Part I: Learn the Arabic Alphabet Quickly

Folks are unnecessarily intimidated by the Arabic alphabet. Trust me, this is not going to be your major hurdle as an Arabic student! My advice is get a quick grasp of it and move on. Perfecting the alphabet will come from using the letters in context.

Before we start: 5 important points about the Arabic alphabet:

  1. It goes right to left
     
  2. There are no capital letters
     
  3. It's a cursive script, so there four possible forms each letter can take: stand alone, at the beginning of a word, in the middle of a word, and at the end of a word. This sounds complicated but most don't change much, and often letters will have the same shape and the only difference is the number or placement of dots.
     
  4. There are three long vowels that are in the alphabet, and three short vowels that aren't (here's a short video explainer)
     
  5. Arabic script is beautiful, enjoy it!

Part 1 covers the first seven letters of the alphabet, and the audio clips contain each letter plus an example word.

 Alif is a long vowel and  does not  connect to the left. Here, I've shown letters that don't connect to the left with a red bar.

Alif is a long vowel and does not connect to the left. Here, I've shown letters that don't connect to the left with a red bar.

 See how, unlike alif, baa connects on both the right and the left. With these two letters you can make your first Arabic word!

See how, unlike alif, baa connects on both the right and the left. With these two letters you can make your first Arabic word!

 As you can see, the shape of baa, taa and thaa is the same, the only difference is the dots.

As you can see, the shape of baa, taa and thaa is the same, the only difference is the dots.

 This is your first letter that doesn't have an English equivalent, it's a breathy H from the back of the throat, but be careful the sound doesn't cross the line in the following letter.

This is your first letter that doesn't have an English equivalent, it's a breathy H from the back of the throat, but be careful the sound doesn't cross the line in the following letter.

 Another letter without an English equivalent, it's a bit scouse though, if you know a Liverpool accent.

Another letter without an English equivalent, it's a bit scouse though, if you know a Liverpool accent.