This article needs attention from an expert in linguistics.January 2010)(
In some Semitic languages, such as Literary Arabic, nunation (Arabic: تَنوِين tanwīn) is the addition of one of three vowel diacritics (Arabic: حَرَكَات ḥarakāt) to a noun or adjective to indicate that the word ends in an alveolar nasal without the addition of the letter nūn. The noun phrase is fully declinable and syntactically unmarked for definiteness.
|Nunation - tanwīn تَنْوِين|
|Example on the word بيت bayt|| |
When writing Literary Arabic in full diacritics, there are three nunation diacritics, which indicate the suffixes -un (IPA: /-un/) (nominative case), -in /-in/ (genitive), and -an /an/ (accusative). The orthographical rules for nunation with the fatḥah sign ـً is by an additional ا alif (اً modern style, diacritic above alif; or ـًا classical style, diacritic before alif), above ةً (tāʾ marbūṭah تاء مربوطة) or above ءً (hamzah همزة).
In spoken Arabic, nunation only exists in a few expressions, with -an.
Since Arabic has no indefinite article, nouns that are nunated are often indefinite. However, many definite nouns can also be nunated: for example, in the expression أَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ الله (ashhadu anna Muḥammadan rasūlu l-lāh(i) /ʔaʃ.ha.du ʔan.na mu.ħam.ma.dan ra.suː.lul.laː(.hi)/ "I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God."), in which the name محمد Muḥammad, a definite noun, is nunated to مُحَمَّدًا Muḥammadan to indicate that it is in the accusative case (because it follows ّأن.) Names of people are treated as definite nouns in the grammar of Literary Arabic.