- Awards Season
- Big Stories
- Pop Culture
- Video Games
Learn About the Arab Diaspora in the U.S. With These 6 Books by Arab American Authors
What does it mean to be Arab American? Artists who are a part of the Arab diaspora are an integral part of the American literary landscape, and their works help us gain a fuller picture of their wide-ranging lived experiences. Arab American Heritage Month is the perfect time to celebrate some of the must-read books that celebrate the diversity, beauty, and complexity of the Arab American community — as well as the authors who so masterfully share these stories.
From best-selling fiction to children’s books, these six selections will not only help readers who are looking to connect with (or learn more about) the Arab diaspora, but they all highlight the indelible, and essential, marks Arab American authors are leaving on the whole of American literature.
A Country Called Amreeka: U.S. History Retold Through Arab-American Lives by Alia Malek
Journalist and lawyer Alia Malek expands the conversation around U.S. history in A Country Called Amreeka: U.S. History Retold Through Arab-American Lives . Her unique perspective as a child of immigrants and her journalistic expertise come together in this 2009 release to present a vulnerable portrait of how specific events over the past 40-plus years have impacted Arab American families.
Malek is deeply invested in civil rights work, which is abundantly clear in this captivating book — and in her writing at large. Here, she uses each chapter to discuss a different moment in American history — beginning in 1963 — and illustrates how the stories of the Arab diaspora are not only part of the story of America, but a vital part of understanding U.S. history in its entirety.
How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoumi
What is it like to navigate multiple realities? What happens when prejudice and public perception threaten your life and livelihood? How do you navigate the everyday violence of microaggressions and the very real threat of being betrayed and berated by neighbors and so-called friends in what is supposed to be “the land of the free”? Egyptian American author Moustafa Bayoumi tackles all those questions and more in How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America .
After 9/11, while many Americans called for unity and emphasized community, Arab Americans were subjected to life-altering discrimination. Bayoumi shares the stories of folks like Sami, a young marine, and Rasha, an FBI detainee, among others as they navigate the world. Devastatingly honest, How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? grapples with how to survive — and wonders about the possibility of thriving in a society that both desires your contributions and simultaneously denies your humanity.
Beyond Memory: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Creative Nonfiction by Pauline Kaldas & Khaled Mattawa
There are a wealth of cultures and life experiences among Arab Americans; Beyond Memory: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Creative Nonfiction is a wonderful representation of just some of those stories. This non-fiction offering from award-winning authors Pauline Kaldas and Khaled Mattawa celebrates the diversity of the Arab American experience by highlighting voices from Egypt, Palestine, Libya, Syria and Lebanon.
As editors of this volume, Kaldas and Mattawa have skillfully curated the narratives presented in this book in order to present a dynamic vision of the Arab diaspora, and the writers they’ve selected share their experiences in styles as varied as their stories. This anthology is a must-read work for anyone who loves experimental writing or creative nonfiction.
The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar
A story about heritage, community, and transformation is at the heart of Zeyn Joukhadar’s 2020 novel. In an interview with NPR, Joukhadar shared that this novel is an attempt “to get at that sort of wordless complexity that lies in a space beyond language” — and it absolutely succeeds.
The Thirty Names of Night explores the power of both family history and queer community as the reader follows a Syrian American trans boy who feels most himself when he’s painting murals on the abandoned buildings of Manhattan’s Little Syria.
One night, a chance encounter with an artist’s diary leads our protagonist on a journey of self-discovery — one that touches upon all who came before him; his ever-shifting identity in the present; and all of the possibilities that may await in the future. Lyrical and richly imagined, Joukhadar’s page-turner won both a Lambda Literary Award and a Stonewall Book Award.
The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story by Aya Khalil
Sure to be a hit during story time, this next book is the perfect addition to any classroom. Educator and award-winning author Aya Khalil crafted an exceptional story for young readers in The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story — a book that’s made even better thanks to fantastic illustrations by Anait Semirdzyhan.
When young Kanzi writes a poem about a gift from her grandmother, she sets in motion a series of events that leads to cultural exchange and brand-new connections. Throughout the story, Khalil emphasizes the beauty of diversity and the wonderful discoveries that await curious and welcoming young minds.
This book can also introduce audiences who may be unfamiliar with Arab American experiences to new cultural norms, thus affirming children who are all too often underrepresented. Full of moments of cultural appreciation and the knowledge that embracing differences is essential, The Arabic Quilt is a story readers of all ages can connect with.
You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat
Imagine hearing “you exist too much” after sharing a vulnerable truth. In Zaina Arafat’s 2020 release, a Palestinian American young woman is met with this response after disclosing that she’s queer. To make matters more impressive, You Exist Too Much is Arafat’s Lambda Literary Award-winning debut novel.
As NPR puts it, the book is “a narrative about borders, both physical and mental” — our protagonist confronts these borders as well as the depths of her own desires and struggles. In doing so, she begins the process of understanding herself, all while navigating life’s many other challenges. This honest and beautiful offering from Arafat is simply impossible to put down.
MORE FROM ASK.COM
Welcome to the Basic Arabic Course!
