The Arabic Alphabet: Consonants
Name Isolated Final Medial Initial Transliteration Sound Pronunciation
'alif '/ā low central back 'a' as in 'father'
Bā' b voiced bilabial stop 'b' as in 'bed'
Tā' t 't' as in 'tent'
Thā' th interdental fricative
'th' as in 'think'
Jīm j affricate
'j' as in 'jam'
only in Arabic; a constricted English
Khā' kh fricative
'ch' as in German 'Bach'
Dāl d voiced dental stop 'd' as in 'deer' (approx.)
Dhāl dh 'th' as in 'there'
Rā' r voiced dental trill 'r' as in 'run' (approx.)
Zāy z 'z' as in 'zoo' (approx.)
Sīn s sibilant
's' as in 'sit'
Shīn sh sibilant
'sh' as in 'shut'
voiceless post- the counterpart of Sῑn ; all the
ā dental sibilant 'emphatics' are pronounced with the
emphatic back of the tongue slightly raised
ā emphatic stop
the counterpart of Dāl
ā' dental emphatic the counterpart of Tā'
ā' interdental the counterpart of Dhāl
purely Arabic -- a constriction of the
c ayn c throat and an expulsion of the breath
with the vocal cords vibrating
voiced uvular close to a French 'r' as in 'Paris' --
fricative like a gentle gargling
Fā' f voiceless fricative
'f' as in 'free'
'k' in the back of the throat; compare
Qāf q unaspirated uvular
'cough' with 'calf'
Kāf k palatal or velar 'k' as in 'king'
Lām l lateral
'l' as in 'lift'
Mīm m 'm' as in 'moon'
Nūn n voiced dental nasal 'n' as in 'net'
Hā' h 'h' as in 'house'
Wāw w voiced bilabial glide 'w' as in 'wonder'
Yā' y voiced palatal glide 'y' as in 'yellow'
voiceless glottal not a phoneme in English but found
Hamza ' stop in some exclamations -- e.g. 'oh-oh'