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Lesson Transcript

Mustu: Mustu here! Arabic Pronunciation Series Lesson 5 – Dark letters change words!
Hala: Hello, and welcome to ArabicPodOD101.com, the fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn Arabic!
Mustu: I''m Mustu, and thanks again for being here with us for this Pronunciation lesson.
Hala: In this lesson, you will learn the answer to a very common question we always get about the sound of some letters.
Mustu: You mean other than the soft, dark letters, and the letters that are merged as one and stressed?
Hala: Yes, other than all of that, but this time, we will see how the dark letters affect the sound of the entire word.
Mustu: Which means, the soft letters will have less effect?
Hala: Yes, the word will be pronounced much faster, and each letter will keep its original sound.
Mustu: That sounds interesting, how does it work?
Hala: Okay, I will focus now on “ā”, the long vowel, and see how it’s pronounced in some words.
So the 2 words are: “zāhir” and “ẓāhir”
Mustu: I’m hearing the difference, but not very sure where it is!
Hala: Well, the “ā” here is pronounced differently, so you get it in the first word as “ā”, and the second word “ā”.
Mustu: Why is that Hala?
Hala: The first word didn’t start with a dark letter, so the sound is all the same, but with the second one, it started with a dark letter, so the sound has changed here, you can’t start with a dark letter, and finish softly.
Mustu: And does that happen if the dark letter came in the middle of the word?
Hala: Good question, let me give you the answer with some examples!
“masār” and “ḥiṣār”
Mustu: Okay, the letters before the dark letter were affected slightly by it, but I can hear the difference very clearly.
Hala: Allow me to repeat them again “masār” and “ḥiṣār”
Mustu: So basically, it’s the same letter, but it was affected by the dark one.
Hala: Yes, and just as it happened with the “ā“, it could happen with any other long vowel, and even the consonants!
Mustu: Of course by now you know I will ask for…
Hala: An example. Yes, and I’m ready with it!
“maktab” and “maṭlab”
Mustu: Okay, I see what you mean, the last two letters were also affected, it took a deeper sound!
Hala: Yes, and in another example “muẓhir” and “muzhir”
Mustu: Even more clear now, but just to be sure, let me repeat it.
Hala: Please go for it!
Mustu: “ muẓhir” and “ muzhir”
Hala: Great Job Mustu! So what everyone needs to remember is that it’s very easy to notice when a dark letter is in the word, because the sound of the entire word will change, to a deeper sound!
Mustu: That’s very clear.
Hala: And another point before we wrap up the pronunciation series, there are two letters I would like to focus on, since they doesn’t exist in most Latin languages, and for sure not in English!
Mustu: Which letters? So far, I have many letters in Arabic that doesn’t exist in English!
Hala: Yes, but we got them covered, so don’t worry, the first one is “ḫ”
Mustu: “ḫ”
Hala: Si, como juta en Español!
Mustu: Ahhh! Its also in German and Dutch¡
Hala: Yes, which will make it easy for the speakers of these languages, otherwise, you just need to learn how to pronounce it, “ḫ”. In a word the sound will be “ḫarūf”
Mustu: Okay, let me try it “ḫarūf”
Hala: Great, one more example “ḫifyh”
Mustu: “ḫifyh”
Hala: Great, and the final letter is “ġ”
Mustu: Correct me if I’m wrong Hala, but isn’t this one very similar to the French ( r )?
Hala: For sure, its nearly the same, I like to call it the ( gargle ) letter.
Mustu: Why the funny name?
Hala: Well, the best way to practice producing this letter, is by imagining you’re doing the morning gargle, cleaning your throat!
Mustu: That’s a very nice trick, ok, so please, say it again, then in a word
Hala: “ġ”, and the word is “mašġūl”
Mustu: “mašġūl”
Hala: Another word is “ġālī”
Mustu: “ġālī”
Hala: Very good, but you need to stress it just a little bit!
Mustu: “ġālī”
Hala: Great, now that you have mastered this, I think its time to move on for more Arabic lessons!
Mustu: Yes! That just about does it for today.
Hala: Don''t forget that you can leave us a comment on this lesson.
Mustu: So if you have a question, or some feedback, please leave us a comment!
Hala: It''s very easy to do. Just stop by ArabicPod101.com,
Mustu: Click on comments,
Hala: Enter your comment and name,
Mustu: And that's it.
Hala: No excuses. We're looking forward to hearing from you!
Mustu: Bye!