Welcome to the three-part Basic Arabic Course in which you will learn all the essentials of the Arabic language. Note, though, that this course is not meant to replace more established courses. It merely aims to give you a taste of the Arabic language and solid foundations on which to build.
Basic Arabic Course - Lesson 1:
Let's start with the Arabic alphabet, as this is the basis for the other lessons. Here are some basic characterstics of the Arabic writing system:
The Arabic alphabet contains 28 letters.
Arabic is written from right to left., in arabic short vowels are generally not written., arabic letters change their shape according to their position in a word..
Let's go through these points in more detail.
This means that the Arabic alphabet contains only two more letters than the English alphabet (26 letters). However, unlike English, the Arabic letters are always pronounced in the same way. In English the letter "c" is sometimes pronounced like an "s" ( ceasar ) and sometimes like a "k" ( cucumber ). Or, to take another example, "gh" is sometimes pronounced "f" ( enough ) and sometimes pronounced "g" ( ghost ). In Arabic, the letters always retain their sound.
English, of course, is written from left to right like this.
from left to right -> -> -> -> ->
Arabic, on the other hand is written from right to left:
tfel ot thgir morf
Sure, this takes some getting used to, but is not that hard with enough practice.
There are three short vowels in Arabic: a short "u" (as in "look"), a short "a" (as in "can") and a short "i" (as in "with"). Usually these short vowels are simply omitted in writing. Long vowels (such as the "ee" in "tree") are written. A sentence such as:
"The book in the tree is very ugly and rotten."
"Th bk 'n th tree 's vr 'gl 'nd rttn."
This omission of short vowels can be very difficult in the beginning, because it's difficult to guess which short vowels exactly are missing. As you learn more about Arabic grammar you will be able to "guess" the missing short vowels and pronounce unknown words.
The Arabic script is essentially a cursive script, much like handwritten English. I.e. almost all the letters within a word are connected to each other. This necessitates certain changes in their shapes. If you write an English word cursively, then you will also make certain changes to the letters. For example, the letter "s" will be connected to the letter on the left with a diagonal stroke if that preceding letter is e.g. an "n".
However, in Arabic these changes can be quite drastic. Take a look at the following table that summarizes the letters in the Arabic alphabet and their shapes according to whether they are: 1) on their own (isolated), 2) at the start of a word 3) in the middle of a word or 4) at the end of a word.
* The six letters marked with an asterisk (*) cannot be connected to the left.
You should write the letters a few times each to get a feeling for them.
Pronouncing the Arabic sounds
Now that you've had a first glance at the Arabic alphabet, you're ready to learn the pronunciation of the letters.
To hear the pronunciation of the Arabic letters you should head over to the Arabic letters application .
For simplicity let's divide the letters into three groups, according to their difficulty.
In this group are all the letters that are more or less exactly pronounced as their English counterparts.
These letters are still somewhat similar to English sounds, but already more difficult to pronounce.
These Arabic letters can prove tough to pronounce for beginners. Keep at it, though, and listen to recordings of native speakers. Eventually, your throat will hurt and you'll get it right!
Putting letters together to form words
Now that you know how to write and pronounce individual Arabic letters, let's take a look at putting them together to form words.
salaam means "peace" in Arabic. To write the word start from the right and connect all the letters:
Let's take a look at another word: mumtaaz - which means "excellent" in Arabic.
For more writing exercises see Arabic Genie's The Magic Key To The Arabic Alphabet .
End of lesson 1: Arabic alphabet
In the next lesson you'll learn the basics of Arabic grammar .
Complete Guide to the Arabic Alphabet
About the Arabic Alphabet
· Arabic is read from right to left
اللغة العربية سهلة
· There are 29 letters in the Arabic alphabet
· There is no such thing as capital letters versus small letters
Basically, there is no such thing as printing versus hand writing / cursive So basically, there’s only one way to write Arabic
Read the chart of letters below from right to left, top to bottom You can click on each letter to hear its name
· Basically, all 29 letters are consonants
Vowels are not part of the alphabet; they will be discussed later
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
· Each letter has 4 forms (which look very similar to each other)
o when you write the letter by itself
o when it comes in the beginning of a word
o when it comes in the middle of a word
o when it comes at the end of a word
These forms will be discussed later The forms you saw in the chart are when the letter is by itself
· When we learn the Arabic alphabet in these lessons, we will talk about the following things:
o what is the letter’s name?
o how do you pronounce the letter?
o how do you write the letter (in all 4 forms)?
Proceed to lesson 2
This lesson was authored by Mohtanick Jamil
- 1 About the Arabic Alphabet
- 2 Letter Aleph
- 3 Letters Baa, Taa, THaa
- 4 Vowel Fatha
- 5 Lesson Review
- 6 Letters Jeem, Haa, KHaa
- 7 Reading & Writing Review
- 8 Letters Daal, Dhaal
- 9 Letters Raa, Zeiy
- 10 Pronunciation Review
- 11 Letters Seen, SHeen
- 12 Letters Saad, Daad
- 13 Vowels Kasra, Damma
- 14 Letters Taa, Zaa
- 15 Letters Ein, GHein
- 16 Arabic Syllables
- 17 Letters Faa, Qaaf, Kaaf
- 18 Letters Laam, Meem, Noon
- 19 Rest of the Alphabet
- 20 Review & Practice
- 21 Double Vowel
- 22 Reading Arabic Sentences
- Learn about our PREMIUM Alphabet course
- Learn Arabic Online
- Skip to primary navigation
- Skip to main content
- Skip to primary sidebar
- Skip to footer
Learn A Language Through Stories
How To Learn The Arabic Alphabet Fast: A Quickstart Guide for Beginners
Learning the Arabic alphabet can be intimidating.
