alef, ayin

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Wed Jan 23 20:46:06 EST 2002

>I was taught that Alef and ayin should be thaught of as silent until I get
>fluent. Where can I hear them pronounced on the WEB?

The alef is a "sound" that English speakers use a lot. Contradict someone by saying
a-a, and between these two "a" is an alef, ie a closure of the glottis (in your
throat). Pick up something heavy and the first thing you usually do is close your glottis. Normally, when you start a communication
with a vowel, you put a glottal closure in front unconsciously. "Are you ready?", should start with the glottis
closed, ie you make an alef.

An ayin is similar to an alef, but with force to break the closure of the glottis.

I don't know if hearing them detached from a linguistic act will help much.


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