Proper placement of tanwin تنوين / position of tanwiin

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by SonOfAdam, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. SonOfAdam

    SonOfAdam New Member

    Istanbul, Turkey
    English - UK; Turkish - Turkey
    First of all, hello everybody! Where have you been all my life... (Just a little bit about me: I've been playing with Arabic off and on for years but only in the past 6 months have I decided to make mastering the language a long-term project.)

    Quick question: When you have a tanween fatha I know that normally you have an alef tacked on the end of the word. I remember vaaaaguely from an Arabic class I took 6-odd years ago that the question of whether the tanween goes on the alef or on the previous letter is a subject of ongoing debate. (Please forgive me if this is a hoary old chestnut, I did try to search the forum...)

    So for example should it be:

    مرحباً

    or

    مرحبًا

    I did a search and found this page but I couldn't really understand most of it: www[dot]atida[dot]org/forums/showthread.php?t=1634

    A quick "that one's more correct" does help in a way, but I'd really like to know what the logic is, and if there is a debate about it I'd be interested to know exactly which authorities where support each option.

    Thanks!
     
     
  2. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

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    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    Only the first is correct. التنوين is a type of تشكيل, which is written above the letter it refers to. Nothing in Arabic is ever written before the letter.
     
  3. Finland Senior Member

    Finland
    finnois
    Hello!

    Now, this is an explanation I have been given before and that I had not understood. When you write a word in genitive case, such as الكتابِ, the kasra is below the b (because the kasra is understood to be attached to the b). So, why would it be that in the accusative كتاباً the double fatha is above the alif and not the b? For me it would be much more logical that the 7arakat should be written on the consonant *preceding*, but تنوين الفتحة always seems to be an exception. I have started to write the tanwin of fat7a on the alif, since others do it as well, but I must admit it always feels illogical for me!

    Thanks,
    S
     
  4. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

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    You add an ألف to the word and it becomes the last letter. Not all words get ألفs attached, for example طريقةً.
    The حركات are always written 'on' the letter after which they are pronounced. What you find strange is that كِتابَاً is a strange spelling exception.
    Spelling it كتابً is avoided only because we want to say 'kitaabaa' when ending a sentence with it. It is the only reason I see for this spelling exception.
    When a sentence continues after it, the ألف becomes 'silent', as does the fat7a on the ب, and it is pronounced exactly like a hypothetical كتابً would be.
     
  5. SonOfAdam

    SonOfAdam New Member

    Istanbul, Turkey
    English - UK; Turkish - Turkey
    Thanks to everyone so far...

    I found one page where it seems that somebody has asked exactly the same question, just in Arabic so I can't understand the answers... http://www[dot]ahlalhdeeth[dot]com/vb/showthread.php?t=127442

    Is it true that there are different opinions out there, or is there a consensus?
     
  6. ayed

    ayed Senior Member

    Riyadh
    Arabic
    A piece of advice; try not to bother or busy yourself with these tiny things. There are more important issues to focus on. This is a personal advice. Just write that alif at the end of a word--a word that has to be in nasb(tanween)
     
  7. SonOfAdam

    SonOfAdam New Member

    Istanbul, Turkey
    English - UK; Turkish - Turkey
    Well, thanks for the advice. Don't worry, I know what I'm doing.

    The reason I want to know about this is I'm going to be giving an informal Arabic literacy course to some friends here in Istanbul and I want to give them the most accurate information I can. I found all the other information I needed easily, except for the answer to this specific question. Already if you do a Google search for tanween fatha this thread is one of the top results. So while we're on the subject, I thought I might as well get as much information as I can.

    Edit: It is true that I already have enough information to be able to say something if they ask me anything. I just thought it might be good to have such information available for future reference...
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
  8. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

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    There does indeed seem to be two opinions it turns out... the problem I have with tanween on the penultimate letter is that I always thought that was never allowed. Tanween in all other cases occurs on the final letter. In fact, what would the ألف get if the tanween wasn't placed on it? A سكون? Then it would be even stranger than what I understood it to be (kitaaba[aa]n); it would be (kitaaban[aa]) where the [aa] is silent. Just seems ludicrous to me.

    In any case the key point to take is that spelling rules vary with quite a few little things like this. It's a fact of life that one should accept.
     
  9. SonOfAdam

    SonOfAdam New Member

    Istanbul, Turkey
    English - UK; Turkish - Turkey
    Oh absolutely. It's part and parcel of being an international language. No one authority in any one country can claim to be the sole arbiter...

    Well, I agree with you that "tanween above alef" does seem to be more logical, and as far as I've seen it's the more common usage of the two anyway, so I'll teach them that and if they come across the "tanween above previous letter" usage they can ask.

    Thanks for your help...
     
