The Info List - Arabic Alphabet

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* v * t * e

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS ARABIC TEXT . Without proper rendering support , you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols .

Countries that utilise the Arabic script: as the sole official script as a co-official script.

The ARABIC ALPHABET ( Arabic : الأَبْجَدِيَّة العَرَبِيَّة‎‎ _al-abjadīyah al-ʻarabīyah_, or الحُرُو ف العَرَبِيَّة _al-ḥurūf al-ʻarabīyah_) or ARABIC ABJAD is the Arabic script as it is codified for writing the Arabic language . It is written from right to left in a cursive style and includes 28 letters.

Originally, the alphabet was an abjad, with only consonants , but it is now considered an "impure abjad ". As with other _abjads_, such as the Hebrew alphabet , scribes later devised means of indicating vowel sounds by separate vowel points.


* 1 Consonants

* 1.1 Alphabetical order

* 1.1.1 Abjadī * 1.1.2 Hijā’ī

* 1.2 Letter forms

* 1.2.1 Table of basic letters * 1.2.2 Modified letters * 1.2.3 Ligatures * 1.2.4 Gemination * 1.2.5 Nunation

* 2 Vowels

* 2.1 Short vowels * 2.2 Long vowels * 2.3 Diphthongs * 2.4 Vowel omission

* 3 Additional letters

* 3.1 Regional variations * 3.2 Non-native letters * 3.3 Used in languages other than Arabic

* 4 Numerals

* 4.1 Letters as numerals

* 5 History

* 5.1 Arabic printing presses

* 6 Computers

* 6.1 Unicode * 6.2 Keyboards * 6.3 Handwriting recognition

* 7 See also * 8 References * 9 External links


The basic Arabic alphabet contains 28 letters . Adaptations of the Arabic script for other languages added and removed some letters, as for Kurdish , Persian , Ottoman Turkish , Sindhi , Urdu , Malay , Pashto , Arwi and Malayalam (Arabi Malayalam ), all of which have additional letters as shown below. There are no distinct upper and lower case letter forms.

Many letters look similar but are distinguished from one another by dots (_i‘jām _) above or below their central part (_rasm _). These dots are an integral part of a letter, since they distinguish between letters that represent different sounds. For example, the Arabic letters transliterated as _b_ and _t_ have the same basic shape, but _b_ has one dot below, ب, and _t_ has two dots above, ت.

Both printed and written Arabic are cursive , with most of the letters within a word directly connected to the adjacent letters.


There are two main collating sequences for the Arabic alphabet, abjad and hija.

The original _abjadī_ order (أَبْجَدِي), used for lettering , derives from the order of the Phoenician alphabet , and is therefore similar to the order of other Phoenician-derived alphabets, such as the Hebrew alphabet . In this order, letters are also used as numbers, Abjad numerals , and possess the same alphanumeric code/cipher as Hebrew gematria and Greek isopsephy .

The _hijā’ī_ (هِجَائِي) or _alifbā’ī_ (أَلِفْبَائِي) order, used where lists of names and words are sorted, as in phonebooks, classroom lists, and dictionaries, groups letters by similarity of shape.


The _abjadī_ order is not a simple historical continuation of the earlier north Semitic alphabetic order, since it has a position corresponding to the Aramaic letter _samekh / semkat_ ס, yet no letter of the Arabic alphabet historically derives from that letter. Loss of _sameḵ_ was compensated for by the split of _shin _ ש into two independent Arabic letters, ش (_shīn_) and ﺱ (_sīn_) which moved up to take the place of _sameḵ_. The six other letters that do not correspond to any north Semitic letter are placed at the end.

Common _abjadī_ sequence غ ظ ض ذ خ ث ت ش ر ق ص ف ع س ن م ل ك ي ط ح ز و ه د ج ب ا

gh ẓ ḍ dh kh th t sh r q ṣ f ‘ s n m l k y ṭ ḥ z w h d j b ā

28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 09 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 01

This is commonly vocalized as follows: _abjad hawwaz ḥuṭṭī kalaman sa‘faṣ qarashat thakhadh ḍaẓagh_.

Another vocalization is: _abujadin hawazin ḥuṭiya kalman sa‘faṣ qurishat thakhudh ḍaẓugh_

Maghrebian _abjadī_ sequence (probably older) ش غ ظ ذ خ ث ت س ر ق ض ف ع ص ن م ل ك ي ط ح ز و ه د ج ب ا

sh gh ẓ dh kh th t s r q ḍ f ‘ ṣ n m l k y ṭ ḥ z w h d j b ā

28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 09 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 01

This can be vocalized as: _abujadin hawazin ḥuṭiya kalman ṣa‘faḍ qurisat thakhudh ẓaghush_


Modern dictionaries and other reference books do not use the _abjadī_ order to sort alphabetically; instead, the newer _hijā’ī_ order is used wherein letters are partially grouped together by similarity of shape. The _hijā’ī_ order is never used as numerals.

Common _hijā’ī_ order ي و ه ن م ل ك ق ف غ ع ظ ط ض ص ش س ز ر ذ د خ ح ج ث ت ب ا

y w h n m l k q f gh ‘ ẓ ṭ ḍ ṣ sh s z r dh d kh ḥ j th t b ā

Another kind of _hijā’ī_ order was used widely in the Maghreb until recently when it was replaced by the Mashriqi order.

Maghrebian _hijā’ī_ order ي و ه ش س ق ف غ ع ض ص ن م ل ك ظ ط ز ر ذ د خ ح ج ث ت ب ا

y w h sh s q f gh ‘ ḍ ṣ n m l k ẓ ṭ z r dh d kh ḥ j th t b ā



* Arabic * Chinese * Georgian * Indian * Islamic * Japanese * Korean * Mongolian * Persian * Tibetan * Western

* v * t * e

The Arabic alphabet is always cursive and letters vary in shape depending on their position within a word. Letters can exhibit up to four distinct forms corresponding to an initial, medial (middle), final, or isolated position ( IMFI ). While some letters show considerable variations, others remain almost identical across all four positions. Generally, letters in the same word are linked together on both sides by short horizontal lines, but six letters (و ز ر ذ د ا) can only be linked to their preceding letter. For example, أرارا ت (Ararat ) has only isolated forms because each letter cannot be connected to its following one. In addition, some letter combinations are written as ligatures (special shapes), notably _lām-alif_.

