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Lesson Transcript

Welcome to Introduction to Arabic.
My name is Alisha and I'm joined by...
Hi everyone! I'm Yafa.
In this lesson, you'll learn the basics of Arabic pronunciation.
"Pronunciation" refers to the manner in which a word is spoken. So don't focus on reading what's onscreen, instead focus on listening and repeating.
The Basics of Timing
Arabic is what is called a "stress-timed" language.
This simply means that stressed syllables are valued more than unstressed syllables. Stressed syllables will be pronounced louder and longer than unstressed syllables, which are shortened to accommodate the rhythm of stressed syllables.
Notice that the second syllable is stressed. It's pronounced longer and louder while the first and final syllables are shortened.
If you think about it, this is identical to English.
The stressed syllable "tu" in "opportunity" is deemed more important, so it's pronounced longer than all other syllables. Listen to it again.
Compare this once again with Arabic.
As you can see, the timing and rhythm of Arabic isn't much different than that of English.
The Sounds of Arabic
Despite what you may think, Arabic pronunciation is actually quite similar to English. There are more familiar sounds between English and Arabic, than unfamiliar sounds.
In fact, 75% of all sounds in Arabic, exist in English too!
This means that if you were to simply imitate an Arabic speaker, your pronunciation would be correct roughly 75% of the time! Repeat after me.
Chances are, your pronunciation was pretty spot on. The “A”,”L”,”M”,”U”,”D”,”I” and “R” sounds are practically identical to English.
Try again
Nearly all sounds in Arabic are identical to English, similar to the consonants sounds in this example. Since you already know how to pronounce most of these sounds, we only need to pay attention to the handful of sounds that are unique to Arabic. They're the ones we need look out for.
Unfamiliar Arabic Sounds
Of all the sounds that exist in Arabic, there are only roughly 9 new consonant sounds that you need to practice.
These 5 sounds are known as 'emphatic' consonants. They're categorized as such because they're pronounced deep within the throat.
ض، ح، ص، ظ، ق.
They sound like the D, H, S, T, and Q sounds respectively, except much more tense because the throat is constricted. Listen again.
ض، ح، ص، ظ، ق.
Let's take a look at another sound that's quite distinctively Arabic. Consider the phrase for "Good morning" in Arabic.
صباح الخير
صباح الخير
The letter خ is a sound that's often used in Arabic. It somewhat a mixture between a K and an H sound.
It sounds as though you're clearing your throat.
We'll cover this sound, and all other sounds in Arabic, in much more detail in future lessons. For now, let's close this lesson by recapping what we've learned.
In this lesson, you learned that Arabic is a "stress-timed" language, where the rhythm is akin to English.
Collectively, nearly all sounds in Arabic are identical to the sounds of English.
And there are only a handful of new sounds that you need to learn.
We've covered only the basics of Arabic pronunciation. If you're interested in learning more, check out the entire course we created named "The Ultimate Guide to Arabic Pronunciation". In that course, we cover and break down every single sound in the Arabic language, showing you mouth and tongue positioning, and giving you tips to help you perfect your Arabic pronunciation.
In the next lesson, we'll introduce you to the basics of Arabic grammar, where you'll learn about Arabic word order and how to build basic phrases in Arabic.
See you in the next lesson. Bye!