Arabic script

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on
updated

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Used for many languages.

أبجد Abjad

Four long vowels
  • ا
    alef


  • waw

  • ي
    yeh

  • ا
    alef

Regular consonants.
Emphatic consonants

صاد (sawed) vs ساد (sad)

smile when you say daal, but put your lips like you are kissing when you say dad.

Catch → caught
Loot → glut
Keep → kept

Hamza

أ / إ
Arabic words may not begin with long vowels, but with a hamza and a short vowel. Here the alef is merely a placeholder.

Connectors vs non-connectors

ا
الف alef

ah as in father, or a deeper sound.

InitialMedialFinal
Letterا
Example

ب
باء beh

B as in bib

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Exampleنازاڕفايبه رفيليب

باب bab
Means door, entrance, gateway, or chapter/section (and figuratively, the domain/field).

ت
تاء taa

t as in cat, baton.

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Exampleتوتبَيْت

بات bat
Beetle

ث
ثاء thaa

th with the tongue further beyond the teeth than in ذال thaal -- ثاء thaa is the th in teeth but not teething; in moth but not mother; in Seth or Beth but not leather.

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Example

ثابت
Constant, immovable, unchanging.

ح
حاء haa

The h comes from the lower throat and does not have a cognate in English. H as in happy.

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Exampleحبيبمحسين

حبيب
Darling (male)

ج
جيم jeem/geem

Pronounced as g in Egypt, and j elsewhere.

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Example

حجاب‎ hijab

جار neighbor

خ
خاء khaa


InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Example

أخبار news

بخت
Luck, good fortune

د
دال daal

D as in dear, deep but not puddle.

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Example

دجاج chicken


ذال thaal

The th is ذال thaal is like 'this' as opposed to the th ثاء thaa.

The tongue barely emerges from the teeth, if it all. ذال Thaal is the th in bother but not booth; in bathing but not bath; in slither but not sleuth. Weather, that.


InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Example

ر
راء raa

R

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Example

ورود roses


ﺯاي zaa

Z as in uzz.

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Example

خبز bread

حزب political party

زوج spouse (m)

زوجة spouse (f)

س
سين seen

S as in silk.

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Exampleسين

دَرْس
Lesson

أُستاذ
Teacher

سوريا Syria

ش
شين shin

Sh as in sure.

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Example

شاي shai (tea)

بَشير Basheer
A common surname

حشيش hashish
Grass

شَباب shabab
Youth, young people, guys

ص
صاد saad

Ss as in whistle.

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Example

صَباح sabaa
Morning

ض
ضاد daad

This is a d where it feels like no air is escaping the mouth when it is pronounced. D as in burden.

InitialMedialFinal
Letterﺿ
Example

أَخْضَرْ
Green

حاضِر
Ok/alright/affirmative (present in attendance)

ط
طاء ttaa

T as in take.

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Example

ظ
ظاء dhaa

Z

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Example

ع
عين ayin

Practice pronouncing عين ayin by moving only your throat, not your mouth. It is like an ah noise from deeper in the throat.

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Example

غ
غين ghain

The gh in Baghdad.

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Example

ف
فاء faa

The f in after.

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Exampleافغانستان

ق
قاف qaaf

The ck in beckon.

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Example

ك
كاف kaph

The ch or k in chip or kick.

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Example


لام laam

The l in balloon.

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Example

Laam may superficially seem like it resembles alef. However, the two are impossible to confuse because alef is a non-connector. Further, when ل laam is followed by ا alef the letters combine.


InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Exampleتبدلاهلال

م
ميم meem

The m in melon.

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Exampleماکهرۆنى

ن
نون nun

The n in money.

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Example

ه
هاء haa

The h in Tahiti.

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Example


واو waw

The w in woe, or the u in bull.

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Example

ي
ياء yeh

J/y

InitialMedialFinal
Letter
Example

ء
همزة hamza

A break or end in a sound.

Vowel diacritics

َ
فَتحة fatha

Soundshort allama
Lone
Start
Middle
End
بَّ bbu

Sound
Lone
Start
Middle
End
بِّ bbi

Sound
Lone
Start
Middle
End
بَّ bba

Sound
Lone
Start
Middle
End
بّ bb

Sound
Lone
Start
Middle
End
بْ b

Sound
Lone
Start
Middle
End
بُو b¯u

Sound
Lone
Start
Middle
End
بِي b¯i

Sound
Lone
Start
Middle
End
بِ bi

Sound
Lone
Start
Middle
End
Double fatha

Gives an n sound.

Special cases

اء vs أ إ

Many colors begin with the alif.

أُجذ I love/like

س vs ص

د vs ض

Tar mabuta

سَيَّدة vs سَيَُد (lady vs mister)

Additional symbols

گ
گاف

The g in bagel.

ى

The j in pillage; the a in shura.

Special cases


Allah

Numerals

East Arabic١٢٣٤٥٦٧٨٩٠
Persian variants۵۶
West Arabic1234567890

The Arabic character set is also used for Farsi, Pashto, Kurdish and other languages with some minor modifications.

Pashto characters

ټ

t

څ

ts, dz

ډ

d

ړ

r

ږ

z, g

ښ

x, s

ڼ

n

ئ

ey, ei

ۍ

ey, ei

ې

e

InitialMedialFinal
Letter

ݒ

p

Kurdish characters

ڕ

Rr

ێ

The Ê in aire, faire.

ۆ

Oh.