Arabic alphabetical order for beginners
Letters to be learnt :
Tâ ت t nûn ن “n” hâ ه “h” wâw و “û” -long vowel- alif ا “â” -long vowel-
Note that the last two letters have a specific status : the wâw and the alif
– they are not linked in the sense of writing to the following letter, whether they be at the beginning or in the middle of the word. They thus can only be written as single or final letters.
– the wâw h is a “semi-vowel”; namely, according to the word it is to be found in, it can work either as a long vowel or as a consonant. In the latter case, the wâw is written as a w and pronounced as in world.
Listen to the recording for instances :
ولد – وداد – سروال – طويل
the alif ا , topped by an hamza ء is not a long vowel. It is used as a “prop” for the hamza, which one corresponds to a “glottal stop”. If it is placed above the alif أ , one hears an ae or u sound. If it is put below the alif إ , one hears an e sound.
Listen to the recording for examples : اذاعة – أنت أم – إذن
Note that in Arabic no word starts with a long vowel.
New letters to learn :
ي – خ – ر – ذ – د
Note that these three letters are not joined to the following letter, like wâw and alif (see former lesson); as for these two letters, they can only be written in two ways, as single or final letters.
tâ’ marbûta ة
There is one letter which does not usually feature in the alphabet, namely the letter tâ’ marbûta. This letter’s position is always final and it often stresses the feminine gender. This letter is only written in two different ways :
– as a joined letter, if the penultimate ( the last but one next to the last) letter is linked to the following one.
– as an isolated final letter, if the preceding letter is not linked to it.
Note : when speaking, this letter is not pronounced, unless there is an annexation, which we shall study later.
lâm – alif لا
The letter lâm is usually joined from right to left, except when used with an alif. When used with an alif, the letter lâm will slant to the left, as follows : ل + ا = لا . Of course, the letter following alif is not joined to it.