Read Arabic

Alphabet Basics

The Arabic alphabet has 28 letters in total. Each letter represents a sound, and has a distinct shape. Some letters have dots to distinguish them, but the pattern of dots is never shared for more than one letter. Each letter has four basic forms that allow it to connect and be connected to.
  • Beginning form
  • Middle form
  • End form
  • Isolated form
Arabic is written from right to left down pages.
You can learn the Arabic alphabet by listening to this video.

read arabic alphabet with fatha

  • Fatha a:It looks like a line over a letter. The line is sometimes horizontal, but it is usually slanted. It is never vertical, that is a different symbol. The line must be over the letter, that is, it must not be under the letter. A line underneath the letter is a different symbol.

    it makes the short "a" sound.

    What is meant by the short "a" sound. It is meant that it is pronounced for a less amount of time. Make sure you don't pronounce it "aa". And make sure you don't pronounce it so that it rhymes with "bay" or "Okay" or "say". Pronounce it so it rhymes with "umbrella".

la = fatha + laam
ل + َ = لَ

read arabic alphabet with Dhammah

  • Dhammah u :It looks like a loop, or a comma on top of a letter. It always goes on a letter. It is always above a letter never under it.It makes a short "u" sound after the letter. This "u" sound must not be pronounced like the letter "u" in English. It is the "oo" sound in "root" pronounced for less time. To non-Arabs it sometimes sounds like an "o" sound, this is because the "o" and "u" sound are the same sound in Arabic.
lu = dhammah + laam
ل + ُ = لُ

read arabic alphabet with kasra

  • Kasra i:It is a line that goes on the bottom of a letter. It looks exactly like a fatHa, but it goes under the letter. It always exists with a letter, it cannot be alone.It makes the "i" sound in bit. It never makes the "i" sound in "I". It sounds like the "ee" in "beet" pronounced very shortly. It is a short vowel.
li = kasra + laam
ل + ِ =لِ

read arabic alphabet with long vowels

Arabic long vowels:(alif ا aa,waawو oo ,yaa ي ee)
  • Alif ا aa:It makes a long "aa" sound come after it. In the previous example the arabic letter ف (faa) was followed by a plain alif. So it was read as "faa", remember a long "aa" sound, not a short one.
laa = alif + laam
ل +ا =لا
  • Waaw و oo: If the letter waaw is plain (no symbols on it) and the letter before it carries a Dammah then the "oo" sound is made, like the one in "food" and "loot". This "oo" sound is just the long version of the sound the Dammah makes. It lasts longer than the sound a Dammah makes.
loo = waaw + laam
ل +و =لو
  • Yaa ي ee:If a plain (with no symbols on it) ي (yaa) comes after a kasra, then the "ee" sound is made. This "ee" sound is exactly the same sound as the "ee" sound in "feet". It is a long vowel sound.
lee = yaa + laam
ل +ي =لي

read arabic alphabet with tanween

tanween:(fatha ,dammah ,kasra)
The tanween is an "n" sound added to the end of the word in certain circumistances, usually it functions just like the "a" and "an" in English. The word tanween, usually translated as "nunation", means "to 'n'", or "'n'ing"; making an "n" sound.Tanween is indicated by doubling the short vowel at the end of the word. If a word ends with a "kesra" tashkeel, then the tanween is indicated by writing two "kesra"s (one above the other), same with the "dhamma", you write two dhammas, one beside the other . However, with the "fatHa", you don't only double the "fatHa", but you add an "Alif" and put the double fatHa's on the "alif" letter. (remember, the "Alif" is the first letter in the alphabet). So, we can say there are three types of tanween:
  • Fatha tanween:The fatHa tanween is pronounced "en", as in "then", "when", "men", etc. Even though a lot of native Arabic speakers would use "an" to indicate it, since "a" maps to the "aaaa" sound. However, "en" is probably more accurate.
len = fatha tanween + laam
ل +ً = لً
  • Dhammah tanween :The dhamma tanween is pronounced as a short "oo" followed by an "n". This sounds like the short "un" in "uno" as pronounced in Spanish, not like the long "oon" in "soon".
lun = dhammah tanween + laam
ل +ٌ = لٌ
  • Kasra tanween:The kesra tanween is pronouced "in", as in "in", "sin", "fin", "min", etc. Again, some native Arabic speakers might indicate a kesra tanween with an "en", thinking that "e" sounds like the Arabic "yaa" letter ("ii" vowel). This is a mistake that stems from not knowing how native English speakers pronounce the "e" sound.
lin = kasra tanween + laam
ل + ٍ =لٍ

read arabic alphabet with shadda

  • shadda:
The shadda is a diacritic which replaces a double-consonant, but only where the first consonant has a sukuun on it, and the second one is followed by a vowel. If the word "vista" above were instead "vitta", then we could put a shadda over the "t". If it were "vitata", however, we could not.

The double-consonant doesn't work the same way as in English. In English, a doubled letter modifies the sound of the preceding vowel. For example: "mated" is pronounced with a long "a", whereas "matted" is pronounced with a short "a".

In Arabic, as mentioned above, a consonant only follows another if the first one ends the previous syllable, and the second one begins the next syllable. As such, both letters are pronounced. In English, this tends to only occur when the two letters are in separate words, as in "big guy".

When reading transliterations of Arabic words, any double letter should be read with a hyphen in it. So "shadda" is pronounced not as "sha-da", but as "shad-da".

مَدّ madda

دّ dda

مَ ma

شَكّ shakka

كّ kka

شَ sha

read arabic alphabet with sukuun

  • sukuun:
The sukuun (absence of a vowel) is a diacritic that indicates the end of a syllable. Put another way, a consonant with a sukuun above it is not followed by a vowel. This only occurs when the consonant itself follows a vowel. The sukuun is written as a circle above the consonant.

Using left-to-right English 'words' as examples, the word "bata" would be spelled "b/t/"; however "bat" would be spelled "b/to".

The only time that one consonant immediately follows another is when they are in different syllables; in which case, the first consonant would have a sukuun.

Again using English 'words' as examples, we could write "vista" as "v/sot/." The sukuun indicates that the "s" is not followed by a vowel. Otherwise, the word could have been "visita", "visata", or "visuta".

The sukuun cannot be used to combine consonants into single sounds. For example, "...sot..." could only be combined in such a combination as the English "mister" ("mis-ter"), not as in "stair". Combinations such as "stray" are not posible at all in Arabic.

مَدْ mad

دْ d

مَ ma

شَكْ shak

كْ k

شَ sha