Alternative forms edit
From Arabic إمالة (ʔimāla, “inclination”). The earliest form of the process, described by the Arab grammarians, was conditioned on the existence of an /i/ before or after the /a/ (somewhat similarly to Germanic umlaut). Hence the /a/ was said to “incline” towards the /i/. In most modern dialects, however, imala is a default development, only hindered by certain adjacent consonants (especially emphatics).
imala (plural imalas)
imala (Cyrillic spelling имала)