Arabic alphabet

Arabic alphabet

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The Arabic alphabet ( ) or Arabic abjad
Abjad
An abjad is a type of writing system in which each symbol always or usually stands for a consonant; the reader must supply the appropriate vowel....

is the Arabic script as it is codified for writing the Arabic language
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

. It is written from right to left, in a cursive
Cursive
Cursive, also known as joined-up writing, joint writing, or running writing, is any style of handwriting in which the symbols of the language are written in a simplified and/or flowing manner, generally for the purpose of making writing easier or faster...

 style, and includes 28 letters. Because letters usually stand for consonants, it is classified as an abjad
Abjad
An abjad is a type of writing system in which each symbol always or usually stands for a consonant; the reader must supply the appropriate vowel....

.

Consonants


The Arabic alphabet has 28 basic letters
Letter (alphabet)
A letter is a grapheme in an alphabetic system of writing, such as the Greek alphabet and its descendants. Letters compose phonemes and each phoneme represents a phone in the spoken form of the language....

. Adaptations of the Arabic script for other languages, such as Persian, Ottoman
Ottoman Turkish language
The Ottoman Turkish language or Ottoman language is the variety of the Turkish language that was used for administrative and literary purposes in the Ottoman Empire. It borrows extensively from Arabic and Persian, and was written in a variant of the Perso-Arabic script...

, Sindhi
Sindhi language
Sindhi is the language of the Sindh region of Pakistan that is spoken by the Sindhi people. In India, it is among 22 constitutionally recognized languages, where Sindhis are a sizeable minority. It is spoken by 53,410,910 people in Pakistan, according to the national government's Statistics Division...

, Urdu, Malay or Pashto
Pashto language
Pashto , known as Afghani in Persian and Pathani in Punjabi , is the native language of the indigenous Pashtun people or Afghan people who are found primarily between an area south of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan and...

, Arabi Malayalam
Arabi Malayalam
Arabi Malayalam is a system of writing Malayalam language language in a variant form of Arabic script.It is a blend of Malayalam grammatical base, Arabic script with special orthographic features, and vocabulary from Malayalam , Arabic, Tamil, Urdu and Persian...

, have additional letters, on which see below. There are no distinct upper and lower case
Letter case
In orthography and typography, letter case is the distinction between the larger majuscule and smaller minuscule letters...

 letter forms.

Many letters look similar but are distinguished from one another by dots () above or below their central part, called . These dots are an integral part of a letter, since they distinguish between letters that represent different sounds. For example, the Arabic letters transliterated as and have the same basic shape, but has one dot below, , and has two dots above, .

Both printed and written Arabic are cursive
Cursive
Cursive, also known as joined-up writing, joint writing, or running writing, is any style of handwriting in which the symbols of the language are written in a simplified and/or flowing manner, generally for the purpose of making writing easier or faster...

, with most of the letters within a word directly connected to the adjacent letters.

Alphabetical order


There are two main collating sequences
Collation
Collation is the assembly of written information into a standard order. One common type of collation is called alphabetization, though collation is not limited to ordering letters of the alphabet...

 for the Arabic alphabet:
  • The original order , used for lettering, derives from the order of the Phoenician alphabet
    Phoenician alphabet
    The Phoenician alphabet, called by convention the Proto-Canaanite alphabet for inscriptions older than around 1050 BC, was a non-pictographic consonantal alphabet, or abjad. It was used for the writing of Phoenician, a Northern Semitic language, used by the civilization of Phoenicia...

    , and is therefore similar to the order of other Phoenician-derived alphabets, such as the Hebrew alphabet
    Hebrew alphabet
    The Hebrew alphabet , known variously by scholars as the Jewish script, square script, block script, or more historically, the Assyrian script, is used in the writing of the Hebrew language, as well as other Jewish languages, most notably Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic. There have been two...

    . In this order letters are also used as numbers.

  • The or order shown in the table below, used where lists of names and words are sorted, as in phonebooks, classroom lists, and dictionaries, groups letters by similarity of shape.


The order is not a simple historical continuation of the earlier north Semitic alphabetic order, since it has a position corresponding to the Aramaic letter
{{other uses|Arabic script}}

{{Arabic alphabet}}
{{alphabet}}
{{Listen
|filename = Arabic alphabet (31s, 80kbps).ogg
|title = Arabic alphabet
|description = (Listen to an Egyptian Arabic speaker recite the alphabet in Arabic)
}}
{{contains Arabic text}}

The Arabic alphabet ({{lang-ar|أبجدية عربية}} {{transl|ar|’abjadiyyah ‘arabiyyah}}) or Arabic
abjad
Abjad
An abjad is a type of writing system in which each symbol always or usually stands for a consonant; the reader must supply the appropriate vowel....

is the Arabic script as it is codified for writing the Arabic language
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

. It is written from right to left, in a cursive
Cursive
Cursive, also known as joined-up writing, joint writing, or running writing, is any style of handwriting in which the symbols of the language are written in a simplified and/or flowing manner, generally for the purpose of making writing easier or faster...

 style, and includes 28 letters. Because letters usually stand for consonants, it is classified as an abjad
Abjad
An abjad is a type of writing system in which each symbol always or usually stands for a consonant; the reader must supply the appropriate vowel....

.

Consonants


The Arabic alphabet has 28 basic letters
Letter (alphabet)
A letter is a grapheme in an alphabetic system of writing, such as the Greek alphabet and its descendants. Letters compose phonemes and each phoneme represents a phone in the spoken form of the language....

. Adaptations of the Arabic script for other languages, such as Persian, Ottoman
Ottoman Turkish language
The Ottoman Turkish language or Ottoman language is the variety of the Turkish language that was used for administrative and literary purposes in the Ottoman Empire. It borrows extensively from Arabic and Persian, and was written in a variant of the Perso-Arabic script...

, Sindhi
Sindhi language
Sindhi is the language of the Sindh region of Pakistan that is spoken by the Sindhi people. In India, it is among 22 constitutionally recognized languages, where Sindhis are a sizeable minority. It is spoken by 53,410,910 people in Pakistan, according to the national government's Statistics Division...

, Urdu, Malay or Pashto
Pashto language
Pashto , known as Afghani in Persian and Pathani in Punjabi , is the native language of the indigenous Pashtun people or Afghan people who are found primarily between an area south of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan and...

, Arabi Malayalam
Arabi Malayalam
Arabi Malayalam is a system of writing Malayalam language language in a variant form of Arabic script.It is a blend of Malayalam grammatical base, Arabic script with special orthographic features, and vocabulary from Malayalam , Arabic, Tamil, Urdu and Persian...

, have additional letters, on which see below. There are no distinct upper and lower case
Letter case
In orthography and typography, letter case is the distinction between the larger majuscule and smaller minuscule letters...

 letter forms.

Many letters look similar but are distinguished from one another by dots ({{transl|ar|’i‘jām}}) above or below their central part, called {{transl|ar|rasm
Rasm
Rasm is an Arabic term that signifies: drawing, sketch, trace, graph, pictures, outline, pattern, mark, notes, design, regulation, form, rate...

}}
. These dots are an integral part of a letter, since they distinguish between letters that represent different sounds. For example, the Arabic letters transliterated as {{transl|ar|b}} and {{transl|ar|t}} have the same basic shape, but {{transl|ar|b}} has one dot below, {{lang|ar|ب}}, and {{transl|ar|t}} has two dots above, {{lang|ar|ت}}.

Both printed and written Arabic are cursive
Cursive
Cursive, also known as joined-up writing, joint writing, or running writing, is any style of handwriting in which the symbols of the language are written in a simplified and/or flowing manner, generally for the purpose of making writing easier or faster...

, with most of the letters within a word directly connected to the adjacent letters.

Alphabetical order


There are two main collating sequences
Collation
Collation is the assembly of written information into a standard order. One common type of collation is called alphabetization, though collation is not limited to ordering letters of the alphabet...

 for the Arabic alphabet:
  • The original {{transl|ar|’abjadī}} order ({{lang|ar|أبجدي}}), used for lettering, derives from the order of the Phoenician alphabet
    Phoenician alphabet
    The Phoenician alphabet, called by convention the Proto-Canaanite alphabet for inscriptions older than around 1050 BC, was a non-pictographic consonantal alphabet, or abjad. It was used for the writing of Phoenician, a Northern Semitic language, used by the civilization of Phoenicia...

    , and is therefore similar to the order of other Phoenician-derived alphabets, such as the Hebrew alphabet
    Hebrew alphabet
    The Hebrew alphabet , known variously by scholars as the Jewish script, square script, block script, or more historically, the Assyrian script, is used in the writing of the Hebrew language, as well as other Jewish languages, most notably Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic. There have been two...

    . In this order letters are also used as numbers.

  • The {{transl|ar|hijā’ī}} ({{lang|ar|هجائي}}) or {{transl|ar|ALA|’alifbā’ī}} ({{lang|ar|ألفبائي}}) order shown in the table below, used where lists of names and words are sorted, as in phonebooks, classroom lists, and dictionaries, groups letters by similarity of shape.


The {{transl|ar|’abjadī}} order is not a simple historical continuation of the earlier north Semitic alphabetic order, since it has a position corresponding to the Aramaic letter
{{other uses|Arabic script}}

{{Arabic alphabet}}
{{alphabet}}
{{Listen
|filename = Arabic alphabet (31s, 80kbps).ogg
|title = Arabic alphabet
|description = (Listen to an Egyptian Arabic speaker recite the alphabet in Arabic)
}}
{{contains Arabic text}}

The Arabic alphabet ({{lang-ar|أبجدية عربية}} {{transl|ar|’abjadiyyah ‘arabiyyah}}) or Arabic
abjad
Abjad
An abjad is a type of writing system in which each symbol always or usually stands for a consonant; the reader must supply the appropriate vowel....

is the Arabic script as it is codified for writing the Arabic language
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

. It is written from right to left, in a cursive
Cursive
Cursive, also known as joined-up writing, joint writing, or running writing, is any style of handwriting in which the symbols of the language are written in a simplified and/or flowing manner, generally for the purpose of making writing easier or faster...

 style, and includes 28 letters. Because letters usually stand for consonants, it is classified as an abjad
Abjad
An abjad is a type of writing system in which each symbol always or usually stands for a consonant; the reader must supply the appropriate vowel....

.

