7 November 2013

Substitution, Conversion & Incorporation in Arabic Letters 1 - Introduction

InshaALLAH! in this series these 3 important features of Arabic will be discussed. This is not an advanced topic, but one of the basics, since these 3 concepts have been used in the Qur'an. Knowing these concepts is important for identifying roots also.

Substitution and Conversion:
The term Conversion is only used for conversions between these 4: 
 أ ا و ي
and examples of conversion into each of them are found in The Qur'an. Conversion is also a kind of Substitution. Conversion is transmutation of the letter into the form of another letter.

Substitution in its main sense is used for substituting a letter in the place of another letter. It is  replacement by removal. The original letter is removed and in its place, the substitute letter is placed.  Different lists exist on letters that can become substitute for another letter. Different scholars have presented different lists. 1 such list is:
أ ا ت ج د ز س ص ط ل م ن ه و ي 
Some of the letters used in The Qur'an as substitute for another letter, in other than conversion role include :
أ ت ص ه ي

Every conversion is a substitution, but every substitution is not a conversion. Conversion is a type and subcategory of substitution. 

2 similar letters are combined together, making one doubled letter, represented by shaddah above it.

Shaddah شَدَّة is used to indicate doubling of a letter .

Substitution for the Sake of Incorporation:
In some cases, the 2 letters are not the same and 1 of the 2 letters is substituted for the other also and then both letters combined together. 

Substitution : Replacement by Removal
Conversion : Transmutation
Incorporation: Combining/Doubling
Substitution for Incorporation : Replacement by Removal , then combining the similar letters.

Alteration is more appropriate/suitable in the final and least appropriate/suitable in the initial, i.e. the more a letter is towards the end, the more chances of alteration in it.

Relevant details of all will inshaALLAH be discussed in coming posts on this series.

The main books used while preparing this series are Howell's Arabic Grammar Book 6 and Book 7.