It’s a bunch of different letters, is written in a different direction, and has a few rules that you need to keep in mind.
Hard work indeed! I’ll be honest: learning the Arabic alphabet takes a bit of time. And learning how to actually use it takes longer.
But it’s definitely doable. And really – it’s not even that difficult. Or at least not as difficult as you first assume! I promise. In this post, I’m covering some of the most important information about the Arabic alphabet.
This includes the letters themselves, the four most important features of the alphabet (and why they are relatively easy to grasp), and tips for learning it.
I’ll even talk about if learning the Arabic alphabet is worth your time. Spoiler alert: it is. Let’s get started!
The Letters Of The Arabic Alphabet
Let’s first go over the entire Arabic alphabet. In the table below, you see all 28 Arabic letters.
For each letter, you see what it looks like in the “isolated” form (more on that later), what the letter is actually named in Arabic, and then an approximation in English of what the letter sounds like.
Let’s give it a look.
As I said, the Arabic alphabet contains 28 letters. Not that different than the English alphabet of 26!
Let’s pause here for a second.
While this is an article specifically about the Arabic alphabet (I covered Arabic pronunciation in a different post), a reminder on pronunciation is useful here.
The approximations of what these letters sound like are just that: approximations.
First, multiple Arabic letters have no equivalent in English. A great example is the letter ع. The best way to describe this is a guttaral “stop” at the back of your throat.
Also, pronunciation of letters is not always consistent throughout words. Just like English, and pretty much any other language. The “e” in the words “beg” vs. “hear,” for example. Quite the difference.
That’s not to say ALL Arabic letters are like this. The ن, for example, pretty much always sounds like a nn sound. Something to keep in mind when learning the alphabet!
The Four Most Important Aspects Of The Arabic Alphabet
Let’s move onto some features of the Arabic alphabet. I’ve narrowed it down to the four most important “rules” you need to know. In all honesty, none of these are really that difficult. But they are weird at first!
1) Arabic Is Written Right To Left
This is the first thing you should know (and probably already do) about Arabic. This can be intimidating at first.
Writing right to left is new for most people and takes some getting used to. But just like anything, time and practice are the key ingredients here. And you get used to it pretty fast. Plus, even though it’s right to left, it still follows the “one horizontal line at a time” reading style of most languages.
Once you practice (even just a little), the fact that you write Arabic right to left is more like a “party trick.” Not an actual barrier to learning.
One thing to keep in mind: if you are right-handed and use a pen, you might end up with a little ink on your hands. But you’ll finally understand the pain of left-handers!
2) Arabic Letters Are Connected In Words
Well….at least most of them. You don’t write Arabic words as individual letters (like handwriting) but connect them together. That makes it somewhat similar to cursive.
Now, I did say “most of them.” That’s because some letters introduce a “break” in the connection of the letters. A good example is the very first letter ا ( alif ).
This will always create a gap, forcing the next letter in the word to take it’s “isolated” form (see next feature of the Arabic alphabet).
Usually, though (as my Arabic teacher told me), the letters get “jammed together.” The reason this is confusing at the beginning is that it can slightly change the look of the letters themselves.
Which brings us to #3…
3) Arabic Letters Will Vary Slightly Depending On Where They Are In The Word
This probably causes the most confusion for beginners.
To put it in other words: a letter will look different in an Arabic word if it’s at the beginning (initial), the middle (medial), or the end (final) of the word.
Sound confusing? It’s really not, with a little practice. Let me explain.
The table you read above presents Arabic letters in their isolated form (just what I call it).
That is, by itself and unconnected to a word.
Once you actually use it in a word, an Arabic letter can (but sometimes does not) change its look.
It’s important to note here that most of the letters don’t look that much different when they change. Regardless of where they are found in a word, most Arabic letters are quite consistent.
Easy to guess for beginners!
That said, some letters DO take on a different form. This can be a bit confusing at the beginning. But it really just requires a little bit of rote memorization. And like I said at the beginning – it just takes time.
Let’s quickly look at the letter ع that I already mentioned, as well at what the letter looks like at different spots in three different Arabic words.
As you can see here, the letter ع changes its form in all positions of the word. It doesn’t look quite the same in a word as it does in the isolated form. Interesting, right?
Like I said, most Arabic letters don’t change much. The letter ع is actually an extreme case. This “form switching” is quicker to learn than you think. It’s not like you have to learn four different versions of all 28 letters!
4) Arabic Doesn’t Have Vowels
You read that right! Arabic officially doesn’t have vowels.
While this sounds really weird for a native English speaker, it’s actually not that much of a problem at all. That’s because Arabic does in fact have letters that make vowel sounds. These are the last three letters in the Arabic alphabet: the ه, the و, and the ى.