Consonants


The Arabic alphabet has 28 basic letters
Letter (alphabet)
A letter is a grapheme in an alphabetic system of writing, such as the Greek alphabet and its descendants. Letters compose phonemes and each phoneme represents a phone in the spoken form of the language....

. Adaptations of the Arabic script for other languages, such as Persian, Ottoman
Ottoman Turkish language
The Ottoman Turkish language or Ottoman language is the variety of the Turkish language that was used for administrative and literary purposes in the Ottoman Empire. It borrows extensively from Arabic and Persian, and was written in a variant of the Perso-Arabic script...

, Sindhi
Sindhi language
Sindhi is the language of the Sindh region of Pakistan that is spoken by the Sindhi people. In India, it is among 22 constitutionally recognized languages, where Sindhis are a sizeable minority. It is spoken by 53,410,910 people in Pakistan, according to the national government's Statistics Division...

, Urdu, Malay or Pashto
Pashto language
Pashto , known as Afghani in Persian and Pathani in Punjabi , is the native language of the indigenous Pashtun people or Afghan people who are found primarily between an area south of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan and...

, Arabi Malayalam
Arabi Malayalam
Arabi Malayalam is a system of writing Malayalam language language in a variant form of Arabic script.It is a blend of Malayalam grammatical base, Arabic script with special orthographic features, and vocabulary from Malayalam , Arabic, Tamil, Urdu and Persian...

, have additional letters, on which see below. There are no distinct upper and lower case
Letter case
In orthography and typography, letter case is the distinction between the larger majuscule and smaller minuscule letters...

 letter forms.

Many letters look similar but are distinguished from one another by dots ({{transl|ar|’i‘jām}}) above or below their central part, called {{transl|ar|rasm
Rasm
Rasm is an Arabic term that signifies: drawing, sketch, trace, graph, pictures, outline, pattern, mark, notes, design, regulation, form, rate...

}}
. These dots are an integral part of a letter, since they distinguish between letters that represent different sounds. For example, the Arabic letters transliterated as {{transl|ar|b}} and {{transl|ar|t}} have the same basic shape, but {{transl|ar|b}} has one dot below, {{lang|ar|ب}}, and {{transl|ar|t}} has two dots above, {{lang|ar|ت}}.

Both printed and written Arabic are cursive
Cursive
Cursive, also known as joined-up writing, joint writing, or running writing, is any style of handwriting in which the symbols of the language are written in a simplified and/or flowing manner, generally for the purpose of making writing easier or faster...

, with most of the letters within a word directly connected to the adjacent letters.

Alphabetical order


There are two main collating sequences
Collation
Collation is the assembly of written information into a standard order. One common type of collation is called alphabetization, though collation is not limited to ordering letters of the alphabet...

 for the Arabic alphabet:
  • The original {{transl|ar|’abjadī}} order ({{lang|ar|أبجدي}}), used for lettering, derives from the order of the Phoenician alphabet
    Phoenician alphabet
    The Phoenician alphabet, called by convention the Proto-Canaanite alphabet for inscriptions older than around 1050 BC, was a non-pictographic consonantal alphabet, or abjad. It was used for the writing of Phoenician, a Northern Semitic language, used by the civilization of Phoenicia...

    , and is therefore similar to the order of other Phoenician-derived alphabets, such as the Hebrew alphabet
    Hebrew alphabet
    The Hebrew alphabet , known variously by scholars as the Jewish script, square script, block script, or more historically, the Assyrian script, is used in the writing of the Hebrew language, as well as other Jewish languages, most notably Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic. There have been two...

    . In this order letters are also used as numbers.

  • The {{transl|ar|hijā’ī}} ({{lang|ar|هجائي}}) or {{transl|ar|ALA|’alifbā’ī}} ({{lang|ar|ألفبائي}}) order shown in the table below, used where lists of names and words are sorted, as in phonebooks, classroom lists, and dictionaries, groups letters by similarity of shape.


The {{transl|ar|’abjadī}} order is not a simple historical continuation of the earlier north Semitic alphabetic order, since it has a position corresponding to the Aramaic letter {{transl
Samekh
Samekh or Simketh is the fifteenth letter in many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Hebrew, and Aramaic, representing . The Arabic alphabet, however, uses a letter based on Phoenician šin to represent ; however, that glyph takes Samekh's place in the traditional Abjadi order of the Arabic...

/semkat {{lang|he|ס}}, yet no letter of the Arabic alphabet historically derives from that letter. Loss of {{transl|he|sameḵ}} was compensated for by the split of shin
Shin (letter)
Shin literally means "Sharp" ; It is the twenty-first letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician , Aramaic/Hebrew , and Arabic ....

 {{lang|he|ש}} into two independent Arabic letters, {{lang|ar|ش}} (shīn) and {{lang|ar|ﺱ}} (sīn) which moved up to take the place of {{transl|he|sameḵ}}.

The most common {{transl|ar|’abjadī}} sequence is:
{{lang|ar|غ}} {{lang|ar|ظ}} {{lang|ar|ض}} {{lang|ar|ذ}} {{lang|ar|خ}} {{lang|ar|ث}} {{lang|ar|ت}} {{lang|ar|ش}} {{lang|ar|ر}} {{lang|ar|ق}} {{lang|ar|ص}} {{lang|ar|ف}} {{lang|ar|ع}} {{lang|ar|س}} {{lang|ar|ن}} {{lang|ar|م}} {{lang|ar|ل}} {{lang|ar|ك}} {{lang|ar|ي}} {{lang|ar|ط}} {{lang|ar|ح}} {{lang|ar|ز}} {{lang|ar|و}} {{lang|ar|ه}} {{lang|ar|د}} {{lang|ar|ج}} {{lang|ar|ب}} {{lang|ar|أ}}
{{transl|ar|gh}} {{transl|ar|ẓ}} {{transl|ar|ḍ}} {{transl|ar|dh}} {{transl|ar|kh}} {{transl|ar|th}} {{transl|ar|t}} {{transl|ar|sh}} {{transl|ar|r}} {{transl|ar|q}} {{transl|ar|ṣ}} {{transl|ar|f}} {{transl|ar|‘}} {{transl|ar|s}} {{transl|ar|n}} {{transl|ar|m}} {{transl|ar|l}} {{transl|ar|k}} {{transl|ar|y}} {{transl|ar|ṭ}} {{transl|ar|ḥ}} {{transl|ar|z}} {{transl|ar|w}} {{transl|ar|h}} {{transl|ar|d}} {{transl|ar|j}} {{transl|ar|b}} {{transl|ar|’}}


Note: In this sequence, and all those that follow, the letters are presented in Arabic writing order, i.e., right to left. The Latin script transliterations are also in this order, with each placed under its corresponding letter. Thus, the first letter of the sequence is "أ"(’) at the right, and the last letter in the sequence is "غ"(gh), at the left.

This is commonly vocalized as follows:
{{transl|ar|’abjad hawwaz ḥuṭṭī kalaman sa‘faṣ qarashat thakhadh ḍaẓagh}}.

Another vocalization is:
{{transl|ar|’abujadin hawazin ḥuṭiya kalman sa‘faṣ qurishat thakhudh ḍaẓugh}}


Another {{transl|ar|’abjadī}} sequence (probably older, now mainly confined to the Maghreb), is:
{{lang|ar|ش}} {{lang|ar|غ}} {{lang|ar|ظ}} {{lang|ar|ذ}} {{lang|ar|خ}} {{lang|ar|ث}} {{lang|ar|ت}} {{lang|ar|س}} {{lang|ar|ر}} {{lang|ar|ق}} {{lang|ar|ض}} {{lang|ar|ف}} {{lang|ar|ع}} {{lang|ar|ص}} {{lang|ar|ن}} {{lang|ar|م}} {{lang|ar|ل}} {{lang|ar|ك}} {{lang|ar|ي}} {{lang|ar|ط}} {{lang|ar|ح}} {{lang|ar|ز}} {{lang|ar|و}} {{lang|ar|ه}} {{lang|ar|د}} {{lang|ar|ج}} {{lang|ar|ب}} {{lang|ar|أ}}
{{transl|ar|sh}} {{transl|ar|gh}} {{transl|ar|ẓ}} {{transl|ar|dh}} {{transl|ar|kh}} {{transl|ar|th}} {{transl|ar|t}} {{transl|ar|s}} {{transl|ar|r}} {{transl|ar|q}} {{transl|ar|ḍ}} {{transl|ar|f}} {{transl|ar|‘}} {{transl|ar|ṣ}} {{transl|ar|n}} {{transl|ar|m}} {{transl|ar|l}} {{transl|ar|k}} {{transl|ar|y}} {{transl|ar|ṭ}} {{transl|ar|ḥ}} {{transl|ar|z}} {{transl|ar|w}} {{transl|ar|h}} {{transl|ar|d}} {{transl|ar|j}} {{transl|ar|b}} {{transl|ar|’}}


which can be vocalized as:
{{transl|ar|’abujadin hawazin ḥuṭiya kalman ṣa‘faḍ qurisat thakhudh ẓaghush}}


Modern dictionaries and other reference books do not use the {{transl|ar|’abjadī}} order to sort alphabetically; instead, the newer {{transl|ar|hijā’ī}} order (with letters partially grouped together by similarity of shape) is used:
{{lang|ar|ي}} {{lang|ar|و}} {{lang|ar|ه}} {{lang|ar|ن}} {{lang|ar|م}} {{lang|ar|ل}} {{lang|ar|ك}} {{lang|ar|ق}} {{lang|ar|ف}} {{lang|ar|غ}} {{lang|ar|ع}} {{lang|ar|ظ}} {{lang|ar|ط}} {{lang|ar|ض}} {{lang|ar|ص}} {{lang|ar|ش}} {{lang|ar|س}} {{lang|ar|ز}} {{lang|ar|ر}} {{lang|ar|ذ}} {{lang|ar|د}} {{lang|ar|خ}} {{lang|ar|ح}} {{lang|ar|ج}} {{lang|ar|ث}} {{lang|ar|ت}} {{lang|ar|ب}} {{lang|ar|أ}}
{{transl|ar|y}} {{transl|ar|w}} {{transl|ar|h}} {{transl|ar|n}} {{transl|ar|m}} {{transl|ar|l}} {{transl|ar|k}} {{transl|ar|q}} {{transl|ar|f}} {{transl|ar|gh}} {{transl|ar|‘}} {{transl|ar| ẓ}} {{transl|ar|ṭ}} {{transl|ar|ḍ}} {{transl|ar|ṣ}} {{transl|ar|sh}} {{transl|ar|s}} {{transl|ar|z}} {{transl|ar|r}} {{transl|ar|dh}} {{transl|ar|d}} {{transl|ar|kh}} {{transl|ar|ḥ}} {{transl|ar|j}} {{transl|ar|th}} {{transl|ar|t}} {{transl|ar|b}} {{transl|ar|’}}


