Double Vowels

Arabic Double Vowel (Tanween)

·        Recall that Arabic has 3 short vowels
These are symbols placed on top or underneath letters






·        And Arabic has 3 long vowels
These are letters of the alphabet that have the potential to be used as vowels
Long vowels correspond to the short vowels and they stretch their sound






·        Arabic also has 2 semi-vowels – or “diphthongs”
These are vowel-like sounds





·        Now, you can actually double the short vowels
So we have 3 new vowels

o   the doubled Damma

o   the doubled Fatha

o   and the doubled Kasra


·        What do they look like?
A doubled Damma looks like 2 Dammas written beside each other
But sometimes it just looks like 1 Damma with a squiggle after it
A doubled Fatha looks like 2 Fathas on top of each other
A doubled Kasra looks like 2 Kasras on top of each other






·        What are they called?
A double vowel is called a Tanween; it doesn’t matter which of 3 it is
You say “This letter has a Tanween”
Or, to be more specific, you can say “This letter has 2 Dammas / 2 Fathas / 2 Kasras”




·        What do they sound like?
If a letter has a Tanween, you will pronounce the single vowel and follow it with an N sound


بٌ = بُنْ

بً = بَنْ

بٍ = بِنْ


·        What’s the purpose of these?
That’s a question we can’t answer here
For details on this topic, please sign up for some online Arabic classes


·        But we can say one thing: you will never see a Tanween in the beginning or middle of a word
Tanweens only come at the end of a word. Period


·        But not all words have Tanween


·        One last point: if a word has a Tanween at the end, and that Tanween is two Fathas, there will be a silent Aleph at the end of the word

o   Exception: there will be no Aleph if the last letter is a Hamza

o   Exception: there will be no Aleph if the last letter is a ة (Taa)



باً، ةً، ءً



·        Exercise: read the following









·        By the way: how do I know if the word I hear has a Tanween at the end or a real Noon?
In general, you don’t know. But if you know Arabic you can figure it out almost all the time