Introduction to the Arabic Alphabet - Download as PowerPoint by hcj


									Introduction to the
  Arabic Alphabet
    Alex Sviridovsky

     Key Differences from English
• Arabic is written from right to left
• There are no upper- or lower-case letters
• Arabic has some letters with no exact English
• Some English letters (‘P’, ‘V’) do not exist in the
  Arabic alphabet
• The language is written in cursive; most letters
  connect to each other (we’ll go over some
  exceptions later)
• Arabic uses vowels sparingly

                Forms of the Letters
Each letter has 4 forms:

 •Independent – When the letter is written by itself

 •Initial – When the letter appears at the beginning of a word

 •Medial – When the letter appears between two other letters (middle of a word)

 •Final – When the letter appears at the end of a word

       Example Using the Letter “B”
Independent                  Initial             Medial              Final

The arrows indicate the directions in which this letter would connect to others; A
useful illustration of this concept shows how the letter “Ba” (‘B’) would be
written three times (BBB):

                 Some Notes
• The shape of this letter is common to several
  others in Arabic (see next slide)

• The dot is called a “nukta”, which literally
  means “point”

• Not all letters connect on both sides; we’ll see
  exceptions a bit later
               The “         “ Shape
Several letters use this same shape and connect
  the same way. The only difference is in the
  number and position of “nukta”. Shown here
  are the independent forms of those letters:

“Noon” – ‘N’   “Ye” – ‘E’   “Ta” – ‘T’               “Tha” – ‘Th’
                                         (as in “Third” and not “Those”)

         Putting Them Together
Now, let’s look at these letters as they form
words (keep in mind, we’re reading right-to-
                       “Beyt” - House

  T -   E - B

                       “Bent” – Girl
                       (Notice that the vowel “e” isn’t actually
  T -   N - B          written here; we’ll go into that in the next

                  Long & Short Vowels
• As mentioned, Arabic rarely uses vowels; there
  are only 3 written, or “long” vowels in the whole

   “Alif” – ‘A’       “Ye” – ‘E’   “Waw” – ‘W’, ‘U’, or ‘O’

• The rest are short vowels, which are usually not
  written, except as a guide for students learning
  the language, or in the Koran (see next slide)
                          Short Vowels
• These are the same three sounds as the long
  vowels (A, E/I, W/U/O)
• They are pronounced the same, but shorter
  (hence the name)
• The ‘sukun’ signifies NO short vowel
• They are signified by diacritical marks:
          Again, using the letter ‘Ba’ (B) as an example:

fatHa – short ‘a’   kasra – short ‘i’     damma – short ‘u’   sukun – no vowel
      ‘bA’               ‘bEh’                 ‘bU’                  ‘b’
         Short Vowels (continued)
• Though not always written, short vowels are
  ALWAYS pronounced
• They can change the meaning of verb
  conjugations or even make completely
  different words
• With practice, you will learn which short
  vowels go where, without having to see them
 (I promise  )

                         The Hamza
 • This character, placed on top of a long vowel,
   represents a glottal stop
 • It can also be placed underneath an alif to
   turn that alif into an ‘i’ sound with a glottal

Sounds like a’a   Sounds like i’i   Sounds like e’e   Sounds like u’u

               Forms of Long Vowels
Vowel          Independent      Initial          Medial           Final




    Again, arrows represent the directions in which a letter can connect   12
         Notes on Long Vowels
• As you can see, the ‘alif’ and ‘waw’ can both
  connect to the letter before it (to the right)
  but never to the letter after (to the left)

• Although the ‘ye’ shares a shape with the
  ‘ba’/’ta’/etc., notice that it looks slightly
  different in the final form

• Now that you have 7 letters to practice with, try your hand at
   putting them together in the following combinations:
Alif-Ba (Ab – Father), Alif-Waw (Au – Or), Ba-Ye-Noon (Beyn –
• Write each letter as it connects to itself (AAA, YeYeYe,
   WawWawWaw, etc.) so you can see its different shapes
• Arabic flows from right to left; your pen strokes should flow
• In an Arabic website, book or magazine, pick out different
   forms of the letters you’ve learned so far
• Practice writing out these exercises and send me a scanned
   image, or do the same exercises in MS Paint or any other
   program that lets you draw freehand (this is why my letters look so sloppy
Practice Reference
   AB - Father

   AU - Or

   BEyN - Between

   Repeating “Alif”

    Repeating “Ye”

    Repeating “Waw”


                 E-MAIL ME


To top