How to Write the Arabic Alphabet

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The Arabic Alphabet

The first thing you need to know about the Arabic alphabet is that it is read from right to left, not left to right like the English alphabet. Arabic letters are written in a cursive style and the alphabet consists of 28 letters.

Also, if you’ve been looking around at different Arabic Alphabet charts, you may have noticed a variation in the sequence of the letters (not something you’re used to with English). There are two main letter sequences.

One is called the abjadi order. The other main sequence is newer and called the hijai sequence. This is the sequence that most modern dictionaries use to categorize Arabic words. It is the sequence used in our Arabic alphabet chart above.

Another important thing to be aware of is that the letters above are in their “isolated” form. That is, they are not being used as part of a whole word–they are standing alone. When being used in a word their shapes can change dramatically, sometimes causing confusion for beginning learners.

This Wikipedia article has a nice chart showing the modified shapes that letters take when being used as initials (first letter in a word), medials (in the middle of words), and finals (at the end of words).

Typing in Arabic.
Handwriting Arabic in it’s beautiful script is quite fun; however, if you’re serious about communicating in the language, you’ll want to learn how to type in Arabic. The first thing to watch out for here is that different Arabic speaking countries have different keyboard layouts, unlike most English keyboards, which use the QWERTY format.

So, if you’re used to typing on a keyboard made for the Saudi Arabian market, don’t be surprised to find a different keyboard layout if you switch to a keyboard made for, for example, the Iraqi market.

One more quick note. I don’t tend to get involved in the Mac vs Windows debate. It is worth noting, however, that the letters in the Arabic chart above were very simple and easy to make using an iMac. Changing back and forth between Arabic and English was very quick, easy and convenient.

Furthermore, doing so requires no downloading or purchasing of any “language packs” or any such things when using Mac OS. With Windows, at least in my experience, things aren’t quite so easy, depending on whether or not you have a premium version of the software.

Good luck! We wish you the best with your new Arabic language learning adventure.

Have an Arabic language website or blog? Put our chart on your site for FREE! We just ask that if you use it you put link back to this page. Enjoy!

To use the chart, just right click on it and save it to your computer. Then upload the picture to your website.

Free Arabic Alphabet Chart How to Write the Arabic Alphabet

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