Another kind of {{transl|ar|hijā’ī}} order used to be widely used in the Maghreb
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

 until recently when it was replaced by the Mashriq
Mashriq
Mashriq or Mashreq is derived from the Arabic consonantal root sh-r-q relating to the east or the sunrise, and essentially means "east"...

i order:
{{lang|ar|ي}} {{lang|ar|و}} {{lang|ar|ه}} {{lang|ar|ش}} {{lang|ar|س}} {{lang|ar|ق}} {{lang|ar|ف}} {{lang|ar|غ}} {{lang|ar|ع}} {{lang|ar|ض}} {{lang|ar|ص}} {{lang|ar|ن}} {{lang|ar|م}} {{lang|ar|ل}} {{lang|ar|ك}} {{lang|ar|ظ}} {{lang|ar|ط}} {{lang|ar|ز}} {{lang|ar|ر}} {{lang|ar|ذ}} {{lang|ar|د}} {{lang|ar|خ}} {{lang|ar|ح}} {{lang|ar|ج}} {{lang|ar|ث}} {{lang|ar|ت}} {{lang|ar|ب}} {{lang|ar|أ}}
{{transl|ar|y}} {{transl|ar|w}} {{transl|ar|h}} {{transl|ar|sh}} {{transl|ar|s}} {{transl|ar|q}} {{transl|ar|f}} {{transl|ar|gh}} {{transl|ar|‘}} {{transl|ar|ḍ}} {{transl|ar|ṣ}} {{transl|ar|n}} {{transl|ar|m}} {{transl|ar|l}} {{transl|ar|k}} {{transl|ar|ẓ}} {{transl|ar|ṭ}} {{transl|ar|z}} {{transl|ar|r}} {{transl|ar|dh}} {{transl|ar|d}} {{transl|ar|kh}} {{transl|ar|ḥ}} {{transl|ar|j}} {{transl|ar|th}} {{transl|ar|t}} {{transl|ar|b}} {{transl|ar|’}}


{{Primary sources|section|date=July 2011}}

Also another new sequence of the Arabic alphabet was put forward by a Saudi Arabian citizen, named Waleed Ahmad J. Addas
Waleed Ahmad J. Addas
Waleed Ahmad Jameel Addas is a Saudi Arabian economic methodologist. He published a first comparative study on the subject, entitled...

 who managed to combine all the Arabic letters of the alphabet into one single meaningful couplet and without repeating a single letter. This invention was endorsed by a number of local, regional and international language complexes. It reads as follows:
{{lang|ar|ثق تعش ظل هدف حكَمٌ ذو صبرٍ سخيٍ ضَغطَ أَنجز}}

Letter forms


Unlike cursive writing based on the Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

, the standard Arabic style is to have a substantially different shape depending on whether it will be connecting with a preceding and/or a succeeding letter, thus all primary letters have conditional forms (allographs
Allography
Allography, from the Greek for "other writing", has several meanings which all relate to how words and sounds are written down.-Allographs as authorship:...

), depending on whether they are at the beginning, middle or end of a word, so they may exhibit four distinct forms (initial, medial, final or isolated). However, six letters ({{lang|ar|و ز ر ذ د ا}}) have only an isolated or final form, and so force the following letter (if any) to take an initial or isolated form, as if there were a word break. For example, {{lang|ar|أرارات}} (Ararat
Mount Ararat
Mount Ararat is a snow-capped, dormant volcanic cone in Turkey. It has two peaks: Greater Ararat and Lesser Ararat .The Ararat massif is about in diameter...

) has only isolated forms, because each letter cannot be connected to its adjacent one.

Some letters look almost the same in all four forms, while others show considerable variation. Generally, the initial and middle forms look similar except that in some letters the middle form starts with a short horizontal line on the right to ensure that it will connect with its preceding letter. The final and isolated forms, are also similar in appearance but the final form will also have a horizontal stroke on the right and, for some letters, a loop or longer line on the left with which to finish the word with a subtle ornamental flourish. In addition, some letter combinations are written as ligatures
Ligature (typography)
In writing and typography, a ligature occurs where two or more graphemes are joined as a single glyph. Ligatures usually replace consecutive characters sharing common components and are part of a more general class of glyphs called "contextual forms", where the specific shape of a letter depends on...

 (special shapes), including {{transl|ar|lām-’alif}}.

Table of basic letters


{{other uses|Arabic script}}

Notes
  • See the article Romanization of Arabic for details on various transliteration schemes; however, Arabic language speakers don't follow a standardized scheme when transcribing names. Also names are regularly transcribed as pronounced locally, not as pronounced in Literary Arabic
    Literary Arabic
    Modern Standard Arabic , Standard Arabic, or Literary Arabic is the standard and literary variety of Arabic used in writing and in most formal speech....

     (if they were of Arabic origin).

  • Regarding pronunciation, the phonemic values given are those of the pronunciation of Literary Arabic, the standard which is taught in universities. In practice, pronunciation may vary considerably from region to region, because Literary Arabic isn't anyone's native language. For more details concerning the pronunciation of Arabic, consult the articles Arabic phonology
    Arabic phonology
    While many languages have numerous dialects that differ in pronunciation, the Arabic language is more properly described as a continuum of varieties. This article deals primarily with Modern Standard Arabic, which is the standard variety shared by educated speakers throughout Arabic-speaking regions...

    and varieties of Arabic
    Varieties of Arabic
    The Arabic language is a Semitic language characterized by a wide number of linguistic varieties within its five regional forms. The largest divisions occur between the spoken languages of different regions. The Arabic of North Africa, for example, is often incomprehensible to an Arabic speaker...

    .

  • The names of the Arabic letters can be thought of as abstractions of an older version where they were meaningful words in the Proto-Semitic language. Names of Arabic letters may have quite different names popularly, but they are not provided in the article.
    For example: {{lang|ar|ح}} {{transl|ar|ḥā’}} is most commonly known in Egypt as: ħɑ; in Lebanon: ħe.  {{lang|ar|ز}} has two Literary Arabic names: {{transl|ar|ALA|zayn/zāy}} and called by Egyptians: zeːn.

  • Six letters ({{lang|ar|و ز ر ذ د ا}}) don't have a distinct medial form and have to be written with their final form without being connected to the next letter. Their initial form matches the isolated form.

Arabic letters usage in Literary Arabic
Name Translit.
ALA-LC Romanization
ALA-LC is a set of standards for romanization, or the representation of text in other writing systems using the Latin alphabet. The initials stand for American Library Association - Library of Congress....

Value (IPA
International Phonetic Alphabet
The International Phonetic Alphabet "The acronym 'IPA' strictly refers [...] to the 'International Phonetic Association'. But it is now such a common practice to use the acronym also to refer to the alphabet itself that resistance seems pedantic...

)
Contextual forms Isolated
End Middle Beginning
{{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}} {{transl|ar|ALA|’}} / {{transl|ar|ALA|ā}} various,
including /aː/ {{ref|a|[a]}}
{{lang|ar|ـا}} {{lang|ar|ـا}} {{lang|ar|ا}} {{lang|ar|ا}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|bā’}} {{transl|ar|ALA|b}} b
(sometimes p in loanwords){{ref|b|[b]}}
{{lang|ar|ـب}} {{lang|ar|ـبـ}} {{lang|ar|بـ}} {{lang|ar|ب}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|tā’}} {{transl|ar|ALA|t}} t {{lang|ar|ـت}} {{lang|ar|ـتـ}} {{lang|ar|تـ}} {{lang|ar|ت}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|thā’}} {{transl|ar|ALA|th}} (also {{transl|ar|DIN|ṯ}}) θ {{lang|ar|ـث}} {{lang|ar|ـثـ}} {{lang|ar|ثـ}} {{lang|ar|ث}}
{{transl|ar|jīm}} {{transl|ar|j}} (also {{transl|ar|DIN|ǧ}}, g) d͡ʒ ~ ʒ ~ ɡ {{ref|c|[c]}} {{lang|ar|ـج}} {{lang|ar|ـجـ}} {{lang|ar|جـ}} {{lang|ar|ج}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|ḥā’}} {{transl|ar|ALA|ḥ}} ħ {{lang|ar|ـح}} {{lang|ar|ـحـ}} {{lang|ar|حـ}} {{lang|ar|ح}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|khā’}} {{transl|ar|ALA|kh}} (also {{transl|ar|DIN|ḫ}}) x {{lang|ar|ـخ}} {{lang|ar|ـخـ}} {{lang|ar|خـ}} {{lang|ar|خ}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|dāl}} {{transl|ar|ALA|d}} d {{lang|ar|ـد}} {{lang|ar|ـد}} {{lang|ar|د}} {{lang|ar|د}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|dhāl}} {{transl|ar|ALA|dh}} (also {{transl|ar|DIN|ḏ}}) ð {{lang|ar|ـذ}} {{lang|ar|ـذ}} {{lang|ar|ذ}} {{lang|ar|ذ}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|rā’}} {{transl|ar|ALA|r}} r {{lang|ar|ـر}} {{lang|ar|ـر}} {{lang|ar|ر}} {{lang|ar|ر}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|zayn}} / {{transl|ar|ALA|zāy}} {{transl|ar|ALA|z}} z {{lang|ar|ـز}} {{lang|ar|ـز}} {{lang|ar|ز}} {{lang|ar|ز}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|sīn}} {{transl|ar|ALA|s}} s {{lang|ar|ـس}} {{lang|ar|ـسـ}} {{lang|ar|سـ}} {{lang|ar|س}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|shīn}} {{transl|ar|ALA|sh}} (also {{transl|ar|DIN|š}}) ʃ {{lang|ar|ـش}} {{lang|ar|ـشـ}} {{lang|ar|شـ}} {{lang|ar|ش}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|ṣād}} {{transl|ar|ALA|ṣ}} {{lang|ar|ـص}} {{lang|ar|ـصـ}} {{lang|ar|صـ}} {{lang|ar|ص}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|ḍād}} {{transl|ar|ALA|ḍ}} {{lang|ar|ـض}} {{lang|ar|ـضـ}} {{lang|ar|ضـ}} {{lang|ar|ض}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|ṭā’}} {{transl|ar|ALA|ṭ}} {{lang|ar|ـط}} {{lang|ar|ـطـ}} {{lang|ar|طـ}} {{lang|ar|ط}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|ẓā’}} {{transl|ar|ALA|ẓ}}
|ˤ ~ ˤ
{{lang|ar|ـظ}} {{lang|ar|ـظـ}} {{lang|ar|ظـ}} {{lang|ar|ظ}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|‘ayn}} {{transl|ar|ALA|‘}} ʕ {{lang|ar|ـع}} {{lang|ar|ـعـ}} {{lang|ar|عـ}} {{lang|ar|ع}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|ghayn}} {{transl|ar|ALA|gh}} (also {{transl|ar|DIN|ġ}}) ɣ
(sometimes ɡ in loanwords){{ref|c|[c]}}
{{lang|ar|ـغ}} {{lang|ar|ـغـ}} {{lang|ar|غـ}} {{lang|ar|غ}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|fā’}} {{transl|ar|ALA|f}} f
(sometimes v in loanwords){{ref|b|[b]}}
{{lang|ar|ـف}} {{lang|ar|ـفـ}} {{lang|ar|فـ}} {{lang|ar|ف}} {{ref|d|[d]}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|qāf}} {{transl|ar|ALA|q}} q
(sometimes ɡ in loanwords){{ref|c|[c]}}
{{lang|ar|ـق}} {{lang|ar|ـقـ}} {{lang|ar|قـ}} {{lang|ar|ق}} {{ref|d|[d]}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|kāf}} {{transl|ar|ALA|k}} k
(sometimes ɡ in loanwords){{ref|c|[c]}}
{{lang|ar|ـك}} {{lang|ar|ـكـ}} {{lang|ar|كـ}} {{lang|ar|ك}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|lām}} {{transl|ar|l}} l {{lang|ar|ـل}} {{lang|ar|ـلـ}} {{lang|ar|لـ}} {{lang|ar|ل}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|mīm}} {{transl|ar|ALA|m}} m {{lang|ar|ـم}} {{lang|ar|ـمـ}} {{lang|ar|مـ}} {{lang|ar|م}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|nūn}} {{transl|ar|ALA|n}} n {{lang|ar|ـن}} {{lang|ar|ـنـ}} {{lang|ar|نـ}} {{lang|ar|ن}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|hā’}} {{transl|ar|ALA|h}} h {{lang|ar|ـه}} {{lang|ar|ـهـ}} {{lang|ar|هـ}} {{lang|ar|ه}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|wāw}} {{transl|ar|ALA|w}} / {{transl|ar|ALA|ū}} / {{transl|ar|ALA|aw}} w, /uː/, /aw/,
sometimes u, o, and oː in loanwords
{{lang|ar|ـو}} {{lang|ar|ـو}} {{lang|ar|و}} {{lang|ar|و}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|yā’}} {{transl|ar|ALA|y}} / {{transl|ar|ALA|ī}} / {{transl|ar|ALA|ay}} j, /iː/, /aj/,
sometimes i, e, and eː in loanwords
{{lang|ar|ـي}} {{lang|ar|ـيـ}} {{lang|ar|يـ}} {{lang|ar|ي}} {{ref|e|[e]}}


