1.1 Letters and Sounds Overview

In this section:

  • You will gain initial recognition of Arabic letters and sounds. This is the general overview. In later chapters, we will revisit them individually.

Arabic Letters and Sounds

Get started with letter shapes. Study the following chart to identify letter forms.

arabic alphabets

Arabic Letter Shapes in Words

In this video, you will see how letters change shape in initial, middle, and final position of words. This is an overview to get prepared for the writing training and connecting letters practice that we will conduct in the following chapters.

Video of Arabic Alphabets

Arabic Short Vowels

Short vowels (a-i-u) are represented in Arabic as diacritics above or below the letters. These marks are not necessarily written, as native speakers can read without having these short vowels. You will also be trained to implicitly recognize them. Watch this video to see how these vowels look.

Arabic Long Vowels

Long vowels (aa- ii- uu) are represented through actual letters. The three letters you will always need to write a long vowel are:

ا  as in  باب /baab/

و  as in توت /tuut/

ي as in تيب /tiib/

Key Takeaways

  • Arabic words are formed by tying or binding letters together. To adjust to this process, letters take different shapes in initial, middle, and final positions. You cannot just put letters side-by-side, rather, letters are connected in a process like stitching.


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Elementary Arabic I Copyright © 2022 by Sadam Issa and Ayman Mohamed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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