gitl_eli7 (gitl_eli7) wrote in linguaphiles,

The Arabic letter "ghayin"

Hi All,

This week in Arabic class the professor was telling us that the letter Ghayin (looks like a backwards 3 with a dot over it - sorry I don't have Arabic on this computer) actually sounds very similar to the Israeli pronounciation of the Hebrew letter "Reish" (ר).  As many students were having trouble pronouncing some of the Arabic sounds, she told us this one shouldn't be hard at all, as we're all Israeli and can easily pronounce the Reish.  But nobody (including me) could get the connection.  She pointed out that the Reish and the "G" sound both come from the same place in the throat and that "Baghdad" is pronounced roughly as "ברדד", which left me muttering that word to myself all day trying to find the connection.  And if it sounds like a "Reish", why is it transliterated as "gh"?

Does anyone know of any linguistic reasons behind this?  I'm stumped.
Tags: arabic

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