Hamza - Wikipedia
  (Redirected from Hamzah)
This article is about the letter. For other uses, see Hamza (disambiguation). For the name transcribed by the same spelling, see Hamza (name).
Not to be confused with ع (‘ayn), which has a similar looking initial form.
Hamza (Arabic: همزة‎‎, hamzah) (ء) is a letter in the Arabic alphabet, representing the glottal stop [ʔ]. Hamza is not one of the 28 "full" letters and owes its existence to historical inconsistencies in the standard writing system. It is derived from the Arabic letter ʿAyn (ع). In the Phoenician and Aramaic alphabets, from which the Arabic alphabet is descended, the glottal stop was expressed by alif (𐤀‎), continued by Alifا‎ ) in the Arabic alphabet. However, Alif was used to express both a glottal stop and also a long vowel /aː/. In order to indicate that a glottal stop is used, and not a mere vowel, it was added to Alif diacritically. In modern orthography, hamza may also appear on the line, under certain circumstances as though it were a full letter, independent of an Alif.
Writing systemArabic script
Language of originArabic language
Phonetic usage/ʔ/
Unicode codepoint
U+0621 arabic letter hamza
This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and ⟨ ⟩, see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.
Hamza is derived from the verb hamaza (Arabic: هَمَزَ‎‎) meaning 'to prick, goad, drive' or 'to provide (a letter or word) with hamzah'.[1]
Hamzat al-waṣl (ٱ)
See also: Arabic definite article and sun and moon letters
The letter hamza (ء‎) on its own always represents hamzat al-qaṭ‘ (هَمْزَة الْقَطْع‎, "the hamzah which breaks, ceases or halts", i.e. the broken, cessation, halting"), that is, a phonemic glottal stop unlike the hamzat al-waṣl (هَمْزَة الوَصْل‎, "the hamzah which attaches, connects or joins", i.e. the attachment, connection, joining"), a non-phonemic glottal stop produced automatically only if at the beginning of an utterance, otherwise assimilated. Although it can be written as an alif carrying a waṣlah sign ٱ (only in the Quran), it is normally indicated by a plain alif without a hamza.[2]
   occurs in:

  • the definite article al-
  • some short words with two of their three-consonant roots apparent: ism اسْم‎, ibn ابْن‎, imru'امْرُؤ‎ (fem. امْرَأَة‎), ithnāni اثْنَانِ‎ (fem. ithnatāni اثْنَتَانِ‎)
  • the imperative verbs of forms I and VII to X
  • the perfective aspect of verb forms VII to X and their verbal nouns
  • some borrowed words that start with consonant clusters such as istūdiyū
It is not pronounced following a vowel (البَيْتُ الكَبِير‎, al-baytu l-kabīru). This event occurs in the definite article or at the beginning of a noun following a preposition or a verb following a relative pronoun. If the definite article al- is followed by a sun letter, -l- also gives way for the next letter for lām is assimilated.
The Hamza can be written either alone, as if it were a letter, or with a carrier, when it becomes a diacritic:
Alone: (only one isolated form):
Position in word:IsolatedFinalMedialInitial
Glyph form:
By itself, as a high Hamza (not used in Arabic language; only one isolated form, but actually used in medial and final positions where it will be non joining), after any Arabic letter (if that letter has an initial or medial form, these forms will be changed to isolated or final forms respectively):
Position in word:IsolatedFinalMedialInitial
Glyph form:
Combined with a letter:
Above or below an Alif:
Position in word:IsolatedFinalMedialInitial
Glyph form:
Position in word:IsolatedFinalMedialInitial
Glyph form:
Above a Wāw:
Position in word:IsolatedFinalMedialInitial
Glyph form:
Above a dotless Yāʾ, also called
همزة على نبرةHamza ʿAlā Nabrah / Yāʾ Hamza. Joined medially and finally in Arabic, other languages written in Arabic-based script may have it initially as well (or it may take its isolated or initial shape, even in Arabic, after a non-joining letter in the same word):
Position in word:IsolatedFinalMedialInitial
Glyph form:
Above Hāʾ. In the Persian alphabet, not used in Arabic:
Position in word:IsolatedFinalMedialInitial
Glyph form:
Above Ḥāʾ. In the Pashto alphabet, not used in Arabic:
Position in word:IsolatedFinalMedialInitial
Glyph form:
Above Rāʾ. In the Khowar alphabet, not used in Arabic:
Position in word:IsolatedFinalMedialInitial
Glyph form:
Arabic "seat" rules
The rules for writing hamza differ somewhat between languages even if the writing is based on the Arabic abjad. The following addresses Arabic specifically.
Detailed description
I. If the hamza is initial:
II. If the hamza is final:
III. If the hamza is medial:
If a long vowel or diphthong precedes, the seat of the hamza is determined mostly by what follows:
Otherwise, both preceding and following vowels have an effect on the hamza.
Not surprisingly, the complexity of the rules causes some disagreement.
Overview tables
The letter ط‎‎ () stands here for any consonant.
Note: The table shows only potential combinations and their graphic representations according to the spelling rules; not every possible combination exists in Arabic.
Other cases
  The hamza is written over yāʾ ئ
  The hamza is written over wāw ؤ
  The hamza is written over or under alif أ‎‎, آ‎‎, إ
  The hamza is written on the line ء
^ a b Arabic writing has tried to avoid two consecutive wāws, however, in Modern Arabic this rule is less applicable, thus modern رُؤُوسruʾūs "heads" corresponds to رُءُوس‎ in the Quran.
Hamza in other Arabic-based scripts
Urdu/Shahmukhi script
In Urdu script, hamza does not occur at the initial position over alif since alif is not used as a glottal stop in Urdu. In the middle position, if hamza is surrounded by vowels, it indicates a diphthong between the two vowels. In the middle position, if hamza is surrounded by only one vowel, it takes the sound of that vowel. In the final position hamza is silent or produces a glottal sound, as in Arabic.
In Urdu, hamza usually represents a diphthong between two vowels. It rarely acts like the Arabic hamza except in a few loanwords from Arabic.
Hamza is also added at the last letter of the first word of ezāfe compound to represent -e- if the first word ends with yeh or with he or over bari yeh if it is added at the end of the first word of the ezāfe compound.
Hamza is always written on the line in the middle position unless in waw if that letter is preceded by a non-joiner letter; then, it is seated above waw. Hamza is also seated when written above bari yeh. In the final form, Hamza is written in its full form. In ezāfe, hamza is seated above he, yeh or bari yeh of the first word to represent the -e- of ezāfe compound.
Uyghur script
In the Uyghur Arabic alphabet the hamza is not a distinct letter and is not generally used to denote the glottal stop, but rather to indicate vowels. The hamza is only depicted with vowels in their initial or isolated forms, and only then when the vowel starts a word. It is also occasionally used when a word has two vowels in a row.[3]
Latin representations
There are different ways to represent hamza in Latin transliteration:
See also
  1. ^ Wehr, Hans (1994). "همز ‎hamaza". In Cowan, J. M. (ed.). The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Arabic (4th ed.). Otto Harrassowitz KG. ISBN 978-0-87950-003-0.
  2. ^ Wright, W. Smith, W. Robertson. Goeje, M. J. de. (1996). A grammar of the Arabic language. At the Univ. Press. OCLC 484549376.
  3. ^ Nazarova, Gulnisa; Niyaz, Kurban (December 2013). Uyghur: An Elementary Textbook (Bilingual ed.). Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press. pp. 5–8. ISBN 9781589016842.
External links
Interactive lesson for learning hamza
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hamza.
Last edited on 10 May 2021, at 15:24
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