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The romanization of Arabic
Arabic
writes written and spoken Arabic
Arabic
in the Latin script
Latin script
in one of various systematic ways. Romanized Arabic
Arabic
is used for a number of different purposes, among them transcription of names and titles, cataloging Arabic language
Arabic language
works, language education when used in lieu of or alongside the Arabic
Arabic
script, and representation of the language in scientific publications by linguists. These formal systems, which often make use of diacritics and non-standard Latin characters and are used in academic settings or for the benefit of non-speakers, contrast with informal means of written communication used by speakers such as the Latin-based Arabic chat alphabet. Different systems and strategies have been developed to address the inherent problems of rendering various Arabic
Arabic
varieties in the Latin script. Examples of such problems are the symbols for Arabic
Arabic
phonemes that do not exist in English or other European languages; the means of representing the Arabic
Arabic
definite article, which is always spelled the same way in written Arabic
Arabic
but has numerous pronunciations in the spoken language depending on context; and the representation of short vowels (usually i u or e o, accounting for variations such as Muslim/Moslem or Mohammed/Muhammad/Mohamed).

Contents

1 Method 2 Romanization
Romanization
standards and systems

2.1 Mixed digraphic and diacritical 2.2 Fully diacritical 2.3 ASCII-based 2.4 Comparison table

3 Romanization
Romanization
issues

3.1 Vowels 3.2 Transliteration
Transliteration
vs. transcription

4 Examples 5 Arabic alphabet
Arabic alphabet
and nationalism

5.1 Lebanon 5.2 Egypt

6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Method[edit] Romanization
Romanization
is often termed "transliteration", but this is not technically correct.[citation needed] Transliteration
Transliteration
is the direct representation of foreign letters using Latin symbols, while most systems for romanizing Arabic
Arabic
are actually transcription systems, which represent the sound of the language. As an example, the above rendering munāẓaratu l-ḥurūfi l-ʻarabīyah of the Arabic: مناظرة الحروف العربية‎ is a transcription, indicating the pronunciation; an example transliteration would be mnaẓrḧ alḥrwf alʻrbyḧ. Romanization
Romanization
standards and systems[edit] Principal standards and systems are: Mixed digraphic and diacritical[edit]

BGN/PCGN romanization (1956).[1] UNGEGN
UNGEGN
(1972). United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names, or "Variant A of the Amended Beirut System". Adopted from BGN/PCGN.[2][3]

IGN System 1973 or "Variant B of the Amended Beirut System", that conforms to the French orthography and is preferred to the Variant A in French-speaking countries as in Maghreb
Maghreb
and Lebanon.[2][4] ADEGN romanization (2007) is different from UNGEGN
UNGEGN
in two ways: (1) ظ is dh instead of z̧; (2) the cedilla is replaced by a sub-macron (_) in all the characters with the cedilla.[2]

ALA-LC (first published 1991), from the American Library Association and the Library of Congress.[5] This romanization is close to the romanization of the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft
Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft
and Hans Wehr, which is used internationally in scientific publications by Arabists.

IJMES, used by International Journal of Middle East Studies, very similar to ALA-LC.[6] EI, Encyclopaedia of Islam
Encyclopaedia of Islam
(1st ed., 1913–1938; 2nd ed., 1960–2005).[7]

Fully diacritical[edit]

DMG (Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft, 1935), adopted by the International Convention of Orientalist Scholars in Rome.[8]

DIN 31635 (1982), developed by the German Institute for Standardization (Deutsches Institut für Normung). Hans Wehr
Hans Wehr
transliteration (1961, 1994), a modification to DIN 31635. EALL, Encyclopedia of Arabic
Arabic
Language and Linguistics
Linguistics
(edited by Kees Versteegh, Brill, 2006–2009).[9] Spanish romanization, identical to DMG/DIN with the exception of three letters: ǧ > ŷ, ḫ > j, ġ > g.[10]

ISO 233 (1984), letter-to-letter; vowels are transliterated only if they are shown with diacritics, otherwise they are omitted.