Table Of Basic Letters

For other uses, see Arabic script .

Arabic letters usage in Literary Arabic COMMON MAGHREBIAN Letter Name Letter Name in Arabic script Trans- literation VALUE IN LITERARY ARABIC (IPA ) CONTEXTUAL FORMS Isolated form


1. 1. 1. 1. ’alif ألف _ā / _ ’ (also _ ʾ _ ) various, including /aː/ ـا ا

2. 2. 2. 2. bā’ باء _b_ /b / ـب ـبـ بـ ب

22. 3. 22. 3. tā’ تاء _t_ /t / ـت ـتـ تـ ت

23. 4. 23. 4. thā’ ثاء _th_ (also _ṯ _) /θ / ـث ـثـ ثـ ث

3. 5. 3. 5. jīm جيم _j_ (also _ǧ, g _) /d͡ʒ / ـج ـجـ جـ ج

8. 6. 8. 6. ḥā’ حاء _ḥ_ /ħ / ـح ـحـ حـ ح

24. 7. 24. 7. khā’ خاء _kh_ (also _ḫ, ḵ _) /x / ـخ ـخـ خـ خ

4. 8. 4. 8. dāl دال _d_ /d / ـد د

25. 9. 25. 9. dhāl ذال _dh_ (also _ḏ _) /ð / ـذ ذ

20. 10. 20. 10. rā’ راء _r_ /r / ـر ر

7. 11. 7. 11. zayn / zāy زاي _z_ /z / ـز ز

15. 12. 21. 24. sīn سين _s_ /s / ـس ـسـ سـ س

21. 13. 28. 25. shīn شين _sh_ (also _š _) /ʃ / ـش ـشـ شـ ش

18. 14. 15. 18. ṣād صاد _ṣ_ /sˤ / ـص ـصـ صـ ص

26. 15. 18. 19. ḍād ضاد _ḍ_ /dˤ / ـض ـضـ ضـ ض

9. 16. 9. 12. ṭā’ طاء _ṭ_ /tˤ / ـط ـطـ طـ ط

27. 17. 26. 13. ẓā’ ظاء _ẓ_ /ðˤ / ـظ ـظـ ظـ ظ

16. 18. 16. 20. ‘ayn عين ‘ (also _ ʿ _ ) /ʕ / ـع ـعـ عـ ع

28. 19. 27. 21. ghayn غين _gh_ (also _ġ, ḡ _) /ɣ / ـغ ـغـ غـ غ

17. 20. 17. 22. fā’ فاء _f_ /f / ـف ـفـ فـ ف

19. 21. 19. 23. qāf قاف _q_ /q / ـق ـقـ قـ ق

11. 22. 11. 14. kāf كاف _k_ /k / ـك ـكـ كـ ك

12. 23. 12. 15. lām لام _l_ /l / ـل ـلـ لـ ل

13. 24. 13. 16. mīm ميم _m_ /m / ـم ـمـ مـ م

14. 25. 14. 17. nūn نون _n_ /n / ـن ـنـ نـ ن

5. 26. 5. 26. hā’ هاء _h_ /h / ـه ـهـ هـ ه

6. 27. 6. 27. wāw واو _w / ū_ /w /, /uː / ـو و

10. 28. 10. 28. yā’ ياء _y / ī_ /j /, /iː / ـي ـيـ يـ ي


* ^A _Alif_ can represent many phonemes:


Without diacritics ا

* initially: _a, i_ /a, i/ or sometimes silent in the definite article ا ل _(a)l- _ * medially or finally: _ā_ /aː/

With _hamzah _ over أ

* initially: _ʾa, ʾu_ /ʔa, ʔu/ * medially or finally: _aʾ_ /ʔa/

With _hamzah _ under إ

* initially: _ʾi_ /ʔi/ * doesn't appear medially or finally (see hamza )

With _maddah _ آ _ʾā_ /ʔaː/

* ^B See the section on non-native letters and sounds ; the letters ⟨ ك ⟩ ,⟨ ق ⟩ ,⟨ غ ⟩ ,⟨ ج ⟩ are sometimes used to transcribe the phoneme /g / in loanwords, ⟨ ب ⟩ to transcribe /p / and ⟨ ف ⟩ to transcribe /v /. Likewise the letters ⟨ و ⟩ and ⟨ ي ⟩ are used to transcribe the vowels /oː / and /eː / respectively in loanwords and dialects. * ^C ج is pronounced differently depending on the region. See Arabic phonology#endnote 6 . * ^D See the section on regional variations in letter form.

* See the article _ Romanization of Arabic _ for details on various transliteration schemes; however, Arabic language speakers do not follow a standardized scheme when transcribing names. Also names are regularly transcribed as pronounced locally, not as pronounced in Literary Arabic (if they were of Arabic origin). * Regarding pronunciation, the phonemic values given are those of Modern Standard Arabic, which is taught in universities. In practice, pronunciation may vary considerably from region to region. For more details concerning the pronunciation of Arabic, consult the articles _ Arabic phonology _ and _varieties of Arabic _. * The names of the Arabic letters can be thought of as abstractions of an older version where they were meaningful words in the Proto-Semitic language. Names of Arabic letters may have quite different names popularly. * Six letters ( و ز ر ذ د ا) don't have a distinct medial form and have to be written with their final form without being connected to the next letter. Their initial form matches the isolated form. * The letter _alif_ originated in the Phoenician alphabet as a consonant-sign indicating a glottal stop. Today it has lost its function as a consonant, and, together with _ya’_ and _wāw_, is a _mater lectionis _, a consonant sign standing in for a long vowel (see below), or as support for certain diacritics (_maddah_ and _hamzah _).

