Amorphous al-ha’ in Arabic
Keywords:Amorphous, al-hā’, Arabic, language, phonetics, grammar
It is well known that in Arabic there is one group of consonants called weak (hurufu l-‘illati). These phonemes, in addition to their phonetic characteristics (data of both vowels and consonants at the same time), stand out among other consonants by the ability to appear or disappear from the formal composition of the word as necessary, as well as the ability to replace each other. This is how w, y, and hamza behave: in masdars of R3 = w or R3 = y roots, hamza appears in all derivative forms with initial ’alif; R1= w and R1 = y verbs lose the weak first root consonant in Imperfect and Imperative forms; hamza appears in some models of flexion plurals in nouns without a hamza in the root, etc. But in Arabic, there is another consonant characterized by similar traits. The article deals with guttural deaf fricative h (al-ha’u) which could be dropped out easily or appear (where its appearance is not caused by the clear grammatical or semantic reason), substitute some other consonants; at the same time, through the substitution, it can create a lexical pair with minimal/zero difference in semantics through neglecting its distinct function. Besides, the consonant reveals these, conditionally “amorphous”, features at the common Semitic scale, as well as within one language: diglossive vertical or bi-lingual flatness. Based on these characteristics, in the present article, it is qualified as “amorphous”. The issue is analyzed against the background of data of Semitic languages, more specifically – literary Arabic and Arabic dialects.