Alphabet and Pronounciation Guide

This is an introduction to the Arabic alphabet. The information provided here is crucial If you want to learn reading/writing Arabic. Getting acquainted to the writing system also saves you some effort when learning how to speak either Arabic or Egyptian.

Probably the best way to learn the alphabet is the way we used as children, to sing it ;). Here is one song by cute children, they are not natives so their pronunciation of certain letters is not absolutely correct but still very good:

One more famous alphabet song in Egypt is being prepared and will be added here soon.

There are three aspects in the Arabic writing system that are different from latin:

Writing Direction
Arabic is written from right to left.
Letter forms
In Arabic, letters are mostly connected to each other in the same word through a horizontal line, therefore, letter's form changes a bit depending whether it is connected from left, right, or both.
Diacritic signs
All Arabic letters are consonants except for three letetrs (the first and last two letters in the table below). Diacritic signs define the vowels between letters, the most used three vowels are introduced with the following examples (look up the letters in the table below when needed):
  • fatHah: a small dash above a letter indicates a short "a" after the letter: the word

    is pronounced as "kataba" meaning "wrote".
  • kasrah: a small dash below a letter indicates a short "e" after the letter : the word

    is pronounced as "ketaab" meaning "book".
  • dhammah: a small ُ above a letter indicates a short "o" after the letter: the word

    is pronounced as "kotob" meaning "books".

Finally, here is a table of all Arabic letters in their different forms. Note that for some letter, Egyptian pronounciation differs from Arabic. In such cases, Egyptian pronouncation remarks are written in italic. Get familiar with them, try to write your name with letters and vowels, and use this table as a reference for your further lessons. I recommend you to use our free game Fetek in Siwa.

Letter standalone connected from left connected from left and right connected from right Remarks