Articulation point of the letter
The articulation point of the is between the inside of the lower lip and the tips (or edges) of the two top front incisors. This means that there is a meeting of these two parts of articulation to make the correct sound of this letter.
Common mistakes in this letter
The English letter “f” uses the middle of the lower lip and the edges or tips of the two front top incisors. As mentioned above in the articulation point definition of the Arabic , the inside of the lower lip is used. If the English speaking student of the Qur’an does not make a conscience effort to use the inside of the lip, some of the characteristic of the , namely the running of the sound as well as the breath, will be imprisoned. The sound will not be a true Arabic then, but an English “f”.
Some areas in the Far East do not have an “f” in their language. The natives of these countries tend to substitute a “p” for an “f” when they are speaking a language that has an “f”. This obviously will carry over to the recitation of the Qur’an when there is a word with a in it. Practice is needed to pronounce the Arabic , and not use a “p”, which does not exist in the Arabic language.
Articulation point of the two lips
There are three letters that are articulated from the two lips, but they do not all three share the same mechanism in articulation.
The unlengthened is articulated by forming a circle of the two lips without the two lips meeting completely.
The is articulated by closing the two lips together
The letter is articulated by closing the two lips together, but a stronger closing than the meem.
Common mistakes in these letters
The is often mispronounced as a “v” by some Urdu speaking Muslims as well as Turkish speaking Muslims from Turkey and former Russian republics. This is due to the absence of in the Turkish dialects, and the presence of both the wow and va’ in Urdu. There is no “v” in Arabic, and “v” has the same articulation point as the “f”. This problem can be overcome by practicing using both lips and pressing on them when pronouncing the unlengthened . At the beginning much practice will be needed to overcome this mispronunciation. The student of the Qur’an may want to make note of all the unlengthened in a passage he/she is reciting or memorizing, and practice those phrases or words to make sure they all come out correctly.
Westerners have to take care that they really do put pressure on the two lips when pronouncing the , otherwise the sound comes out weak like a “w”, which is not the same sound as the Arabic .
Click on the links below to listen to and practice these letters:
The is not a letter that commonly has mistakes. The only thing to take heed of is not to press the lips together too hard.
The sometimes gets air in it, which is not a characteristic of the Arabic , and the resultant sound is that of a “p”, which as stated before, does not exist in the Arabic language. The pressure on this letter is more on the inside of the lower lip than the outside, whereas “p” uses more of the outside of the lips, and has running air with it. There is an imprisonment of both the running of the sound and the running of the breath in the letter which makes it a strong letter.