Thursday, February 26, 2009

How to Read & Write Arabic: HAA o7

When reading the Arabic alphabet Haa follows on from the letter 'Jiim' and is very similar in shape, the same infact, but with no dot. In English I've written the letter Haa with a capital letter to indicate it has a strong sound.

Haa: Reading and Writing
As you now know for sure, Arabic letters change their form slightly depending on where they occur in the word (independent, initial, medial, or final). So once again, the letter, Haa will keep it's basic format no matter where it occurs in a word.

A 'Haa' like Jiim can be spotted because of the jaw shape above the line you write on. Below you'll see the letter 'Haa' in each of the four positions :

Pronouncing Haa
Haa is pronounced in a way which is different from any English letter and the sounds come from deep within the windpipe rather than in the mouth, and as the name suggests, it is a deep, strong Haa sound. To pronounce the letter imagine you have a tickle in your throat, at around the area of your adam's apple and you're trying to clear it.

Now say the sound 'Haa'. You should be able to feel your Adam's apple moving as you say the letter. Because of the limitations of the printed page I strongly recommend you check your pronunciation with a native Arab speaker.

Examples of the Letter, 'Haa'
In the example below, Haa starts the word and in the second example, 'one way' is located in the middle of a word, but follows alif, a non-connector and is therefore is in the initial format:

Below are three examples of the letter 'Haa' when it is found in the middle of a word:

In the example above, the Haa is found in the middle of the word 'Bahrain' (starts with an alif, al Bahrain). In the Arabic language adjectives follow nouns, so directly translated the sign above says, 'Fort Bahrain'.

In the example above we have a translation of the Arabic, 'suq crafts' (adjective followed by the noun) into English to make, 'Crafts Centre'

How many alif's can you find in the five photos above? In what form do they occur; independent, initial, medial or final?

In the following example Haa is written in its final form and can be found at the very end of Sh. (shorted form of Sheikh) Salman's name (al FateH, with a strong H).

The photo below comes from a road sign for the village of Nabih Saleh in Bahrain.  You can now say the Saleh in the Arabic way, with a HH sound at the end:

How many baa's can you find in the photos above? In what form do they occur; independent, initial, medial or final?

The three photos below each have a singular Haa in its independent form:

How many taa's can you find in the three photos above? In what form do they occur; independent, initial, medial or final?

Hide and Seek
Look at the photo below and find the six letters you now know; alif, baa, taa, thaa, Jiim and Haa. When you’ve found them decide in which format they are written; initial, medial, final or independent:


1. The sixth letter of the Arabic alphabet is called 'Haa'
2. The are four different forms of the letter Haa; independent, initial, medial and final
3. The letter Haa changes its form depending on its location in the word, but the basic structure is always the same; one dot above the jaw shaped line
4. Haa is a connector and so joins with the letter which follows it.

Practice/ Homework [tam-reen/ waa-jib]

Should you wish to practice writing the letter 'Haa':

1. Complete all the tasks in the article above
2. Using lined paper write the letter 'Haa' in all four forms, as many times as you can; initial, medial, final and independent. Because 'Haa' is a connector you'll be able to connect a 'Haa' in its initial form to a 'Haa' in its medial form and complete by writing a 'Haa' in its final form. A minimum of 20 repetitions is suggested, always remembering to write the lines first and then the dots.

What's Next?

The next and seventh letter of the Arabic alphabet 'KHaa' will be posted on Thursday 5th March.


Susie of Arabia said...

Just found your blog and so far I love it. This lesson was great. Arabic is so difficult for me and I really enjoyed this post - thanks and best wishes!

wgaw said...

Have to say the same about your blog - great job and congrats on the award :-) Let me know if there's any thing I can add to the 'read and write' series to make it any easier.