Group B – with approximately the same pronunciation as their counterparts in some European languages, but not in Standard English.
gh – ghayr (unlike, non-), ghaalib (triumphant), mughanni (singer)
A guttural sound similar to that of gargling. Like Parisian French ‘r’.
r – raadyo (radio), baachir (tomorrow), mirgad (bed)
x – xaliij (gulf), xanjar (dagger), xuux (peaches)
Similar to German Bach, Spanish Juan, Scottish Loch Ness.
l – ‘light, soft’ l: li3ab (he played), laysh (why?), layla (night)
but ‘dark, hard’ l in: allaah (Allah)
Group C – sounds different from the sounds encountered in any common European language.
^ – il-^arab (the Arabs), ^abdallah (Abdullah), bi^iir (camel)
’ – su’al (question), mu’min (believer), mu’allif (author)
This is the so-called glottal stop, or hamza. It is like a very short pause between the two parts of the word it “divides”. It is rarely heard in Gulf Arabic.
H– aHmar (red), il-Hiin (now), Haggak (to/for you; yours)
Like breathing on your hands in winter to warm them up.
The following sounds - S, T, and DH - are called the emphatic counterparts of s, t, and dh. They are pronounced with greater muscular tension in the mouth and throat, and with a raising of the back and root of the tongue toward the roof of the mouth.
S – SaaliH (an Arab name), xaaliS (complete, pure), SabaaH (morning)
T– Tarrash (he sent), tiTbaxiin (you (fem.) cook), maTaa3im (restaurants)
DH – DHallayt (I stayed), bu DHabi (Abu Dhabi, in relaxed speech), ir-riyaaDHa (sport)
A not very common sound in colloquial Gulf Arabic:
q – al-qaahira (Cairo) , quluub (hearts), daqiiqa (minute)
This is a sound used in Standard Arabic as well as in dialects of most parts of Oman and Iraq. It’s basically a ‘k’ pronounced far back in the mouth. In Gulf Arabic it is usually pronounced as ‘g’, hence guluub, dagiiga.
( II ) VOWELS
The Gulf Arabic vowels, generally, are not difficult for the English speaker.
short – a, i, o, u
long – aa, ii, ee, oo, uu
diphthongs – ay (ey), aw
( III ) DOUBLED CONSONANTS
A double consonant may change the meaning of a word, so be careful to pronounce it correctly. As you can hear from the recordings, you must prolong the time you spend pronouncing the doubled consonant in a word.
darast – I learned, I studied
darrast – I taught
mara – woman
marra – time, occasion.