All 28 alphabets of the Arabic Language are consonants. Unlike English, vowels do not form a part of the Arabic alphabet set. Rather, they are distinct entities called حركات (harakat). There are 3 short vowels in Arabic:
- فتحة (fatha) corresponds to English a
- كسرة (kasra )corresponds to English e, i
- ضمّة (dhamma) corresponds to English o,u
The term لفظ (articulation) refers to all words/sounds produced by the tongue. لفظ can be either موضوع i.e. meaningful, or مُهمَل i.e. meaningless. مُهمَلwords can turn in to موضوع
words through the process of coinage.Thus, the word DVD 15 years ago was مُهمَل but is موضوع these days.
موضوع words can be further divided into two categories:
- مُفرَد (also called كلمة) is composed of single words
- مُرکّب is composed of more than one word
It is the مُفرَد which constitutes the parts of speech of the Arabic Language. Unlike English, which has 8 parts of speech, Arabic only has 3 ( َاِسم ، فعل ، حرف ) . The following table gives a comparison of the parts of speech between English and Arabic:
|Noun, Pronoun, Adjective, Adverb||اِسم||This is the part of speech which indicates upon a meaning in itself and is not linked to time|
|Verb||فعل||This also indicates upon a meaning in itself but is also linked to time(Thus the concept of tenses)|
|Preposition, Conjunction, Article||حرف||Indicates the meaning of something else and does not have a full independent meaning of it’s own|
The other kind of موضوع word i.e. مُرکّب can be further subdivided into
- مركَّب مفيد, which is also known as a جملة, and contains a Subject/Predicate relationship. This is essentially what we call a sentence in English
- مركَّب غير مفيدis what we call a phrase in English. This combination of words conveys an incomplete idea.