{{refbegin}}
{{transl|ar|ALA|’Alif}} can represent many phonemes in Literary Arabic
Literary Arabic
Modern Standard Arabic , Standard Arabic, or Literary Arabic is the standard and literary variety of Arabic used in writing and in most formal speech....

:
    1. Without diacritics: {{lang|ar|ا}}
      • initially: {{transl|ar|ALA|a, i}}   /a, i/ or sometimes silent in the definite article {{lang|ar|ال}} {{transl
        Al-
        is the definite article in the Arabic language; a particle whose function is to render the noun on which it is prefixed definite. For example, the word kitāb 'book' can be made definite by prefixing it with al-, resulting in al-kitāb 'the book'...

      • medially or finally: {{transl|ar|ALA|ā}}   /aː/.
    2. {{transl|ar|ALA|’Alif}} with {{transl above: {{lang|ar|أ}}
      • initially: {{transl|ar|ALA|’a, ’u}}   /ʔa, ʔu/
      • medially or finally: {{transl|ar|ALA|’a}}   /ʔa/.
    3. {{transl|ar|ALA|’Alif}} with {{transl|ar|ALA|hamzah}} under: {{lang|ar|إ}}
      • initially: {{transl|ar|ALA|’i}}   /ʔi/; doesn't appear medially or finally (see hamza).
    4. {{transl|ar|ALA|’Alif}} with {{transl|ar|ALA|maddah}}:{{lang|ar|آ}}
      • initially, medially or finally: {{transl|ar|ALA|’ā}}   /ʔaː/.

p and v can be represented by {{lang|ar|پ}} and {{lang|ar|ڤ}}‎/{{script/Arabic|ڥ}} or if unavailable, {{lang|ar|ب}} and {{lang|ar|ف}}‎/{{script/Arabic|ڢ}} are used, respectively.
For Arabic language speakers, the phoneme ɡ can be represented using different letters, depending on local dialects
Varieties of Arabic
The Arabic language is a Semitic language characterized by a wide number of linguistic varieties within its five regional forms. The largest divisions occur between the spoken languages of different regions. The Arabic of North Africa, for example, is often incomprehensible to an Arabic speaker...

. {{lang|ar|ج}} is normally used in Egypt, also sometimes Yemen and Oman. {{lang|ar|ق}} is used where it represents the ɡ in local dialects. {{lang|ar|ك}} or {{lang|ar|غ}} are used where ɡ doesn't exist in local dialects. Other letters such as {{lang|fa|گ}},‎ {{script/Arabic|ݣ}} or {{script/Arabic|ڨ}} may also be used, but are not regarded as standard Arabic letters. Likewise, where {{lang|ar|ج}} represents ɡ, it can be also used for ʒ~d͡ʒ, or the letter {{lang|fa|چ}} can be used in Egypt.
{{transl|ar|ALA|Fā’}} and {{transl|ar|ALA|qāf}} are traditionally written in northwestern Africa
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

 as {{script/Arabic|ڢ}} and {{script/Arabic|ڧـ ـڧـ ـٯ}}, respectively, while the latter's dot is only added initially or medially.
{{transl|ar|ALA|Yā’}} in the isolated and the final forms in handwriting and print in Egypt, Sudan and sometimes other places, is always undotted {{lang|ar|ى}}, making it only contextually distinguishable from {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif maqṣūrah}}.

{{refend}}

See also Additional letters below.

Further notes

  • The letter {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}} originated in the Phoenician alphabet
    Phoenician alphabet
    The Phoenician alphabet, called by convention the Proto-Canaanite alphabet for inscriptions older than around 1050 BC, was a non-pictographic consonantal alphabet, or abjad. It was used for the writing of Phoenician, a Northern Semitic language, used by the civilization of Phoenicia...

     as a consonant-sign indicating the glottal stop
    Glottal stop
    The glottal stop, or more fully, the voiceless glottal plosive, is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. In English, the feature is represented, for example, by the hyphen in uh-oh! and by the apostrophe or [[ʻokina]] in Hawaii among those using a preservative pronunciation of...

     [ʔ]. Today it has lost its function as a consonant, and, together with {{transl|ar|ALA|ya’}} and {{transl|ar|ALA|wāw}}, is a mater lectionis
    Mater lectionis
    In the spelling of Hebrew and some other Semitic languages, matres lectionis , refers to the use of certain consonants to indicate a vowel. The letters that do this in Hebrew are aleph, he, waw and yod...

    , a consonant sign standing in for a long vowel (see below), or as support for certain diacritics ({{transl|ar|ALA|maddah}} and {{transl).

  • The shape of the final {{transl|ar|ALA|yā’}} is always undotted {{lang|ar|ى}} in both print and handwriting in Egypt and Sudan, mainly.

  • Arabic currently uses a diacritic sign, {{lang|ar|ﺀ}}, called {{transl, to denote the glottal stop, written alone or with a carrier:
    • alone: {{lang|ar|ء}} ;
    • with a carrier: {{lang|ar|إ أ}} (above or under a {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}}), {{lang|ar|ؤ}} (above a {{transl|ar|ALA|wāw}}), {{lang|ar|ئ}} (above a dotless {{transl|ar|ALA|yā’}} or {{transl|ar|ALA|yā’ hamzah}}).

  • Letters lacking an initial or medial version are never linked to the letter that follows, even within a word. The {{transl|ar|ALA|hamzah}} has a single form, since it is never linked to a preceding or following letter. However, it is sometimes combined with a {{transl|ar|ALA|wāw}}, {{transl|ar|ALA|yā’}}, or {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}}, and in that case the carrier behaves like an ordinary {{transl|ar|ALA|wāw}}, {{transl|ar|ALA|yā’}}, or {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}}.


In academic work, the glottal stop [ʔ] is transliterated with the right half ring sign ({{transl|sem|’}}), while the left half ring sign ({{transl|sem|‘}}) represents a different letter, with a different pronunciation, called {{transl
Ayin
' or ' is the sixteenth letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic . It is the twenty-first letter in the new Persian alphabet...

, corresponding to {{lang|ar|ع}} {{transl|ar|ALA|‘ayn}} in Arabic letters.

Modified letters


The following are not individual letters, but rather different contextual variants of some of the Arabic letters.
Conditional forms Name Translit. Phonemic Value (IPA)
Isolated Final Medial Initial
{{lang|ar|آ}} {{lang|ar|ـآ}} {{lang|ar|ـآ}} {{lang|ar|آ}} {{transl {{transl|ar|ALA|’ā}} /ʔaː/
{{lang|ar|ة}} {{lang|ar|ـة}}
}
|style="line-height:180%;padding:10px;"|{{lang|ar|}}
|{{transl
|{{transl|ar|ALA|h}} or
{{transl|ar|ALA|t}} / h / {{transl|ar|ẗ}}
|/a/, /at/
|-
|style="line-height:180%;padding:10px;"|{{lang|ar|ى}}
|style="line-height:180%;padding:10px;"|{{lang|ar|ـى}}
|style="line-height:180%;padding:10px;"|{{lang|ar|}}
|style="line-height:180%;padding:10px;"|{{lang|ar|}}
|{{transl|ar|ALA|’alif maqṣūrah}}
|{{transl|ar|ALA|ā}} / {{transl|ar|ỳ}}
|/aː/
|}

Ligatures


{{Expand section|further examples and context|date=November 2011}}

The use of ligature in Arabic is common. There is one compulsory ligature, that for {{transl|ar|ALA|lām}} + {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}}, which exists in two forms. All other ligatures ({{transl|ar|ALA|yā’}} + {{transl|ar|ALA|mīm}}, etc.) are optional.
Contextual forms Name
Final Medial Initial Isolated
{{lang|ar|ﻼ}} {{lang|ar|ﻻ}} lām + ’alif


A more complex ligature that combines as many as seven distinct components is commonly used to represent the word {{transl|ar|ALA|Allāh
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

}}
.

