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Here are some basic arabic words.

One of the most daunting things about Islam for those who have converted is reading Arabic - after all, it's a totally different alphabet. However, most of the letters used have an English equivalent, and coupled with the fact that there are only three basic vowel sounds (as opposed to the five used in English and other Western languages), the Arabic alphabet isn't really as difficult to learn as it first appears.

Arabic Letters

A single straight line above a letter is equivalent to the letter 'A'. A single straight line below a letter is equivalent to the letter 'I'. A small loop above a letter is equivalent to the letter 'U'.

The table below is organised into three columns; the first shows each individual letter along with it's name and the Roman letters that are usually used for transliteration purposes; the second column shows how each letter would look when placed at the beginning, middle and end of a word; the third column gives brief guidelines on pronunciation when used with the three vowels detailed above.

Arabic Letter Alternate Written Forms Pronunciation
ا Alif
A, I, U
اـ
ـاـ
ـا
اَ A, as in ample. اِ I, as in inside.
اُ U, as in chute.
ب Beh
B
بـ
ـبـ
ـب
بَ Ba, as in balloon. بِ Bi, as in biscuit.
بُ Bu, as in bull.
ت Teh
T
تـ
ـتـ
ـت
تَ Ta, as in tank. تِ Ti, as in tickle.
تُ Tu, as in tummy.
ث Theh
Th
ثـ
ـثـ
ـث
ثَ Tha, as in thanks. ثِ Thi, as in thick.
ثُ Thu, as in thud.
This letter is pronounced as a hard 'th' sound.
ج Jiim
J
جـ
ـجـ
ـج
جَ Ja, as in jam. جِ Ji, as in jib.
جُ Ju, as in jump.
ح Hah
H
حـ
ـحـ
ـح

حَ Ha, as in happy. حِ Hi, as in him.
حُ Hu, as in hump.
The pronunciation of this letter is virtually identical to the following letter.

 