* Arabic currently uses a diacritic sign, ﺀ, called _hamzah_, to denote the glottal stop , written alone or with a carrier:

* alone: ء * with a carrier: إ أ (above or under a _alif_), ؤ (above a _wāw_), ئ (above a dotless _yā’_ or _yā’ hamzah_).

In academic work, the _hamzah _ (ء) is transliterated with the modifier letter right half ring (ʾ), while the modifier letter left half ring (ʿ) transliterates the letter _‘ayn _ (ع), which represents a different sound, not found in English.

* Letters lacking an initial or medial version are never linked to the letter that follows, even within a word. The _hamzah_ has a single form, since it is never linked to a preceding or following letter. However, it is sometimes combined with a _wāw_, _yā’_, or _alif_, and in that case the carrier behaves like an ordinary _wāw_, _yā’_, or _alif_.

Modified Letters

The following are not individual letters, but rather different contextual variants of some of the Arabic letters.



آ ـآ آ alif maddah _ā_ /ʔaː/

ة ـة

tā’ marbūṭah _h_ or _t_ / _h_ / _ẗ_ /at/, /ah/

ى ـى

alif maqṣūrah _ā_ / _á_ / _ỳ_ /aː/


Components of a ligature for "Allah": 1. alif 2. hamzat waṣl (همزة وصل) 3. lām 4. lām 5. shadda (شدة) 6. dagger alif (أل ف خنجرية) 7. hāʾ

The use of ligature in Arabic is common. There is one compulsory ligature, that for _lām_ + _alif_, which exists in two forms. All other ligatures (_yā’_ + _mīm_, etc.) are optional.



ﻼ ﻻ lām + alif

A more complex ligature that combines as many as seven distinct components is commonly used to represent the word _ Allāh _.

The only ligature within the primary range of Arabic script in Unicode (U+06xx) is _lām_ + _alif_. This is the only one compulsory for fonts and word-processing. Other ranges are for compatibility to older standards and contain other ligatures, which are optional.

* _lām_ + _alif_ ل ا

Note: Unicode also has in its Presentation Form B FExx range a code for this ligature. If your browser and font are configured correctly for Arabic, the ligature displayed above should be identical to this one, U+FEFB ARABIC LIGATURE LAM WITH ALEF ISOLATED FORM: ﻻ

* U+0640 ARABIC TATWEEL + _lām_ + _alif_ ـل ا

Note: Unicode also has in its Presentation Form B U+FExx range a code for this ligature. If your browser and font are configured correctly for Arabic, the ligature displayed above should be identical to this one:


Another ligature in the Unicode Presentation Form A range U+FB50 to U+FDxx is the special code for glyph for the ligature _Allāh_ ("God"), U+FDF2 ARABIC LIGATURE ALLAH ISOLATED FORM: ﷲ

This is a work-around for the shortcomings of most text processors, which are incapable of displaying the correct vowel marks for the word _ Allāh _ in Koran . Because Arabic script is used to write other texts rather than Koran only, rendering _lām_ + _lām_ + _hā’_ as the previous ligature is considered faulty: If one of a number of fonts (Noto Naskh Arabic, mry_KacstQurn, KacstOne, DejaVu Sans, Harmattan, Scheherazade, Lateef, Iranian Sans) is installed on a computer (Iranian Sans is supported by Wikimedia web-fonts), the word will appear without diacritics.

* _lām_ + _lām_ + _hā’_ لل ه or لل ه * _alif_ + _lām_ + _lām_ + _hā’_ الل ه or الل ه * _alif_ + _lām_ + _lām_ + U+0651 ARABIC SHADDA + U+0670 ARABIC LETTER SUPERSCRIPT ALEF + _hā’_ اللّٰ ه (_DejaVu Sans_ and _KacstOne_ don't show the added superscript Alef)

An attempt to show them on the faulty fonts without automatically adding the gemination mark and the superscript alif, although may not display as desired on all browsers, is by adding the U+200d (Zero width joiner) after the first or second _lām_

* (_alif_ +) _lām_ + _lām_ + U+200d ZERO WIDTH JOINER + _hā’_ الل‍ ه ‎ لل‍ ه


Further information: Shadda

Gemination is the doubling of a consonant. Instead of writing the letter twice, Arabic places a _W_-shaped sign called _shaddah_, above it. Note that if a vowel occurs between the two consonants the letter will simply be written twice. The diacritic only appears where the consonant at the end of one syllable is identical to the initial consonant of the following syllable. (The generic term for such diacritical signs is _ḥarakāt _).


0651 ّ ‎ ّ shaddah (consonant doubled)


Main article: Nunation

Nunation ( Arabic : تنوين‎‎ _tanwīn_) is the addition of a final _-n_ to a noun or adjective . The vowel before it indicates grammatical case . In written Arabic nunation is indicated by doubling the vowel diacritic at the end of the word.


Users of Arabic usually write long vowels but omit short ones, so readers must utilize their knowledge of the language in order to supply the missing vowels. However, in the education system and particularly in classes on Arabic grammar these vowels are used since they are crucial to the grammar. An Arabic sentence can have a completely different meaning by a subtle change of the vowels. This is why in an important text such as the _Qur’ān_ the three basic vowel signs (see below) are mandated, like the _ḥarakāt _ and all the other diacritics or other types of marks, for example the cantillation signs .


Further information: Arabic diacritics

In the Arabic handwriting of everyday use, in general publications, and on street signs, short vowels are typically not written. On the other hand, copies of the _ Qur’ān _ cannot be endorsed by the religious institutes that review them unless the diacritics are included. Children's books, elementary school texts, and Arabic-language grammars in general will include diacritics to some degree. These are known as "vocalized " texts.

Short vowels may be written with diacritics placed above or below the consonant that precedes them in the syllable, called _ḥarakāt_. All Arabic vowels, long and short, follow a consonant; in Arabic, words like "Ali" or "alif", for example, start with a consonant: _‘Aliyy_, _alif_.

