There are three short vowel signs that are known in Arabic as “Harakaat”, which literally means ‘motions’. These vowel signs provide information in regards to the correct pronunciation to both native and foreign Arabic readers.The short vowel marks enable the letter to produce a sound in a manner similar to the vowels (a, e, i, o, u) in the English language.
the three short vowels (Harakaat) are Fathah, Kasrah, and Dammah.
- 1. Fathah: The Fatḥah is a small line placed above a letter, which enables the letter to produce a short “a” sound, (like the “a” sound in the beginning of the word “up”). For example, the letter ج “Jeem” when Fatha is placed on it. it produces “a” sound and ج becomes جَ “Ja”.
- 2.Kasrah: The Kasrah is a small line (same as Fatha) placed below a letter, which enables the letter to produce a short “e”, (like the “e” sound in the word “be”). For example, the letter ج “Jeem” when a Kasrah is placed on it, it produces a short “e” sound and Jeem ج becomes جِ “Je”.
- 3.Dammah: The ḍammah is a small curl-shaped sign placed above a letter, which enables the letter to produce a short “u” (like the “u” sound in the word “put”). For example, the letter ج “Jeem” when a Dammah is placed on it. it produces a short “u” sound and Jeem ج becomes جُ “Ju” etc.
- Note: when any hαrαkαh (short vowel) comes upon a letter, makes the letter Mutαhαrrik. Mutαhαrrik refers to the condition of a letter while having a Hαrαkαh (movement sign). in the above examples “جَ” is Mutαhαrrik because of the hαrαkαh (short vowel/ Movement mark) on it.