Arabic Grammar – 42

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►II.7. NŪNATION DIACRITICS

Most Arabic words (in their full forms) end with a suffix n(V), where V is a short vowel that is present only in dual and masculine sound plural nouns and adjectives. In dual and sound masculine plural nouns and adjectives the suffix nV is written with the letter nȗn ن , and the short vowel following this letter may be indicated with a diacritic as usual. However, in singular and sound feminine plural nouns and adjectives the suffix n is almost unwritten. It is indicated only in the accusative case with a vowel-denoting ʔalif ا that represents the pausal pronunciation.

The following diacritics are used to indicate the suffix n (called nūnation) in the different cases:

Nūnation diacritics
Case Letter with diacritic Transliteration Sound

رَفْعٌ

rafʕuṋ

“raising”

Nominative

بٌ buṋ bun

نَصْبٌ

naṣbuṋ

“erecting”

Accusative

بًا baṋ ban

جَرٌ

ǵarruṋ

“dragging”

Genitive

بٍ biṋ bin

Note

In the orthographic tradition of the Maghreb the accusative nūnation diacritics are placed on the ʔalif rather than the letter preceding it. Thus, they write باً instead of بًا .

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