Short vowels (fully vocalized text) NAME NAME IN ARABIC SCRIPT TRANS. VALUE

064E َ ‎ fatḥah فتحة _a_ /a/

064F ُ ‎ ḍammah ضمة _u_ /u/

0650 ِ ‎ kasrah كسرة _i_ /i/


In the fully vocalized Arabic text found in texts such as Quran , a long _ā_ following a consonant other than a _hamzah _ is written with a short _a_ sign (_fatḥah_) on the consonant plus an _alif_ after it; long _ī_ is written as a sign for short _i_ (_kasrah_) plus a _yā’_; and long _ū_ as a sign for short _u_ (_ḍammah_) plus a _wāw_. Briefly, _ᵃa_ = _ā_, _ⁱy_ = _ī_ and _ᵘw_ = _ū_. Long _ā_ following a _hamzah_ may be represented by an _alif maddah_ or by a free _hamzah_ followed by an _alif_.

The table below shows vowels placed above or below a dotted circle replacing a primary consonant letter or a _shaddah _ sign. For clarity in the table, the primary letters on the left used to mark these long vowels are shown only in their isolated form. Please note that most consonants do connect to the left with _alif_, _wāw_ and _yā’_ written then with their medial or final form. Additionally, the letter _yā’_ in the last row may connect to the letter on its left, and then will use a medial or initial form. Use the table of primary letters to look at their actual glyph and joining types.

Long vowels (fully vocalized text) NAME TRANS. VALUE

064E 0627 َ ا ‎ fatḥah alif _ā_ /aː/

064E 0649 َ ى ‎ fatḥah alif maqṣūrah _ā_ / _á_ / _ỳ_

064F 0648 ُ و ‎ ḍammah wāw _ū_ /uː/

0650 064A ِ ي ‎ kasrah yā’ _ī_ /iː/

In unvocalized text (one in which the short vowels are not marked), the long vowels are represented by the vowel in question: _alif ṭawīlah/maqṣūrah_, _wāw_, or _yā’_. Long vowels written in the middle of a word of unvocalized text are treated like consonants with a _sukūn_ (see below) in a text that has full diacritics. Here also, the table shows long vowel letters only in isolated form for clarity.

Combinations و ا and ي ا are always pronounced _wā_ and _yā_ respectively. The exception is when و ا is the verb ending, where alif is silent, resulting in _ū_, or even _aw_.

Long vowels (unvocalized text) NAME TRANS. VALUE

0627 ا (implied fatḥah) alif _ā_ /aː/

0649 ى (implied fatḥah) alif maqṣūrah _ā_ / _á_ / _ỳ_

0648 و (implied ḍammah) wāw _ū_ / _uw_ /uː/

064A ي (implied kasrah) yā’ _ī_ / _iy_ /iː/

In addition, when transliterating names and loanwords, Arabic language speakers write out most or all the vowels as long (_ā_ with ا _alif_, _ē_ and _ī_ with ي _ya’_, and _ō_ and _ū_ with و _wāw_), meaning it approaches a true alphabet.


The diphthongs /aj/ and /aw/ are represented in vocalized text as follows:

Diphthongs (fully vocalized text) NAME TRANS. VALUE

064E 064A ـَي‎ fatḥah yā’ _ay_ /aj/

064E 0648 ـَو‎ fatḥah wāw _aw_ /aw/


An Arabic syllable can be open (ending with a vowel) or closed (ending with a consonant):

* open: CV (long or short vowel) * closed: CVC (short vowel only)

A normal text is composed only of a series of consonants plus vowel-lengthening letters; thus, the word _qalb_, "heart", is written _qlb_, and the word _qalab_ "he turned around", is also written _qlb_.

To write _qalab_ without this ambiguity, we could indicate that the _l_ is followed by a short _a_ by writing a _fatḥah_ above it.

To write _qalb_, we would instead indicate that the _l_ is followed by no vowel by marking it with a diacritic called _sukūn_ ( ْ ‎ ), like this: قلْبْ.

This is one step down from full vocalization, where the vowel after the _q_ would also be indicated by a _fatḥah_: قَلْبْ.

The _ Qur’ān _ is traditionally written in full vocalization.

The long _i_ sound in some editions of the _Qur’ān_ is written with a _kasrah_ followed by a diacritic-less _y_, and long _u_ by a _ḍammah_ followed by a bare _w_. In others, these _y_ and _w_ carry a _sukūn_. Outside of the _Qur’ān_, the latter convention is extremely rare, to the point that _y_ with _sukūn_ will be unambiguously read as the diphthong /aj/, and _w_ with _sukūn_ will be read /aw/.

For example, the letters _m-y-l_ can be read like English _meel_ or _mail_, or (theoretically) also like _mayyal_ or _mayil_. But if a _sukūn_ is added on the _y_ then the _m_ cannot have a _sukūn_ (because two letters in a row cannot be _sukūn_ated), cannot have a _ḍammah_ (because there is never an _uy_ sound in Arabic unless there is another vowel after the _y_), and cannot have a _kasrah_ (because _kasrah_ before _sukūn_ated _y_ is never found outside the _Qur’ān_), so it _must_ have a _fatḥah_ and the only possible pronunciation is /majl/ (meaning mile, or even e-mail). By the same token, m-y-t with a _sukūn_ over the _y_ can be _mayt_ but not _mayyit_ or _meet_, and m-w-t with a _sukūn_ on the _w_ can only be _mawt_, not _moot_ (_iw_ is impossible when the _w_ closes the syllable).

Vowel marks are always written as if the _i‘rāb _ vowels were in fact pronounced, even when they must be skipped in actual pronunciation. So, when writing the name _Aḥmad_, it is optional to place a _sukūn_ on the _ḥ_, but a _sukūn_ is forbidden on the _d_, because it would carry a _ḍammah_ if any other word followed, as in _Aḥmadu zawjī_ "Ahmad is my husband".

Another example: the sentence that in correct literary Arabic must be pronounced _Aḥmadu zawjun sharrīr_ "Ahmad is a wicked husband", is usually mispronounced (due to influence from vernacular Arabic varieties) as _Aḥmad zawj sharrīr_. Yet, for the purposes of Arabic grammar and orthography, is treated as if it were not mispronounced and as if yet another word followed it, i.e., if adding any vowel marks, they must be added as if the pronunciation were _Aḥmadu zawjun sharrīrun_ with a _tanwīn_ 'un' at the end. So, it is correct to add an _un_ _tanwīn_ sign on the final _r_, but actually pronouncing it would be a hypercorrection. Also, it is never correct to write a _sukūn_ on that _r_, even though in actual pronunciation it is (and in correct Arabic MUST be) _sukūn_ed.

