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Arabic Long Vowels

  1. What are Arabic long vowels?
  2. Arabic long vowels chart
  3. Exercise

What are Arabic long vowels?

Long vowels in Arabic double the sounds of short vowels. Till now we have learned three short vowels i.e.

  1. Fatha ـَa
  2. Kasra ـِi
  3. Damma ـُu

Long Arabic vowels produce sounds of double a (aa), double i (ii), and double u (uu). They simply lengthen the sounds of short vowels. Long vowels are combinations of short vowel symbols and 3 letters of the Arabic alphabet.

  1. ا
  2. ي
  3. و

We already know that these letters are consonants and their sound are:

However, when used as long vowels, these letters generate sounds:

Sounds of long vowels seem similar to short vowels, and in fact, they are similar voices but are stretched longer than short vowels.

From the previous lesson, we know that short vowels fatha ـَ, kasra ـِ, and damma ـُ   only exist in combination with Arabic consonants. They have no existence of their own. In other words, we can say short vowels are extensions of consonants.
Similarly, long Arabic vowels are extensions of short vowels i.e. long vowels only exist in combination with short vowels.

  1. Long vowel ا always comes in combination with the short vowel fatha ـَ, i.e. the letter before long vowel ا must have the short vowel fatha ـَ on it.
    e.g. بَا، تَا، مَا
  2. Long vowel ي always comes in combination with the short vowel kasra ـِ, i.e. the letter before the long vowel ي must contain short vowel kasra ـِ,
    e.g. بِي، تِي، رِي
  3. Long vowel و always comes in combination with the short vowel damma ـُ
    e.g. اُو، بُو، تُو

These combinations are mandatory for long vowels.

  1. ـَ + ا
  2. ـِ + ي
  3. ـُ + و

These combinations make sense because long vowels have similar sounds to their corresponding short vowels and they prolong or double the same sound. If we see a word with combination like بِا or بُي which doesn't fulfill the condition of short and long vowels combination, then the second letter is not a vowel but a consonant.

Every Arabic letter (consonant) in a word has harakat ( ـَ ـِ ـُ ), or there are some more symbols which we will learn in the coming lessons, but long vowels are without harakat. If we see a combination like بَاَ . This alif with fatha اَ is not a long vowel because it has a fatha on it.

So, the above discussion can be summarized into:

  1. Long vowels must have their corresponding short vowels before them.
  2. Long vowels have no harakat.

Arabic long vowels chart

If we take the letter ب for example, from the last lesson we know how to add short vowel to ب

ـَ + ب ⇜ بَ

now if add corresponding long vowel to ب

بَ + ا ⇜ بَا

Following is the complete chart of Arabic long vowels examples with all alphabetic characters. Each Arabic letter is explained with three long vowels.


اَ + ا ⇜ آ

The symbol  آ  on alif is called Madda. It also doubles the sound. So, instead of writing اَا, a single alif is given a fatha. Writing two adjacent alifs in a word is not allowed.

اِ + ي ⇜ اِي
اُ + و ⇜ اُو

Also, from the last lesson we know that:

أَ = اَ
أُ = اُ
إِ = اِ

So, the above long vowels can also be written as:



However, آ is always written without hamza on it.

At the beginning stage, it is recommended to read all Arabic words along with their vowels (harakat). Like we have done in the reading exercise of the previous lesson. Here, also we recommend to read the long vowels with their vowels (harakat).

