Consonant length in Arabic is contrastive: دَرَسَ means "he studied" while دَرَّسَ means "he taught"; بَكَى صَبِيّ means "a youth cried" while بَكَى الصَّبِيّ means "the youth cried". A consonant may be long because of the form of the noun or verb, e.g. the causative form of the verb requires the 2nd consonant of the root to be long, as in above, or by assimilation of consonants, for example the of the Arabic definite article assimilates to all dental consonants, e.g. instead of , or through haplology, that is, the elision of two identical consonants, for example أَقَلّ "less, fewer" instead of أَقْلَل , as compared to أَكْبَر "greater".
The syllable closing with the long consonant is made a long syllable. This affects both stress and prosody. Stress falls on the first long syllable from the end of the word, hence أَقَلّ (or, with i`rab, ) as opposed to أَكْبَر , مَحَبَّة maḥábba "love, agape" as opposed to مَعْرِفَة "[experiential] knowledge". In Arabic verse, when scanning the meter, the syllable closing with the long consonant is counted as long, just like any other syllable closing with a consonant or a syllable ending in a long vowel: أَلا تَمْدَحَنَّ "Will you not indeed praise...?" is scanned as : short, long, long, short, long, short.
In Defense of the Bible: A Critical Edition and an Introduction to al-Biqa'i's Bible Treatise.(Book review)
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