Gemination


{{further|Shadda
Shadda
Shadda , is one of the diacritics used with the Arabic alphabet, marking a long consonant . It is functionally equivalent to writing a consonant twice in the orthographies of languages like Latin, Italian, Swedish, and Ancient Greek, and is thus rendered in Latin script in most schemes of Arabic...

}}

Gemination
Gemination
In phonetics, gemination happens when a spoken consonant is pronounced for an audibly longer period of time than a short consonant. Gemination is distinct from stress and may appear independently of it....

 is the doubling of a consonant. Instead of writing the letter twice, Arabic places a W-shaped sign called {{transl|ar|ALA|shaddah}}, above it. Note that if a vowel occurs between the two consonants the letter will simply be written twice. The diacritic only appears where the consonant at the end of one syllable is identical to the initial consonant of the following syllable. (The generic term for such diacritic
Diacritic
A diacritic is a glyph added to a letter, or basic glyph. The term derives from the Greek διακριτικός . Diacritic is both an adjective and a noun, whereas diacritical is only an adjective. Some diacritical marks, such as the acute and grave are often called accents...

al signs is {{transl|ar|ALA|ḥarakāt
Harakat
The Arabic script has numerous diacritics, including ijam ⟨⟩ , and tashkil ⟨⟩...

}}
).
General
Unicode
Name Transliteration
small>0651
{{script/Arabic| ّ }} ّ
{{transl|ar|ALA|shaddah}} (consonant doubled)

Nunation


{{Main|Nunation}}

Nunation ({{lang-ar|تنوين}} {{transl|ar|ALA|tanwīn}}) is the addition of a final {{transl|ar|ALA|-n}}  to a noun
Noun
In linguistics, a noun is a member of a large, open lexical category whose members can occur as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition .Lexical categories are defined in terms of how their members combine with other kinds of...

 or adjective
Adjective
In grammar, an adjective is a 'describing' word; the main syntactic role of which is to qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified....

. The vowel before it indicates grammatical case
Grammatical case
In grammar, the case of a noun or pronoun is an inflectional form that indicates its grammatical function in a phrase, clause, or sentence. For example, a pronoun may play the role of subject , of direct object , or of possessor...

. In written Arabic nunation is indicated by doubling the vowel diacritic at the end of the word.

Vowels


Users of Arabic usually write long vowels
Vowel length
In linguistics, vowel length is the perceived duration of a vowel sound. Often the chroneme, or the "longness", acts like a consonant, and may etymologically be one, such as in Australian English. While not distinctive in most dialects of English, vowel length is an important phonemic factor in...

 but omit short ones, so readers must utilize their knowledge of the language in order to supply the missing vowels. However, in the education system and particularly in classes on Arabic grammar these vowels are used since they are crucial to the grammar. An Arabic sentence can have a completely different meaning by a subtle change of the vowels. This is why in an important text such as the {{transl|ar|ALA|Qur’ān}} the vowels are mandated.

Short vowels


{{See|Arabic diacritics}}

In the Arabic handwriting of everyday use, in general publications, and on street signs, short vowels are typically not written. On the other hand, copies of the {{transl|ar|ALA|Qur’ān}} cannot be endorsed by the religious institutes that review them unless the diacritics are included. Children's books, elementary-school texts, and Arabic-language grammars in general will include diacritics to some degree. These are known as "vocalized" texts.

Short vowels may be written with diacritic
Diacritic
A diacritic is a glyph added to a letter, or basic glyph. The term derives from the Greek διακριτικός . Diacritic is both an adjective and a noun, whereas diacritical is only an adjective. Some diacritical marks, such as the acute and grave are often called accents...

s placed above or below the consonant that precedes them in the syllable, called {{transl|ar|ALA|ḥarakāt}}. All Arabic vowels, long and short, follow a consonant; in Arabic, words like "Ali" or "alif", for example, start with a consonant: {{transl|ar|‘Aliyy}}, {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}}.
Short vowels
(fully vocalized text)
Name Trans. Value
small>064E
{{script/Arabic| َ }}
{{transl|ar|ALA|fatḥah}} {{transl|ar|ALA|a}} /a/
small>064F
{{script/Arabic| ُ }}
{{transl|ar|ALA|ḍammah}} {{transl|ar|ALA|u}} /u/
small>0650
{{script/Arabic| ِ }}
{{transl|ar|ALA|kasrah}} {{transl|ar|ALA|i}} /i/

Long vowels


In the fully vocalized Arabic text found in texts such as Koran, a long {{transl|ar|ALA|ā}} following a consonant other than a {{transl is written with a short {{transl|ar|ALA|a}} sign ({{transl|ar|ALA|fatḥah}}) on the consonant plus an {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}} after it; long {{transl|ar|ALA|ī}} is written as a sign for short {{transl|ar|ALA|i}} ({{transl|ar|ALA|kasrah}}) plus a {{transl|ar|ALA|yā’}} ; and long {{transl|ar|ALA|ū}} as a sign for short {{transl|ar|ALA|u}} ({{transl|ar|ALA|ḍammah}}) plus a {{transl|ar|ALA|wāw}}. Briefly, {{transl|ar|ᵃa}} = {{transl|ar|ALA|ā}}, {{transl|ar|ⁱy}} = {{transl|ar|ALA|ī}} and {{transl|ar|ᵘw}} = {{transl|ar|ALA|ū}}. Long {{transl|ar|ALA|ā}} following a {{transl|ar|ALA|hamzah}} may be represented by an {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif maddah}} or by a free {{transl|ar|ALA|hamzah}} followed by an {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}}.

The table below shows vowels placed above or below a dotted circle replacing a primary consonant letter or a {{transl
Shadda
Shadda , is one of the diacritics used with the Arabic alphabet, marking a long consonant . It is functionally equivalent to writing a consonant twice in the orthographies of languages like Latin, Italian, Swedish, and Ancient Greek, and is thus rendered in Latin script in most schemes of Arabic...

 sign. For clarity in the table, the primary letters on the left used to mark these long vowels are shown only in their isolated form. Please note that most consonants do connect to the left with {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}}, {{transl|ar|ALA|wāw}} and {{transl|ar|ALA|yā’}} written then with their medial or final form. Additionally, the letter {{transl|ar|ALA|yā’}} in the last row may connect to the letter on its left, and then will use a medial or initial form. Use the table of primary letters to look at their actual glyph and joining types.
Long vowels
(fully vocalised text)
Name Trans. Value
small>064E 0627
{{script/Arabic| َا }}
{{transl|ar|ALA|fatḥah ’alif}} {{transl|ar|ALA|ā}} /aː/
small>064E 0649
{{script/Arabic| َى }}
{{transl|ar|ALA|fatḥah ’alif maqṣūrah}} {{transl|ar|ALA|ā}} / {{transl|ar|ALA|á}} /a/
small>064F 0648
{{script/Arabic| ُو }}
{{transl|ar|ALA|ḍammah wāw}} {{transl|ar|ALA|ū}} /uː/
small>0650 064A
{{script/Arabic| ِي }}
{{transl|ar|ALA|kasrah yā’}} {{transl|ar|ALA|ī}} /iː/


In unvocalized text (one in which the short vowels are not marked), the long vowels are represented by the vowel in question: {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}}, {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif maqṣūrah}} (or {{transl|ar|ALA|ya’}}), {{transl|ar|ALA|wāw}}, or {{transl|ar|ALA|yā’}}. Long vowels written in the middle of a word of unvocalized text are treated like consonants with a {{transl|ar|ALA|sukūn}} (see below) in a text that has full diacritics. Here also, the table shows long vowel letters only in isolated form for clarity.

Combinations {{lang|ar|وا}} and {{lang|ar|يا}} are always pronounced {{transl|ar|ALA|wā}} and {{transl|ar|ALA|yā}} respectively, the exception is when {{lang|ar|وا}} is the verb ending, where {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}} is silent, resulting in {{transl|ar|ALA|ū}}.
Long vowels
(unvocalized text)
Name Trans. Value
0627
{{lang|ar|ا}}
(implied {{transl|ar|ALA|fatḥah}}) {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}} {{transl|ar|ALA|ā}} /aː/
0649
{{lang|ar|ى}}
(implied {{transl|ar|ALA|fatḥah}}) {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif maqṣūrah}} {{transl|ar|ALA|ā}} / {{transl|ar|aỳ}} /a/
0648
{{lang|ar|و}}
(implied {{transl|ar|ALA|ḍammah}}) {{transl|ar|ALA|wāw}} {{transl|ar|ALA|ū}} / {{transl|ar|uw}} /uː/
064A
{{lang|ar|ي}}
(implied {{transl|ar|ALA|kasrah}}) {{transl|ar|ALA|yā’}} {{transl|ar|ALA|ī}} / {{transl|ar|iy}} /iː/


In addition, when transliterating names and loanwords, Arabic language speakers write out most or all the vowels as long ({{transl|ar|ALA|ā}} with {{lang|ar|ا}} {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}}, {{transl|ar|ALA|ē}} and {{transl|ar|ALA|ī}} with {{lang|ar|ي}} {{transl|ar|ALA|ya’}}, and {{transl|ar|ALA|ō}} and {{transl|ar|ALA|ū}} with {{lang|ar|و}} {{transl|ar|ALA|wāw}}), meaning it approaches a true alphabet.

