The Arabic alphabet is written and read from right to left and horizontally. There are 28 letters in the Arabic alphabet, first let’s watch the video below:
Now examine the table below
As you may have noticed, some of the letters in Arabic don’t exist in English and vice versa. We will first go through the letters that exist in English, the table below shows the letters that you may not have any problem learning or pronouncing:
Now we will go through the Arabic letters that are either hard to pronounce or are pronounced a little bit differently, you shouldn’t worry if you can’t pronounce them the right way, because there are always close pronunciations in Arabic, and you still can be understood.
Now that you know how to pronounce the Arabic letters, we will go through reading them, Arabic letters should be written connected to each other, you can simply think of it as if you’re writing in cursive in English, like in the example below you can see how the first WELCOME is written, then the second WELCOME which has all letters connected to each other, Unlike English, Arabic in most cases cannot be written with its letters separated from each other like the way we wrote the word WELCOME. Most letters should be connected like the way the second Welcome is written. There are some exceptions which we will go through in this lesson.
To read Arabic you should know that the Arabic alphabet letters have up to 3 forms, each letter takes a form depending on its position in the word, look at the example below and you will notice that a letter has a form at the beginning of the word, in the middle of the word and at the end of the word, some letters however can keep the same form in one or two positions. Compare the m in the two examples below, the M of come has a longer tail than the M of the room because of the position of m, the same thing happens in Arabic. The form that a letter takes depends on its position in a given word, and the difference most of the time is very small, like a longer tail to allow it connect with another letter following it.
The table below shows the three forms that a letter can take, a letter in a blue font shows a letter starting a word, the red font shows a letter in the middle of the word, and the black font shows a letter at the end of the word, as you may have noticed, there is no big different between the three forms.
Just a tip for you: most of the time the letter at the end looks exactly like the letter when it’s alone.
Arabic Alphabet List:
**: letters having stars next to them can only connect with other letters placed before them and not after, which means that if a letter is placed after them, that letter should take a form as if it was placed in the beginning of the word.
Note also that the letters I marked with stars in the table above never connect with other letters marked with stars either before or after.
So you have to be careful with these starred letters, because sometimes they may make you think that they’re the last letter of a word because they have that form of an ending letter, while in the reality they may not be the last letter of the word. The table below may explain it better:
Learning how to read Arabic characters and how to pronounce it will make it very easy for you to learn the language, and avoid counting on transliterations that are not really reliable.