The total Arabic Alef Ba counts to 28 letters.

Aleph Ba Ta Tha Jeem Ha Kha Dal Thal Ra Zane Seen Sheen Saud Daud Dah Dhah Aine Ghane Fa Qaf Kaf Lam Meem Noon Hah Wow Ya.

Below is a representation of the letters in unicode, The Alphas should be read from right to left:

Ç È Ê Ë Ì Í Î Ï Ð Ñ Ò Ó Ô Õ Ö Ø Ù Ú Û Ý Þ ß á ã ä å æ í



Arabic alphabets are not block written like latin letters. It always comes in cursive form. Every letter can be placed at the begining, middle, or end of a word by connecting them together. Except for Aleph, Dal, Dhal, Ra and Zane. these 5 letters can never be connected at the begining or middle of a word, they can be connected at the end only.

There are a couple of accent marks that you can place on top of letters to make specific sounds, the fat'ha, placed on top of the letter, will place an "AAA" vowel on the letter, the double fat'ha will make an "ANN" vowel. The dhama, looking like a small Wow, will make an "OOO" vowel, the double dhama will make an "OON" vowel. The kasra, looking like a fatha but placed under the letter, will make an "EEE" vowel. There are 3 vowels in arabic, A E and O. The shadda will double the pronounciation of a letter when placed on top, it loooks like an english W. The skoon, a small "O" looking charecter placed on top of letters will silence a letter and will not make it pronouncable.
The Arabic Alphabet


Consonants

The Arabic alphabet is written from right-to-left, and contains 28 basic letters, all of which are consonants. While there are vowels, they are not as important to the language or the word they are in as in European languages, and are usually left off the words. More detail is given in the section on vowels. Each letter has 4 basic forms; since each letter is joined to the letters immediately preceding and following it. When it appears at the beginning, middle and end of a word, or when it appears on its own. Some letters are in fact not joined to the following letter (this feature being what distinguishes them from other, similarly shaped letters), in which case the second and third forms are identical (and the following letter will always appear as if it is starting a word). For the sake of brevity, I have only included the base form on this page; I may get around to adding a more in-depth node for each of the letters on their own separate nodes. This base form is usually the same as when the letter appears by itself (the only exception being ha).

Note that in the "Name" and "Common Anglicization" fields, case is significant (internal to this writeup). This is to distinguish between Arabic letters which do not have a corresponding distinction in English, and since Arabic does not have the concept of capitalization, this is feasible. However it remains purely my own notation, and does not extend to other translations you may see.

Note also that in the links to the individual letter pages (under the Name fields), the spelling you see is not the same as the spelling in the link. This is because Arabic letters (as you may have guessed by now) are not always translated exactly the same way into English. I still stand by my spelling in every case, however have altered the links to point to pages that already exist, which often use different spelling schemes.

Name: alef
Common Anglicization: a
Joined to the following letter: No
Sounds Like: The initial enunciation of the word "Uh". ie: the sound made when the throat first opens up; without the following vowel sound. Otherwise known as a glottal stop.
Looks Like:

 %
%%%
%%%
 %%
 %%
 %%,
 %%%
  %%
  %%
  %%
  %%
  %

----------

Name: ba
Common Anglicization: b
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: B, as in "boy".
Looks Like:

 ,"                       %,
,"                       %%%
%                         %%%
%,                         %%
%%%,,                      %%
 "%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
   ""%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

              ,
             ,%%%,
              "%%

----------

Name: ta
Common Anglicization: t
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: T, as in "two".
Looks Like:

                %,,
           %,, "%%%"
          "%%%"  ""
 ,"         ""            %,
,"                       %%%
%                         %%%
%,                         %%
%%%,,                      %%
 "%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
   ""%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

----------

Name: tha
Common Anglicization: th
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: TH, as in "with". But not as in "this".
Looks Like:

            %,,
           "%%%"
             "" %,,
           %,, "%%%"
          "%%%"  ""
 ,"         ""            %,
,"                       %%%
%                         %%%
%,                         %%
%%%,,                      %%
 "%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
   ""%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

----------

Name: jeem
Common Anglicization: j / g
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: Either J, as in "joke" or G, as in "game", depending on region.
Looks Like:

   ,%%%%%%%,,,,,,,,,
  %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
 ""    ,%%%%%%%%"""
    ,,%%%"""
   %%"
 ,"        ,,
,"        ,%%%,
%          "%%
%
%%
"%%,
 "%%%%,,,,
   "%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%"
      """%%%%%%%%"

----------

Name: Ha
Common Anglicization: H
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: A prank phone call, of the "heavy breathing" variety. Like "h", but strongly enunciated.
Looks Like:

   ,%%%%%%%,,,,,,,,,
  %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
 ""    ,%%%%%%%%"""
    ,,%%%"""
   %%"
 ,"
,"
%
%
%%
"%%,
 "%%%%,,,,
   "%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%"
      """%%%%%%%%"

----------

Name: "kha"
Common Anglicization: kh
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: Someone hocking up a loogie, then failing to complete the expectoration.
Looks Like:

         %%,
        "%%%"
          ""

   ,%%%%%%%,,,,,,,,,
  %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
 ""    ,%%%%%%%%"""
    ,,%%%"""
   %%"
 ,"
,"
%
%
%%
"%%,
 "%%%%,,,,
   "%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%"
      """%%%%%%%%"

----------

Name: dal
Common Anglicization: d
Joined to the following letter: No
Sounds Like: D, as in "dog".
Looks Like:

     %,,
     %%%%,
      ""%%,
         "%
          "%
,          %
%%,,,,,,,,,%
%%%%%%%%%%%%
 """""""""""

----------

Name: Thal
Common Anglicization: Th
Joined to the following letter: No
Sounds Like: TH, as in "this". But not as in "with".
Looks Like:

   %,,
  "%%%"
    ""

     %,,
     %%%%,
      ""%%,
         "%
          "%
,          %
%%,,,,,,,,,%
%%%%%%%%%%%%
 """""""""""

----------

Name: ra
Common Anglicization: r
Joined to the following letter: No
Sounds Like: A trilled "R". Not gutteral, like the French R, but rolled, as in "rrroll up the rrrim to win!".
Looks Like:

               ,%,
               %%%,
                "%%
                 "%
                  %
                 ,%
                %%%
             ,%%%"
          ,,,%%%%"
""%%%%%%%%%%%%"
     """"""

----------

Name: zay
Common Anglicization: z
Joined to the following letter: No
Sounds Like: Z, as in "zebra".
Looks Like:

            %%,
           "%%%"
             ""


               ,%,
               %%%,
                "%%
                 "%
                  %
                 ,%
                %%%
             ,%%%"
          ,,,%%%%"
""%%%%%%%%%%%%"
     """"""

----------

Name: seen
Common Anglicization: s
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: S, as in "silly".
Looks Like:

                   %
                  ,%,     ,   %%,
  ,"              "%%     %,   "%
 ,"                "%    ,%%,   %
,"                  %%%%%%%%%%%%%
%                   %%%%%%%""%%%%
%                  ,%
%%,             ,,%%"
"%%%,,,,,,,,,%%%%%%"
 "%%%%%%%%%%%%%%""
     """"""""

----------

Name: sheen
Common Anglicization: sh
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: SH, as in "shoulder".
Looks Like:

                        %,,
                       "%%%"
                         "" %,,
                       %,, "%%%"
                      "%%%"  ""
                        ""

                   %
                  ,%,     ,   %%,
  ,"              "%%     %,   "%
 ,"                "%    ,%%,   %
,"                  %%%%%%%%%%%%%
%                   %%%%%%%""%%%%
%                  ,%
%%,             ,,%%"
"%%%,,,,,,,,,%%%%%%"
 "%%%%%%%%%%%%%%""
     """"""""

----------

Name: Sad
Common Anglicization: S
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: A forceful S. So much so that sound escapes afterwards, causing it to end up sounding more like "suh".
Looks Like:

                  %              ,,%%%%%%,,
                ,%%,          ,,%%%%%%%%%%%,
  ,"            "%%%        ,%%%""     ""%%%
 ,"               %%    ,,%%""          ,%%%
,"                 %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
%                  %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
%                 ,%
%%            ,,%%%"
"%%%,,,,,,,,,%%%%%
 "%%%%%%%%%%%%%""
    """""""""