Diphthongs


The diphthongs /aj/ and /aw/ are represented in vocalized text as follows:
Diphthongs
(fully vocalized text)
Name Trans. Value
small>064E 064A
{{script/Arabic| َي }}
{{transl|ar|ALA|fatḥah yā’}} {{transl|ar|ALA|ay}} /aj/
small>064E 0648
{{script/Arabic| َو }}
{{transl|ar|ALA|fatḥah wāw}} {{transl|ar|ALA|aw}} /aw/

Vowel omission


An Arabic syllable
Syllable
A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. For example, the word water is composed of two syllables: wa and ter. A syllable is typically made up of a syllable nucleus with optional initial and final margins .Syllables are often considered the phonological "building...

 can be open (ending with a vowel) or closed (ending with a consonant):
  • open: CV [consonant-vowel] (long or short vowel)
  • closed: CVC (short vowel only)


In closed syllables, we can indicate that the closing consonant does not carry a vowel by marking it with a diacritic
Diacritic
A diacritic is a glyph added to a letter, or basic glyph. The term derives from the Greek διακριτικός . Diacritic is both an adjective and a noun, whereas diacritical is only an adjective. Some diacritical marks, such as the acute and grave are often called accents...

 called {{transl|ar|ALA|sukūn}} ( {{script/Arabic| ْ }}   ) to remove any ambiguity, especially when the text is not vocalized. A normal text is composed only of series of consonants; thus, the word {{transl|ar|ALA|qalb}}, "heart", is written {{transl|ar|qlb}}. The {{transl|ar|ALA|sukūn}} indicates where not to place a vowel: {{transl|ar|qlb}} could, in effect, be read {{transl|ar|ALA|qalab}} (meaning "he turned around"), but written with a {{transl|ar|ALA|sukūn}} over the {{transl|ar|l}} and the {{transl|ar|b}} ({{lang|ar|قلْبْ}}), it can only have the form {{transl|ar|qVlb}}. This is one step down from full vocalization, where the vowel {{transl|ar|ALA|a}} would also be indicated by a {{transl|ar|ALA|fatḥah}}: {{lang|ar|قَلْبْ}}.

The {{transl|ar|ALA|Qur’ān}} is traditionally written in full vocalization. Outside of the {{transl|ar|ALA|Qur’ān}}, putting a {{transl|ar|ALA|sukūn}} above a {{transl|ar|ALA|yā’}} (representing /iː/), or above a {{transl|ar|ALA|wāw}} (representing /uː/) is extremely rare, to the point that {{transl|ar|ALA|yā’}} with {{transl|ar|ALA|sukūn}} will be unambiguously read as the diphthong
Diphthong
A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

 /aj/, and {{transl|ar|ALA|wāw}} with {{transl|ar|ALA|sukūn}} will be read /aw/. For example, the letters {{transl|ar|m-w-s-y-q-ā}} ({{lang|ar|موسيقى}} with an {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif maqṣūrah}} at the end of the word)
will be read most naturally as the word {{transl|ar|ALA|mūsīqā}} ("music"). If one were to write a {{transl|ar|ALA|sukūn}} above the {{transl|ar|ALA|wāw}}, the {{transl|ar|ALA|yā’}} and the {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}}, one would get {{lang|ar|موْسيْقىْ}}, which would be read as {{transl|ar|*mawsayqāy}} (note however that the final {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif maqṣūrah}}, because it is an {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}}, never takes a {{transl|ar|ALA|sukūn}}). The word, entirely vocalized, would be written as {{lang|ar|مُوسِيقَى}}. The Koranic spelling would have no {{transl|ar|ALA|sukūn}} sign above the final {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif maqṣūrah}}, but instead a miniature {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}} above the preceding {{transl|ar|ALA|qāf}} consonant, which is a valid Unicode
Unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...

 character but most Arabic computer fonts cannot in fact display this miniature {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}} as of 2006.

No {{transl|ar|ALA|sukūn}} is placed on word-final consonants, even if no vowel is pronounced, because fully vocalized texts are always written as if the {{transl vowels were in fact pronounced. For example, {{transl|ar|’Aḥmad zawj sharrīr}}, meaning “Ahmed is a wicked husband”, for the purposes of Arabic grammar and orthography, is treated as if still pronounced with full {{transl|ar|ALA|’I‘rāb}}, i.e. {{transl|ar|’Aḥmadu zawjun sharrirun}} with the complete desinences.
General
Unicode
Name Translit. Phonemic Value (IPA)
small>0652
{{script/Arabic| ْ }}
{{transl|ar|ALA|sukūn}} (no vowel with this consonant letter or
diphthong with this long vowel letter)
{{unicode|∅}}
small>0670
{{script/Arabic| ٰ }}
{{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}} above {{transl|ar|ALA|ā}} /aː/


The {{transl|ar|ALA|sukūn}} is also used for transliterating words into the Arabic script. The Persian word {{lang|fa|ماسک}} (mâsk, from the English word "mask"), for example, might be written with a {{transl|ar|ALA|sukūn}} above the {{lang|fa|ﺱ}} to signify that there is no vowel sound between that letter and the {{lang|fa|ک}}.

Regional variations

  • {{script/Arabic|ڢ}} – a Maghrebi variation of the letter {{lang|ar|ف}} ({{transl|ar|ALA|fā’}}) .

  • {{script/Arabic|ٯ}} and {{script/Arabic|ڧ}} – a Maghrebi variation of standard letter {{script/Arabic|ق}} (as a rule, dotless in isolated and final positions and dotted in the initial and medial forms {{script/Arabic|ڧـ ـڧـ ـٯ}}).


Additional modified letters, used in non-Arabic languages, or in Arabic for transliterating names, loanwords, spoken dialects
Varieties of Arabic
The Arabic language is a Semitic language characterized by a wide number of linguistic varieties within its five regional forms. The largest divisions occur between the spoken languages of different regions. The Arabic of North Africa, for example, is often incomprehensible to an Arabic speaker...

 only, include:

Sometimes used for writing names, loanwords and dialects

  • {{script/Arabic|ڤ}} – (not to be confused with {{script/Arabic|ڨ}}) used in Kurdish language
    Kurdish language
    Kurdish is a dialect continuum spoken by the Kurds in western Asia. It is part of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian group of Indo-European languages....

     when written in Arabic script and sometimes used in Arabic language to represent the sound v when transliterating names and loanwords in Arabic. Also used in writing dialects
    Varieties of Arabic
    The Arabic language is a Semitic language characterized by a wide number of linguistic varieties within its five regional forms. The largest divisions occur between the spoken languages of different regions. The Arabic of North Africa, for example, is often incomprehensible to an Arabic speaker...

     with that sound. Usually the letter {{lang|ar|ف}} ({{transl|ar|fā’}}) is used to transliterate v. Also used as pa in the Jawi script. The phoneme v in Tunisia and some other regions of Maghreb is rendered using {{script/Arabic|ڥ}}.


  • {{lang|fa|پ}} – used to represent the phoneme p in Persian
    Persian language
    Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

    , Urdu, and Kurdish
    Kurdish language
    Kurdish is a dialect continuum spoken by the Kurds in western Asia. It is part of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian group of Indo-European languages....

    ; sometimes used in Arabic language when transliterating names and loanwords, although Arabic mostly substitutes b for p in the transliteration of names and loanwords. So, "7up" can be transcribed as {{lang|ar|سفن أب}} or {{script/Arabic|سڤن أﭖ}}.


  • {{lang|fa|چ}} – used to represent t͡ʃ ("ch"). It is used in Persian
    Persian language
    Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

    , Urdu, and Kurdish
    Kurdish language
    Kurdish is a dialect continuum spoken by the Kurds in western Asia. It is part of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian group of Indo-European languages....

     and sometimes used when transliterating names and loanwords in Arabic. In the Iraqi spoken dialect
    Iraqi Arabic
    Iraqi Arabic is a continuum of mutually intelligible Arabic varieties native to the Mesopotamian basin of Iraq as well as spanning into eastern and northern Syria, western Iran, southeastern Turkey, and spoken in respective Iraqi diaspora communities.-Varieties:Iraqi Arabic has two major varieties...

     it may be used, especially when referring in the feminine, although it is rarely written, as well as rarely used in the Maghrebi spelling. Nevertheless, Arabic usually substitutes other letters in the transliteration of names and loanwords: normally the combination {{lang|ar|تش}} ({{transl|ar|ALA|tā’}}-{{transl|ar|ALA|shīn}}) is used to transliterate the t͡ʃ, as in "Chad
    Chad
    Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

    ". In Egypt {{lang|fa|چ}} is used for ʒ (or d͡ʒ, which is approximated to ʒ). In Israel, it's used to render ɡ in Arabic language, for example on roadsigns.
    • Ca in the Jawi script.

  • {{lang|fa|گ}} – used to represent ɡ. Normally used in Persian, Kurdish
    Kurdish alphabet
    The Kurdish language is written either using a variant of the Latin alphabet, according to a system introduced by Jeladet Ali Bedirkhan in 1932 , or using a variant of the Persian alphabet, the so-called Sorani alphabet, named for the city of Soran, Iraq.The Hawar is used in Turkey, Syria and...

    , and Urdu. Often names and loanwords with ɡ are transliterated in Arabic with {{lang|ar|ك}} ({{transl|ar|ALA|kāf}}), {{lang|ar|ق}} ({{transl|ar|ALA|qāf}}), {{lang|ar|غ}} ({{transl|ar|ALA|ghayn}}) or {{lang|ar|ج}} ({{transl|ar|jīm}}), which may or may not change the original sound. In Egypt {{lang|ar|ج}} is normally pronounced ɡ.


  • {{lang|fa|ژ}} – used to represent the voiced postalveolar fricative
    Voiced postalveolar fricative
    The voiced palato-alveolar fricative or voiced domed postalveolar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is Z. An alternative symbol used in some...

     ʒ in, Persian
    Persian language
    Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

    , Kurdish
    Kurdish language
    Kurdish is a dialect continuum spoken by the Kurds in western Asia. It is part of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian group of Indo-European languages....

    , Urdu
    Urdu alphabet
    The Urdu alphabet is the right-to-left alphabet used for the Urdu language. It is a modification of the Persian alphabet, which is itself a derivative of the Arabic alphabet...

     and Uyghur
    Uyghur language
    Uyghur , formerly known as Eastern Turk, is a Turkic language with 8 to 11 million speakers, spoken primarily by the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of Western China. Significant communities of Uyghur-speakers are located in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and various other...

    .

  • {{script/Arabic|ڨ}} – a Maghrebi letter, sometimes used for ɡ (not to be confused with {{script/Arabic|ڤ}}). In Tunisia
    Tunisia
    Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

     it is sometimes used to represent the phoneme ɡ. In final and isolate form it has the form which resembles the letter {{lang|ar|ق}} {{transl|ar|ALA|qāf}} whence it is derived.

