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Learn the Arabic Alphabet from A to Z!

Learning to speak a new language is exciting; learning to write a new language is even more exciting! It will open new worlds for you. So, dig into these tips and advice for learning how to master the Arabic alphabet easily - at ArabicPod101 we make it easy, fun and relevant for you!

Starting anything from scratch can be challenging, especially if you learn how to write in a language completely different from your own. It is really like navigating through a territory that is completely unknown to you.

However, this need not be a big hurdle or a problem! At ArabicPod101, we introduce you to Arabic writing in simple, easy-to-follow steps, and you can ask for advice or help anywhere along the way. It is important to master the Arabic alphabet completely from the start.

Download Your Free Guide to Beginner Arabic!

If you want to master the Arabic language and become fluent, you must learn the Arabic alphabet letters first. And you need physical worksheets to practice on.

This eBook is a MUST-HAVE for all Arabic learning beginners!

Free Arabic eBook

Download your Free Arabic practice sheets PDF today and learn the Arabic language in no time!
This is a must-have guide for absolute beginners

Introduction

Arabic uses the Arabic alphabet as its writing system. The Arabic alphabet originated from Aramaic, and although Arabic inscriptions appear most commonly after the birth of Islam in the seventh century , the origin of the Arabic alphabet lies deeper in time.

The Nabataeans, who established a kingdom in what is modern-day Jordan from the second century B.C., were Arabs. They wrote with a highly cursive Aramaic-derived alphabet that would eventually evolve into the Arabic alphabet. The Nabataeans endured until the year 106 A.D., when they were conquered by the Romans.

Nabataean inscriptions continue to appear until the fourth century A.D., coinciding with the first inscriptions in the Arabic alphabet, which are also found in Jordan.

The Arabic alphabet is used in Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Pashto, Baloch, Malay, Hausa in West Africa, Mandinka, Swahili in East Africa, Balti, Brahui, Panjabi in Pakistan, Kashmiri, Sindhi in India and Pakistan, Arwi in Sri Lanka, Uyghur in China, Kazakh in China, Kyrgyz in China, Azerbaijani in Iran, Kurdish in Iraq and Iran, and the language of the former Ottoman Empire.

In order to accommodate the needs of these other languages, new letters and other symbols have been added to the original alphabet.

The spoken dialects are used to communicate verbally while standard Arabic is used in the written form.

Alphabet

The Arabic alphabet consists of three vowels and twenty-eight consonants. In total there are twenty-eight characters.

Arabic does not have words written with separate letters, which is why each letter has three forms: beginning, medial, and end, plus the isolated form.

If you know the Arabic alphabet, Hebrew, Amharic, Persian, and Turkish may be easier to understand and learn also, mainly because these come from the same family, or use the same alphabet system, also there is a lot of common words between them, so it all connects.

Arabic Alphabet Chart

Alphabet

The prospect of learning a new language can be scary, especially when that language has an entirely different alphabet than you are accustomed to using in your Native language. The Arabic alphabet is unique and learning this alphabet will be a primary aspect of your early Arabic lessons.

It is not impossible to learn how to speak Arabic without understanding the alphabet. While you are learning Arabic phrases and vocabulary you will be seeing the words transliterated, meaning that they are taken out of the Arabic alphabet and put into English lettering so that they can be understood by those learning the language.

Of course, you can also learn how to speak Arabic by listening to Native speakers. An Arabic podcast or Arabic television are great ways to immerse yourself in the language so that it can be learned more quickly, especially as a supplement to traditional written Arabic lessons.

Though early lessons may utilize phonetic spellings to help you learn Arabic vocabulary, to truly be able to communicate in the language, including reading text in real-life applications, you will need to understand the Arabic alphabet. This will help you to read Arabic texts, including an Arabic dictionary, which will help you to continue learning vocabulary.

The Arabic alphabet consists of 28 letters. Because these letters generally correspond to consonants, the alphabet is classified technically as an abjad. There are two sequences for the alphabet. One is derived from the Phoenecian alphabet and is used only when lettering is required because letters in this ordering are also used as numbers. The second ordering is used when both letters and numbers are required.

As you are learning the Arabic alphabet you must also begin mastering other aspects of understanding and communicating in the language, including Arabic accents and grammar rules. This is due to the fact that short vowels are almost always omitted in the written version of the language. Though not necessarily the case in educational settings, such as formal Arabic lessons because the vowels are important to proper grammar, this will be the case in most other forms of written language so understanding of the language will help readers put the words in context so they can be interpreted properly.

