Arabic Alphabet

One important thing when you are learning a new language is learning the Arabic alphabet because that without it, you will not be able to say words properly even if you know how to write those words. The better you pronounce a letter in a word, the more understood you will be in speaking the Arabic language.


Before to start with the Arabic alphabet is important remember some characteristics:

  • First it reads from right to left.
  • Arabic alphabet contains 29 letters.
  • Vowels short in Arabic are not written.
  • Arabic letters change their shape according to their position in a word and the letters always retain their sound.

In the table below you can see that:

  1. The first column to the right shows the Arabic letters.
  2. The second column shows their names in Arabic. Click on the letter to hear its name.
  3. The third column shows the Romanized version of the Arabic letters. I will use these when I write Arabic words in Roman letters.



أ 'alif أَلِفٌ ' [ʔ]
glottal plosive
ب baa' بَاْءٌ b [b]
voiced bilabial plosive
as in "bat"
ت taa' تَاْءٌ t [t̪]
voiceless dental plosive
as in "tap"
ث thaa' ثَاْءٌ th [θ]
voiceless inter-dental fricative
as in "thumb"
ج jeem جِيْمٌ j [dʒ]
voiced post-alveolar affricate
as in "jar"
ح haa' حَاْءٌ h [ħ]
voiceless pharyngeal fricative
خ khaa' خََاْءٌ kh [x]
voiceless velar fricative
as in German "nacht"
or Scottish "loch"
د daal دَاْلٌ d [d̪]
voiced dental plosive
as in "dark"
ذ thaal ذَاْلٌ th [ð]
voiced inter-dental fricative
as in "this"
ر raa' رَاْءٌ r [r]
alveolar trill
as in "run"
ز zayn زَيْنٌ z [z]
voiced alveolar fricative
as in "zoo"
س seen سِيْنٌ s [s]
voiceless alveolar fricative
as in "sad"
ش sheen شِيْنٌ sh [ʃ]
voiceless post-alveolar fricative
as in "she"
ص saad صَاْدٌ s [sˁ]
emphatic voiceless alveolar fricative
ض daad ضَاْدٌ d [d̪ˁ]
emphatic voiced alveolar plosive
ط taa' طَاْءٌ t [t̪ˁ]


emphatic voiceless dental plosive

ظ zaa' ظَاْءٌ z [ðˁ]
emphatic voiced alveolar fricative
ع "ayn عَيْنٌ " [ʕ]
voiced pharyngeal fricative
غ rayn غَيْنٌ r [ɣ]
voiced velar fricative
(French R or guttural R)
ف faa' فَاْءٌ f [f]
voiceless labiodental fricative
as in "fan"
ق qaaf قَاْفٌ q [q]
voiced uvular plosive
ك kaaf كَاْفٌ k [k]
voiceless velar plosive
as in "kite"
ل laam لامٌ l [l]
alveolar lateral
as in "leg"
م مِيْمٌ m [m]
bilabial nasal
as in "man"
ن noon نُوْنٌ n [n]
alveolar nasal
as in "nose"
هـ haa' هَاْءٌ h [h]
voiceless glottal fricative
as in "hat"
و waaw وَاْوٌ w [W]
voiced labialized approximant
as in "wool"
ي yaa' يَاْءٌ y [j]
palatal approximant
as in "yes"

Note: The figure in the table ( ' ) means a still consonant letter 'alif '. Stillness means that the’ sound is not followed by any vowel.

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