Getting Used to Non-Vowelled Arabic

Vowelled vs. non-vowelled Arabic was actually a huge issue for me when I started out. I started on and stopped using a lot of textbooks because they did not indicate vowels in crucial places. Finally I found that “Ultimate Arabic” uses vowelled texts throughout (except in Review sections), but as a textbook it’s much worse than Teach Yourself for example. The solution came in the form of Langenscheidt Praktisches Lehrbuch Arabisch (2007 edition), which gradually makes the shift towards less vowels and I was able to follow along. The system I now use for my cards is also taken from this book:
1. assume that each Arabic consonant is followed by a short A; the only exception is if it’s the last consonant in a word (i. e. words tend to end in consonants)
2. if the vowel sound is something else, which doesn’t happen all that often, then the other vowel will be indicated with a vowel diacritic, yaa or waaw.
3. if there’s no vowel, i. e. if there’s a consonant cluster, sukoon is on the letter, as usual
4. before long vowels, it is superfluous to indicate the same vowel using a diacritic.

Essentially, it treats Arabic like Devanagari, and with very good results. Arabic texts written this way really have a minimum of diacritics, so it’s easier to get used to not having the vowels. Rule 1 in particular helped me a lot in becoming less dependent on vowellisation. It’s strange that nobody else came up with this suggestion.

Sample text (randomly taken from a children’s book) with full vowellisation:
يَزُولُ خَوْفِي حِينَ يُشْعِلُ بَابَا النُّورَ الصَّفِيرَ فِي غُرْفَتِي

Same text with this system:
يزولُ خَوْفي حينَ يُشْعِلُ بابا النّورَ الصّفيرَ في غُرْفني

Same text non-vowelled:
يزول خوفي حين يشعل بابا النّور الصّفير في غرفني