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

ArabicPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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:shock: This last "gargle" letter is very hard to get! I will constantly study this to get all the dark letters but some are very confusing. Why is the "z" with the dark symbol pronounced with almost an "m" like sound? I don't think I am hearing this right!

ArabicPod101.com Verified
Friday at 11:09 AM
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Hi Oksana,


isn't a letter. It is a combination between






is a combination between the


and the


basically a glottal stop with a kasra after it.


Team ArabicPod101.com

Thursday at 12:42 AM
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I don’t understand what these letters are



Please tell me into which lesson should I look

ArabicPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 09:53 AM
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Hi wout,

That sounds great and we are happy we can help you with our podcasts!

When you have questions or you would like to add some effective explanation :smile:, please feel free to leave a comment!

Thank you very much,



Team ArabicPod101.com

Monday at 07:55 PM
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Thank you, Nora

But what else would you expect if you've given yourself the challenge to be conversational in 30 languages before 30.

Right now I'm fluent in Dutch and English, Intermediate in Japanese and German and a beginner in Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Hebrew, Turkish and well a little Arabic. So that means about 7 languages per year and with a little bit of effort I should be able to make this years workload work. next year will be for next year So Russian, Hindi, Urdu (well if you know the Arabic script and you know Hindi it's easy), Farsi, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, Tagalog, Czech, Polish, Gujarati, Punjabi, Marathi, Mongolian, Esperanto, Hungarian, Ijslandic, Khmer, Akkadian and Dothraki will have to wait until later. Yes a lot of these languages are also available as podcasts from innovative language learning, So they'll will see my name pop-up quite a few times in the next couple of years. As you can see I'm not avoiding any of the more Difficult languages. Although for Akkadian I have absolutely no idea how to due that one.

Well thank you for the comment anyway,


ArabicPod101.com Verified
Friday at 07:19 PM
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Hi Wout,

Wow, I really like the way you put it! You seem very knowledgeable about many languages! I say go for it! :thumbsup:


Team ArabicPod101.com

Wednesday at 07:25 PM
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salam aleyukum. The Kha is indeed the same g in Dutch (I'm Dutch), kh in Hebrew and ch in German although my Spanish not good enough yet for me to know but I'll take your word here. However I have noticed that 荷兰 the he from Mandarin here is pronounced the same in Dutch and the hya comes pretty close in for example 百 and Korean might also get quite close too.

If you still can't do it you try imaging your a cat with a hair ball stuck in the throat. Now try and imitate that sound, when a cat does it the mouth is wide open. Now curl up your tongue so it points to the roof of your mouth and start closing it. As you close it you should notice that the more you close it it starts to resemble the sound. For me to get the right sound I can put the tip of my finger between my lips.

Hope it helps.

So Arabic pod what did you think about the explanation would that work for English speakers? (I'm considering becoming a language tutor in Dutch, German, Japanese and English)

Kind regards,


ArabicPod101.com Verified
Monday at 08:19 PM
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Hi Aleksandra,

Try our Arabic Alphabet series, Carole gives many pronunciation tips there :D



Team ArabicPod101.com

Tuesday at 03:24 AM
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Are there going to be more lessons of pronounciation? I really enjoyed this one :-)

ArabicPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 12:11 PM
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Hi Duale

Thank you for your message. Yes, you can. Simply download our ILL app -> https://www.arabicpod101.com/ill-app/ , install it and onward you should be able to use inApp purchase.



Team ArabicPod101.com

Tuesday at 06:40 PM
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Can I pay by App Store if I can tell me please