sun letter

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sun letter (plural sun letters)

  1. (linguistics) One of fourteen Arabic letters that cause the "L" of a preceding definite article اَل(al-) to be assimilated in pronunciation. The sun letter suppresses the sound of the "L" and then geminates: al + ṣīn = aṣ-ṣīn. The effect of the sun letter is limited to pronunciation and does not affect the spelling, except that a shadda may be written over the sun letter and in the fully vocalised spelling lām lacks any diacritics: الصِّين(aṣ-ṣīn). The fourteen sun letters are ت(t), ث(), د(d), ذ(), ر(r), ز(z), س(s), ش(š), ص(), ض(), ط(), ظ(), ل(l), ن(n). Phonetically, they represent coronal consonants.

Usage notes[edit]

  • In Moroccan and Levantine Arabic, ج(j) is also considered a sun letter, and assimilates with the definite article, as it is pronounced /ʒ/, not /dʒ/.