Arabic Alphabet

The Arabic alphabet is the second-most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world, behind the Latin alphabet. It is believed the Arabic alphabet was developed during the 3rd or 4th century AD, but its origins are not entirely known.

The Arabic script was first developed for writing the Arabic language and was carried through the Eastern Hemisphere by the spread of Islam. As a result, the Arabic script has been adapted to several languages, such as Ottoman Turkish, Spanish, Persian, Swahili, Central Kurdish, and Malay.

Arabic is written in script from right to left in a cursive style. There are 28 letters in the Arabic alphabet, most of which have contextual letterforms. There are no distinct upper and lower case letterforms. Many letters look similar but can be distinguished by dots (ʾiʿjām) above or below their central part (rasm). The Arabic alphabet has two main collating sequences: abjad (abjadīy) and hija (hijā’ī).

Initial
Medial
Final
Isolated
Name
Pronunciation
English Equiv.
اِــاِــااalifas in anta
بــبــببbaaas in badb
تــتــتتtaaas in toyt
ثــثــثثthaaas in threeth
جـجـججjiim/giimas in joyj/g
حـحـححhaaas in hot but strongerh
خخـخخkhaaas in Loch Ness or Spanish J in Juankh
دِــدِــددdaalas in dadd
ذِذِــذذdhaalas in thedh
رِــرِــررraaas in rider
زِــزِــززzayn / zaaas in zebraz
سـسـسسsiinas in sees
شـشـششshiinas in shakesh
صصصصsaadas in soya but with tongue touching upper teeths
ضــضــضضdaadAs in duck but with tongue touching upper teethd
طـطـططtaaAs in toy but with tongue touching upper teetht
ظظـظظdhaaAs in the but with tongue touching upper teethDH
عـعــععᶜaynThe ‘choking sound’ from the back of the mouthᶜ glottal stop
غــغـغغghaynThe ‘gargling sound’ from the back of the mouthgh
فـفــففfaaAs in fatf
قــقــققqaafAs in k but from the back of the mouthq
كـكــككkaafAs in kitekh
للـللlaamAs in lemonl
مــمـممmiimLike the English mm
نـنـننnuunLike the English nn
هــهـههhaaAs in hath
وِـوــووwaawAs in moonw / uu / aw
يــيـهيyaaAs in seey / ii / ay

Arabic Alphabet