خ Khah
Kh
خـ
ـخـ
ـخ
خَ خِ خُ
This letter has no real English equivalents. It is best pronounced as a harsh. The letter خَ (usually transliterated as 'kha') should be pronounced as though the 'a' has been replaced with an 'or' (almost like 'caw').
د Daal
D
دـ
ـدـ
ـد
دَ Da, as in dad. دِ Di, as in did.
دُ Du, as in dud.
ذ Dhaal
Dh
ذـ
ـذـ
ـذ
ذَ Tha, as in than. ذِ Thi, as in this.
ذُ Thu, as in thus.
This letter is pronounced as a soft 'th' sound.
ر Rah
R
رـ
ـرـ
ـر
رَ Ro, as in rock.* رِ Ri, as in risk.
رُ Ru, as in ruin.
* Despite it's pronunciation, رَ is usually transliterated as 'ra' or 'r'.
ز Zain
Z
زـ
ـزـ
ـز
زَ Za, as in zap. زِ Zi, as in zip.
زُ Zu, as in zulu'.
س Siin
S
سـ
ـسـ
ـس
سَ Sa, as in sad. سِ Si, as in sin.
سُ Su, as in super.
ش Shiin
Sh
شـ
ـشـ
ـش
شَ Sha, as in shabby. شِ Shi, as in shin.
شُ Shu, as in shun.
ص Saad
S
صـ
ـصـ
ـص
صَ Sor, as in sore.* صِ Si, as in sink.
صُ Su, as in sunk.
* Despite it's pronunciation, صَ is usually transliterated as 'sa' or 's'.
ض Daad
D
ضـ
ـضـ
ـض
ضَ Dor, similar to door.* ضِ Di, as in did.
ضُ Du, as in dud.
Despite it's pronunciation, ضَ is usually transliterated as 'da' or 'd'.
ط Tah
T
طـ
ـطـ
ـط
طَ Tor.* طِ Ti, as in tickle.
طُ Tu, as in tutu.
Despite it's pronunciation, طَ is usually transliterated as 'ta' or 't'.
ظ Zah
Z
ظـ
ـظـ
ـظ
ظَ Zor.* ظِ Zi, as in zither. ظُ Zu, as in Zulu.
* Despite it's pronunciation, ظَ is usually transliterated as 'z', 'tsa' or 'tza'.
ع Ain
'A, 'I, 'U
عـ
ـعـ
ـع
عَ A as in apple. عِ I, as in igloo.
عُ U, as in ugly.
The letter ع is usually transliterated as 'a, 'i or 'u (note the apostraphes).
غ Ghain
Gh
غـ
ـغـ
ـغ
غَ غِ غُ
The letter غ has no real English equivalents. It is usually transliterated as 'gh'. It must not be pronounced as a straight 'g', but more like the 'gh' in 'argh', almost silently. The best way to learn this letter would be to listen to a recording of Surat Al-Fatihah and pay attention to the last ayat as the letter غ occurs twice.
ف Feh
F
فـ
ـفـ
ـف
فَ Fa, as in fan. فِ Fi, as in fin.
فُ Fu, as in fun.
ق Qaf
Q
قـ
ـقـ
ـق
قَ Kor, similar to core.* قِ Ki, similar to keen.
قُ Ku, similar to curtain.
* Despite it's pronunciation, قَ is usually transliterated as 'qa' or 'q'.
ك Kaf
K
كـ
ـكـ
ـك
كَ Ka, as in can. كِ Ki, as in kin.
كُ Ku, as in cuff.
ل Laam
L
لـ
ـلـ
ـل
لَ La, as in lack. لِ Li, as in lick.
لُ Lu, as in luck.
م Miim
M
مـ
ـمـ
ـم
مَ Ma, as in mack. مِ Mi, as in mick.
مُ Mu, as in muck.
ن Nuun
N
نـ
ـنـ
ـن
نَ Na, as in nan. نِ Ni, as in nick.
نُ Nu, as in nun.
ه Heh
H
هـ
ـهـ
ـه
هَ Ha, as in hand. هِ Hi, as in hiss.
هُ Hu, as in hun.
The pronunciation of this letter is virtually identical to that of the letter above.
و Waw
W
وـ
ـوـ
ـو
وَ Wa, as in wax. وِ Wi, as in wick.
وُ Wu, as in wood.
ي Yeh
Y
يـ
ـيـ
ـي
يَ Ya, as in yak. يِ Yi, as in yip.
يُ Yu, as in yuck.

Basic Punctuation

As with English, Arabic uses a number of punctuation marks. I will briefly detail the most commonly basic punctuation marks.

ّ This mark (called a 'shadda') positioned above a letter means that this letter is combined with the letter preceding it, rather than pronouncing the two letters seperately.
For example, the word اِنَّ is pronounced 'inna' (translated as 'truly' or 'verily'), rather than 'i na'.
ْ These marks (called a 'sukun') positioned above a letter means that this letter has no vowel.
For example, the word قُلْ is pronounced 'qul' (translated as 'say').
ي و ا When used plain (without any marks or vowels) after another letter, the letter 'alif', 'yeh' or 'waw' will lengthen the pronounciation of the letter that preceeded it.
For example, مـا will be pronounced 'maa', rather than 'ma'.
آ This long, wavy mark written above the letter (called a 'madda') elongates that letter to a greater degree.
For example, مـآ (maa) will be read out twice as long as the example given above.
ً  ٍ  ٌ These marks change the vowel sound associated with a letter to either 'an', 'in' or 'un', instead of 'a', 'i' or 'u'.

There are also a number of more advanced puncuation marks used in Arabic, which affect the way certain words are read.

Arabic Numbers

The Arabic numbering system uses ten digits, just as we do.

۰= 0 ۱= 1 ۲= 2 ۳= 3 ۴= 4
۵= 5 ۶= 6 ۷= 7 ۸= 8 ۹= 9

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