So, you’re ready to learn the Arabic alphabet? Congratulations on making the first and most important step to learning how to read, write, and speak Arabic. Before you know it, you’ll be using Arabic as if it were your native language. However, we want to discuss a few things about the Arabic alphabet before you begin mastering the language.

First, let’s clear up some of the semantics we use here. Some people believe that “Arabic alphabet” and “Arabic letters” are the wrong words to use. To clarify, the Arabic alphabet is actually an “abjad” – a type of writing system where each letter or “glyph” stands for a consonant, and for all intents and purposes, leaves it to the reader to figure out the appropriate vowels to use.  However, since this is an article is for you, the beginner, we will skip the semantics and simply refer to the “abjad” as the Arabic alphabet and “glyphs” as Arabic letters.

A brief on the Arabic alphabet

The Arabic alphabet evolved from the Aramaic script of the Nabateans around the 4th century A.D.; however, the first document written in the Arabic script was written in 512 A.D. Since the Aramaic language uses few consonants than Arabic uses, new Arabic letters were created in the 7th century by simply adding dots to the letters that already existed for the sake of clarity. Later, to ensure the Qur’an was read aloud without error, diacritics indicating short vowel sounds were introduced.

Some of the more notable features of Arabic are that it consists of 28 letters written from right to left, although numbers are written from left to right. When writing place names or foreign words that have sounds that do not occur in Arabic, there are some additional letters used such as /p/ or /g/.

There are other languages that use the Arabic alphabet to write such as Afrikaan, Belrusian, Bosnian, Chechan, Mandekan, Turkosh, Urdu, Usbek and Wolof to name a few.  

When writing Arabic, the letters can change their former depending on whether they fall at the beginning, middle, or end of a word. Arabic letters than can be joined are joined whether they are used in handwriting or in print.

The 28 Letter of the Arabic Alphabet

Below you’ll find the names of the letters, the letters in Arabic script, and the Arabic alphabet in English equivalents:

NameArabic letterEnglish EquivalentNameArabic letterEnglish EquivalentNameArabic letterEnglish Equivalent
alifa zayz qafq
bab seens kafk
tat sheensh laml
thath as in three saad(none) meemm
jeemj daad(none) noonn
hah toh(none) haH
khak thoh(none) woww
dad ayn(none) yay
thal(none) ghayng    
rar (“rolled”) faf    

So, there you go, the Arabic alphabet from a to z (or alif to ya, actually).

Learning the Arabic alphabet for kids and adults is really pretty easy once you get the hand of it. If you’d like to learn more beyond the Arabic alphabet and Arabic alphabet pronunciation, you can start learning today by downloading the Kaleela Arabic learning app from Google Play or App Store.

Kaleela – Learn Arabic the Right Way!