  • {{script/Arabic|ڜ}} – a Maghrebi letter for t͡ʃ.

Numerals

Western
(Maghreb, Europe)
Central
(Mideast)
Eastern/Indian
(Persian, Urdu)
0 {{lang|ar|٠}} {{lang|fa|۰}}
1 {{lang|ar|١}} {{lang|fa|۱}}
2 {{lang|ar|٢}} {{lang|fa|۲}}
3 {{lang|ar|٣}} {{lang|fa|۳}}
4 {{lang|ar|٤}} {{lang|fa|۴}}
5 {{lang|ar|٥}} {{lang|fa|۵}}
6 {{lang|ar|٦}} {{lang|fa|۶}}
7 {{lang|ar|٧}} {{lang|fa|۷}}
8 {{lang|ar|٨}} {{lang|fa|۸}}
9 {{lang|ar|٩}} {{lang|fa|۹}}


{{Main|Western Arabic numerals|Eastern Arabic numerals}}

There are two kinds of numerals used along with Arabic text; Western Arabic numerals and Eastern Arabic numerals
Eastern Arabic numerals
The Eastern Arabic numerals are the symbols used to represent the Hindu-Arabic numeral system in conjunction with the Arabic alphabet in the countries of the Arab world....

. In most of present-day North Africa, the usual Western Arabic numerals are used. Like Western Arabic numerals, in Eastern Arabic numerals, the units are always right-most, and the highest value left-most.

Letters as numerals


{{main|Abjad numerals}}

In addition, the Arabic alphabet can be used to represent numbers (Abjad numerals
Abjad numerals
The Abjad numerals are a decimal numeral system in which the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet are assigned numerical values. They have been used in the Arabic-speaking world since before the 8th century Arabic numerals...

). This usage is based on the {{transl|ar|’’abjadī}} order of the alphabet. {{lang|ar|أ}} {{transl|ar|’alif}} is 1, {{lang|ar|ب}} {{transl|ar|ALA|bā’}} is 2, {{lang|ar|ج}} {{transl|ar|jīm}} is 3, and so on until {{lang|ar|ي}} {{transl|ar|ALA|yā’}} = 10, {{lang|ar|ك}} {{transl|ar|ALA|kāf}} = 20, {{lang|ar|ل}} {{transl|ar|ALA|lām}} = 30, …, {{lang|ar|ر}} {{transl|ar|ALA|rā’}} = 200, …, {{lang|ar|غ}} {{transl|ar|ALA|ghayn}} = 1000. This is sometimes used to produce chronogram
Chronogram
A chronogram is a sentence or inscription in which specific letters, interpreted as numerals, stand for a particular date when rearranged. The word, meaning "time writing", derives from the Greek words chronos and gramma . In the pure chronogram each word contains a numeral, the natural chronogram...

s.

History


{{Main|History of the Arabic alphabet}}

The Arabic alphabet can be traced back to the Nabataean alphabet used to write the Nabataean dialect of Aramaic. The first known text in the Arabic alphabet is a late fourth-century inscription from {{transl|ar|Jabal Ramm}} (50 km east of {{transl|ar|ALA|‘Aqabah
Aqaba
Aqaba is a coastal city in the far south of Jordan, the capital of Aqaba Governorate at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba. Aqaba is strategically important to Jordan as it is the country's only seaport. Aqaba is best known today as a diving and beach resort, but industrial activity remains important...

}}
), but the first dated one is a trilingual inscription at Zebed in Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 from 512. However, the epigraphic
Epigraphy
Epigraphy Epigraphy Epigraphy (from the , literally "on-writing", is the study of inscriptions or epigraphs as writing; that is, the science of identifying the graphemes and of classifying their use as to cultural context and date, elucidating their meaning and assessing what conclusions can be...

 record is extremely sparse, with only five certainly pre-Islamic Arabic inscriptions surviving, though some others may be pre-Islamic. Later, dots were added above and below the letters to differentiate them. (The Aramaic language had fewer phonemes than the Arabic, and some originally distinct Aramaic letters had become indistinguishable in shape, so that in the early writings 15 distinct letter-shapes had to do duty for 28 sounds; cf. the similarly ambiguous Pahlavi alphabet.) The first surviving document that definitely uses these dots is also the first surviving Arabic papyrus
Papyrus
Papyrus is a thick paper-like material produced from the pith of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus, a wetland sedge that was once abundant in the Nile Delta of Egypt....

 (PERF 558
PERF 558
PERF 558 is the oldest surviving Arabic papyrus, and the oldest dated Arabic text from the Islamic era, dating from 22 AH and found in Heracleopolis in Egypt...

), dated April 643, although they did not become obligatory until much later. Important texts like the {{transl|ar|ALA|Qur’ān}} were and still are frequently memorized, especially in Qur'an memorization, a practice which probably arose partially from a desire to avoid the great ambiguity of the script.

Later still, vowel marks and the {{transl|ar|ALA|hamzah}} were introduced, beginning some time in the latter half of the seventh century, preceding the first invention of Syriac
Syriac alphabet
The Syriac alphabet is a writing system primarily used to write the Syriac language from around the 2nd century BC . It is one of the Semitic abjads directly descending from the Aramaic alphabet and shares similarities with the Phoenician, Hebrew, Arabic, and the traditional Mongolian alphabets.-...

 and Hebrew vocalization
Tiberian vocalization
The Tiberian vocalization is a system of diacritics devised by the Masoretes to add to the consonantal Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible; this system soon became used to vocalize other texts as well...

. Initially, this was done by a system of red dots, said to have been commissioned by an Umayyad
Umayyad
The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the...

 governor of Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, {{transl|ar|Ḥajjaj ibn Yūsuf}}: a dot above = {{transl|ar|ALA|a}}, a dot below = {{transl|ar|ALA|i}}, a dot on the line = {{transl|ar|ALA|u}}, and doubled dots indicated nunation
Nunation
In some Semitic languages, notably Arabic, nunation is the addition of a final nun to a noun or adjective to indicate that it is fully declinable and syntactically unmarked for definiteness....

. However, this was cumbersome and easily confusable with the letter-distinguishing dots, so about 100 years later, the modern system was adopted. The system was finalized around 786 by {{transl|ar|ALA|al-Farāhīdī}}.

Arabic printing presses


Although Napoleon Bonaparte generally is given the credit with introducing the printing press to Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, upon invading it in 1798, and he did indeed bring printing presses and Arabic script presses, to print the French occupation's official newspaper Al-Tanbiyyah (The Courier), the process was started several centuries earlier.

Gutenberg's invention of the printing press in 1450 was followed up by Gregorio de Gregorii, a Venetian, who in 1514 published an entire prayer book in Arabic script entitled Kitab Salat al-Sawa'i intended for the eastern Christian communities. The script was said to be crude and almost unreadable.{{Citation needed|date=June 2011}}

Famed type designer Robert Granjon working for Cardinal Ferdinando de Medici succeeded in designing elegant Arabic typefaces and the Medici press published many Christian prayer and scholarly Arabic texts in the late sixteenth century.

The first Arabic books published using movable type in the Middle East were by the Maronite monks at the Maar Quzhayy Monastery in Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon , as a geographic designation, is a Lebanese mountain range, averaging above 2,200 meters in height and receiving a substantial amount of precipitation, including snow, which averages around four meters deep. It extends across the whole country along about , parallel to the...

. They transliterated the Arabic language using Syriac script. It took a fellow goldsmith like Gutenberg to design and implement the first true Arabic script movable type printing press in the Middle East. The Greek Orthodox monk Abd Allah Zakhir set up an Arabic language
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

 using movable type
Movable type
Movable type is the system of printing and typography that uses movable components to reproduce the elements of a document ....

 at the monastery of Saint John at the town of Dhour El Shuwayr
Dhour El Shuwayr
Dhour El Choueir is a mountain town in Lebanon . It lies slightly north of the main Beirut Damascus highway. It overlooks the city of Beirut and the Mediterranean sea. It is 30 km from Beirut and 42 km from Beirut International Airport.It is one of Mount Lebanon's most favored summer...

in Mount Lebanon, the first homemade press in Lebanon using true Arabic script. He personally cut the type molds and did the founding of the elegant typeface. He created the first true Arabic script type in the Middle East. The first book off the press was in 1734; this press continued to be used until 1899.

Computers and the Arabic alphabet


The Arabic alphabet can be encoded using several character sets, including ISO-8859-6, Windows-1256
Windows-1256
Windows-1256 is a code page used to write Arabic under Microsoft Windows.  This code page is not compatible with ISO 8859-6 and MacArabic encodings....

 and Unicode
Unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...

 (see links in Infobox, above), in the latter thanks to the "Arabic segment", entries U+0600 to U+06FF. However, neither of these sets indicate the form each character should take in context. It is left to the rendering engine
Rendering (computer graphics)
Rendering is the process of generating an image from a model , by means of computer programs. A scene file contains objects in a strictly defined language or data structure; it would contain geometry, viewpoint, texture, lighting, and shading information as a description of the virtual scene...

 to select the proper glyph
Glyph
A glyph is an element of writing: an individual mark on a written medium that contributes to the meaning of what is written. A glyph is made up of one or more graphemes....

 to display for each character.

For compatibility with previous standards, initial, medial, final and isolated forms can be encoded separately in Unicode
Unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...

; however, they can also be inferred from their joining context, using the same encoding. The following table shows this common encoding, in addition to the compatibility encodings for their normally contextual forms (Arabic texts should be encoded today using only the common encoding, but the rendering must then infer the joining types to determine the correct glyph forms, with or without ligation).

Unicode


{{Main|Arabic characters in Unicode}}
As of Unicode 6.0, the following ranges encode Arabic characters:
  • Arabic (0600-06FF)
  • Arabic Supplement (0750-077F)
  • Arabic Presentation Forms-A (FB50-FDFF)
  • Arabic Presentation Forms-B (FE70-FEFF)


The basic Arabic range encodes the standard letters and diacritics, but does not encode contextual forms (U+0621-U+0652 being directly based on ISO 8859-6); and also includes the most common diacritics and Arabic-Indic digits. U+06D6 to U+06ED encode Qur'anic annotation signs such as "end of ayah
Ayah
Ayah or Aayah is the Arabic word for sign or proof:"These are the Ayat of Allah, which We recite to you with truth...

