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Al- is not a permanent component of words, as shown here with al-Baḥrayn (or el-Baḥrēn), the Arabic for Bahrain.]]

Al- (Arabic: ال‎{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, also transliterated as el- as pronounced in varieties of Arabic) is the definite article in the Arabic language; a particle (ḥarf) whose function is to render the noun on which it is prefixed definite. For example, the word كتاب{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} kitāb "book" can be made definite by prefixing it with al-, resulting in الكتاب{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} al-kitāb "the book". Consequently, al- is typically translated as the in English.

Unlike most other particles in Arabic, al- is always prefixed to another word and it never stands alone. Consequently, most dictionaries will not list it as a separate word, and it is almost invariably ignored in collation. By the same token, al- is not a permanent component of the word to which it is prefixed. It is added and removed to toggle between the definiteness and indefiniteness of the word.

As a particle, al- does not inflect for gender, plurality, or grammatical case. The sound of the final -l consonant, however, can vary; when followed by a sun letter such as t, d, r, s, n and a few others, it is replaced by the sound of the initial consonant of the following noun, thus doubling it. For example: for "the Nile", one does not say al-Nīl, but an-Nīl. When followed by a moon letter, like m-, no replacement occurs, as in al-masjid ("the mosque"). This affects only the pronunciation and not the spelling of the article.


Arabic definite article sections
Intro   Overview    Etymology    Phonology    Lexicology    Grammar    In other languages    See also   Notes    References    External links   

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{{#invoke:redirect hatnote|redirect}} {{#invoke:Hatnote|hatnote}}

Al- is not a permanent component of words, as shown here with al-Baḥrayn (or el-Baḥrēn), the Arabic for Bahrain.]]

Al- (Arabic: ال‎{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, also transliterated as el- as pronounced in varieties of Arabic) is the definite article in the Arabic language; a particle (ḥarf) whose function is to render the noun on which it is prefixed definite. For example, the word كتاب{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} kitāb "book" can be made definite by prefixing it with al-, resulting in الكتاب{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} al-kitāb "the book". Consequently, al- is typically translated as the in English.

Unlike most other particles in Arabic, al- is always prefixed to another word and it never stands alone. Consequently, most dictionaries will not list it as a separate word, and it is almost invariably ignored in collation. By the same token, al- is not a permanent component of the word to which it is prefixed. It is added and removed to toggle between the definiteness and indefiniteness of the word.

As a particle, al- does not inflect for gender, plurality, or grammatical case. The sound of the final -l consonant, however, can vary; when followed by a sun letter such as t, d, r, s, n and a few others, it is replaced by the sound of the initial consonant of the following noun, thus doubling it. For example: for "the Nile", one does not say al-Nīl, but an-Nīl. When followed by a moon letter, like m-, no replacement occurs, as in al-masjid ("the mosque"). This affects only the pronunciation and not the spelling of the article.


Arabic definite article sections
Intro   Overview    Etymology    Phonology    Lexicology    Grammar    In other languages    See also   Notes    References    External links   

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: Overview
<<>>