Learn the Arabic alphabet easily. Is it possible?
The purpose of this article is not to tell you about the origins of the Arabic alphabet or its history.
The goal is to get straight to the point. The goal is to learn by doing. Let’s leave the theory behind.
There is nothing better than learning by making. This is the best way to learn quickly and efficiently.
As you practice, you will surely run into difficulties. This is normal because you are learning something new. Arm yourself with patience, and you see that the results are not long in coming.
As the Arabic proverb says:
“Patience is the key to deliverance.”
If you are reading this article, it is because you cannot read and write Arabic yet or you are learning.
This article will give you all the keys to learn how to read and write the Arabic alphabet easily and effectively inshAllah.
Let’s get started without further ado!
The basics of the Arabic alphabet
The Arabic language is written and read from right to left.
You are used to reading left to right in English, but you will find that reading right to left in Arabic will be completely natural with a little practice.
What is the Arabic alphabet in practice?
The Arabic alphabet is made up of:
- 28 letters
- 3 short vowels
- 3 long vowels
And other peculiarities that we will see later in the article.
Here is a table of the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet to have a general overview.
Remember that the letters of the Arabic alphabet should be read from right to left.
How does the Arabic alphabet work?
Now that you have a general overview of the Arabic alphabet, you need to understand its works.
Please note: before going any further, I would like to give you some essential advice. Don’t learn Arabic using phonetics. Phonetics will not help you, contrary to what you may think. On the contrary, it will slow down your learning. So, make an effort to stay away from phonetics as much as possible to learn the Arabic alphabet more easily.
The overview in the Arabic alphabet table above shows the letters of the Arabic alphabet in isolation.
In other words, knowing these isolated letters will not allow you to read in Arabic. These isolated letters serve as basic support to recognize them in writing in general and to pronounce these letters as they should.
So the first thing to do will be to learn the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet, but not just anyhow.
For this, there are tips to learn them quickly and durably inshaAllah.
Then you will have to learn the pronunciation of each letter.
Fortunately, there are still some tips to learn how to pronounce them correctly with techniques that we will see.
Once this step is completed, it will be necessary to move on to the next step.
But before we move on to the next step, let’s see together and practice how to learn these 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet.
Let’s see how to learn Arabic alphabet letters spellings and pronunciations.
How to learn their spellings?
To learn the spelling of the letters of the Arabic alphabet, a tip will help you greatly.
You have surely downloaded the Arabic alphabet chart I gave you above. If you take a closer look, you will see that many letters look the same.
Why not then collect all the letters that are alike to learn them more easily.
Let’s classify the letters together.
Remember that our goal is to learn the spelling of letters, not their pronunciations. The pronunciation of the letters Arabic alphabet letters will be done right after with a trick that will save you a lot of time inshAllah.
It was previously said that the alphabet is made up of 28 letters.
By uniting the letters, that only represents 17 lines to learn and no longer 28, which is almost half.
You see below that the letters which are joined together have the same spelling. What sets them apart is only the position or the number of points.
- ث – ت – ب
- خ – ح – ج
- ذ – د
- ز – ر
- ش – س
- ض – ص
- ظ – ط
- غ – ع
- ق – ف
This is the first tip for learning the spelling of the letters of the Arabic alphabet.
Knowing the spelling is one thing, but knowing the pronunciation of these letters is another.
Now let’s see how to learn the pronunciation of Arabic letters easily.
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The al Madina Center for Arabic is the first language school specializing in teaching Arabic to non-Arabic speakers, based in Medina, Saudi Arabia.
Small parenthesis that will make all the difference
I know that many people have difficulty learning the pronunciation of the letters of the Arabic alphabet.
That’s why I’ve decided to give you some tips and advice to help you overcome these false difficulties.
Because by telling your brain that Arabic letters’ pronunciation is difficult, then your brain believes it, and it becomes difficult.
So, first of all, before you start learning pronunciation or any other learning for that matter, you need to reprogram your brain.
Yes, but how are you going to tell me?
Simply by telling yourself that you can learn Arabic.
That you can learn the pronunciation of Arabic letters.
By telling yourself that pronunciation is a step.
That pronunciation is learning.
And that, like any learning, it will take effort.
Basically, change your attitude. Change your mindset. Be positive. Be curious. Have a sincere desire to learn.
Have a clear, concrete goal of why you are learning the Arabic language. By doing this, you will see that the results will not belong in coming InshAllah!
You may be asking yourself the following question:
Why does he talk to me about attitude, being positive, reprogramming my brain, etc.?
Your question is legitimate. The reason is straightforward.
I have found through my experience that most of the people who fail to learn Arabic are not because of the method they use but because of their attitudes towards learning.
Try to apply my advice, and you will see that what I have told you is indeed the reality.
After this big parenthesis, let’s move on to the trick that will make it easier for you to learn the pronunciation of the letters of the Arabic alphabet inshAllah.
How to learn their pronunciations?
The trick to learning the Arabic alphabet faster, especially its pronunciation, focuses on the letters that sound identical to your native language, the English language.
I have found that of the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet, 16 letters resemble English pronunciation, and only 12 letters are different from English.