Of course, if the correct _i‘rāb_ is a _sukūn_, it may be optionally written.


0652 ْ ‎ sukūn (no vowel with this consonant letter or diphthong with this long vowel letter) ∅

0670 ٰ ‎ alif above _ā_ /aː/

The _sukūn_ is also used for transliterating words into the Arabic script. The Persian word ماسک (_mâsk_, from the English word "mask"), for example, might be written with a _sukūn_ above the ﺱ to signify that there is no vowel sound between that letter and the ک.



Some letters take a traditionally different form in specific regions:



ڛ‎ ـڛ‎ ـڛـ‎ ڛـ‎ A traditional form to denotate the _sīn_ س letter, rarely used in areas influenced by Persian script and former Ottoman script .

ڢ‎ ـڢ‎ ـڢـ‎ ڢـ‎ A traditional Maghrebi variant (except for Libya and Algeria) of _fā’_ ف.

ڧ/ٯ‎ ـڧ/ـٯ‎ ـڧـ‎ ڧـ‎ A traditional Maghrebi variant (except for Libya and Algeria) of _qāf_ ق. Generally dotless in isolated and final positions and dotted in the initial and medial forms.

ک‎ ـک‎ ـکـ‎ کـ‎ An alternative version of _kāf_ ك used especially in Maghrebi under the influence of the Ottoman script or in Gulf script under the influence of the Persian script .

ی‎ ـی‎ ـیـ‎ یـ‎ Notably in Egypt, Sudan ( Nile Valley ) and sometimes Maghreb, _yā’_ ي is dotless in the isolated and final position. Visually identical to _alif maqṣūrah_ ى . The use in handwriting resembles the Perso- Arabic letter یـ ـیـ ـ ی ی which was also used in Ottoman Turkish .


_See also Arabic script#Special letters for languages other than Arabic._

Some modified letters are used to represent non-native sounds of Arabic. These letters are used in transliterated names, loanwords and dialectal words.


ڤ /v / Used in loanwords and dialectal words instead of _fā’_ ف. Not to be confused with ڨ.

ڥ Used in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

پ /p / Sometimes used when transliterating foreign names and loanwords. Can be substituted with _bā’_ ب and pronounced as such.

ڜ /t͡ʃ / Used in Morocco.

چ Sometimes used when transliterating foreign names and loanwords and in the Gulf and Arabic dialects. The sequence ت ش _tāʼ -shīn _ is usually preferred (e.g. تشا د for " Chad ").

/ʒ / Used in Egypt and can be a reduction of /d͡ʒ /, where ج is pronounced /ɡ /.

/ɡ / Used in Israel, for example on road signs.

گ Used in northwest Africa and west Asia.

ڨ Used in Tunisia and in Algeria for loanwords and for the dialectal pronunciation of _qāf_ ق in some words. Not to be confused with ڤ.

ڭ Used in Morocco.

ڠ Rarely used in Persian Gulf.


Main article: Arabic script

Most common non-Classical Arabic consonant phonemes/graphemes LANGUAGE FAMILY AUSTRON. DRAVID. TURKIC Indic




/p / ڤ ڣ پ پ

/g / ݢ ‎ ࢴ ‎ گ ګ گ ق ج ڨ ڭ

/t͡ʃ / چ ‎ Ø چ چ ‎ ت ش ڜ

/ʒ / Ø ژ ‎ Ø ژ ‎ Ø چ ‎ Ø ج

/v / ۏ و ۋ و ‎ Ø ڤ ‎ Ø ڤ ڥ

/ŋ / ڠ ڭ ڱ ں ن ‎ Ø Ø

/ɳ / Ø ڹ ‎ Ø ڻ ‎ Ø ڼ ‎ Ø

/ɲ / ڽ ‎ ݧ ‎ Ø Ø Ø


Western (Maghreb, Europe) Central (Mideast) Eastern (Persian, Urdu)

0 ٠ ۰

1 ١ ۱

2 ٢ ۲

3 ٣ ۳

4 ٤ ۴

5 ٥ ۵

6 ٦ ۶

7 ٧ ۷

8 ٨ ۸

9 ٩ ۹

10 ١٠ ۱۰

Main articles: Western Arabic numerals and Eastern Arabic numerals

There are two main kinds of numerals used along with Arabic text; Western Arabic numerals and Eastern Arabic numerals . In most of present-day North Africa, the usual Western Arabic numerals are used. Like Western Arabic numerals, in Eastern Arabic numerals, the units are always right-most, and the highest value left-most.


Main article: Abjad numerals

In addition, the Arabic alphabet can be used to represent numbers ( Abjad numerals ). This usage is based on the _abjadī_ order of the alphabet. ا _alif_ is 1, ب _bā’_ is 2, ج _jīm_ is 3, and so on until ي _yā’_ = 10, ك _kāf_ = 20, ل _lām_ = 30, …, ر _rā’_ = 200, …, غ _ghayn_ = 1000. This is sometimes used to produce chronograms .


Main article: History of the Arabic alphabet _ Evolution of early Arabic calligraphy (9th–11th century). The Basmala _ is taken as an example, from Kufic _ Qur’ān _ manuscripts. (1) Early 9th century script used no dots or diacritic marks; (2) and (3) in the 9th–10th century during the Abbasid dynasty, Abu al-Aswad 's system used red dots with each arrangement or position indicating a different short vowel. Later, a second system of black dots was used to differentiate between letters like _fā’_ and _qāf_; (4) in the 11th century, al-Farāhīdī 's system) dots were changed into shapes resembling the letters to transcribe the corresponding long vowels. This system is the one used today.