Letter Name Romanization Pronunciation (IPA)

ا

alif

aa

At the beginning of a word, the letter alif assimilates the sound of the vowel immediately before or after it. /a/, /i/, /u/
In the middle of a word, the letter alif makes the sound /aː/.
The exact sound of alif depends on the letters around it. When immediately following a Haa’, Saad, Daad, Taa’, DHaa’, or qaaf, the letter alif makes the sound [ɑ] like the ‘a’ in father.
Regional variations can also change this vowel: [ɑ],[a],[æ],[e].

ب

baa’

b

Like the ‘b’ in ‘boy’: /b/

ت

taa’

t

Like the ‘t’ in ’stop’: /t/

ث

thaa’

th

Like the ‘th’ in ‘three’. /θ/

ج

jiim

j
g

This letter has some regional variation.
Qu’raanic Arabic uses the hard ‘j’ sound in ‘jump’. /dʒ/
Egyptian variations use the hard ‘g’ sound in ‘go’. /g/
Most other varieties use the soft ‘j’ sound like the ’s’ in measure. /ʒ/

ح

Haa’

H

This sound does not exist in English.
It is a voiceless pharyngeal fricative: /ħ/
It is a hard ‘h’ sound produced by tightening the muscles in your throat.

خ

khaa’

kh

This sound does not exist in English.
It is a voiceless velar fricative: /x/
It is a rolling ‘k’ sound produced in the back of the mouth.
It is pronounced like the ‘ch’ in the German pronunciation of ‘Bach’

د

daal

d

Like the ‘d’ in ‘dart’. /d/

ذ

dhaa

dh

Like the ‘th’ in ‘this, that, and there’. /ð/

ر

raa’

r

This is a flap, like the ‘t’s in ‘I’ve gotta go’. /ɾ/.
When doubled, the raa’ takes on the rolling ‘r’ in the Spɑnish word ‘perro’. /r/
Some regional variations, in some contexts, will pronounce the raa’ as the American English ‘r’. /ɹ/

ز

zayn

z

Like the ‘z’ in ‘zebra’. /z/

س

siin

s

Like the ’s’ in ‘house’. /s/

ش

shiin

sh

Like the ’sh’ in ‘English’. /ʃ/

ص

Saad

S

This sound does not exist in English.
It is a pharyngealized ’s’ sound: /sˤ/
It is pronounced like an ’s’ but with the back of the tongue pulled back towards the throat.

ض

Daad

D

This sound does not exist in English.
It is a pharyngealized ‘d’ sound: /dˤ/
It is pronounced like a ‘d’ but with the back of the tongue pulled back towards the throat.

ط

Taa’

T

This sound does not exist in English.
It is a pharyngealized ‘t’ sound: /tˤ/
It is pronounced like a ‘t’ but with the back of the tongue pulled back towards the throat.

ظ

DHaa’

DH

This sound does not exist in English.
In some regions it is a pharyngealized version of dhaal: /ðˤ/
In some regions it is a pharyngealized ‘z’ sound: /zˤ/
It is pronounced with the back of the tongue pulled back towards the throat.

ع

cayn

c

This sound does not exist in English.
It is a voiced pharyngeal approximant: /ʕ/
It is pronounced like the ‘a’ in ‘cat’, but with the throat constricted as in Haa’.

غ

ghayn

gh

This sound does not exist in English.
It is a voiced velar fricative: /ɣ/
It is a rolling ‘g’ sound produced in the back of the mouth.
Regional variations often pronounce it like the ‘r’ in the French pronunciation of ‘Paris’

ف

faa’

f

Like the ‘f’ in ‘feather’. /f/

ق

qaaf

q

Like the ‘c’ in ‘cough’. /q/
The ‘k’ sound is produced with the back of the tongue touching the soft palate.

ك

kaaf

k

Like the ‘k’ in ‘kiss’. /k/
The ‘k’ sound is produced with the middle of the tongue touching the hard palate.

