d (?), is one of the six letters the Arabic alphabet added to the twenty-two inherited from the Phoenician alphabet (the others being , , l, , ?ayn). In name and shape, it is a variant of d. Its numerical value is 800 (see Abjad numerals).
The sound it represented at the time of the introduction of the Arabic alphabet is somewhat uncertain, likely a pharyngealized voiced alveolar lateral fricative or a similar affricated sound or . In contemporary Arabic, it may represent a pharyngealized voiced alveolar stop , pharyngealized voiced dental stop or velarized voiced dental stop .
|Position in word:||Isolated||Final||Medial||Initial|
Based on ancient descriptions of this sound, it is clear that in Qur'anic Arabic ? was some sort of unusual lateral sound.Sibawayh, author of the first book on Arabic grammar, explained the letter as being articulated from "between the first part of the side of the tongue and the adjoining molars". It is reconstructed by modern linguists as having been either a pharyngealized voiced alveolar lateral fricative or a similar affricated sound or . The affricated form is suggested by loans of ? into Akkadian as ld or l? and into Malaysian as dl. However, not all linguists agree on this; the French orientalist André Roman supposes that the letter was actually a voiced emphatic alveolo-palatal sibilant , similar to the Polish ?.
This is an extremely unusual sound, and led the early Arabic grammarians to describe Arabic as the lughat a?-d "the language of the d", since the sound was thought to be unique to Arabic. The emphatic lateral nature of this sound is possibly inherited from Proto-Semitic, and is compared to a phoneme in South Semitic languages such as Mehri (where it is usually an ejective lateral fricative). The corresponding letter in the South Arabian alphabet is , and in Ge'ez alphabet appa ?), although in Ge'ez it merged early on with ?.
The reconstruction of Proto-Semitic phonology includes an emphatic voiceless alveolar lateral fricative or affricate for . This sound is considered to be the direct ancestor of Arabic d, while merging with d in most other Semitic languages.
In most Bedouin influenced Arabic vernaculars ? d and ? have been merged quite early. like in the varieties (such as Bedouin and Iraqi), where the dental fricatives are preserved, both the letters are pronounced /ð?/. However, there are dialects in South Arabia and in Mauritania where both the letters are kept different but not in all contexts. In other vernaculars such as Egyptian the distinction between ? d and ? is most of the time made; but Classical Arabic often becomes /z?/, e.g. ?am (< Classical ? ?am) "great".
"De-emphaticized" pronunciation of the both letters in the form of the plain /z/ entered into other non-Arabic languages such as Persian, Urdu, Turkish. However, there do exist Arabic borrowings into Ibero-Romance languages as well as Hausa and Malay, where d and are differentiated.
? is transliterated as ? (D with underdot) in romanization. The combination <dh> is also sometimes used colloquially. In varieties where the d has merged with the , the symbol for the latter might be used for both (eg. <> 'to stay' and <> 'to be lost' may both be transcribed as al in Gulf Arabic).
|Unicode name||ARABIC LETTER DAD|
|UTF-8||216 182||D8 B6|
|Numeric character reference||ض||ض|