The Arabic Vowel “Fatha”

Arabic Vowel Fatha

·        The Arabic alphabet has 29 letters
These are mostly consonants




·        Vowels are NOT part of the alphabet
They are little symbols placed on top or underneath each letter




·        If a consonant has a vowel on top of it or underneath it, it means the vowel comes after the consonant


بَ = ب + َ


·        You will almost never see vowels written on paper
You pronounce them, of course (because you can’t talk without vowels), but you don’t write them


·        These are the only places you’ll see vowels written:

o   children’s books

o   religious texts

o   poetry


·        But if we ask you to read Arabic on this website, we will include the vowels
That’s because you need to know Arabic grammar before you can read without seeing the vowels


·        Arabic has only 3 vowels
Let’s look at the first one in this lesson


The “Fatha” Vowel


·        The first vowel is called Fat-ha
It looks like a sloped tick and it goes right on top of a letter




·        Fatha is the A vowel in Arabic
Actually, Fatha sounds like a short U (like in the word “cup”)


·        What do you think the following words will sound like?
Click on the words to hear them










·        Remember that the letter Aleph is used to stretch the A sound
Actually, Aleph is used to stretch the Fatha vowel and make it into a long vowel


·        Arabic has 3 short vowels and 3 long vowels
Fatha is the first short vowel and Aleph is the first long vowel
Each long vowel corresponds to a short vowel (it makes the short one longer)
Aleph makes Fatha longer


·        Exercise: how many Fatha’s do you hear in the following?
And how many Alephs?


Answer [3 Fatha, 2 Fatha 1 Aleph, 2 Fatha 1 Aleph]

Answer [2 Fatha]

Answer [1 Fatha]

Answer [5 Fatha 2 Aleph]


·        Exercise: how many Fatha’s do you see in the following?


قَالَ لِفِتْيَانِهِ اجْعَلُوْا بِضَاعَتَهُمْ

وَرَاوَدَتْهُ الَتِيْ هُوَ فِيْ بَيْتِهَا


·        Answers: [7, 8]


·        Some pointers

o   You will never see a vowel on top or underneath an Aleph because Aleph is not a consonant; it is a long vowel

o   The letter before an Aleph MUST have a Fatha because Aleph is a long vowel for Fatha


·        Exercise: copy the words below and put a Fatha on each letter