ل

laam

l

Like the ‘l’ in ‘like’. /l/
Don’t curl the tip of the tongue back.
Only in the word الله , laam sounds like the ‘l’ in ‘all’. /ɭ /

م

miim

m

Like the ‘m’ in ‘mountain’. /m/

ن

nuun

n

Like the ‘n’ in ‘nuts’. /n/

ه

haa’

h

Like the ‘h’ in ‘horse’. /h/

و

waaw

w
uu

If there is a vowel immediately following, then the letter waaw sounds like the ‘w’ in ‘water’. /w/
If there is no vowel immediately following, then the letter waaw sounds like the ‘oo’ in ‘noon’. /uː/

ي

yaa’

y
ii

If there is a vowel immediately following, then the letter yaa’ sounds like the ‘y’ in ‘yes’. /j/
If there is no vowel immediately following, then the letter yaa’ sounds like the ‘ee’ in ‘jeep’. /iː/

َ

fatHa

a

/a/ : [ɑ],[a],[æ],[e]. depending on regional variation and the surrounding letters.

ِ

kasra

i

/i/ : [i],[ɪ], depending on regional variation and the surrounding letters.

ُ

Damma

u

/u/

ء

Hamza

Like the glottal stop in the middle of ‘uh-oh’. /ʔ/

ال

al-,
at-t…,
ath-th…,
ad-d…,
adh-dh…,
ar-r…,
az-z…,
as-s…,
ash-sh…,
aS-S…,
aD-D…,
aT-T…,
aDH-DH…,
al-l…,
an-n…

When a word begins with a Moon letter, the definite article is pronounced as spelled: al-
But, when a word begins with a Sun letter, (one that uses the tip of the tongue), the definite article assimilates the sound of the Sun letter. i.e. at-tayaara instead of al-tayaara.
We will indicate this assimilation in our romanization.

ay

Like the ‘ay’ in ’say’: /ei/

ai

Like the word ‘eye’: /ai/

au

Like the ‘ou’ in ‘house’: /au/

ou

Like the ‘o’ in ‘home’: /o/

Why is Learning the Arabic Alphabet Important?

AlphabetA language’s alphabet is its building blocks. Trying to learn how to write in Arabic without first learning its alphabet is a bit like trying to build a brick house without touching the individual bricks! It is impossible to do a good job that way. So don’t believe language schools and methods that try to teach you otherwise. You will regret it later.

Also, once you start recognizing symbols and words, you will be encouraged by your own progress and motivated to learn even faster. Even just learning the basics of the alphabet will allow you to start recognizing simple Arabic words, and it will feel great!

Furthermore, knowing the alphabet even helps with pronunciation, as learning the individual letters of any language will start uncovering nuances and intricacies that are not always apparent when you’re simply listening to the words.

Completely mastering the Arabic alphabet, no matter how long it takes, will give you an excellent head start in learning how to write and read the language. It will offer you a solid foundation on which to build the other language skills, so set a goal to learn the alphabet so well that you’re able to recite it in your sleep!

Read on for helpful tips and secrets to learning the Arabic alphabet quickly and effectively.

How to Download Your Free Guide to Beginner Arabic

Download Your Free Guide to Beginner Arabic!

If you want to master the Arabic language and become fluent, you must learn the Arabic alphabet letters first. And you need physical worksheets to practice on.

This eBook is a MUST-HAVE for all Arabic learning beginners!

Free Arabic eBook

Download your Free Arabic practice sheets PDF today and learn the Arabic language in no time!
This is a must-have guide for absolute beginners

Log in with Your Free Lifetime Account and we’ll give you a bundle of PDF cheat sheet including Survival Phrases, Romantic Lines, Learning Tips… — absolutely Free!

3 Reasons to Learn Arabic Through PDF Lessons

Let’s now take a closer look at how studying Arabic lessons in PDF format can help you reach your dream in up to half the time of normal video or audio lessons!

① Saves Minutes on Your Data Plan

Learning Arabic through PDF lessons can dramatically reduce your data use. Once a lesson or tool is downloaded, you can then access it offline via your computer or smartphone any time or place regardless of Internet access. And once you’ve download the Arabic lessons in PDF format, you can actually access them faster than logging in and trying to do so via a live site. So not only will learning Arabic using PDF lessons save minutes on your data plan—it will save you some significant time as well as the lessons add up!

② Print and Take All Arabic Lessons and PDF Tools With You Anywhere

Sometimes, a tiny smartphone screen just isn’t adequate, especially when you are trying to learn something new. The great thing about PDF lessons, tools or files is that they can be quickly printed and taken anywhere after you download them. In fact, printing out Arabic lessons in PDF format can actually save you time when compared to going through the material on a smartphone with a small screen—even with the extra printing time!