You see, Arabic is based on a “root system.” This means that any variety of words can usually be created from the “root” (usually three letters) by adding other letters.
As just one example, the root كتب (write), depending on what letter you add (and where), can become: writer, library, book, and student.
You’ve probably noticed that all of these words are slightly related. Another cool feature of this “root” system!
Tips For Learning The Arabic Alphabet
Now that we’ve covered the Arabic alphabet and four important features you need to know, let’s talk about how to actually learn it.
That shouldn’t exactly come as a surprise. But here I’ll give you three specific suggestions.
1) Practice Writing Arabic
Writing is definitely the first thing you should do. It’s the best way to become comfortable with the Arabic alphabet. Start with the individual letters.
For a beginner, Arabic letters look more like complicated pictures than letters. But that complication goes away soon enough.
After you’ve mastered the individual letters, practice writing full words. It doesn’t even matter if you know what they mean.
Writing Arabic naturally forces you to become acquainted with the shapes of the letters. And that will improve your ability to understand the Arabic alphabet much quicker.
There are plenty of websites where you can find exercises writing full Arabic words. Use them to your advantage!
2) Practice Reading Arabic
Reading in Arabic will further internalize how Arabic works. Especially how the letter forms change. Same thing this time with the internet.
Really any material of any difficulty level (at least at first) will do just fine. That’s because the comprehension of the language when first learning a new alphabet isn’t even the most important thing. Rather, the familiarity with the alphabet is.
Check out this list of the 11 best books for learning Arabic for some reading inspiration.
3) Reverse Engineer Arabic Words
This is where you take a word and break it down into its component letters. Of course, with Arabic, it’s not as easy as just splitting the word “happy” into h+a+p+p+y.
Remember (as my Arabic teacher told me): Arabic letters get “jammed together.” This means that Arabic letters in a word are basically cursive and that they change their form depending on where they are in a word.
While this is confusing at first, it gets much easier to understand. I promise. In fact, if you have been writing and reading Arabic (even without understanding everything), this has probably already happened naturally!
Because you’re probably seeing the letters that make up the words. And that’s fundamental to understanding how the Arabic alphabet works.
Is It Actually Worth Your Time To Learn?
The question you’ve been waiting for! And it’s a valid one. Because let’s be honest: Arabic isn’t exactly a walk in the park.
Plus, if Arabic learners are interested in communicating with Arabs, I usually recommend they pick Egyptian Arabic. Not Standard Arabic, which is much more formal.
So that means learning the Arabic alphabet is a waste of time….right? Not at all.
If you're learning Arabic (regardless of your reasons), it’s 100 percent worth your time to learn the Arabic alphabet.
There’s only so long that you can get by without learning it. Eventually you will run into trouble. And when you do, it can be super frustrating.
Ok, so maybe you are just learning a few Arabic phrases here and there.
In this case, maybe you can get by with transliterations (writing what the word sounds like in your language instead of the word in the actual Arabic script).
But if you’re serious about the language? Then you should definitely invest the time in learning the alphabet properly! Because it makes understanding learning resources so much easier.
Plus, if you are planning on spending anytime in the Middle East, pretty much everything is written in Arabic. This includes signs, menus, and anything else that has words on it.
Learning the Arabic alphabet is well worth your time. Whether you are a complete beginner, or already know a few basic Egyptian Arabic compliments .
Trust me on that one!
Wrapping Up And Next Steps
I hope I haven’t scared you off yet.
A theme that I have in my posts about Arabic is that it’s a difficult language to master, but not that hard to get the basics down.
And the alphabet is no different.
I mean it when I say this: you can learn the Arabic alphabet from complete scratch (and how the letters look in different words) in just a few days.
That’s not being over-optimistic.
Add in a little bit of practice (and an understanding of the four main features) and you are on the right path to learning Arabic alphabet.
Your future self will thank you!
- Language Blog
- Meet Our Team
- Media & Press
Download this article as a FREE PDF ?
What is your current level in Swedish?
Perfect! You’ve now got access to my most effective [level] Swedish tips…
Where shall I send the tips and your PDF?
We will protect your data in accordance with our data policy.
What is your current level in Danish?
Perfect! You’ve now got access to my most effective [level] Danish tips…
What can we do better? If I could make something to help you right now, w hat would it be?
Which language are you learning?
What is your current level in [language] ?
Perfect! You’ve now got access to my most effective [level] [language] tips, PLUS your free StoryLearning Kit…
Where shall I send them?
Download this article as a FREE PDF?
Great! Where shall I send my best online teaching tips and your PDF?
Download this article as a FREE PDF ?
What is your current level in Arabic?
Perfect! You’ve now got access to my most effective [level] Arabic tips…
FREE StoryLearning Kit!
Join my email newsletter and get FREE access to your StoryLearning Kit — discover how to learn languages through the power of story!
Download a FREE Story in Japanese!
Enter your email address below to get a FREE short story in Japanese and start learning Japanese quickly and naturally with my StoryLearning® method!
What is your current level in Japanese?
Perfect! You’ve now got access to the Japanese StoryLearning® Pack …
Where shall I send your download link?
