Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition

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(792 words)

, the 27th letter of the Arabic alphabet (or the 26th, if hāʾ is placed after wāw ), with the numerical value 6. It has two principal functions in Arabic orthography, standing either for the semivowel w or for the long vowel ū . Traditional Arabic grammar reduces these two functions to one by analysing ū as short u ( ḍamma ) plus wāw. Wāw also serves (like alif and yāʾ ) as a “support” for medial or final hamza [q.v.], reflecting, according to the most commonly held view, the situation in the ancient dialect of Mecca, where ʾ appears to have shifted to w in certain positions. In the words ulāʾika and ulū , w…

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Blois, F.C. de, “Wāw”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 25 June 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_islam_SIM_7902>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007

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