The Arabic alphabet can be traced back to the Nabataean alphabet used to write the Nabataean . The first known text in the Arabic alphabet is a late 4th-century inscription from _ Jabal Ramm _ (50 km east of _‘Aqabah _) in Jordan , but the first dated one is a trilingual inscription at Zebed in Syria from 512. However, the epigraphic record is extremely sparse, with only five certainly pre-Islamic Arabic inscriptions surviving, though some others may be pre-Islamic. Later, dots were added above and below the letters to differentiate them. (The Aramaic language had fewer phonemes than the Arabic, and some originally distinct Aramaic letters had become indistinguishable in shape, so that in the early writings 15 distinct letter-shapes had to do duty for 28 sounds; cf. the similarly ambiguous Pahlavi alphabet.) The first surviving document that definitely uses these dots is also the first surviving Arabic papyrus ( PERF 558 ), dated April 643, although they did not become obligatory until much later. Important texts were and still are frequently memorized, especially in Qur\'an memorization , a practice which probably arose partially from a desire to avoid the great ambiguity of the script.

Later still, vowel marks and the _hamzah_ were introduced, beginning some time in the latter half of the 7th century, preceding the first invention of Syriac and Hebrew vocalization . Initially, this was done by a system of red dots, said to have been commissioned in the Umayyad era by Abu al-Aswad al-Du\'ali a dot above = _a_, a dot below = _i_, a dot on the line = _u_, and doubled dots indicated nunation . However, this was cumbersome and easily confusable with the letter-distinguishing dots, so about 100 years later, the modern system was adopted. The system was finalized around 786 by _al-Farāhīdī _.


Although Napoleon Bonaparte generally receives credit for introducing the printing press to Egypt during his invasion of that country in 1798, and though he did indeed bring printing presses and Arabic script presses to print the French occupation's official newspaper _Al-Tanbiyyah_ ("The Courier"), printing in the Arabic language started several centuries earlier.

In 1514, following Gutenberg 's invention of the printing press in 1450, Gregorio de Gregorii, a Venetian, published an entire prayer-book in Arabic script; it was entitled _Kitab Salat al-Sawa\'i _ and was intended for eastern Christian communities

Between 1580 and 1586, type designer Robert Granjon designed Arabic typefaces for Cardinal Ferdinando de\' Medici , and the Medici press published many Christian prayer and scholarly Arabic texts in the late 16th century.

Maronite monks at the Maar Quzhayy Monastery in Mount Lebanon published the first Arabic books to use movable type in the Middle East. The monks transliterated the Arabic language using Syriac script.

A goldsmith (like Gutenberg) designed and implemented an Arabic-script movable-type printing-press in the Middle East. The Greek Orthodox monk Abd Allah Zakhir set up an Arabic language printing press using movable type at the monastery of Saint John at the town of Dhour El Shuwayr in Mount Lebanon, the first homemade press in Lebanon using Arabic script. He personally cut the type molds and did the founding of the typeface. The first book came off his press in 1734; this press continued in use until 1899.


The Arabic alphabet can be encoded using several character sets , including ISO-8859-6 , Windows-1256 and Unicode (see links in Infobox above), latter thanks to the " Arabic segment", entries U+0600 to U+06FF. However, none of the sets indicates the form that each character should take in context. It is left to the rendering engine to select the proper glyph to display for each character.

Each letter has a position-independent encoding in Unicode , and the rendering software can infer the correct glyph form (initial, medial, final or isolated) from its joining context. That is the current recommendation. However, for compatibility with previous standards, the initial, medial, final and isolated forms can also be encoded separately.


Main article: Arabic characters in Unicode

As of Unicode 7.0, the following ranges encode Arabic characters:

* Arabic (0600-06FF) * Arabic Supplement (0750-077F) * Arabic Extended-A (08A0-08FF) * Arabic Presentation Forms-A (FB50-FDFF) * Arabic Presentation Forms-B (FE70-FEFF) * Arabic Mathematical Alphabetic Symbols 1EE00-1EEFF) * Rumi Numeral Symbols (10E60-10E7F)

The basic Arabic range encodes the standard letters and diacritics but does not encode contextual forms (U+0621-U+0652 being directly based on ISO 8859-6 ). It also includes the most common diacritics and Arabic-Indic digits . U+06D6 to U+06ED encode Qur'anic annotation signs such as "end of _ayah _" ۝ۖ and "start of _rub el hizb _" ۞. The Arabic supplement range encodes letter variants mostly used for writing African (non-Arabic) languages. The Arabic Extended-A range encodes additional Qur'anic annotations and letter variants used for various non- Arabic languages.

The Arabic Presentation Forms-A range encodes contextual forms and ligatures of letter variants needed for Persian, Urdu, Sindhi and Central Asian languages. The Arabic Presentation Forms-B range encodes spacing forms of Arabic diacritics, and more contextual letter forms. The Arabic Mathematical Alphabetical Symbols block encodes characters used in Arabic mathematical expressions.

See also the notes of the section on modified letters .


See also: Keyboard layout Arabic Mac keyboard layout Arabic PC keyboard layout Intellark imposed on a QWERTY keyboard layout.

Keyboards designed for different nations have different layouts so proficiency in one style of keyboard, such as Iraq's, does not transfer to proficiency in another, such as Saudi Arabia's. Differences can include the location of non-alphabetic characters.

All Arabic keyboards allow typing Roman characters, e.g., for the URL in a web browser . Thus, each Arabic keyboard has both Arabic and Roman characters marked on the keys. Usually the Roman characters of an Arabic keyboard conform to the QWERTY layout, but in North Africa , where French is the most common language typed using the Roman characters, the Arabic keyboards are AZERTY .

To encode a particular written form of a character, there are extra code points provided in Unicode which can be used to express the exact written form desired. The range _ Arabic presentation forms A_ (U+FB50 to U+FDFF) contain ligatures while the range _ Arabic presentation forms B_ (U+FE70 to U+FEFF) contains the positional variants. These effects are better achieved in Unicode by using the _zero-width joiner _ and _non-joiner _, as these presentation forms are deprecated in Unicode, and should generally only be used within the internals of text-rendering software, when using Unicode as an intermediate form for conversion between character encodings, or for backwards compatibility with implementations that rely on the hard-coding of glyph forms.

