Lesson # 4


Note: Now we know all the shapes of all letters when they are joined to form a word in Urdu. Let us go to new lesson…

Vowels in Urdu (Huroof Ill-lat)  ( ا۔ و۔ی) حروف علت

There are vowels in every language. In English we have five vowels, A, E, I, O, U. Vowels in Urdu are called Huroof Ill-lat. And consonants are called Huroof Sahih. The vowels in Urdu are three, which are Alif   ا,   Waoو   and Ya  ی. These are used to make the sound of a letter long, with which they are attached. Corresponding to these three vowels letters there are three short vowels represented by three different signs. These are named as Zabar, Zear, and Pesh. (It is also called HARKAT, means movement)


A dash, ( Zabar) is placed over letter Bay (or any letter) it sounds like Baa بَ 

A dash, (Zear) is placed under letter Bay (or any letter) it sounds like Bee     بِ

A wao, (Pesh) is placed over letter Bay (or any letter) it sounds like Bo  بُ        


Now we will see what happens when these vowels are attached to a letter.


When any letter has a Zabar sign and Alif, Zear sign and Ye or Pesh sign and Wao, it extends the sound of letter longer.....( it is measured in term of time taken to count one, two  i.e. two counts)


Ba +ja= baja =  بَاجَا

A combination of letter bay with zabar (a short vowel ) and vowel alif  = بَ + ا 

A combination of letter jeem with zabar, a short vowel and vowel alif   = ا +جَ  

De + De = sister   =     دِیدِی

A combination of letter dal with zer (a short vowel) and vowel ye = ی + دِ   

دِ +ی  =  A combination of letter dal with zer, a short vowel and vowel ye )


Joo + Ta = shoe     =  جُوتَا 

A combination of jeem with pesh ( a short vowel) and vowel wao =  جُ + و  

A combination of tey with zabar  (a short vowel) and vowel alif   =     تَ + ا


Other than Zabar, Zear and Pesh, there are three more signs, called Mad, Jazam and Tashdeed.


It is interesting to note that these Zabar, Zear, Pesh and other signes are not used  frequently in Urdu. It is understood by prctice, what sign is there on a letter


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Mad is a long dash like sign, which is placed over a letter.  آ  بٓ when this sign is placed then the sound of the letter is extended for four counts (the time you take to count three to four)

Like    آ =Aa+a+a ( Aaaa) and

=  بَ          Ba+a+a (Baaa)



Jazam is a sign placed over a letter to join it with  the letter before it, and that letter will be having a short vowel over it.

Examples of two letters, joined together.

Like     when ( jab )    جَبۡ =   

            Heart ( dil )    = دِلۡ        

            Listen (so-n ) = سُنۡ                                                                      

Example of more than two letters, joined together


Ap+na  =  Apna  = Our  =  اَپۡنَا  

A combination of letter Alif with zabar and letter Noon with jazam

It sounds as Ap (like in English up) second combination is letter Noon with zabar and Alif, which sound as Na … i.e Apna

Ap+na = Apna


Bak +Ri= Bakri = Goat =    بَکۡرِی

A combination of letter Bey with zabar and letter kaaf with jazam, it sounds as Bak, and second combination is letter Rey with zer and small ye, which sounds as Ri.

Bak+Ri = Bakri


Joo + ta = Joota = shoe  = جُوتَا


A combination of letter Jeem with pesh and letter wao, it sounds as Joo, and second combination is letter Tey with zabar and letter Alif. Which sounds as Ta

Joo + ta = Joota



Tashdeed is used to read a letter two times. First time it is treated as jazam, that is to join it with the letter before it and then read the same letter with the sign what so over it.


Jan + nat = Paradise =   جَنَّتۡ  نَتۡ  =   جَنۡ +


Letter Noon has Tshdeed and Zabar, and first letter Jeem has Zabar and last letter has Jazam. Letter Jeem with Zabar is joined to Noon, it gives a sound as Jan. Then the second letter Noon has a Zabar also and next letter is Tey with jazam. It gives a sound of nat.

Jan + nat = Jannat

We will do more exercise on formation of words in the next lesson.