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The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Al

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AL, il, or ul (improperly pronounced by those of other nations el), the Arabic definite article, and indeed the only article in use in the Arabic language, words indefinitely used standing alone, as yad, a hand, al or il yad, the hand. When this article stands before a lingual or dental (of which there are in Arabic 13, called shamsi), the sound of the letter l (lam) is dropped for the sake of euphony, and the initial dental or lingual takes a double sound; thus, il shams, the sun, is pronounced ish shams. When the word preceding the article ends in a long vowel, a wasla (marked thus ~) is placed over the a (alif), indicating that it is to be dropped in pronunciation, and the l joined to the vowel sound. Thus, Abu il Feda is pronounced Abulfeda.