③ Great Study Tool to Boost Retention and Mastery

Studying video or audio lessons online is a great way to learn a language because students can play and rewind sections as many times as needed until the lesson is mastered. But when you review the same Arabic lessons again in PDF format, an incredible thing happens: your retention dramatically improves! Thanks to Time Spaced Repetition, seeing the information again in written format helps reinforce the information in your mind and improves both retention and recall. The benefits of learning Arabic using PDF lessons quickly add up to significant time savings for you, your data plan, and your dream of learning a new language!

Why are we giving it away?

Learning to read and write is a must for all beginners. Although you get video lessons on how to write in Arabic at ArabicPod101, you’ll still need physical worksheets to practice on. That’s why you’re getting this printable tutorial PDFs as a gift.

Secrets to Learning the Arabic Alphabet Fast

SecretWith a language, like with anything you have to learn from scratch, having a few mnemonic devices handy are key to learning it fast. A mnemonic device is basically any method or technique that helps you to retain or commit something to memory more easily.

Here are a few mnemonic devices to memorize the Arabic alphabet so you can speed up learning how to write in Arabic.

① Find and Learn an Alphabet Song or Poem in Arabic

Can you still remember your childhood alphabet song in your own language? The best way to commit it to memory so you can recite it is still your mom or first teacher’s way - with music, a song and/or a poem! Find a recording and learn to sing the song, or recite the poem along as best as you can. Ask your ArabicPod101 teacher to help you understand exactly what you are singing or saying, and soon you’ll have reciting the alphabet under your belt! Repeat it out loud as often as possible.

However, you still need to learn how to write it.

② Study a Few Letters At a Time

Remember when you were young and learning to write for the first time? You didn’t start with words or sentences; you started with letters, one at a time!

Decide on tackling only a few letters each week, and then don’t move on from these till you are completely familiar with them. Don’t take on too many at once, or you may become discouraged. Also, remember to ask your teacher at ArabicPod101 if you have questions!

Learn to incidentally spot the letters in books, road signs (If you’re living in the country), magazines, on TV, anywhere you encounter written Arabic. Remember to write them out!

③ Write Out the Letters of the Alphabet By Hand

Make it a goal to write out your week’s letters at least once a day, and commit to this goal. You can also do it every time you have a free moment. Get yourself a special notebook for this purpose that you can carry with you anywhere you go. Sitting on the train or bus? Waiting for someone somewhere? Whip out your notebook and write the Arabic alphabet, or the letters you are learning. Aim for about 20 repetitions, while silently saying the letter in your head as you write it out. This way, you will soon be able to form and write words all by yourself! Exciting, isn’t it?

Writing something down with a pen also seems to engrave it in the brain in a way that nothing else does. As an added benefit, it gives you the satisfaction of seeing a new language in your own writing!

Once you’ve mastered the whole alphabet, commit to writing it out in its entirety at least once a day, for at least one month. More repetitions are obviously better.

④ Involve Your Whole Body

Research has shown that the more senses and actions we use to learn something, the quicker the new information sticks in the memory and becomes habitual. To apply this principle while learning the Arabic alphabet, write out huge letters by tracing them in the soil, or with chalk on the floor. Now, while saying the letter out loud, walk on the lines you have just traced. In this way, you ‘write’ the letter by moving your whole body!

Having fun just makes it even easier to learn something, so why not ‘write’ the letters out with dance steps while moving to your favorite Arabic music!

This is a simple trick that seems silly, but you’ll be surprised how quickly you will commit intricate letters to memory this way. It really works!

⑤ Use Associations To Memorize Letters

This technique would involve saying the Arabic letter out loud, and then thinking of a word in your own language that sounds the same as the letter. That would then create a phonic association that should make it easier for you to remember the letter. Better even if the association is something you can draw or picture.

If the script of the new alphabet is very different from your own, look at it closely, and see if you can find an image that the letter reminds you of

⑥ Now Have Fun Trying To Write Words!

Try to write words from your own language in Arabic, and ask your friendly ArabicPod101 teachers for feedback! Or post them on the forum and see if anyone can read them. You will be so pleased with yourself when you start writing words that are readable and recognizable by native speakers.

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How good is your Arabic? Care to put it to the test? Here’s the deal! We’ve come up with this must-know Arabic Phrases List. Learn the top 25 Arabic phrases, hear the native pronunciation and put your Arabic to the test. Did you know them all? If not, review the list and master these easy phrases!
How to Say Thank You in Arabic
Has anyone thanked you today? We will. Thank you for reading this article and learning with us! In fact, today, you’ll learn the many different ways to say “Thank You” in Arabic. It’s one of the most important Arabic phrases. Check it out and watch the video too to practice your pronunciation.

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