Download Your FREE Natural Japanese Grammar Pack
Enter your email address below to get free access to my Natural Japanese Grammar Pack and learn to internalise Japanese grammar quickly and naturally through stories.
Perfect! You’ve now got access to the Natural Japanese Grammar Pack …
What is your current level in Portuguese?
Perfect! You’ve now got access to the Natural Portuguese Grammar Pack …
What is your current level in German?
Perfect! You’ve now got access to the Natural German Grammar Pack …
Train as an Online Language Teacher and Earn from Home
The next cohort of my Certificate of Online Language Teaching will open soon. Join the waiting list, and we’ll notify you as soon as enrolment is open!
Perfect! You’ve now got access to my most effective [level] Portuguese tips…
What is your current level in Turkish?
Perfect! You’ve now got access to my most effective [level] Turkish tips…
What is your current level in French?
Perfect! You’ve now got access to the French Vocab Power Pack …
What is your current level in Italian?
Perfect! You’ve now got access to the Italian Vocab Power Pack …
Perfect! You’ve now got access to the German Vocab Power Pack …
Perfect! You’ve now got access to the Japanese Vocab Power Pack …
Download Your FREE Japanese Vocab Power Pack
Enter your email address below to get free access to my Japanese Vocab Power Pack and learn essential Japanese words and phrases quickly and naturally. (ALL levels!)
Download Your FREE German Vocab Power Pack
Enter your email address below to get free access to my German Vocab Power Pack and learn essential German words and phrases quickly and naturally. (ALL levels!)
Download Your FREE Italian Vocab Power Pack
Enter your email address below to get free access to my Italian Vocab Power Pack and learn essential Italian words and phrases quickly and naturally. (ALL levels!)
Download Your FREE French Vocab Power Pack
Enter your email address below to get free access to my French Vocab Power Pack and learn essential French words and phrases quickly and naturally. (ALL levels!)
Perfect! You’ve now got access to the Portuguese StoryLearning® Pack …
What is your current level in Russian?
Perfect! You’ve now got access to the Natural Russian Grammar Pack …
Perfect! You’ve now got access to the Russian StoryLearning® Pack …
Perfect! You’ve now got access to the Italian StoryLearning® Pack …
Perfect! You’ve now got access to the Natural Italian Grammar Pack …
Perfect! You’ve now got access to the French StoryLearning® Pack …
Perfect! You’ve now got access to the Natural French Grammar Pack …
What is your current level in Spanish?
Perfect! You’ve now got access to the Spanish Vocab Power Pack …
Perfect! You’ve now got access to the Natural Spanish Grammar Pack …
Perfect! You’ve now got access to the Spanish StoryLearning® Pack …
Where shall I send them?
What is your current level in Korean?
Perfect! You’ve now got access to my most effective [level] Korean tips…
Perfect! You’ve now got access to my most effective [level] Russian tips…
Perfect! You’ve now got access to my most effective [level] Japanese tips…
What is your current level in Chinese?
Perfect! You’ve now got access to my most effective [level] Chinese tips…
Perfect! You’ve now got access to my most effective [level] Spanish tips…
Perfect! You’ve now got access to my most effective [level] Italian tips…
Perfect! You’ve now got access to my most effective [level] French tips…
Perfect! You’ve now got access to my most effective [level] German tips…
Download Your FREE Natural Portuguese Grammar Pack
Enter your email address below to get free access to my Natural Portuguese Grammar Pack and learn to internalise Portuguese grammar quickly and naturally through stories.
Download Your FREE Natural Russian Grammar Pack
Enter your email address below to get free access to my Natural Russian Grammar Pack and learn to internalise Russian grammar quickly and naturally through stories.
Download Your FREE Natural German Grammar Pack
Enter your email address below to get free access to my Natural German Grammar Pack and learn to internalise German grammar quickly and naturally through stories.
Download Your FREE Natural French Grammar Pack
Enter your email address below to get free access to my Natural French Grammar Pack and learn to internalise French grammar quickly and naturally through stories.
Download Your FREE Natural Italian Grammar Pack
Enter your email address below to get free access to my Natural Italian Grammar Pack and learn to internalise Italian grammar quickly and naturally through stories.
Download a FREE Story in Portuguese!
Enter your email address below to get a FREE short story in Brazilian Portuguese and start learning Portuguese quickly and naturally with my StoryLearning® method!
Download a FREE Story in Russian!
Enter your email address below to get a FREE short story in Russian and start learning Russian quickly and naturally with my StoryLearning® method!
Download a FREE Story in German!
Enter your email address below to get a FREE short story in German and start learning German quickly and naturally with my StoryLearning® method!
Perfect! You’ve now got access to the German StoryLearning® Pack …
Download a FREE Story in Italian!
Enter your email address below to get a FREE short story in Italian and start learning Italian quickly and naturally with my StoryLearning® method!
Download a FREE Story in French!
Enter your email address below to get a FREE short story in French and start learning French quickly and naturally with my StoryLearning® method!
Download a FREE Story in Spanish!
Enter your email address below to get a FREE short story in Spanish and start learning Spanish quickly and naturally with my StoryLearning® method!