Finally, the Unicode encoding of Arabic is in _logical order_, that is, the characters are entered, and stored in computer memory, in the order that they are written and pronounced without worrying about the direction in which they will be displayed on paper or on the screen. Again, it is left to the rendering engine to present the characters in the correct direction, using Unicode's bi-directional text features. In this regard, if the Arabic words on this page are written left to right, it is an indication that the Unicode rendering engine used to display them is out of date.

There are competing online tools, e.g. Yamli editor, which allow entry of Arabic letters without having Arabic support installed on a PC, and without knowledge of the layout of the Arabic keyboard.


The first software program of its kind in the world that identifies Arabic handwriting in real time was developed by researchers at Ben-Gurion University (BGU).

The prototype enables the user to write Arabic words by hand on an electronic screen, which then analyzes the text and translates it into printed Arabic letters in a thousandth of a second. The error rate is less than three percent, according to Dr. Jihad El-Sana, from BGU's department of computer sciences, who developed the system along with master's degree student Fadi Biadsy.


_ Wikimedia Commons has media related to ARABIC ALPHABET _.

* Arabic calligraphy * Arabic diacritics (pointed vowels and consonants) * Arabic numerals * Arabic script about other languages written in Arabic letters. * Arabic Unicode * Arabic Chat Alphabet * ArabTeX – provides Arabic support for TeX and La TeX * Rasm (unpointed consonants) * Romanization of Arabic * South Arabian alphabet * Perso- Arabic script * Arabic braille * Algerian braille * ʿilm al-Ḥurouf


* ^ _A_ _B_ (in Arabic) Alyaseer.net ترتي ب المداخل والبطاقا ت ف ي القوائ م والفهارس الموضوعية Ordering entries and cards in subject indexes Discussion thread _(Accessed 2009-October–06)_ * ^ Rogers, Henry (2005). _Writing Systems: A Linguistic Approach_. Blackwell Publishing. p. 135. * ^ SIL International : This simplified style is often preferred for clarity, especially in non- Arabic languages * ^ http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k5824879v/f26.item.zoom * ^ Arabic Dialect Tutorial * ^ File: Basmala kufi.svg - Wikimedia Commons * ^ _A_ _B_ File:Kufi.jpg - Wikimedia Commons * ^ File:Qur\'an folio 11th century kufic.jpg - Wikimedia Commons * ^ "294° anniversario della Biblioteca Federiciana: ricerche e curiosità sul Kitab Salat al-Sawai". Retrieved 2017-01-31. * ^ Arabic and the Art of Printing – A Special Section, by Paul Lunde * ^ For more information about encoding Arabic, consult the Unicode manual available at The Unicode website * ^ See also Multilingual Computing with Arabic and Arabic Transliteration: Arabicizing Windows Applications to Read and Write Arabic Raza, Hafsa (August 2009). "NERA: Named entity recognition for Arabic". _Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology_. 60 (8). * "Why the right side of your brain doesn\'t like Arabic". CNN. 9 September 2010. * Arabic at DMOZ


_This article contains major sections of text from the very detailed article Arabic alphabet from the French, which has been partially translated into English. Further translation of that page, and its incorporation into the text here, are welcomed._

* v * t * e

Arabic alphabets


* Aljamiado * Arebica * Azerbaijani * Belarusian * Kazakh * Ottoman Turkish * Tatar (İske imlâ * Yaña imlâ )


* Arabic * Arabi Malayalam * Arwi * Azerbaijani * Buri Wolio * Jawi * Kazakh * Khowar * Kurdish * Kyrgyz * Ottoman Turkish * Pashto * Pegon * Persian * Saraiki * Sindhi * Shahmukhī * Tajik * Turkmen * Urdu * Uyghur * Uzbek * Xiao\'erjing


* Afrikaans * Ajami * Berber * Fula * Sorabe * Swahili * Wadaad * Wolof

* v * t * e

Arabic language


* Language * Alphabet * History * Romanization * Numerology * Influence on other languages


* Nabataean alphabet * Perso- Arabic alphabet * Ancient North Arabian

* Ancient South Arabian script

* Zabūr script

* Arabic numerals * Eastern numerals

* Arabic Braille

* Algerian

* Diacritics * i‘jām * Tashkil * Harakat * Tanwin * Shaddah * Hamza * Tāʾ marbūṭah


* ʾAlif * Bāʾ * Tāʾ * Ṯāʾ * Ǧīm * Ḥāʾ * Ḫāʾ * Dāl * Ḏāl * Rāʾ * Zāy * Sīn * Šīn * Ṣād * Ḍād * Ṭāʾ * Ẓāʾ * ʿAyn * Ġayn * Fāʾ * Qāf * Kāf * Lām * Mīm * Nūn * Hāʾ * Wāw * Yāʾ



* Proto- Arabic * Old Arabic * Ancient North Arabian * Old South Arabian


* Classical * Modern Standard * Maltese


* Nilo-Egyptian * Levantine

* Maghrebi

* Pre-Hilalian dialects * Hilalian dialects * Moroccan Darija * Tunisian Arabic * Sa\'idi Arabic

* Mesopotamian

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* Yemeni Arabic * Tihamiyya Arabic

* Sudanese * Chadian * Modern South Arabian


* Judeo- Arabic


* Juba Arabic * Nubi language * Babalia Creole Arabic * Maridi Arabic * Maltese


* Literature * Names


* Phonology * Sun and moon letters * ʾIʿrāb (inflection) * Grammar * Triliteral root * Mater lectionis * IPA * Quranic Arabic Corpus

* Calligraphy * Script

* Diwani * Jawi script * Kufic * Rasm * Mashq * Hijazi script * Muhaqqaq * Thuluth * Naskh (script) * Ruqʿah script * Taʿlīq script * Nastaʿlīq script * Shahmukhī script * Sini (script)