ISO 233-2 (1993), simplified transliteration; vowels are always shown.[verification needed]

BS 4280 (1968), developed by the British Standards Instite.[11]

ASCII-based[edit]

ArabTeX
ArabTeX
(since 1992) "has been modelled closely after the transliteration standards ISO/R 233 and DIN 31635".[this quote needs a citation] Buckwalter Transliteration
Transliteration
(1990s), developed at ALPNET by Tim Buckwalter; doesn't require unusual diacritics.[12][13] Arabic
Arabic
chat alphabet:[9] an ad hoc solution for conveniently entering Arabic
Arabic
using a Latin keyboard.

Comparison table[edit]

Letter Unicode Name IPA BGN/ PCGN UNGEGN ALA-LC EI Wehr 1 EALL BS DIN ISO ArabTeX chat 2

ء
ء
‎3 0621 hamzah ʔ ʼ 4 ʾ ʼ 4 ʾ ʼ 4 ʾ ˈ, ˌ ' 2

ا 0627 alif aː ā ʾ A a/e/é

ب 0628 bāʼ b b

ت 062A tāʼ t t

ث 062B thāʼ θ th 5 ṯ _t s/th

ج 062C jīm d͡ʒ~ɡ~ʒ j dj 5 j 6 ǧ ^g j/g/dj

ح 062D ḥāʼ ħ ḩ 7 ḥ .h 7

خ 062E khāʼ x kh 5 ḵ 6 x ẖ ḫ ẖ _h kh/7'/5

د 062F dāl d d

ذ 0630 dhāl ð dh 5 ḏ _d z/dh/th

ر 0631 rāʼ r r

ز 0632 zayn/zāy z z

س 0633 sīn s s

ش 0634 shīn ʃ sh 5 š ^s sh/ch

ص 0635 ṣād sˤ ş 7 ṣ .s s/9

ض 0636 ḍād dˤ ḑ 7 ḍ .d d/9'

ط 0637 ṭāʼ tˤ ţ 7 ṭ .t t/6

ظ 0638 ẓāʼ ðˤ~zˤ z̧ 7 ẓ ḏ̣/ẓ11 ẓ .z z/dh/6'

ع 0639 ʻayn ʕ ʻ [note 4] ʿ ʻ ʿ ` 3

غ 063A ghayn ɣ gh 5 ḡ 6 ġ ḡ ġ .g gh/3'

