Arabic Alphabet

Today I will teach you the Arabic alphabet. If you follow everything provided in this page, you will be able to read, write and pronounce the Arabic letters quickly and easily. I'm providing the sound so that you can hear the pronunciation of the characters. Arabic contains 28 letters (consonants and vowels). Below you will find the character, the pronunciation and sound. Once you're done with this lesson, I recommend visiting the Arabic keyboard to practice.

أ[a] Audio
ب[b] Audio
ت[t] Audio
ث[th] Audio
ج‎[j] Audio
ح‎[h] Audio
خ‎[kh] Audio
د‎[d] Audio
ذ‎[th] Audio
ر‎[r] Audio
ز‎[z] Audio
س‎‎[s] Audio
ش‎‎[sh] Audio
ص‎[s] Audio
ض‎[d] Audio
ط‎[t] Audio
ظ‎[th] Audio
ع‎['] Audio
غ‎[gh] Audio
ف‎[f] Audio
ق‎[q] Audio
ك‎[k] Audio
ل‎[l] Audio
م‎[m] Audio
ن‎[n] Audio
ه‎[h] Audio
و‎[w] Audio
ي[i] Audio

The Arabic alphabet is written from right to left and has no capital letters. The Arabic script is called a running script. While in Latin script there is the option to write the letters separate or attached to each other, In Arabic however you are forced to write MOST of the letters attached.

Consonants are used more than vowels; in fact, only long vowels are used, short vowels are omitted. For example the color "indigo" is pronounced banafsaji but written as bnfsji بنفسجي . As you can see, the word bnfsji is missing three vowels, but that is not a bad thing, the word is still clear but also shorter. It is not hard to read without vowels. Imagine I ask you to read a phrase in English which doesn’t have many vowels, try to read this: My brthr hs tw chldrn, my sstr hs svn kds. I don’t think it will be hard for you to read it, even without vowels. My brother has two children, my sister has seven kids. So in Arabic you don’t need to write vowels because people will understand what you mean without them.

Since the script is cursive, the appearance of a letter changes depending on its position: isolated, beginning (joined on the left), middle (joined on both sides), and end (joined on the right) of a word. This is only done because for esthetic reasons. Letters look more beautiful that way. This fact is not very different from the English way of writing in Cursive. Look at this word mmm:

Character

The green m looks different than the red one, because it starts the word; the blue letter looks also different (shorter tail) because it ends the word. Same thing with Arabic, the letter is slightly different depending on its position in a word. Here is an example, the letter m in Arabic looks like this:

Alphabet

The first green m looks slightly different than the second red m, the last blue m has a longer tail because it doesn’t have to connect to any letter to the left.

One last thing, we mentioned before that Arabic does not use short vowels that much. In most cases it’s true. It’s assumed you already know what is meant without thee vowels. Sometimes, however, they might be needed. For example, if I remove the vowels from the word "help" we get "hlp", you can still understand it means "help". But if we write "wnd", does it mean "wind" or "wound"? That’s why the context is very important. So if I say "The wnd blew my hat away", you would assume I meant "wind" not "wound" because the latter doesn’t make sense in the sentence, that’s how Arabic deals with this situation. However, sometimes even the context is not helpful. What do we do? We actually use the short vowels sometimes, by adding small characters on top or below a letter, called "diacritics". Look at the example here.

Letter
  • The character on top of the green "m" means "a", so we get "ma".
  • The character on top of the red "m" means "o", so we get "mo".
  • The character on top of the blue "m" means "i", so we get "mi". The whole word is pronounced "mamomi" (from left to right).

Now let’s look at the Arabic example, remember, with Arabic we start from the right:

Alphabet
  • The character on top of the green "m" means "a", so we get "ma".
  • The character on top of the red "m" means "o", so we get "mo".
  • The character on top of the blue "m" means "i", so we get "mi". The whole word is pronounced "mamomi" (from right to left).

In short, you will not see these characters a lot, unless you’re reading the Qur'an or children’s books. You don’t really need them anyways.

Alphabet Practice:

Can you read the following words?

  1. کانادا
  2. اسپانیا
  3. استرالیا

Remember that letters start from right to left, so to be able to decipher the words you need to start with the first letter on the right. For example the word تایلند, it starts from right with

  • ت = T
  • ا = A
  • ي = Y
  • ل = L
  • ن = N
  • د = D

Answers

  1. Canada
  2. Aspania (Spain)
  3. Astralia (Australia)

I hope you enjoyed this lesson about the alphabet in Arabic. I recommend visiting the Arabic keyboard to practice. If you have any question about this lesson please contact me here. The next lesson is below.

Arabic Lessons   Arabic Lessons

Arabic Adjectives   Arabic Adjectives



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