Case Closed

Excuse me while I just totally nerd out about Arabic for a few seconds. Case-markings are a nerdy grammatical thing but they also have a lot of cultural and historical significance because they are most commonly found on formal texts such as radio or TV broadcasts, formal speeches and most notably the Quran.

Case-markings are more simply just short vowels that show how to pronounce a word in certain situations and are almost always dropped in colloquial Arabic. The short vowels include fattah (an “ah” sound) kasrah ( an “eey” sound), dammah (an “oo” sound), shaddah (symbolizing an emphasis of the letter) and sukkun which is pretty useless because it just tells you that there is no additional short vowel sound.

However despite just being for pronunciation they also have the added purpose of denoting different grammatical parts of a sentence. For example you mark a noun with a dammah if it is the subject of the sentence and a kasrah if it comes after a preposition. The list of rules goes on and on and haven’t even learned them all yet! Since these markings change the pronunciation of the word you can understand the exact structure of a sentence just by hearing it read aloud. Considering that I have a hard time differentiating between direct and indirect object in English this concept absolutely amazes me! Conscious knowledge of Arabic grammar is so intertwined in the usage of the language and is so important to the heritage of Arabic as well.
Since the Quran is written in classical Arabic, Islam is also infused with this knowledge of the grammar and is actually where it began. So modern day speakers of Arabic that are educated in grammar also by default have a higher understanding of the holiest book in Islam.

Well I think that’s enough about grammar and its influences on culture for now. Thanks for sticking around and here is a cartoon about short vowels!

It’s making fun of the sukkun since it really doesn’t serve any purpose!

For more nerdy Arabic jokes check out:

For more nerdy Arabic jokes check out:


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