Our lesson today is about Arabic sun and moon letters, which are important for pronouncing and understanding Arabic words. In Lesson # 3, we have seen how to use the article al- before words to make them definite, such as “the” in English. However, since al- becomes part of the word, its pronunciation sometimes changes according to the first letter of the word.
This pronunciation can change by removing the “L” sound from al-, and doubling the sound of the next letter, using shaddah, which we learned in Lesson # 2.
Example: al-nahr (the river) >> an-nahr
When does this happen? It happens when the first letter of the word belongs to a group of letters called al-huroof ash-shamseyyah (sun letters). However, if the first letter is from the other group (al-huroof al-qamareyyah), al- is pronounced normally.
In this lesson, we will see which letters are sun letters and which are moon letters, and we will show an example sentence for a word beginning with each letter, together with al- .
A phrase for memorizing moon letters:
ابغ حجك وخف عقيمه
(roughly meaning “pursue your pilgrimage, and be concerned about it being futile”)
ALIF is an online Arabic learning game. It takes the learners through a number of levels to master different aspects for learning Arabic. Specifically, this game addresses: reading, writing, and listening.
In this lesson, we will learn Arabic diacritics/harakaat/tashkeel which give more information about the pronunciation of letters. Harakaat mainly include short vowels on letters (fat-hah = “a” sound; kasrah = “e” or “i” sound; and dammah = “o” or “u” sound). They also include sokoon which means there is no vowel after the letter. In addition, they include shaddah, which means doubling of the sound of the letter, which can be combined with either fat-hah, kasrah, or dammah.
In this album, we show each of these harakaat combined with each letter. It is important to know that these harakaat are mostly optional in Arabic writing, so it is useful to memorize the harakaat of each new word while learning it. Let us know about your questions and the challenges in your Arabic learning journey.
In this lesson, we can see the different diacritics when they apply to the Arabic letters.
In the above, we learned how to read each letter when there are diacritics/harakaat. However, in most real-life written Arabic, these diacritics are rarely used. This can be a problem as some words can be ambiguous without harakaat. However, there are a few factors that can be helpful:
The context: when you read a word, the context will easily indicate whether the ambiguous word is a noun or verb or something else.
Vocabulary acquisition: when you learn a new word, learn it with its pronunciation (either by listening to its audio, read it with transliteration to latin characters, or find it in an Arabic dictionary with its harakaat)
Learning grammar: when you learn grammar and morphology, you will learn that there are some standard templates used for Arabic words. When you identify the templates, you will be able to know the harakaat involved.
A very important starting points for beginners is to learn the Arabic alphabet. Here is a comprehensive list of all Arabic letters and how they are written. We should notice the different shapes of each letter, and also the sounds. Learn them well so that you can start recognizing the letters in any word in Arabic. One way to refer to the Arabic writing system is “Abjad“, which refers to how each Arabic letter corresponds to a consonant sound.
In general, there are 28 letters in the Arabic alphabet (alif baa taa). In addition, it is necessary to learn a number of additional characters or letter combinations, such as:
Hamzah (sounds as a glottal stop, as in the expression uh-oh) ء
alif with hamzah above or below أ إ
alif with maddah آ
taa2 marbootah ة ـة
alif layyenah ى ـى
laam-alif لا لأ
In this lesson, we will cover the core 28 letters of Arabic, in addition to these extended characters and combinations. The lesson will show these Arabic letters in English writing to make it easier for beginners.
Arabic Alphabet – Letter by Letter
With this material, you should be able to know all the letters of Arabic, and recognize each letter, character, or character combination in any word in Arabic. In the coming lessons, we will introduce the diacritics, which are important to learn in order to pronounce Arabic words. For now, you can do the quiz below in order to practice what you have just learned. Make sure to subscribe to the email list below to be notified with all the exciting updates.
In this guide, you will learn many words for animal names. Most importantly, you can see the matching between the letters of the word and its pronunciation. In addition, you can print this guide to practice writing.
In this guide, we will go through the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet one by one, showing their shapes, sounds, and examples. We will also include other letters which appear frequently in writing, but other methods do not typically include. These letters are such as alif layyenah and taa2 marbootah), or letter combinations which take different shape from the letters they consist of (alif-laam).