The rules of language learning.
Enter your email address below to get free access to my Rules of Language Learning and discover 25 “rules” to learn a new language quickly and naturally through stories.
What can we do better ? If I could make something to help you right now, w hat would it be?
What is your current level in [language]?
Perfect! You’ve now got access to my most effective [level] [language] tips…
Download Your FREE Spanish Vocab Power Pack
Enter your email address below to get free access to my Spanish Vocab Power Pack and learn essential Spanish words and phrases quickly and naturally. (ALL levels!)
Download Your FREE Natural Spanish Grammar Pack
Enter your email address below to get free access to my Natural Spanish Grammar Pack and learn to internalise Spanish grammar quickly and naturally through stories.
Free Step-By-Step Guide:
How to generate a full-time income from home with your English… even with ZERO previous teaching experience.
What is your current level in Thai?
Perfect! You’ve now got access to my most effective [level] Thai tips…
What is your current level in Cantonese?
Perfect! You’ve now got access to my most effective [level] Cantonese tips…
Steal My Method?
I’ve written some simple emails explaining the techniques I’ve used to learn 8 languages…
I want to be skipped!
I’m the lead capture, man!
Join 84,574 other language learners getting StoryLearning tips by email…
“After I started to use your ideas, I learn better, for longer, with more passion. Thanks for the life-change!” – Dallas Nesbit
Perfect! You’ve now got access to my most effective [level] [language] tips…
Perfect! You’ve now got access to my most effective [level] [language] tips…
Join 122,238 other language learners getting StoryLearning tips by email…
Find the perfect language course for you.
Looking for world-class training material to help you make a breakthrough in your language learning?
Click ‘start now’ and complete this short survey to find the perfect course for you!
Do you like the idea of learning through story?
Do you want…?
How to Become an Expert at Writing Arabic Script
9 minutes reading time
- 01. Some Advice Before You Start Studying the Arabic Language
- 02. What Are the Main Differences Between English and Arabic?
- 03. Is Arabic the Oldest Language?
- 04. An Introduction to Arabic Script
- 05. Learning to Write in Arabic with Textbooks
- 06. How to Have Fun as You Learn to Write in Arabic
- 07. Learning How to Write in Arabic with a Pen Pal
According to a report published on Lexiophiles in 2009, the Arabic language is among the most difficult to learn in the world, alongside Mandarin Chinese and Polynesian . So what is it that might compel someone to learn Arabic, and take their studies to the next level by learning how to write Arabic script?
Arabic is a language that is important to Arabs across the world, as well as the Islamic faith as it is the language that is used in the Muslim holy book of the Quran.
Classical Arabic is also now used as an official language in all countries of the Arab world across the Middle East and North Africa, including:
- Saudi Arabia
- The United Arab Emirates
As you can see, this is in no way or form an isolated language which hardly anyone speaks.
You may be keen to get a hold of this interesting language so that you can visit one of the above countries and understand signage, menus and other instructions in written form, or you may be set on mastering Arabic words and letters to get a true understanding of the culture that surrounds this historic and, seemingly, spiritual language. After all, Arabic is somewhat representative of an entire culture. However, the two are, in some ways, quite far apart as one is much more focused on literature and is therefore less straightforward.
Arabic tends to instil fear in native English speakers who simply can't get their heads around a totally new lettering system. The alphabet, so different, can seem indecipherable at first glance. What's more, learners are frightened away by the various types of Arabic that exist, and the supposedly complex Arabic grammar used even in basic Arabic.
There's some good advice on the internet about how to learn Arabic . Here's our advice on learning written Arabic script like a pro without going through long traditional courses.
Some Advice Before You Start Studying the Arabic Language
Decide Why You Want to Learn Arabic
Like most languages, there are different angles at which you can set your language learning goals. Before choosing an Arabic course, you need to identify which form of Arabic you want to learn.
There are two areas of Arabic to get your head around:
- Classical or literary Arabic
- Dialectic or modern standard Arabic
Although dialectic Arabic differs from country to country (Moroccan Arabic is different from Egyptian Arabic, for example), literary Arabic is often considered much more complicated to learn due to its added sophistication. Indeed, you'll need to invest a serious amount of time and dedication to master all of the twists and turns of Literary Arabic. This classical form is a Semiotic language whose root words are based on three-letter consonant structures.
What Are the Main Differences Between English and Arabic?
Dialectic Arabic is principally a spoken language , used in Arab media or in business settings, however, it can be studied in written form. In terms of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and syntax, it's different from Classical Arabic , and both are a million miles away from the English language we know and speak every day in our own nation.
Dialectic Arabic is advised for all students who want to go live and/or work in an Arab country, so this is the area of Arabic that we will focus on in this piece.
Even if you were to spend some time in an Arab state after beginning to learn dialectic Arabic, you should still be able to make yourself understood in social situations too, though it may not be particularly easy.
Arabic is often perceived as one the most difficult languages in the world, because of how different its alphabet is to the more traditional letter system seen across the globe. But different doesn't have to be difficult, does it?
