Articulation point of the
These letters are emitted from the tip of the tongue (from the top side of the tip) and the bottom edges of the two top front incisors. Care should be taken to make sure the top of the tip is really colliding or separating (depending whether there is no vowel or a vowel) with the edges of the teeth and not the plates of the teeth.
Common mistakes in these letters
These three letters are some of the most mispronounced letters in the Arabic language by both Arabs and non-Arabs. The main reason for this is the corruption of pure classical Arabic and the colloquialization of many letters to other forms. This colloquialization unfortunately, has carried over to the way some recite the Qur’an, and with this mistake the reciter could unintentionally change the intended meaning of the Qur’an. This error should be attended to and fixed as soon as possible by the student of the Qur’an.
The is often mispronounced as a heavy form of “z”. The reason for this (mechanically speaking) is not using the top of the tip with the edges of the incisors, and instead using the back plates of the two front incisors, which as covered in the last tidbit, is the articulation point for the . It is then understandable the mechanical reason for this letter to erroneously sound like a “z” when the incorrect articulation point is used. The is a letter that has tafkheem, or heaviness, and that characteristic tends to be present even in the misarticulated form of the letter, and therefore the heavy “z” sound. Some transliterations of the Qur’an, which we caution against using, write this letter in English as “z”. This contributes to non-Arabs also reciting this letter incorrectly.
Some students of the Qur’an may have the articulation point of this letter correct, but do not make the necessary tafkheem, or heaviness that is needed when reciting this letter. The posterior portion of the tongue needs to rise up to the roof of the mouth for tafkheem to take place.
The is many times mispronounced as a plain “z”. Again, Arabs as well as non-Arabs have this error. The solution is again using the top of the tip of the tongue and the bottom edges of the two top front incisors. There should be enough protrusion of the tip tongue in all three of these letters so that it is visible to the observer.
The frequently is pronounced as a by mistake. This mistake can occur with both Arabs and non-Arabs. The same reason as discussed above is the cause for this: using the wrong articulation point.
In summary the common mistake in these three letters is using the articulation point of the “whistle” group of letters instead of their own unique articulation point. The tip of the tongue needs to collide or separate with the bottom edges of the two top front incisors, and not the internal plates of the two top incisors.
Click below to listen to these letters pronounced correctly: