There are 17 most important characteristics of letters (pronunciation ways) they are divided into two types:
1. Sounds that have opposites, there are ten of them (five are the opposite of the other five).
2. Sounds for which there are no opposites, there are seven of them.
The whispered and the voiced
The whisper (al-hams — الْهَمْسُ) —weak or slight continuation of breath (whispering, expulsion of air) upon pronunciation of the letter when it carries a sukoon. This is a group of the whispered consonants.
The voiced (аl-Jahr — الْجَهْرُ) — the stoppage of breath upon pronunciation of a letter when it carries a sukoon. During the pronunciation of such letters, there is a trembling of the vocal cords and a delay in breathing. The remaining letters belong to the voiced consonants.
The whispered letters are compelled in the words:
All the other letters are considered to be the voiced ones.
Fluency and desistance
Fluency (al-Izlaaq — الْإِذْلَاقُ) — means the articulation of the letters with utmost ease from the sides of the tongue or lips. Fluent (or smooth) consonants, the tongue is free and the sound goes easily and smoothly.
Such letters are compelled in the words:
Desistance (al-Ismat — الْإِصْمَاتُ) — these are the consonants which are not fluent or smooth.
Velarization and non-velarization. Velarization (al-Itlaaq الْإِطْلَاقُ) — means pressing a part of the tongue to the upper palate during the pronunciation of letters. There is a difference between الْإِطْبَاقُ and الْإِسْتِعْلَاءُ: al-Istiala (الْإِسْتِعْلَاءُ) — means
raising the back of the tongue to the palate, but there is no need to touch the palate by the tongue. And al-Itbaaq (الْإِطْبَاقُ) means raising much of the tongue to the palate with a touch.
The following 4 letters have this characteristic:
Non-velarization (in the Arabic language, al-infitah means separation — الْنْفِتَحُ) — It is the act of leaving an opening between the tongue and the palate (separation) when pronouncing the letters. Technically, there is an interval between the tongue and the palate which does not limit the airflow for the sound to come out.
All the remaining letters have this characteristic.
Elevation and lowering
Elevation (al-Istiala— الْإِسْتِعْلَاءُ) — means raising the back of the tongue to the upper palate during the pronunciation of the letters. When pronouncing such letters, the back of the tongue rises to the hard back palate, and the root of the tongue moves back to the uvula, speech organs are tense. These letters are heavy-mouthed.
Such letters are compelled in the following words:
Lowering (al-Istifal — الْإِسْتِفَالُ) —means lowering the back of the tongue during the pronunciation of the letters. There is no sharp rise when pronouncing this group of letters. The speech organs are not tense. These letters are soft, so vowel sounds with these letters are also pronounced softly.
Intensity, moderation and flexibility
Intensity (ash-shidda — الشِّدَّةُ) — It is a stop of the sound flow during the pronunciation, the sound stops because it leans on its makhraj. First, the speech organs close and then open instantaneously.
These letters are compelled in this sentence:
Moderation (at-Tawassut — التَّوَسُّطُ) — this is moderation between الشِّدَّةُ and الرَّخَاوَةُ pronunciation should be an average between a strong and weak sound, it is not cut off nor is continued.
This quality is found in the following letters:
Flexibility (ar-Rakhawa — الرَّخَاوَةُ) — This is the sound flow as you pronounce the letters, that is the sound of the letter continues.
Whistling (as-Safeer — الصَّفِيرُ) — a sound similar to the whistling of the birds, it strengthens because of sukoon الْوَسْوَسُ. It is an increasing sound that comes out from between the teeth and the tip of the tongue.
Disturbance (al-Qalqala— الْقَلْقَلَةُ) it is a sound made when pronouncing saakeena letters. Voiced, plosive consonants. This refers to the vibrations of sound during the articulation of the letters and a strong «emphasis» is heard on the letters as well.
These letters are compelled in this sentence:
Softness (ал-Лин — اللِّينُ) — a gentle and effortless pronunciation. This is a weak characteristic. The letters concerned are the و and ي having a sukoon and preceded by a fathah.
Deviation of the airflow (al-Inhiraf — الإِنْحِرَافُ) during the pronunciation of the letter. This is a permanent characteristic of ر ل, and in order to pronounce them the airflow deviates from the articulation of ن. As for ل, the sound is deflected towards the sides of the tongue.
The articulation of ر is a little above the tip of the tongue towards the back of it.
Repetition (at-Takreer — التَّكْرِيرُ) — It is the vibration of the tip of the tongue as the letter is pronounced. This sifat should not be applied with exaggeration as this leads to the occurrence of several letters ر instead of one.
Propagation (at-Tafashee — التَّفَشِّى) of the air between the tongue and the upper palate when the letter is spoken.
Elongation (al-Istitala — الْإِسْتِطَالَةُ) — means lengthening of the sound when pronouncing the letter.