----------

Name: Dad
Common Anglicization: D / dh
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: A forceful D. So much so that sound escapes afterwards, causing it to end up sounding more like "duh".
Looks Like:

                           %,,
                          "%%%"
                            ""

                  %              ,,%%%%%%,,
                ,%%,          ,,%%%%%%%%%%%,
  ,"            "%%%        ,%%%""     ""%%%
 ,"               %%    ,,%%""          ,%%%
,"                 %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
%                  %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
%                 ,%
%%            ,,%%%"
"%%%,,,,,,,,,%%%%%
 "%%%%%%%%%%%%%""
    """""""""

----------

Name: Ta
Common Anglicization: T
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: A forceful T. So much so that sound escapes afterwards, causing it to end up sounding more like "tuh".
Looks Like:

       %,
      %%%%%
      "%%%"
       "%,
        %%
        %%%
         %%
         %%      ,,,,,
         %%  ,,%%%%%%%%%
         %,%%%%""""""%%%%
        %%%""         %%%
,,,,,,%%%,,,,,,,,,,,,%%%%
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
"""""""""""""""""""""""""

----------

Name: Tha
Common Anglicization: Th / dh / zh
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: A forceful TH (as in "this"). So much so that sound escapes afterwards, causing it to end up sounding more like "thuh".
Looks Like:

       %,
      %%%%%
      "%%%"
       "%,      %,,
        %%     "%%%"
        %%%      ""
         %%
         %%      ,,,,,
         %%  ,,%%%%%%%%%
         %,%%%%""""""%%%%
        %%%""         %%%
,,,,,,%%%,,,,,,,,,,,,%%%%
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
"""""""""""""""""""""""""

----------

Name: 'Ayn
Common Anglicization: '
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: Someone being strangled.
Looks Like:

   ,%%%%%,
 ,%%%%%""""
%%"
%%,,        ,,,%%
"%%%%%,,,,%%%%%%
 ""%%%%%%%%%"""
   ,%%%%""
  %%%"
 %%"
,%"
%%
%%,
%%%,
 %%%%%,,,,
  ""%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%""
      """"%%%%%%""

----------

Name: ghayn
Common Anglicization: gh
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: Someone being strangled. With a frog in their throat. Somewhat similar to a gutteral French R.
Looks Like:

     %%,
    "%%%"
      ""

   ,%%%%%,
 ,%%%%%""""
%%"
%%,,        ,,,%%
"%%%%%,,,,%%%%%%
 ""%%%%%%%%%"""
   ,%%%%""
  %%%"
 %%"
,%"
%%
%%,
%%%,
 %%%%%,,,,
  ""%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%""
      """"%%%%%%""

----------

Name: fa
Common Anglicization: f
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: F, as in "fine".
Looks Like:

                        %%,
                       "%%%"
                         ""

  ,                        ,,,
 %                       ,%%%%%
%                       ,%%""%%%
%                       %%%   %%
%%                      "%%%,,%%
"%%%,,,                   "%%%%%
 "%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
    """%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

----------

Name: qaf
Common Anglicization: q
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: A "K" sound made as far back in the throat as possible, sounding almost more like someone clearing their throat. Most assuredly not "KW", like an English Q.
Looks Like:

                 %,,
            %,, "%%%"
           "%%%"  ""
             ""

              ,%%%,,
             %%%%%%%,
            %%   "%%%
  ,"        %%,,,,%%%%
 ,"         "%%%%%%%%%
,"            """"" %%
%                   %%
%                  ,%%
%%,             ,,%%%"
"%%%%,,,,,,,,,%%%%%%"
  "%%%%%%%%%%%%%%""
     """""""""

----------

Name: kaf
Common Anglicization: k
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: K, as in "kite".
Looks Like:

                  %,
                  %%%%,
                  %%%%%
              ,%   %%"
            ,%""   "%,
           %        %%
          %%%%%%,   %%
  ,       """""%%    %,
 %"   ,,     ,,%"    %%
,%      """"""       %%
%%,                   %%
%%%%%,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,%%
 "%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
    """"""""""""""""""""

----------

Name: lam
Common Anglicization: l
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: L, as in "listen".
Looks Like:

              ,%
              %%%%,
              "%%%%
               %%""
               %%
                %%
                %%
                %%
  ,"            %%
 ,"              %%
,"               %%
%                %%
%                %%
%%             ,%%%
"%%%,,,,,,,,%%%%%%
 "%%%%%%%%%%%%%%"
    """""""""

----------

Name: meem
Common Anglicization: m
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: M, as in "mother".
Looks Like:

    ,%%%,,
  ,%"""%%%%
  "     "%%%,
   ,,,%%%%%%%
 ,%%%%%%%%%%%
%%"""
%
%
 %
 "%
  %%
  "%
   %

----------

Name: noon
Common Anglicization: n
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: N, as in "nothing".
Looks Like:

         %%,
        "%%%"
          ""
                 ,,
                ,%%%
  ,"             %%%
 ,"               "%
,"                 %
%                  %
%,               ,%%
%%,,         ,,,%%%"
"%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%"
  ""%%%%%%%%%%""

----------

Name: ha
Common Anglicization: h
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: H, as in "hello".
Looks Like:

              %,
             %%%%,
             ,%%%%%,
            %"""%%%%%
          ,%    %% "%%,
%,        ""%,,%%"   "%,
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%,,%%
"%%%%%%%%%%"""  "%%%%%%"
                    """

----------

Name: waw
Common Anglicization: w
Joined to the following letter: No
Sounds Like: W, as in "winter".
Looks Like:

           ,%%%,
          %%%%%%,
         %%   %%%
         %%%,,,%%
         "%%%%%%%
            """%%
             ,%%"
            ,%%"
         ,,%%%
"",,,,,,%%%%"
     """""

----------

Name: ya
Common Anglicization: y / ee
Joined to the following letter: Yes
Sounds Like: Y, as in "yes".
Looks Like:

                   ,%%%%,
                 ,%%%%%%%
  ,"            %""     "
 ,"           ,"
,"            %,,,,,,,,,
%             %%%%%%%%%%
%              """""""%%
%%               ,,,%%%
%%%%,,,,,,,,,%%%%%%%%"
 "%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%""
    """"""""""


Vowels and other Punctuation

As the only "true" letters in Arabic are consonants, vowels are often represented as punctuation. However, as they are not normally written in colloquial Arabic (you will generally only ever see them in religious and educational texts), I will not spend much time on them. There are 7 basic vowel representations, divided up into 3 sounds, with both long and short versions, and a "silent" vowel. Every letter in Arabic is technically followed by a vowel, although because of the silent vowel, this is not always obvious. I do not include a common Anglicization for the vowels, because in most cases there is no standard way to translate them; any one of a half dozen or more variations can be expected.

Let's start with the easy one:

(silent), called sukhun, is silent, appearing as a small circle above the preceding letter.

And now the three short vowels; A, E and O:

A (short), called faTha, is a short line above the preceding letter, slanting up and to the right, like an acute accent. Normally pronounced "uh".

E (short), called keSra, is like a faTha, but below the preceding letter, rather than above it. Normally pronounced somewhere between the first E in "enter" and that old Canadian jack-of-all-trades, "Eh". Sometimes more like an I, as in "igloo".

O (short), called Domma, is a miniature waw, appearing above the preceding letter. Pronounced anywhere between AW, as in "awful" and O, as in "Ohio".

Each of these three also has a long version. The long versions, rather than appearing as punctuation, are represented by consonants that play a double role. Since they appear this way, they are generally seen in everyday writing (unlike the punctuated versions). This can make it confusing for a beginner trying to determine how to pronounce a given word. Like when learning any language, this is just something that one learns over time.

A (long), is represented by an alef. Normally pronounced somewhere between the A in "apple" and AA in "aardvark".

E (long), is represented by the ya. Pronounced EE, as in "seen".

O (long), is represented by the waw. Pronounced OO, as in "choose".

To make things more convoluted, the short versions can be doubled up, which causes them to be nasalized.

Also in the pantheon of punctuation is the shaDDah, which looks like a tiny, curvilinear "w", appearing above a letter. This indicates that said letter should be doubled (with a sukhun -- silent vowel -- between them). Unlike in English, a double letter in Arabic is actually pronounced twice... ie: the sound is elongated.

