Arabic - عربي
LEARNING TO READ AND WRITE ARABIC
Arabic Reading and Writing Basics
In addition to the Arabic language, the Arabic writing system is also used for the Urdu (mainly Pakistan) and Persian (Iran) languages, among others. Urdu and Persian have more letters than Arabic. So once you can read one, learning to read other languages becomes easier.
Arabic uses many dots, and symbols above and below. The Arabic writing system is "cursive", so most letters in words are connected to each other. Therefore, most Arabic letters have a beginning form, a middle form, an end form, and an isolated form. For most shapes most forms resemble each other, making them easier to recognize.
- Arabic is written from right to left down pages, like so:
- - - - - - - - Writing begins here
Writing ends here <
- - - - - - - - - - - - -----
Shapes vs. Letters
- Many Arabic shapes end in tails.
- Tails can only be seen in isolated-form and end-form.
- The most important part of a shape is the part ignoring the tail, This part is called the shape-essence.
- Recall: A letter is a shape plus a number of dots.
- Dots are either placed above or below a shape, to make a letter.
- Placement of dots matters (Possible placements: over OR under the shape)
- In most printing
- 3 dots are grouped into a triangle
- 2 dots are written side by side
- dots appear as diamond shapes, or square shapes, or circles.
- In fast writing by hand by experienced Arabs
- 3 dots is written in such a way: ^
- 2 dots are written as a dash - or somewhat like a tilde ~ (except it's mirrored horizontally)
- Other shortcuts are used.
- Dots are sometimes written as hollow circles on childish hand-made posters.
- The placement of dots (such: in a diagonal line, in a vertical line, in a triangle) do not make different letters (i.e.: it doesn't matter), and variation in placement of dots is used in fancy fonts.
د ذ ر ز س ش
ص ض ط ظ
ع غ ف ق
ك ل م ن ه و ي
Letter names (transliterated)→ read from left to right →
Alif, Baa', Taa', Thaa', Jiim, Haa', Khaa'
Daal, Thaal, Raa', Zay', Siin, Shiin
Saad, Dhaad, Taa, Zaa
'Ain, Ghain, Faa, Qof
Yaa', Waw, Haa', Nuun, Miim, Laam, Kaaf'
Now, does the first letter make the sound baa? No. The first letter's name is baa (ب). The sound it makes is the "b" sound, excluding all vowel sounds.
"taa" (ت) makes the "t" sound. The pattern is that all letters are named with the sound they make at the beginning of their names. All letters make consonant sounds.
The letters are (ه) Haa, (ك) Kaaf, (م) Miim, and (ي) Yaa. Haa (ه) makes the English "h" sound. It is never silent. Kaaf (ك) makes an English "k" sound. Miim (م) makes the "m" sound. Yaa (ي) makes the consonant "y" sound as in "you".
The unique thing about ه (haa) is that in most styles of writing all its forms look different. Recall that every Arabic letter has 4 forms (usually only 2 significantly differing forms).
Connectors and non-connectors
Words are made of letters of different kinds.
- Letters are split into two groups:
- Every Connector letter will connect to the next letter in a word.
The above examples also show letters changing form in order to connect. Example: ه (haa-single form) became هـ (haa-initial form), they are both the same letter, but in different forms, so they can be handwritten together. But how do we know which form a letter is supposed to take on in a word?
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