اَ + ا ⇜ آ
اِ + ي ⇜ اِي
اُ + و ⇜ اُو


بَ + ا ⇜ بَا
بِ + ي ⇜ بِي
بُ + و ⇜ بُو


تَ + ا ⇜ تَا
تِ + ي ⇜ تِي
تُ + و ⇜ تُو


ثَ + ا ⇜ ثَا
ثِ + ي ⇜ ثِي
ثُ + و ⇜ ثُو


جَ + ا ⇜ جَا
جِ + ي ⇜ جِي
جُ + و ⇜ جُو


حَ + ا ⇜ حَا
حِ + ي ⇜ حِي
حُ + و ⇜ حُو


خَ + ا ⇜ خَا
خِ + ي ⇜ خِي
خُ + و ⇜ خُو


دَ + ا ⇜ دَا
دِ + ي ⇜ دِي
دُ + و ⇜ دُو


ذَ + ا ⇜ ذَا
ذِ + ي ⇜ ذِي
ذُ + و ⇜ ذُو


رَ + ا ⇜ رَا
رِ + ي ⇜ رِي
رُ + و ⇜ رُو


زَ + ا ⇜ زَا
زِ + ي ⇜ زِي
زُ + و ⇜ زُو


سَ + ا ⇜ سَا
سِ + ي ⇜ سِي
سُ + و ⇜ سُو


شَ + ا ⇜ شَا
شِ + ي ⇜ شِي
شُ + و ⇜ شُو


صَ + ا ⇜ صَا
صِ + ي ⇜ صِي
صُ + و ⇜ صُو


ضَ + ا ⇜ ضَا
ضِ + ي ⇜ ضِي
ضُ + و ⇜ ضُو


طَ + ا ⇜ طَا
طِ + ي ⇜ طِي
طُ + و ⇜ طُو


ظَ + ا ⇜ ظَا
ظِ + ي ⇜ ظِي
ظُ + و ⇜ ظُو


عَ + ا ⇜ عَا
عِ + ي ⇜ عِي
عُ + و ⇜ عُو


غَ + ا ⇜ غَا
غِ + ي ⇜ غِي
غُ + و ⇜ غُو


فَ + ا ⇜ فَا
فِ + ي ⇜ فِي
فُ + و ⇜ فُو


قَ + ا ⇜ قَا
قِ + ي ⇜ قِي
قُ + و ⇜ قُو


كَ + ا ⇜ كَا
كِ + ي ⇜ كِي
كُ + و ⇜ كُو


لَ + ا ⇜ لَا
لِ + ي ⇜ لِي
لُ + و ⇜ لُو


مَ + ا ⇜ مَا
مِ + ي ⇜ مِي
مُ + و ⇜ مُو


نَ + ا ⇜ نَا
نِ + ي ⇜ نِي
نُ + و ⇜ نُو

ﻩَ + ا ⇜ هَا
ﻩِ + ي ⇜ هِي
ﻩُ + و ⇜ هُو


وَ + ا ⇜ وَا
وِ + ي ⇜ وِي
وُ + و ⇜ وُو


ءَ + ا ⇜ آ

We already know آ from ( اَ + ا ⇜ آ ) and we also know that أَ = اَ. So, ( اَ + ا ⇜ آ ) can also be written as ( أَ + ا ⇜ آ ).

It is basically the letter ء on alif أَ, that is giving the sound and elongation i.e. آ . More about hamza will be discussed in the lesson Hamza in Arabic.

ءِ + ي ⇜ ءِي
ءُ + و ⇜ ءُو


يَ + ا ⇜ يَا
يِ + ي ⇜ يٖ

Like standing fatha on alif, there also exists a standing kasra, which functions similarly to fatha, i.e. it doubles the sound of a kasra.

يُ + و ⇜ يُو


Perform the exercise in the following manner.

  1. Please listen to the following Arabic words and repeat them with your voice.
  2. Then try to pronounce these words without playing the given voice.
  3. Write down these on paper.
  4. Try to recognize long vowels in these words.

Following words are meaningful Arabic words but at this level, we don't want to know their meanings. We just want to read these words correctly.


Ha with standing fatha ﻩٰ is equivalent to هَا
ﻩٰ = هَا
So, with the standing fatha the long vowel ا is not visible.
Traditionally some words with long vowel alif are written with standing fatha. We have no choice other than to follow these traditions.
We must be prepared for exceptions while learning any new language!












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