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What are Arabic short vowels and long vowels?

Updated on May 12, 2017

Arabic Long Vowels & Short Vowels

The Arabic language contains three long vowels and three short vowels, which correspond roughly in English to "a", "u", and "e/i".

The short vowels and other pronunciation and grammatical markers – called diacritical marks – do not generally appear in printed and written text, such as in newspapers, books and magazines, unless they are needed to eliminate ambiguity. The exception to this is the Holy Qur’an, which includes all vowel markings.

Therefore, since most texts are now voweled, it is important when you learn new vocabulary that you pay close attention to short vowels so as to memorize the proper pronunciation.

Long Vowels

Long Vowel Pronunciation
Long Vowel Name
Long Vowel
aa
alif
ا
oo
waaw
و
ee
yaa
ي

Short Vowels

Short Vowel Pronunciation
Short Vowel Name
Short Vowel
a
fatHa
َ
u
Damma
ُ
i
kasra
ِ

The length of long vowels and short vowles

alif: aaa (three counts)

fahHa: a (one count)


waaw: ooo (three counts)

Damma: u (one count)


yaa: eee (three counts)

kasra: i ِ (one count)

Short & Long Vowel Examples

Pronunciation
Short Vowel
Pronunciation
Long vowel
تََب / tab
َ
تاب / taaab
ا
تُب / tub
ُ
توب / toobo
و
تِب /tib
ِ
تيب / teeeb
ي

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