ف ‎8 0641 fāʼ f f

ق
ق
‎8 0642 qāf q q 2/g/q/8

ك 0643 kāf k k

ل 0644 lām l l

م 0645 mīm m m

ن 0646 nūn n n

ه 0647 hāʼ h h

و 0648 wāw w, uː w; ū w; U w/ou/oo/u/o

ي ‎9 064A yāʼ j, iː y; ī y; I y/i/ee/ei/ai

آ 0622 alif maddah ʔaː ā, ʼā ʾā ʾâ 'A 2a/aa

ة 0629 tāʼ marbūṭah a, at h; t —; t h; t ẗ T a/e(h); et/at

ال 06210644 alif lām (var.) al- 10 ʾal al- el/al

ى
ى
‎9 0649 alif maqṣūrah aː á ā ỳ _A a

Vocalization

ـَ 064E fatḥah a a a/e/é

ـِ 0650 kasrah i i i/e/é

ـُ 064F ḍammah u u ou/o/u

ـَا 064E0627 fatḥah alif aː ā a’ A/aa a

ـِي 0650064A kasrah yāʼ iː ī iw I/iy i/ee

ـُو 064F0648 ḍammah wāw uː ū uw U/uw ou/oo/u

ـَي 064E064A fatḥah yāʼ aj ay ay/ai/ey/ei

ـَو 064E0648 fatḥah wāw aw aw aw/aou

ـً 064B fatḥatān an aⁿ an á aN an

ـٍ 064D kasratān in iⁿ in í iN in/en

ـٌ 064C ḍammatān un uⁿ un ú uN oun/on/oon/un

^1 Hans Wehr
Hans Wehr
transliteration does not capitalize the first letter at the beginning of sentences nor in proper names. ^2 The chat table is only a demonstration and is based on the spoken varieties which vary considerably from Literary Arabic
Literary Arabic
on which the IPA table and the rest of the transliterations are based. ^3 Review hamzah for its various forms. ^4 Neither standard defines what code point to use for hamzah and ʻayn. Either options– Modifier letter apostrophe 〈ʼ〉 together with Modifier letter turned comma
Modifier letter turned comma
〈ʻ〉, or Right single quotation mark 〈’〉 together with Left single quotation mark 〈‘〉–are acceptable. The glottal stop (hamzah) in these romanizations isn't written word-initially. ^5 In Encyclopaedia of Islam
Encyclopaedia of Islam
digraphs are underlined, that is th, dj, kh, dh, sh, gh. In BGN/PCGN on the contrary the sequences ـتـهـ, ـكـهـ, ـدهـ, ـسهـ may be romanized with middle dot as t·h, k·h, d·h, s·h respectively; the letter g is not used by itself in BGN/PCGN, so no confusion between gh and g+h is possible. ^6 In the original German edition of his dictionary (1952) Wehr used ǧ, ḫ, ġ for j, ḵ, ḡ respectively (that is all the letters used are equal to DMG/DIN 31635). The variant presented in the table is from the English translation of the dictionary (1961). ^7 BGN/PCGN allows use of underdots instead of cedilla. ^8 Fāʼ and qāf are traditionally written in Northwestern Africa as ڢ and ڧـ ـڧـ ـٯ, respectively, while the latter's dot is only added initially or medially. ^9 In Egypt, Sudan, and sometimes in other regions, the standard form for final-yāʼ is only ى
ى
(without dots) in handwriting and print, for both final /-iː/ and final /-aː/. ى
ى
for the latter pronunciation, is called ألف لينة alif layyinah [ˈʔælef læjˈjenæ], 'flexible alif'. ^10 The sun and moon letters and hamzat waṣl pronunciation rules apply, although it is acceptable to ignore them. The UN system and ALA-LC prefer lowercase a and hyphens: al-Baṣrah, ar-Riyāḍ; BGN/PCGN prefers uppercase A and no hyphens: Al Baṣrah, Ar Riyāḍ.[2] ^11 The EALL suggests ẓ "in proper names" (volume 4, page 517).

Romanization
Romanization
issues[edit] Any romanization system has to make a number of decisions which are dependent on its intended field of application. Vowels[edit] One basic problem is that written Arabic
Arabic
is normally unvocalized; i.e., many of the vowels are not written out, and must be supplied by a reader familiar with the language. Hence unvocalized Arabic
Arabic
writing does not give a reader unfamiliar with the language sufficient information for accurate pronunciation. As a result, a pure transliteration, e.g., rendering قطر as qṭr, is meaningless to an untrained reader. For this reason, transcriptions are generally used that add vowels, e.g. qaṭar. However, unvocalized systems match exactly to written Arabic, unlike vocalized systems such as Arabic chat, which some claim detracts from one's ability to spell.[14] Transliteration
Transliteration
vs. transcription[edit] Most uses of romanization call for transcription rather than transliteration: Instead of transliterating each written letter, they try to reproduce the sound of the words according to the orthography rules of the target language: Qaṭar. This applies equally to scientific and popular applications. A pure transliteration would need to omit vowels (e.g. qṭr ), making the result difficult to interpret except for a subset of trained readers fluent in Arabic. Even if vowels are added, a transliteration system would still need to distinguish between multiple ways of spelling the same sound in the Arabic
Arabic
script, e.g. alif  ا vs. alif maqṣūrah ى
ى
for the sound /aː/ ā, and the six different ways ( ء
ء
إ أ آ ؤ ئ) of writing the glottal stop (hamza, usually transcribed ʼ ). This sort of detail is needlessly confusing, except in a very few situations (e.g., typesetting text in the Arabic
Arabic
script). Most issues related to the romanization of Arabic
Arabic
are about transliterating vs. transcribing; others, about what should be romanized:

Some transliterations ignore assimilation of the definite article al- before the "sun letters", and may be easily misread by non-Arabic speakers. For instance, "the light" النور an-nūr would be more literally transliterated along the lines of alnūr. In the transcription an-nūr, a hyphen is added and the unpronounced /l/ removed for the convenience of the uninformed non- Arabic
Arabic
speaker, who would otherwise pronounce an /l/, perhaps not understanding that /n/ in nūr is geminated. Alternatively, if the shaddah is not transliterated (since it is strictly not a letter), a strictly literal transliteration would be alnūr, which presents similar problems for the uninformed non- Arabic
Arabic
speaker. A transliteration should render the "closed tāʼ " (tāʼ marbūṭah, ة) faithfully. Many transcriptions render the sound /a/ as a or ah and t when it denotes /at/.

ISO 233 has a unique symbol, ẗ.

"Restricted alif" (alif maqṣūrah, ى) should be transliterated with an acute accent, á, differentiating it from regular alif ا, but it is transcribed in many schemes like alif, ā, when it stands for /aː/. Nunation: what is true elsewhere is also true for nunation: transliteration renders what is seen, transcription what is heard, when in the Arabic
Arabic
script, it is written with diacritics, not by letters, or omitted.

A transcription may reflect the language as spoken, typically rendering names, for example, by the people of Baghdad (Baghdad Arabic), or the official standard (Literary Arabic) as spoken by a preacher in the mosque or a TV newsreader. A transcription is free to add phonological (such as vowels) or morphological (such as word boundaries) information. Transcriptions will also vary depending on the writing conventions of the target language; compare English Omar Khayyam with German Omar Chajjam, both for عمر خيام /ʕumar xajjaːm/, [ˈʕomɑr xæjˈjæːm] (unvocalized ʿmr ḫyām, vocalized ʻUmar Khayyām). A transliteration is ideally fully reversible: a machine should be able to transliterate it back into Arabic. A transliteration can be considered as flawed for any one of the following reasons:

A "loose" transliteration is ambiguous, rendering several Arabic phonemes with an identical transliteration, or such that digraphs for a single phoneme (such as dh gh kh sh th rather than ḏ ġ ḫ š ṯ ) may be confused with two adjacent consonants—but this problem is resolved in the ALA-LC romanization system, where the prime symbol ʹ is used to separate two consonants when they do not form a digraph;[15] for example: أَكْرَمَتْها akramatʹhā ('she honored her'), in which the t and h are two distinct consonantal sounds. Symbols representing phonemes may be considered too similar (e.g., ` and ' or ʿ and ʾ for ع ʻayn and hamzah); ASCII transliterations using capital letters to disambiguate phonemes are easy to type, but may be considered unaesthetic.

A fully accurate transcription may not be necessary for native Arabic speakers, as they would be able to pronounce names and sentences correctly anyway, but it can be very useful for those not fully familiar with spoken Arabic
Arabic
and who are familiar with the Roman alphabet. An accurate transliteration serves as a valuable stepping stone for learning, pronouncing correctly, and distinguishing phonemes. It is a useful tool for anyone who is familiar with the sounds of Arabic
Arabic
but not fully conversant in the language. One criticism is that a fully accurate system would require special learning that most do not have to actually pronounce names correctly, and that with a lack of a universal romanization system they will not be pronounced correctly by non-native speakers anyway. The precision will be lost if special characters are not replicated and if a reader is not familiar with Arabic
Arabic
pronunciation. Examples[edit] Examples in Literary Arabic:

Arabic أمجد كان له قصر إل ى
ى
المملكة المغربية

Arabic
Arabic
with diacritics (normally omitted) أَمْجَد كَانَ لَهُ قَصْر إِلَ ى
ى
الْمَمْلَكَة الْمَغْرِبِيَّة

IPA /ʔamdʒad kaːna lahu qasˤr/ /ʔila l.mamlaka l.maɣribij.ja/

ALA-LC Amjad kāna lahu qaṣr Ilá al-mamlakah al-Maghribīyah

Hans Wehr amjad kāna lahū qaṣr ilā l-mamlaka al-maḡribīya

DIN 31635 ʾAmǧad kāna lahu qaṣr ʾIlā l-mamlakah al-Maġribiyyah

UNGEGN Amjad kāna lahu qaşr Ilá al-mamlakah al-maghribiyyah

ISO 233 ʾˈamǧad kāna lahu qaṣr ʾˈilaỳ ʾˈalmamlakaẗ ʾˈalmaġribiȳaẗ

ArabTeX am^gad kAna lahu qa.sr il_A almamlakaT alma.gribiyyaT

English Amjad had a palace To the Moroccan Kingdom

Arabic alphabet
Arabic alphabet
and nationalism[edit] There have been many instances of national movements to convert Arabic script into Latin script
Latin script
or to romanize the language. Lebanon[edit] A Beirut newspaper La Syrie pushed for the change from Arabic
Arabic
script to Latin script
Latin script
in 1922. The major head of this movement was Louis Massignon, a French Orientalist, who brought his concern before the Arabic
Arabic
Language Academy in Damascus in 1928. Massignon’s attempt at romanization failed as the Academy and population viewed the proposal as an attempt from the Western world to take over their country. Sa’id Afghani, a member of the Academy, asserted that the movement to romanize the script was a Zionist plan to dominate Lebanon.[16][17] Egypt[edit] After the period of colonialism in Egypt, Egyptians were looking for a way to reclaim and reemphasize Egyptian culture. As a result, some Egyptians pushed for an Egyptianization of the Arabic language
Arabic language
in which the formal Arabic
Arabic
and the colloquial Arabic
Arabic
would be combined into one language and the Latin alphabet would be used.[16][17] There was also the idea of finding a way to use hieroglyphics instead of the Latin alphabet.[16][17] A scholar, Salama Musa, agreed with the idea of applying a Latin alphabet to Egyptian Arabic, as he believed that would allow Egypt to have a closer relationship with the West. He also believed that Latin script
Latin script
was key to the success of Egypt as it would allow for more advances in science and technology. This change in script, he believed, would solve the problems inherent with Arabic, such as a lack of written vowels and difficulties writing foreign words.[16][17][18] Ahmad Lutfi As Sayid and Muhammad Azmi, two Egyptian intellectuals, agreed with Musa and supported the push for romanization.[16][17] The idea that romanization was necessary for modernization and growth in Egypt continued with Abd Al Aziz Fahmi in 1944. He was the chairman for the Writing and Grammar Committee for the Arabic
Arabic
Language Academy of Cairo.[16][17] He believed and desired to implement romanization in a way that allowed words and spellings to remain somewhat familiar to the Egyptian people. However, this effort failed as the Egyptian people felt a strong cultural tie to the Arabic alphabet, particularly the older generation.[16][17] See also[edit]

Arabic
Arabic
Chat Alphabet Arabic
Arabic
diacritics Arabic
Arabic
grammar Arabic
Arabic
names English exonyms of Arabic
Arabic
speaking places Glottal stop
Glottal stop
(letter) Maltese alphabet Ottoman Turkish alphabet
Ottoman Turkish alphabet
– a Perso-Arabic-based alphabet, which was replaced by the Latin-based Turkish alphabet
Turkish alphabet
in 1928 Romanization
Romanization
of Hebrew

References[edit]