The system of Arabic writing is very different from ours. Even if the Arabic alphabet , with its roots in Aramaic languages, contains only 28 letters, 2 more than our own Latin alphabet, the style of writing is completely different from what we're used to in the West, and care must taken with all aspects, especially the dots above or below words which affect how it is pronounced.
More than anything else, the biggest difference is that reading and writing are done from right to left, the complete opposite of English.
In an Arabic text or poetry, the letters are not separated from each other as they form words, similar to our own cursive handwriting (which is inspired by Arabic calligraphy), but much more complicated. There are no capital letters anywhere to indicate the beginning of sentences, and vowels are often elided from written Arabic: reading is thus nearly impossible for Arabic beginners .
The aesthetic beauty of Arabic, however, is undeniable. Many American students study calligraphy as part of the Arabic lessons, to be able to write Arabic correctly and traditionally, as Arabic script is a beautiful sight to behold on paper.
Writing Arabic can be like a work of art!
Rest assured: learning to write in Arabic is not impossible!
With a good attitude and total dedication, students can be veritable experts in the Arabic language. Hopefully, this guide will be motivating you to go out and start learning to write Arabic script - what an achievement and great addition to your skillset it will be!
Learn about the different formats of Arabic .
Is Arabic the Oldest Language?
Classical Arabic is said to have originated in the sixth century , but evidence shows that earlier versions of the language existed even before then, so could this be one of the oldest languages known to man? Safaitic, an old Arabic dialect used by the pre-Islamic nomadic inhabitants of the Syro-Arabian desert, is just one example with inscriptions that date back to the 1st century .
Did you know that the 18th December is known as U.N Arabic Language Day ? This is because it was this day in 1973 that Arabic became the 6th official working language of the General Assembly of the United Nations and its main commissions alongside Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
An Introduction to Arabic Script
So, we know that Arabic is written using a totally different form and lettering system to our own, but what exactly is it if it isn't the recognisable 'alphabet'? Do they have vowels and consonants?
The type of script or writing system that is used in the Arabic language is ' abjad '. Abjad differs greatly from Western languages because it is read and written from right to left , yet digits or numerals are scrolled from left to right. Also, each addition represents a consonant sound and the speaker fills the vowel gaps with the help of vowel marks.
There are 28 letters in abjad, the Arabic alphabet, but some additional letters can exist when writing placenames or foreign words containing sounds unfamiliar with the Arabic language. You see, as with our own alphabet, the letters represent a sound.
What's more, a lot of letters can change form based upon where they appear on the horizontal line of script.
For instance, if they appear at the beginning, the middle or at the of a word, they may be pronounced differently. This also applies to when they appear on their own. In addition to being sounded out differently, they are also visually different. Letters at the end of a word might be ended with a bold stroke , while if in the middle they will be joined with a short upward curved stroke . There are, however, six letters that can only be joined to the preceding ones.
Also, there is no differentiation between upper and lower case. This makes Arabic a 'unicameral' language .
Learning to Write in Arabic with Textbooks
There's nothing quite like a good old fashioned schoolbook to help you learn the basics of a language!
Even on a tight budget, students can get started learning how to write in Arabic by using a manual created by Arabic language professionals.
With lessons, exercises, and glossaries, foreign language manuals are often very comprehensive and allow students to progress for several months and even years.
If you're just starting out learning the Arabic language, take advantage of manuals for beginners . It should take you just a few months to learn the basics of written Arabic script with a good manual.
Some manuals for learning how to write in Arabic:
- Write it in Arabic: A WorkBook and Step-By-Step Guide to Writing the Arabic Alphabet , by Naglaa Ghali
- How to Speak and Write Correctly: Study Guide (Translated) in English and Arabic: Dr. Vi's Study Guide for Easy Business English Communication , by Joseph Devlin
- Arabic Writing for Beginners: Part I 10th Edition , by Z. H. Qureshi
- Alif Baa: Introduction to Arabic Letters and Sounds (With DVD) , by Kristen Brustad, Mahmoud Al-Batal, and Abbas Al-Tonsi
- Elementary Modern Standard Arabic: Volume 1, Pronunciation and Writing; Lessons 1-30 , by Peter F. Abboud
What's the advantage of a linguistic manual?
The ability to bring it with you everywhere, the chance to review your written Arabic as you travel or in between lessons.
What's more, these workbooks are packed with little tips to help you learn how to write Arabic more easily and how to understand Arabic calligraphy. These Arabic classes near me , put together by professionals, help students progress more rapidly and truly perfect their Arabic.
How to Have Fun as You Learn to Write in Arabic
Why not try out some electronic games to help you learn how to write in Arabic?
Writing the language of the Quran can quickly be learned thanks to the games and other activities available free online.
What are the advantages here?
These digital resources are often much more fun and allow students to forget that they're studying.
Even if some software programs enable you to write in Arabic thanks to a specially modified Arabic keyboard , it's better to keep paper and pencil nearby. Typing won't allow you to truly internalize all of the shapes of written Arabic's letters.
Ideally you would use these digital resources as a way of easily reviewing what you've learned, but you should also keep a study notebook to keep track of which words you've learned, along with the phonetic spelling.
To learn how to write Arabic online, students can check out:
- Foreign language programs in Arabic: ABC Arabic, Arabic educational software, etc...
