
Learning the verb forms as soon as you can will also help with this. You'll know all the patterns for conjugating the different verb types and deriving certain words (like active/passive participles) from verbs. For example, you'll know that form 3 verbs are pronounced يُفاعِلُ in the present tense. Then when you see يغادر, you'll know the pronunciation without having to look it up. Still, when you see a form 1 verb you don't know, you will have to look it up in the dictionary to know the pronunciation of the present-tense conjugation. But basically, reading Arabic will get easier with time and knowledge.
Stylistically Arabic is also complicated; it's quite common for sentences to go on for a paragraph, so that by the time you reach the end you have to remind yourself what the original subject of the sentence was! The Arabic writing style is also a lot more "flowery" than the way English is usually written. So writing in Arabic is quite different from writing in English, and it takes a lot of practice to write in a smooth, natural style.
Differences between the MSA and the dialect that I noticed (I referred to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varieties_of_Arabic
* no case endings
* vowel length doesn't seem to matter
* third syllable from the end is stressed
* ta marbuta usually not pronounced
… or is it simply the formal short pronunciation described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_language
30 Anki cards today, 15 tomorrow. The gaps are getting bigger and bigger, the average is 12 days, the max is 27 days (nearly a month!).New wordsBada بعد
P.S. Sarah told me the second letter in yodʒeboni
, so I can finally stop misspelling it.