It is known that when we start learning anything, if the beginning of learning is easy, then it motivates us and encourages us to continue.
This is why I strongly encourage you to start learning the 16 letters that sound identical to English and then focus on the last 12 letters, which are not that difficult to pronounce.
Letters of the Arabic alphabet, whether or not identical to the sound of “English.”
- أ as the letter “a” of “apple.”
- ب as the letter “b” of “butter.”
- ت as the letter “ta” of “turtle.”
- ج as the letter “j” of “Joyce.”
- د as the letter “d” of “dog.”
- ز as the letter “z” of “zoo.”
- س as the letter “s” of “sport.”
- ش as the letter “sh” of “shirt.”
- ف as the letter “f” of “football.”
- ك as the letter “k” of “key.”
- ل as the letter “l” of “lac.”
- م as the letter “m” of “mother.”
- ن as the letter “n” of “noodle.”
- ه as the letter “h” of “home.”
- و as the letter “w” of “water.”
- ي as the letter “ya” of “yield.”
the following letters are not available in English. With a bit of practice, you will memorize them easily inshAllah:
ح – خ – ذ – ر -ص – ض – ط – ظ – ع -غ – ق – ث
Now you can learn these 28 letters easily with the tips we have just seen together.
Still can’t read?
Okay! You have just learned the 28 letters and their pronunciations, but realize that you still cannot read.
It’s normal. It’s a bit like in English. Knowing the alphabet is not enough to know how to read.
Don’t worry, learning to read and write Arabic is much easier than you think. I would even say that it is much easier than French.
For many reasons. But in this article, I will cite just one.
Unlike English, once you know all the Arabic alphabet letters, their pronunciations and their positions in words are always the same.
So you will be able to read any text. The sound will always be the same, unlike English.
Now I want to know how to read and write Arabic!
That’s it; you’ve taken the first step. Congratulations!
Now, let’s move on to the second step of knowing the letters’ position according to their locations in the word.
Unlike English, the Arabic language has different writing depending on its position in the world, whether at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of a word.
Here is a concrete example in the picture of the writing of the letters of the Arabic alphabet according to their positions in a word. You have to read from right to left, of course!
If you look closely at the image above, you will find that the letters are written quite differently at the beginning, middle and end of a word.
However, if you look a little more closely, you will see that the letters look a lot like the single letters that we saw together in step one.
There are two ways to learn them:
- Learn them by heart
- Recognize them when you see them without necessarily making an effort to memorize them
There, it’s up to you.
If you want to learn them by heart, then there is no secret. You will have to write the letters several times in the beginning, middle and end of a word to soak up them and memorize them.
Then, you will have to put this learning into practice by reading words. This is the best way to anchor and permanently memorize what you have learned.
On the other hand, if you want to recognize them without necessarily learning them by heart, know that it is possible.
It will be necessary to do some analysis work and know at least by heart the letters of the Arabic alphabet in isolation.
How do I read words in Arabic?
If you know the Arabic alphabet letters in isolated form, you need to practice word reading directly.
When you are facing a word, you must look at each letter that composes it and its position.
Then, you have to link with the isolated letter to recognize the sound of the letter, and you’re done.
At this point, if you’ve followed my advice, you should know.
- Letters of the alphabet in isolation
- The letters according to their positions in the word
- The pronunciation of the Arabic alphabet
But you might tell me:
Yes, I know all about it, but I still can’t read or write words.
This is normal because we have to take the third step, which we will see now.
How to read words with the most important rules to know?
In this third and final step, we will see some basic rules, the most important, which will help you to read and write inshaAllah.
I would point out that there are other rules, but the purpose of this article is to give you the essential keys that will help you learn the Arabic alphabet quickly and easily. The perfection of your knowledge will be made to measure inshAllah!
Letters that do not attach to the left
Before giving you these few rules, you must know that some Arabic alphabet letters do not attach to the left.
Let’s not forget that Arabic is read from right to left.
When reading or writing a word from right to left, the following 6 letters do not attach to the left side:
Here is an example to better understand what I want to explain to you. Indeed, there is nothing better than to explain a concept by an example.
Observe the word below even if you cannot read it.
We can see that this word has one of the 6 letters that do not attach to the left: the letter و.
It’s as simple as that. It works like this for the 6 letters we have cited. So much for this rule. Now let’s get to the basic rules.
The basic rules you need to know for reading and writing Arabic!
The third step is to learn the basic rules composed:
- Short and long vowels
- Doubly letter
- The absence of a vowel
- And the doubling of the vowel.
You might tell me:
But I don’t understand a thing. What are these terms?
I can understand.
For more detailed explanations, you can visit this website: Arabic alphabet free courses.
Now, it’s your turn to play!
Here we are at the end of this article on learning the Arabic alphabet.
I hope I have given you the keys to help you and motivate you to see it through.
Remember that learning the Arabic language is a long-distance race, not a sprint.
There is no need to rush. A language takes time to assimilate.
Now, it’s your turn to play.
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
Happy learning Arabic!
You now know everything you need to know to start learning the Arabic alphabet on your own. To learn more about how to learn Arabic, you can read our other articles.
You can also join intensive Arabic lessons with the al Madina centre in our institute in Madinah, KSA.