Introduction to Arabic Alphabet:
Lesson 1

By Carl Kenner

This should be the easiest Arabic alphabet lesson ever. OK...

The Egyptian Arabic word for THE is IL.

Arabic is written right to left, so the Arabic word IL is written exactly the same as in the English alphabet, only backwards.

IL = ال

With the I on the right as a vertical stroke, followed by a backwards capital L on the left. The vertical stroke letter is called Alif, and at the start of a word it can represent any vowel sound, in this case the "i" sound. But in the middle of a word it represents a long "ah" or "a" (in cat) sound, and at the end of a word it represents the "ah" sound.

Arabic is always written in cursive, but the Alif can’t connect to the letter after it (after it means on the left), because then it would look like an L. However both I and L can connect to the letter before them. Although if there is a letter before the Alif it is normally pronounced as "Ah" rather than "i". In Arabic there is no space between "il" and the word following it, they are written together as a single word, in cursive. I and L are very easily recognised in Arabic.

Outside Egypt, the word IL is pronounced AL.

The Egyptian Arabic word for son is ibn. It comes from the word bin in names like Bin Laden which also means son of.
The Egyptian Arabic word for daughter is bint. It is just bin with the feminine t ending.
The Egyptian Arabic word for a third is tilt.

Most other Arabic letters just look like a squiggly line with dots above and below. The line is caused by the fact that it is cursive, and the letters are usually joined at the bottom, and unlike I and L, most aren’t very tall.

The simplest squiggle looks like a short lowercase english letter "i", but it can have one, two, or three dots above it instead of just one.

ﺜ ﺘ ﻨ

It will be a consonant. To tell which consonant, count the number of dots.

One = N like in "one".
Two = T like in "two".
Three = TH like in "three".

You can also have a dot below the i.

Below = B like in "below".

ﺒ ﺜ ﺘ ﻨ

Sometimes the dots are slightly to the left of the i. And at the end of a word, or when it can’t connect to the next letter, it is written with a flourishy tail on the left. The tail goes to the left along the line and then curls up.

But the letter N is different from the others, because its flourishy tail goes down deeper, below the line:

ﻦ ﺖ

So, reading from right to left, what is this word:



Answer: ibn
Not correct. Please try again.