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►II.9. LONG VOWELS ȗ & ȋ VS. SEMIVOWELS w & y
The letters wȃw و and yȃʔ ي are ambiguous, because they can denote either the long vowels ȗ and ȋ or the semivowel consonants w and y.
The use of the vowel diacritics eliminates this ambiguity, as can be seen from the following examples:
|buw = bȗ||بُوْ|
|biy = bȋ||بِيْ|
From the above examples it can be seen that the letters wȃw and yȃʔ denote the long vowels ȗ and ȋ when two conditions are met:
- Being not followed by a vowel (in Arabic terminology, being “still” سَاْكِنٌ ).
- Being preceded by the corresponding short vowel.
The short vowel u corresponds to wȃw, and i corresponds to yȃʔ.
uw = ȗ
iy = ȋ
Following are examples of Arabic words with diacritics. My suggestion is to try to read the Arabic words on your own before you look at the Latin transliteration.
|رِيْحٌ||riyħuṋ = rȋħuṋ||wind|
|رُوْحٌ||ruwħuṋ = rȗħuṋ||spirit, soul|
|كَبِيْرٌ||kabiyruṋ = kabȋruṋ||big|
|خُيُوْلٌ||xuyuwluṋ = xuyȗluṋ||horses|