COMMON ARTICULATION ERRORS
The most common Tajweed mistakes made by non-Arabs are the timings of the vowels, and Medd letters, and in the articulation points of the letters.
One type of mistake, that in the letters themselves, is a major problem that needs to be addressed by all non-Arabs, whether they are Westerns, Africans, South Asian subcontinent, or from Eastern Asia. At the outset, the letters that occur in Arabic that are not common in other languages, but there are letters in Arabic that are similar to other languages, but do not share the same articulation points with their counterparts.
The letters that occur in Arabic, that aren’t common in other languages are:
غ, ع, ط, ظ, ض, ص, خ, ح
Letters that have similar sounds in other languages, but actually have different articulation points are:
ل, ك ,ف , ر , د, ت
Like- “t”, “d”, “r”, “f”, “k”, “l”
these letters at a posterior position within the mouth from what the Arabs use as an articulation point.
The above are just brief summaries of the letters.
As stated before, Insha’Allah lesson with all the articulation points discussed in detail below. Another mistake incurred by Arabs and non-Arabs alike is in making proper stops and starts. There is more than one aspect to make a mistake. One note that is of utmost importance. It is vital that the Muslims learn Arabic letters and vowels and recite the Qur’an using them, NOT a transliteration. Transliterations don’t take into consideration the varied letters that sound almost like the untrained ear but are very different in pronunciation.
The Qur’an is that the word of Allah, revealed to man as a guide and that we need to be extremely careful to read it, as best we will, with proper pronunciation. Reading a transliteration can cause changing the meaning of the Arabic Qur’an by mispronouncing letters.
INTRODUCTION TO ARTICULATION POINTS OF THE ARABIC LETTERS
We have three Short Vowels called Harakaat حركات which is plural of the term Harakah حركة (Movement) in Arabic:
1- Fathah – is a tiny diagonal stroke on top f the letter and it produces the sound of “ā”. It has a short “ah” sound.
2- Kasrah – is a tiny diagonal stroke under a letter. it has a short “I” sound.
3- Dammah – is a tiny letter waw above a letter and it produces the sound of “ū”. , it a short “oo” sound.
PLACES OF ARTICULATION
The articulation point of a letter is that the place the letter is emitted, meaning a sound that comes out of the mouth counting on a selected place of articulation or an approximate one. Using the right articulation point of a letter is important to utter the letter correctly, and in fact, this is often even more important when reciting the book of Allah, the Holy Qur’an.
Almost all the articulation points in Arabic are specific places, but there are some that have a general area of articulation.
There are ways for you to ascertain what articulation point you’re using for a letter (not necessarily the right one), in order that you’ll compare what you’re using to the correct way of articulating a letter:
You can then check the position of your tongue, mouth, or feel what area of the throat you’re using.
There are five general areas of the throat and mouth that have within them the precise or general articulation points of the Arabic letters.
- The empty space in the mouth and throat (Jawf)
The first makhraj that we’ll cover is that the jawf or empty space within the mouth and throat. It means that the tongue is relaxed on the bottom of the mouth, and the empty space between the top of the tongue and the roof of the mouth is known as the jawf. So once you pronounce the letters of the jawf, the tongue isn’t involved in the least, and air simply flows from inside the body out of your mouth.
The letters that come from the jawf are:
- Alif sakin with a fatha before it
• Wow sakin with a dhammah before it
• Yaa sakin with a kasrah before it
- The Throat:
The throat has three different makharij:
It has three articulation points for six different letters which are pronounced from the deepest, middle, and closest part of the throat
• Lowest part of the throat (closest to chest)
The letters from this makhraj are: Heh ء and Hamza ه
• Middle part of the throat
The letters from this makhraj are: Aein ع and Haa ح
• Highest part of the throat
The letters from this makhraj are: Ghein غ and khaa خ
- The Tongue (Al-Lisaan):
It has ten articulation points for eighteen letters-
Deepest Part of the Tongue:
The vocalisation of Qaf ق is from the extreme back of the tongue going up and hitting the top of the mouth (soft palate).
The Makhraj of kaf ك is from the back of the tongue, right in front of the ق, hitting the top of the mouth (hard palate).
Middle of the Tongue:
The middle of the tongue hitting the top of the mouth. The letters from this makhraj are: Jeem ج, Sheen ش and Ya ي.
Note: The ي here is different from ي that we covered in the Makhraj of Jawf. Also when you pronounce this ي the tongue curves up and the two sides (where the ي are in the picture) go up and touch the top of the mouth.
Sides of the Tongue:
- The vocalization of ض is pronounced with the sides of the tongue touching the gums close to the upper molars (white teeth in the picture).
- The articulation of the ل is pronounced from the tip of the tongue touching the gums premolars from one side to the premolars of the other side of the top of the mouth.
Front Tip of Tongue:
- The vocalization of the ن is the part of the tongue, slightly behind the ل hitting the palate right above it (the portion of the tongue).
- The articulation of the ر is the part of the tongue, slightly behind the ن touching the palate right above it.
- The makhraj of ت د ط is the front tip of the tongue touching the gumline of the top front two teeth.
- The vocalization of ص س ز is with the front tip of the tongue touching the back of the bottom front two teeth. It is important to note that when pronouncing the letters of ص س ز there is a slight gap between the tip of the tongue and the teeth and not a hard/strong meeting of the two.
- The articulation of ث ظ ذ is pronounced from the front tip of the tongue touching the tip of the top front two teeth
- The Two Lips:
The lips have two articulation points for four letters-
- The vocalisation of Mim م is the touching of the dry portions of the top and bottom lips.
- The makhraj of Ba ب is the touching of the wet portions of the top and bottom lips.
- The articulation of Wawو is the incomplete touching of the lips (lips must also be rounded).
- The vocalisation of Fa ف is the slightly incomplete touching of the lips.
- The nasal passage: From the hole of the nose towards the inside of the mouth, here there is one articulation point, that of the Ghunnah.