- Smartphone, tablet, and computer apps: Alif Ba, Write with Me in Arabic, Write it! Arabic, etc...
- Educational Videos: Youtube, Dailymotion, etc...
These digital resources are especially good for children learning the Arabic language . Learning while having fun enables easier memorization and retention of written Arabic and helps students overcome difficulties that might otherwise turn them off from the endeavor.
To learn the basics of writing in Arabic, it's the ideal method!
Learn Arabic online with Superprof.
Learning How to Write in Arabic with a Pen Pal
To really know everything about writing in Arabic, like how to pronounce a vowel, why not converse directly with a native speaker?
Handwritten or digital pen pals allow people all around the world to communicate and develop friendships, while at the same time enhancing language skills.
With all respect to linguistic goals, it's the cultural exchange that correspondents value the most. Discussing things with a native of the Arab world offers you the chance to know much more about the Arab culture and delve into a number of subjects, such as history, literature, or even music.
Correspondence needs to be done gradually: perhaps you can start by writing some sentences in Arabic, and then your pen pal, for his part, can correct you and explaining the linguistic nuances of modern standard Arabic.
To begin a writing relationship with a native Arabic speaker, students can visit these sites that specialize in long-distance correspondence:
- My Language Exchange
- Students of the World
- Conversation Exchange
The advantage to this activity is that it makes sure that the written skills of the learner keep up with speaking skills , since most online lessons focus on oral approaches to speak Arabic.
Understanding of modern standard Arabic words, phrases and sentence structure can all be developed via this method.
What's more is that having contact with a native speakers allows you, eventually, to be able to plan a trip of total immersion with a family living in the Arab world. In such a scenario, students can quickly perfect their Arabic writing skills and learn alongside a native speaker.
Better than an email correspondence is the classic pen, paper, and mail method — a physical letter in Arabic. Your friend can more easily see your mistakes and subsequent improvements, and can coach you as you learn to write Classical Arabic, and help you improve your reading skills at the same time.
Find an Arabic online course on Superprof.
With all of this advice, you can now get started with your personal education in writing the Arabic language.
Enjoyed this article? Leave a rating.
Passionate writer dedicated to crafting captivating stories across a diverse range of subjects. My mission is to ignite a love for learning in students, empowering them to continuously explore new horizons and seize fresh opportunities.
Current ye@r *
Leave this field empty
- Learn Quran Online
- Learn Arabic Online
- Islamic Studies Course
- Learn Quran Tafseer
- New Muslim Course
- Online Quran Classes
- learn Arabic Online
- Pillars Of Islam
- Islamic Studies For Kids
- Islamic Supplication Dua Course
Learning to write the Arabic alphabet
by Arabic Online | Nov 26, 2017 | Arabic Language | 0 comments
Writing Arabic is much easier than you would imagine.
Arabic uses an alphabet, not hieroglyphs or pictograms. And there are far fewer shapes to master in Arabic than in those languages that are based on the ‘Latin alphabet’. These distinguish, for example, between capital and small letters as well as between print letters and joined up handwriting.
In Arabic, there is really only one basic shape for each of the 28 letters of the alphabet – no capitalization, and not really a distinction between print and handwriting.
Look at the following table, telling you the names of the letters and showing you the shape of each letter. Imagine that if there was a line, the first four letters would be sitting on the line, part of the following three letters would be below the line. – Now read the alphabet starting on the right with alif being the first letter in the alphabet and yaa’ being the last.
When writing Arabic, you need to master three important techniques.
Writing from right to left In many ways it is a more natural movement to be pushing the pen than pulling it, certainly for someone who is right-handed. And if you are left-handed, Arabic is the language for you: You will never smudge your paper again. However, for both left-handers and right-handers the basics are the same.
Holding the pen Even if you have bad handwriting in your own language, there is no reason why your Arabic handwriting should not be excellent. You are starting afresh with good habits from the start. Firstly, to hold the pen you must have finger-tip control . It is better to hold the pen or pencil with the fingers well away from the point.
Flexibility of the wrist This is something that textbooks never tell you. The basic movement in writing Arabic is making clockwise loops. Try it: Start making clockwise loops from right to left on a piece of paper .
To find out more about writing Arabic, you can purchase our workbook: A Guide to Writing Arabic . This is available as an eBook or as a printed workbook.
Thank you for visiting ArabicOnline.Eu . Our award winning interactive courses of Modern Standard Arabic have been developed for anyone with a genuine interest in Arabic, whether for private, educational or professional reasons and are specially designed for self-study. Our website and our language courses are free from advertisements and we don't share any personal details of our visitors or registered members with third parties. Nor do we sell data for targeted advertising. We believe passionately that learning should be free from commercial distractions. For this reason we rely on subscriptions to fund the development of our products. Click here to find out more about our Beginner to Intermediate Arabic courses.
- Arabic Tiles: A Beautiful Fusion of Art and Geometry
- Desalination: Quenching the Thirst of the Middle East
- Arabian Horses: Grace, Elegance, and Heritage
- Celebrating Female Explorers in the Middle East
- The Arabian Majlis : A Haven of Tradition and Hospitality