^ " Romanization
Romanization
system for Arabic. BGN/PCGN 1956 System" (PDF).  ^ a b c d "Arabic" (PDF). UNGEGN.  ^ Technical reference manual for the standardization of geographical names (PDF). UNGEGN. 2007. p. 12 [22].  ^ "Systèmes français de romanisation" (PDF). UNGEGN. 2009.  ^ " Arabic
Arabic
romanization table" (PDF). The Library of Congress.  ^ "IJMES Translation & Transliteration
Transliteration
Guide". International Journal of Middle East Studies.  ^ " Encyclopaedia of Islam
Encyclopaedia of Islam
Romanization
Romanization
vs ALA Romanization
Romanization
for Arabic". University of Washington Libraries.  ^ Brockelmann, Carl; Ronkel, Philippus Samuel van (1935). Die Transliteration
Transliteration
der arabischen Schrift... (PDF). Leipzig.  ^ a b Reichmuth, Philipp (2009). "Transcription". In Versteegh, Kees. Encyclopedia of Arabic
Arabic
Language and Linguistics. 4. Brill. pp. 515–20.  ^ Millar, M. Angélica; Salgado, Rosa; Zedán, Marcela (2005). Gramatica de la lengua arabe para hispanohablantes. Santiago de Chile: Editorial Universitaria. pp. 53–54. ISBN 978-956-11-1799-0.  ^ "Standards, Training, Testing, Assessment and Certification". BSI Group. Archived from the original on October 7, 2008. Retrieved 2014-05-18.  ^ "Buckwalter Arabic
Arabic
Transliteration". QAMUS LLC.  ^ " Arabic
Arabic
Morphological Analyzer/The Buckwalter Transliteration". Xerox. Retrieved 2017-04-30.  ^ "Arabizi sparks concern among educators". GulfNews.com. 2013-05-09. Retrieved 2014-05-18.  ^ "Arabic" (PDF). ALA-LC Romanization
Romanization
Tables. Library of Congress. p. 9. Retrieved 2013-06-14. 21. The prime (ʹ) is used: (a) To separate two letters representing two distinct consonantal sounds, when the combination might otherwise be read as a digraph.  ^ a b c d e f g Shrivtiel, Shraybom (1998). The Question of Romanisation of the Script and The Emergence of Nationalism in the Middle East. Mediterranean Language Review. pp. 179–196.  ^ a b c d e f g History of Arabic
Arabic
Writing ^ Shrivtiel, p. 188

External links[edit]

Comparative table of DIN 31635, ISO 233, ISO/R 233, UN, ALA-LC, and Encyclopædia of Islam (not normative)

v t e

Arabic
Arabic
language

Overviews

Language Alphabet History Romanization Numerology Influence on other languages

Alphabet

Nabataean alphabet Perso- Arabic
Arabic
alphabet Ancient North Arabian Ancient South Arabian script

Zabūr script

Arabic
Arabic
numerals Eastern numerals Arabic
Arabic
Braille

Algerian

Diacritics

i‘jām Tashkil Harakat Tanwin Shaddah

Hamza Tāʾ marbūṭah

Letters

ʾAlif Bāʾ Tāʾ

Tāʾ marbūṭah

Ṯāʾ Ǧīm Ḥāʾ Ḫāʾ Dāl Ḏāl Rāʾ Zāy Sīn Šīn Ṣād Ḍād Ṭāʾ Ẓāʾ ʿAyn Ġayn Fāʾ Qāf Kāf Lām Mīm Nūn Hāʾ

Tāʾ marbūṭah

Wāw Yāʾ Hamza

Notable varieties

Ancient

Proto-Arabic Old Arabic Ancient North Arabian Old South Arabian

Standardized

Classical Modern Standard Maltese[a]

Regional

Nilo-Egyptian Levantine Maghrebi

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

Mesopotamian Peninsular

Yemeni Arabic Tihamiyya Arabic

Sudanese Chadian Modern South Arabian

Ethnic / religious

Judeo-Arabic

Pidgins/Creoles

Juba Arabic Nubi language Babalia Creole Arabic Maridi Arabic Maltese

Academic

Literature Names

Linguistics

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

Technical

Arabic
Arabic
keyboard Arabic script
Arabic script
in Unicode ISO/IEC 8859-6 Windows-1256 MS-DOS codepages

708 709 710 711 720 864

Mac Arabic
Arabic
encoding

aSociolinguistically not Arabic

v t e

Romanization

By publisher (for several languages)

ALA–LC BGN/PCGN GOST ISO Yale

By language or writing system

Amharic Arabic Aramaic Armenian Bengali Berber Burmese Chinese

in Taiwan in Singapore

Cyrillic

informal Belarusian Bulgarian Kyrgyz Macedonian Russian Serbian Ukrainian

Georgian Greek Hebrew Inuktitut Japanese Khmer Korean Lao Malayalam Maldivian Persian Tibetan Telugu Thai Urdu Uyghu