" {{unicode|۝ۖ}} and "start of rub el hizb
Rub El Hizb
The Rub el Hizb is a Muslim symbol, represented as two overlapping squares, which is found on a number of emblems and flags. In Arabic, Rubʻ means "one fourth, quarter", while Hizb means a group or party...

" {{unicode|۞}}. The Arabic Supplement range encodes letter variants mostly used for writing African (non-Arabic) languages. The Arabic Presentation Forms-A range encodes contextual forms and ligatures of letter variants needed for Persian, Urdu, Sindhi and Central Asian languages. The Arabic Presentation Forms-B range encodes spacing forms of Arabic diacritics, and more contextual letter forms.

See also the notes of the section on modified letters.

Ligatures


Unicode
Unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...

 primary range for basic Arabic language alphabet is the U+06xx range. Other ranges are for compatibility to older standards and do contain some ligatures. The only compulsory ligature for fonts and text processing in the basic Arabic language alphabet range U+06xx are ones for {{transl|ar|ALA|lām}} + {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}}. All other ligatures ({{transl|ar|ALA|yā’}} + {{transl|ar|ALA|mīm}}, etc.) are optional. Example to illustrate it is below. The exact outcome may depend on your browser and font configuration.
  • {{transl|ar|ALA|lām}} + {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}}
    {{script/Arabic|لا}}

Note: Unicode
Unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...

 also has in its Presentation Form B FExx range a code for this ligature. If your browser and font are configured correctly for Arabic, the ligature displayed above should be identical to this one, U+FEFB ARABIC LIGATURE LAM WITH ALEF ISOLATED FORM:
{{script/Arabic|ﻻ}}

  • U+0640 ARABIC TATWEEL + {{transl|ar|ALA|lām}} + {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}}
    {{script/Arabic|ـلا}}

Note: Unicode
Unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...

 also has in its Presentation Form B U+FExx range a code for this ligature. If your browser and font are configured correctly for Arabic, the ligature displayed above should be identical to this one:
  • U+FEFC ARABIC LIGATURE LAM WITH ALEF FINAL FORM
    {{script/Arabic|ﻼ}}


Another ligature in the Unicode
Unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...

 Presentation Form A range U+FB50 to U+FDxx is the special code for glyph for the ligature {{transl|ar|ALA|Allāh}} (“God”), U+FDF2 ARABIC LIGATURE ALLAH ISOLATED FORM:
{{script/Arabic|ﷲ}}


This latter ligature code again is a work-around for the shortcomings of most text processors, which are incapable of displaying the correct vowel marks
Harakat
The Arabic script has numerous diacritics, including ijam ⟨⟩ , and tashkil ⟨⟩...

 for the word {{transl|ar|ALA|Allāh
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

}}
in Koran. Because Arabic script is used to write other texts rather than Koran only, rendering {{transl|ar|ALA|lām}} + {{transl|ar|ALA|lām}} + {{transl|ar|ALA|hā’}} as the previous ligature is considered faulty: If one of those fonts are installed on a computer (mry_KacstQurn, DejaVu Sans, Scheherazade, Lateef) the right will appear without automatically adding gemination mark and superscript Alef.
  • {{transl|ar|ALA|lām}} + {{transl|ar|ALA|lām}} + {{transl|ar|ALA|hā’}}
    {{script/Arabic|لله}}  or   لله
  • {{transl|ar|ALA|’alif}} + {{transl|ar|ALA|lām}} + {{transl|ar|ALA|lām}} + {{transl|ar|ALA|hā’}}
    {{script/Arabic|الله}}  or   الله
  • {{transl|ar|’alif}} + {{transl|ar|lām}} + U+0651 ARABIC SHADDA + U+0670 ARABIC LETTER SUPERSCRIPT ALEF + {{transl|ar|ALA|hā’}}
    اللّٰه   (DejaVu Sans doesn't show the added superscript Alef)


An attempt to show them on the faulty fonts without automatically adding the gemination mark and the superscript Alef, is by adding the U+200d (Zero width joiner) after the first or second {{transl|ar|ALA|lām}}
  • ({{transl|ar|’alif}} +) {{transl|ar|lām}} + {{transl|ar|lām}} + U+200d ZERO WIDTH JOINER + {{transl|ar|ALA|hā’}}
    {{script/Arabic|الل‍ه}}   ‎   {{script/Arabic|لل‍ه}}


Keyboards




Keyboards designed for different nations have different layouts, so that proficiency in one style of keyboard such as Iraq's does not transfer to proficiency in another keyboard such as Saudi Arabia's. Differences can include the location of non-alphabetic characters.

All Arabic keyboards allow typing Roman characters, e.g., for the URL in a web browser
Web browser
A web browser is a software application for retrieving, presenting, and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web. An information resource is identified by a Uniform Resource Identifier and may be a web page, image, video, or other piece of content...

. Thus, each Arabic keyboard has both Arabic and Roman characters marked on the keys. Usually the Roman characters of an Arabic keyboard conform to the QWERTY
QWERTY
QWERTY is the most common modern-day keyboard layout. The name comes from the first six letters appearing in the topleft letter row of the keyboard, read left to right: Q-W-E-R-T-Y. The QWERTY design is based on a layout created for the Sholes and Glidden typewriter and sold to Remington in the...

 layout, but in North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, where French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 is the most common language typed using the Roman characters, the Arabic keyboards are AZERTY
AZERTY
AZERTY is a specific layout for the characters of the Latin alphabet on typewriter keys and computer keyboards. The layout takes its name from the first six letters to appear on the first row of alphabetical keys...

.

When one wants to encode a particular written form of a character, there are extra code points provided in Unicode which can be used to express the exact written form desired. The range Arabic presentation forms A (U+FB50 to U+FDFF) contain ligatures while the range Arabic presentation forms B (U+FE70 to U+FEFF) contains the positional variants. These effects are better achieved in Unicode by using the zero-width joiner
Zero-width joiner
The zero-width joiner is a non-printing character used in the computerized typesetting of some complex scripts, such as the Arabic script or any of the Indic scripts. When placed between two characters that would otherwise not be connected, a ZWJ causes them to be printed in their connected...

and non-joiner
Zero-width non-joiner
The zero-width non-joiner is a non-printing character used in the computerization of writing systems that make use of ligatures. When placed between two characters that would otherwise be connected into a ligature, a ZWNJ causes them to be printed in their final and initial forms, respectively...

, as these presentation forms are deprecated in Unicode, and should generally only be used within the internals of text-rendering software, when using Unicode as an intermediate form for conversion between character encodings, or for backwards compatibility with implementations that rely on the hard-coding of glyph forms.

Finally, the Unicode encoding of Arabic is in logical order, that is, the characters are entered, and stored in computer memory, in the order that they are written and pronounced without worrying about the direction in which they will be displayed on paper or on the screen. Again, it is left to the rendering engine to present the characters in the correct direction, using Unicode's bi-directional text
Bi-directional text
Bi-directional text is text containing text in both text directionalities, both right-to-left and left-to-right . It generally involves text containing different types of alphabets, but may also refer to boustrophedon, which is changing text directionality in each row.Some writing systems of the...

 features. In this regard, if the Arabic words on this page are written left to right, it is an indication that the Unicode rendering engine used to display them is out-of-date.

There are competing online tools, e.g. Yamli editor, allowing to enter Arabic letters without having Arabic support installed on a PC and without the knowledge of the layout of the Arabic keyboard.

Handwriting recognition


The first software program of its kind in the world that identifies Arabic handwriting in real time has been developed by researchers at Ben-Gurion University.

The prototype enables the user to write Arabic words by hand on an electronic screen, which then analyzes the text and translates it into printed Arabic letters in a thousandth of a second. The error rate is less than three percent, according to Dr. Jihad El-Sana, from BGU's department of computer sciences, who developed the system along with master's degree student Fadi Biadsy.

See also


{{Commons category|Arabic alphabet}}
  • Arabic calligraphy
  • Arabic diacritics (pointed vowels and consonants)
  • Arabic numerals
    Arabic numerals
    Arabic numerals or Hindu numerals or Hindu-Arabic numerals or Indo-Arabic numerals are the ten digits . They are descended from the Hindu-Arabic numeral system developed by Indian mathematicians, in which a sequence of digits such as "975" is read as a numeral...

  • Arabic script
  • Arabic Unicode
    Arabic Unicode
    As of Unicode 6.0, the following blocks encode Arabic characters:*Arabic *Arabic Supplement *Arabic Presentation Forms-A...

  • Arabic Chat Alphabet
    Arabic Chat Alphabet
    The Arabic chat alphabet, Arabizi, Arabish or Araby, , is an alphabet used to communicate in the Arabic language over the Internet or for sending messages via cellular phones when the actual Arabic alphabet is unavailable for technical reasons...

  • ArabTeX
    ArabTeX
    ArabTeX is a free software package providing support for the Arabic and Hebrew alphabets to TeX and LaTeX. Written by Klaus Lagally, it can take romanized ASCII or native script input to produce quality ligatures for Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Pashto, Sindhi, Maghribi, Uyghur, Kashmiri, Hebrew,...

     – provides Arabic support for TeX
    TeX
    TeX is a typesetting system designed and mostly written by Donald Knuth and released in 1978. Within the typesetting system, its name is formatted as ....

     and LaTeX
    LaTeX
    LaTeX is a document markup language and document preparation system for the TeX typesetting program. Within the typesetting system, its name is styled as . The term LaTeX refers only to the language in which documents are written, not to the editor used to write those documents. In order to...

  • Rasm
    Rasm
    Rasm is an Arabic term that signifies: drawing, sketch, trace, graph, pictures, outline, pattern, mark, notes, design, regulation, form, rate...

     (unpointed consonants)
  • Romanization of Arabic
  • South Arabian alphabet
    South Arabian alphabet
    The ancient Yemeni alphabet branched from the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet in about the 9th century BC. It was used for writing the Yemeni Old South Arabic languages of the Sabaean, Qatabanian, Hadramautic, Minaean, Himyarite, and proto-Ge'ez in Dʿmt...

  • Perso-Arabic script
  • Additional Arabic Letters
  • :Category: Arabic-derived alphabets
  • Arabic language
    Arabic language
    Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...


External links


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This article contains major sections of text from the very detailed article Arabic alphabet from the French Wikipedia, which has been partially translated into English. Further translation of that page, and its incorporation into the text here, are welcomed.

{{Arabic language|state=collapsed}}
{{list of writing systems}}

{{DEFAULTSORT:Arabic Alphabet}}