  10. Abu Talha Senior Member

    Urdu
    I used to think this too. But words like دعاء remain so (without an appended alif) in the manSuub to avoid اجتماع ألفين yet are still pronounced du3aa2aa at the end of a sentence. Your point may still be valid, though.

    The problem I have with tanween on the alif is that the alif is not a hamza, so how can it "move" (كيف لها أن تتحرك؟)? I thought alifs needed a hamza to move.

    Anyway, I too agree that there are different schools of thought.

    EDIT: I forgot to mention one of the points which made me switch from writing it on the alif to writing it on the letter before the alif. If the penultimate letter is مشددة it seems weird to have the شدة on it while having the tanween on the alif, e.g., مُكِبّاً.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
  11. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

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    The first point isn't true for me; I was taught to write دعاءاً (well, at least I've seen it very often).
    As for the second point, I don't consider it to be a normal ألف in my head. Just as قالوا and عمرو have silent letters too.
    As for the شدّة, I don't see how it makes a difference.

    In any case, I don't believe this is heading towards a conclusion :) these things weren't even written until quite late in Arabic's development.
     
  12. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Hi,

    There was a previous discussion about this, but unfortunately I can't find it now. To sum it up: yes, there are two opinions and each follows what he/she believes is write or more logical.
    Personally, I'm of the opinion that the tanween marks the letter, and that the alef is only a part of الحركة/علامة التشكيل , so I never write the tanween above the alef. Well, except when it لا to avoid splitting the ligature لًا .
    Sorry Iskandarany, but you were taught wrong. There can't be an alif after a اء .
     
  13. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

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  14. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
  15. k145 Junior Member

    English - California
    Hi, I've begun learning arabic very very recently so I'm still going through the pronunciation, diacritics, romanization, etc. and I'm really confused with the tanwin. I've only learned that the tanwin indicates an indefinite noun (with more functions and exceptions to be learned later on) and that it is just a double diacritic at the end of a word but those at the end of a sentence aren't pronounced. So here are some examples I got and I'm confused about the 2nd one:

    [SIZE=+5]كِتـَابٍ[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+5]كِتـَابًا[/SIZE]
    1. In the second example, why is the tanwin above the "ba" and not the "alif?" Isn't the alif the last letter of the word?

    I've also read that in the case of a fathah, an alif must be added to the end and the tanwin is placed with the alif (?) or something along those lines. Maybe it's that? But the above example is inconsistent with both cases. Which brings me to my second question:

    2. What's all that talk about adding an alif in the case of a fathah? I haven't seen this rule exercised in the numerous examples I've seen.
     
  16. AndyRoo Senior Member

    London
    English
    Hi,

    You just have to remember that the fatHa tanween is made up of two fatHas followed by an alif, whereas the other tanweens have no such alif.

    Some people actually put the tanween fatH on the alif, and it is common to see it in print, but I think it is better to put it on the preceding letter as you have done.
     
  17. rajulbat Senior Member

    English - United States
    OK, take this from a person who was a beginning student of Arabic not too long ago: ignore case (which includes tanween). It is not important enough to interfere with understanding 90% of the time, and it's extremely confusing to an English speaker. UNLESS, of course, you're taking a course and you're required to know this stuff.

    So if you must know, read on.

    Tanween is a function of case. In Arabic, all nouns have a certain vowel on their last letter depending on what part of speech they are (broadly: subject, object, or object of a preposition). Subjects get dammah, objects get fatha, and objects of prepositions get kasra.

    So in the example: "The boy wrote a book for the girl."
    Who wrote? The boy (he is the subject)
    What did the boy write? He wrote a book (this is the object)
    For whom did he write the book? For the girl (she is the object of the preposition "for").

    In Arabic: ِالولدُ كتب كتاباً للبنت

    So once you have figured out which case your noun is, you need to determine whether it gets tanween, which it does so long as it is indefinite (in most cases, not preceded by ال though there are exceptions, like idhafas, which you will learn about later I'm sure).

    And as to your question regarding why the fathatain ً is over the ba and not the alif, this is a stylistic question and a matter of some debate. See here. In my opinion, it should be written above the alif, but who am I?
     
  18. k145 Junior Member

    English - California
    Thank you very much for the explanation. So I believe the 2 words in my original post are the same words but one has the alif at the end where the other does not. Which one is correct? I was told that with fathahs, an alif must be added to the end of the word?
     
  19. AndyRoo Senior Member

    London
    English
    They are both correct. Your first one كتابٍ has the tanween made of two kasras (not fatHas) so no extra alif is required, but your second one كتابًا has the tanween made of two fatHas, so the final alif is needed.
     
  20. lukebeadgcf

    lukebeadgcf Senior Member

    Cambridge, MA
    American English
  21. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

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    شكرا للإفادة
     

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