The last punctuation of note is the "Humzah", which looks like the curvy punctuation inside the "kaf" (letter K, above), but can appear above any long vowel form, effectively curtailing that vowel sound but introducing a falter into the speech, like the "sound" in the middle of the exclamation "Ah-ha!" (but much less pronounced).

Punctuation such as the question mark, comma, exclamation mark and so on all exist and function much as they do in any other language.

Finally, not really a punctuation, but fitting better into this section than anywhere else, is the "ta murbootah", which is basically a bastardized ta, silent (except in some noun conjugations, where it turns into a regular ta), and looking like a ha, but with 2 dots over top. It only ever appears at the end of a word (or more specifically, a noun), and the preceeding letter must be followed by a faTha (short A) (effectively rendering the pronunciation as "uh"). It indicates that the noun is feminine. An Arabic noun Anglicized to end in "ah" almost certainly terminates (in the Arabic) in a ta murbootah, and thus is feminine. Note that the Anglicization is sometimes just "a" rather than "ah".


Numerals

Arabic numerals, in contrast to the letters, are written left-to-right, as they are in English. In fact, their common ancestry is revealed in the similarity of many of the forms. And indeed, they are used in an almost identical manner. Of some note are those Arabic numerals that have migrated to a different position in the English number set; for example the "5", which has migrated to the "0" position, the "6", which has migrated to the "7" and so on. However a cursory glance over the number forms will leave the English-speaker feeling relatively at ease; there is not much detail to go into.

Name: waHad
Number: 1
Looks Like:

 %,
,%%%
"%%%%,
  "%%%,
   "%%%
     %%%
     "%%
      %%
       %
       %
       %
       %

----------

Name: ethneyn
Number: 2
Looks Like:

 %,         %
%%%%,,    ,%%
 "%%%%%%%%%%%
  "%%%%%%%""
   "%%%
    "%%%
     %%%
      %%%
      "%%
       %%
       %%
        %

----------

Name: thalathah
Number: 3
Looks Like:

 %         %    %
,%%,,    ,%%%,,%%
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%"
 "%%%%%%"  """"
  "%%%
   "%%%
    %%%"
     %%%
     %%%
     "%%
      %%
      %

----------

Name: arba'ah
Number: 4
Looks Like:

     ,%
    %%%
  ,%""
%%%%%,,
"%%%%%%"
   ""%"
   ,"
 ,%
,%%,,,
%%%%%%%%%%
 """"%%%%

----------

Name: khamsah
Number: 5
Looks Like:

    ,%%%%,,
   %%%%%%%%%
  %"   ""%%%%,
 %"        "%%
,%           %
%%%,       ,,"
%%%%%%%%%%%%"
 "%%%%%%%""

----------

Name: sittah
Number: 6
Looks Like:

%,      ,,
%%%%%%%%%%
%%%%%%%%%%
 """""" ,%
        %%
        %%
        %%
        %%%
        %%%,
         %%%%
         "%%%
           "%

----------

Name: sabah
Number: 7
Looks Like:

 %,           ,%
%%%,         ,%%
%%%%%       ,%%
 "%%%%     ,%"
   %%%,    %"
    "%%,  ,%
     %%%  %
      %%,,"
      "%%%
       %%%
        %
        "

----------

Name: thamaniyah
Number: 8
Looks Like:

       %
      ,%%
      %%%
      % %%
     %" %%,
    ,%   %%,
    %"   "%%,
   %%     "%%%,
 ,%%       %%%%,
%%%         "%%%%
%%           "%%"
"              "

----------

Name: tis'ah
Number: 9
Looks Like:

   ,,%%%%,
  %%%%%%%%
 %""    "%,
%%,     ,%%
%%%%%%%%%%%
 "%%%%%%"%%
         %%
         %%,
         %%%
         %%%%,
          %%%
           ""

----------

Name: Sefr
Number:
Looks Like:

 ,%,
 %%%%,,
%%%%%%"
"%%%%%
   """


Other E2 nodes on the Arabic alphabet and written language (many by user Gritchka whom I must commend for his informative nodes on the subject):
Abjad | Arabic | arabic numbers | Arabic Numerals | Arabic pronunciation | Arabic script | In Arabic, 95% of all verbs have exactly three letters

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