* Arabic keyboard * Arabic script in Unicode * ISO/IEC 8859-6 * Windows-1256

* MS-DOS codepages

* 708 * 709 * 710 * 711 * 720 * 864

* Mac Arabic encoding

* v * t * e

Types of writing systems


* History of writing * Grapheme


* Writing systems

* undeciphered * inventors * constructed

* Languages by writing system / by first written accounts



* _Numerals _

* Aramaic

* Hatran

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* Zabur * Musnad

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* ʾEsṭrangēlā * Serṭā * Maḏnḥāyā

* Teeline Shorthand * Ugaritic




* Asamiya (Ôxômiya) * Bānglā * Bhaikshuki * Bhujinmol * Brāhmī * Devanāgarī * Dogra * Gujarati * Gupta * Gurmukhī * Kaithi * Kalinga * Khojki * Khotanese * Khudawadi * Laṇḍā * Lepcha * Limbu * Mahajani * Marchen * Marchung * Meitei Mayek * Modi * Multani * Nāgarī * Nandinagari * Odia * \'Phags-pa * Newar * Pungs-chen * Pungs-chung * Ranjana * Sharada * Saurashtra * Siddhaṃ * Soyombo * Sylheti Nagari * Takri

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* Uchen * Umê

* Tirhuta * Tocharian * Zanabazar Square


* Ahom * Balinese * Batak * Baybayin * Bhattiprolu * Buhid * Burmese * Chakma * Cham * Grantha * Goykanadi * Hanunó\'o * Javanese * Kadamba * Kannada * Kawi * Khmer * Kulitan * Lanna * Lao * Leke * Lontara * Malayalam

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* Dhives Akuru * Eveyla Akuru * Thaana

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* Boyd\'s syllabic shorthand

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* Abkhaz * Adlam * Armenian * Avestan * Avoiuli * Bassa Vah * Borama * Carian * Caucasian Albanian * Coorgi–Cox alphabet * Coptic * Cyrillic * Deseret

* Duployan shorthand

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* Latin

* Beneventan * Blackletter * Carolingian minuscule * Fraktur * Gaelic * Insular * Kurrent * Merovingian * Sigla * Sütterlin * Tironian notes * Visigothic

* Luo * Lycian * Lydian * Manchu * Mandaic * Molodtsov * Mongolian * Mru * Neo- Tifinagh * New Tai Lue * N\'Ko * Ogham * Oirat * Ol Chiki * Old Hungarian * Old Italic * Old Permic * Orkhon * Old Uyghur * Osage * Osmanya * Pau Cin Hau * Rohingya Hanifi

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* Braille * Maritime flags * Morse code * New York Point * Semaphore line * Flag semaphore * Moon type


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* Simplified * Traditional * Oracle bone script * Bronze Script

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* large * small * bird-worm

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* Demotic * Hieratic * Hieroglyphs


* Hindu- Arabic * Abjad * Attic (Greek) * Muisca * Roman



* Celtiberian * Northeastern Iberian * Southeastern Iberian * Khom


* Espanca * Pahawh Hmong * Khitan small script * Southwest Paleohispanic * Zhùyīn fúhào


* ASLwrite * SignWriting * si5s * Stokoe Notation


* Afaka * Bamum * Bété * Byblos * Cherokee * Cypriot * Cypro-Minoan * Eskayan * Geba * Great Lakes Algonquian syllabics * Iban

* Japanese

* Hiragana * Katakana * Man\'yōgana * Hentaigana * Sogana * Jindai moji

* Kikakui * Kpelle * Linear B * Linear Elamite * Lisu * Loma * Nüshu * Nwagu Aneke script * Old Persian Cuneiform * Vai * Woleai * Yi (Modern) * Yugtun

* v * t * e

Braille ⠃⠗⠁⠊⠇⠇⠑


* 1829 braille * International uniformity * ASCII braille * Unicode braille patterns


French-ordered scripts (see for more)

* Albanian * Amharic * Arabic * Armenian * Azerbaijani * Belarusian

* Bharati

* Devanagari (Hindi / Marathi / Nepali) * Bengali * Punjabi * Sinhalese * Tamil * Urdu * _etc. _

* Bulgarian * Burmese * Cambodian * Cantonese * Catalan * Chinese (Mandarin, mainland) * Czech * Dutch * Dzongkha (Bhutanese) * English (Unified English ) * Esperanto * Estonian * Faroese * French * Georgian * German * Ghanaian * Greek * Guarani * Hawaiian * Hebrew * Hungarian * Icelandic * Inuktitut (reassigned vowels) * Iñupiaq * IPA * Irish * Italian * Kazakh * Kyrgyz * Latvian * Lithuanian * Maltese * Mongolian * Māori * Nigerian * Northern Sami * Persian * Philippine * Polish * Portuguese * Romanian * Russian * Samoan * Scandinavian * Slovak * South African * Spanish * Tatar * Taiwanese Mandarin (largely reassigned) * Thai border-left-width:2px;border-left-style:solid;width:100%;padding:0px">

* Algerian Braille (obsolete)


* American Braille (obsolete)


* Japanese * Korean * Two-Cell Chinese


* Luxembourgish * Kanji * Gardner–Salinas braille codes (GS8)


* Braille music * Canadian currency marks * Computer Braille Code * Gardner–Salinas braille codes (GS8/GS6) * International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) * Nemeth braille code


* Braille e-book * Braille embosser * Braille translator * Braille watch * Mountbatten Brailler * Optical braille recognition * Perforation * Perkins Brailler * Refreshable braille display * Slate and stylus * Braigo


* Louis Braille * Charles Barbier * Valentin Haüy * Thakur Vishva Narain Singh * Sabriye Tenberken * William Bell Wait


* Braille Institute of America * Braille Without Borders * Japan Braille Library * National Braille Association * Blindness organizations * Schools for the blind * American Printing House for the Blind


* Decapoint * Moon type * New York Point * Night writing * Vibratese


* Accessible publishing * Braille literacy * Robo Braille

* v * t * e

The Northwest Semitic abjad




















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* History

* Phoenician

* Paleo-Hebrew

* Hebrew * Aramaic * Syriac


* NDL : 00560296

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