Lesson (2): The Arabic Alphabet (Writing Letters)It is used by many to begin any Language by teaching its Parts of Speech; however, logically it is better to begin our trip by teaching the Arabic Alphabet (Arabic Letters) as it is the reasonable starting point. Consider the absence of Alphabets then how we can form words and/or sentences?!
Arabic Alphabet Chart 
|أَلِف||̛ālif||ا||Like A in Apple||ا||ـا||ـا||ā|
|بَاء||bā̛||ب||Like B in Baby||بـ||ـبـ||ـب||b|
|تَاء||tā̛||ت||Like T in Tree||تـ||ـتـ||ـت ـة||t|
|ثَاء||thā̛||ث||Like the Th in Theory||ثـ||ـثـ||ـث||th|
|جِيم||jim||ج||Sometimes like the G in Girl or like the J in Jar||جـ||ـجـ||ـج||j|
|حَاء||hā̛||ح||Like the h in he yet light in pronunciation||حـ||ـحـ||ـح||h|
|خَاء||khā̛||خ||Like the Ch in the name Bach||خـ||ـخـ||ـخ||kh|
|دَال||dāl||د||Like the D in Dad||د||ـد||ـد||d|
|ذَال||zāl||ذ||Like the Th in The||ذ||ـذ||ـذ||z|
|رَاء||rā̛||ر||Like the R in Ram||ر||ـر||ـر||r|
|زَاي||zāy||ز||Like the Z in zoo||ز||ـز||ـز||z|
|سِين||sin||س||Like the S in See||سـ||ـسـ||ـس||s|
|شِين||shin||ش||Like the Sh in She||شـ||ـشـ||ـش||sh|
|صَاد||sād||ص||Like the S in Sad yet heavy in pronunciation||صـ||ـصـ||ـص||s|
|ضَاد||dād||ض||Like the D in Dead yet heavy in pronunciation||ضـ||ـضـ||ـض||d|
|طَاء||tā̛||ط||Like the T in Table yet heavy in pronunciation||طـ||ـطـ||ـط||t|
|ظَاء||ẓā̛||ظ||Like the Z in Zorro yet heavy in pronunciation||ظـ||ـظـ||ـظ||ẓ|
|عَينٍ||عain||ع||Has no real equivalent sometimes they replace its sound with the A sound like for example the name Ali for علي /عali/||عـ||ـعـ||ـع||ع̛|
|غَين||ghain||غ||Like the Gh in Ghandi||غـ||ـغـ||ـغ||gh|
|فَاء||fā̛||ف||Like the F in Fool||فـ||ـفـ||ـف||f|
|قَاف||qāf||ق||Like the Q in Queen yet heavy velar sound in pronunciation||قـ||ـقـ||ـق||q|
|كَاف||kāf||ك||Like the K in Kate||كـ||ـكـ||ـك||k|
|لاَم||lām||ف||Like the L in Love||لـ||ـلـ||ـل||l|
|مِيم||mim||م||Like the M in Moon||مـ||ـمـ||ـم||m|
|نُون||nun||ن||Like the N in Noon||نـ||ـنـ||ـن||n|
|هَاء||hā̛||ه هـ||Like the H in He||هـ||ـهـ||ـه||h|
|وَاو||wāw||,||Like the W in the reaction of astonishment saying: WAW!||ـو||----||ـو||W(aw, au, u)|
|يَاء||yā̛||ي||Like the Y in you||يـ||ـيـ||ـي||Y (ay, ai, ῑ)|
|Seen latter because it differs according to case and context||Latter will be discussed separately||أ ؤ||ـئـ||ئ||̛|
Now, you can deduce from the herein above Chart that Arabic letters are 29 with the letter hamza, sometimes is regarded as a separate Letter. Further, in the first column above, you can see some dashes or symbols on the Arabic Letter above or below them; they are called Arabic vowels (Described later).
Consider the following three Arabic Letters Characteristics:
a- Letters are connected to form words.
b- Words have vowels on it (described later).
c- Some letters have dots on it.
Do you know that:
1- Arabic structure is different in Alphabet from any other Language.
2- Arabic letters form words by connecting them together.
3- Arabic Alphabet is written and read from right to left.
4- Arabic Letters' writing has three forms: initial, medial, and final i.e. different in shape according to their position.
5- Letters in isolation and final are mostly the same in shape.
6- Letters in the initial and medial positions are mostly the same in shape.
7- There are many print forms, types of fonts and writing forms for Arabic; yet most common of which is /̛ān-naskh/ (normal writing) النَسخ and /̛ār-ruqعa/ الرِقعة. An elementary/ intermediate Reader/ Learner is advised to use /̛ān-naskh/ writing form.
8- You can find the correct pronunciation in Arabic just from the spelling of the word which is considered a no-trouble-trick of Arabic pronunciation.
9- Arabic Letters can be divided into two groups according to their position
- Can't be joined on the left side.
- Can be joined to a preceding letter but never to a following one.
- Then, all Arabic Letters in the Alphabet could be connected from both sides except the following mentioned Letters.(see table below)
- Change shape according to their position in the word.
|1st Group (Non-Connecting Letters)||1st Group Examples||2nd Group (Connecting Letters)||2nd Group Examples|
|عain ع||Refer to the three Arabic Letters' Writing Forms (initial – medial – final)|
for "past life"
|ghain غ||Refer to the three Arabic Letters' Writing Forms (initial – medial – final)|
|kāf ك||Refer to the three Arabic Letters' Writing Forms (initial – medial – final)|
for "grey color"
|hā̛ ه هـ||Refer to the three Arabic Letters' Writing Forms (initial – medial – final)|
|yā̛ ي||Refer to the three Arabic Letters' Writing Forms (initial – medial – final)|
|Refer to the three Arabic Letters' Writing Forms (initial – medial – final).
NB: this letter will be discussed later
10- Few Arabic Written Letters could be only differentiated by their dots :
11- There are Confusing Arabic Written Letters phonetically-wise:
|Light Sound in Pronunciation||Heavy Sound in Pronunciation|
|tā̛ ت||tā̛ ط|
|Dāl د||dād ض|
|zāl ذ||ẓā̛ ظ|
|sin س||sād ص|
|Kāf ك||qāf ق|
12- The Letter tā̛ ت; sometimes it is written like the letter hā̛ in its final form ـهyet with two dots above it ـة. This letter is mostly seen in its final position to indicate a feminine gender ending and is termed " tā̛ Marbutah".
13- The Letters fā̛ and qāf in Moroccan Written Arabic are different in their shape as seen below:
|Position in word||Isolated||Initial||Medial||Final|
|Form of the letter fā̛ in Moroccan Arabic||ڢ||ڢـ||ـڢـ||ـڢ|
|Form of the letter qāf in Moroccan Arabic||ڡ||ڧـ||ـڧـ||ـڡ|