April 20, 2024

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Al-

Al- also transliterated as el- as pronounced in varieties of Arabic is the definite article in the Arabic language; a particle whose function is to render the noun on which it is prefixed definite. For example, the word “book” can be made definite by prefixing it with al-, resulting in “the book”. Consequently, al- is typically translated as the in English. Unlike most other particles in Arabic, al- is always prefixed to another word and it never stands alone. Consequently, most dictionaries will not list it as a separate word, and it is almost invariably ignored in collation. By the same token, al- is not a permanent component of the word to which it is prefixed. It is added and removed to toggle between the definiteness and indefiniteness of the word. As a particle, al- does not inflect at all–not for gender, plurality, grammatical case, etc.

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