Let’s learn the Arabic alphabet! In this lesson you will get an overview of all the letters in the Arabic alphabet including their names and how to say them.

The Basics of the Arabic Alphabet

The Arabic alphabet is quite different from the English alphabet in both look and sound. The letters are written from right to left, which is the opposite of the English alphabet.

There are 28 Arabic letters, which are all consonants, though three of the letters also act as vowels. Generally in Arabic, however, the vowels are indicated with the use of small markings that are written above or below the letters. These markings can change the meaning of the words in some way. For example, the word ‘dog’ can be changed to mean ‘my dog,’ ‘your dog,’ or ‘the dog’ with the addition of markings above or below a consonant.

Arabic is unique because sometimes the vowels don’t need to be included. The vowels can be understood by the way other words are used in the sentence. This can make it challenging for beginners, but with practice it becomes easier.

Arabic Letters and Letter Names

Let’s take a close look at the letters.

Here are all the letters in their original form. In Arabic, there are no capitalized or lower case letters. However, when letters are joined together they may change the way they look slightly. Don’t worry though, the change is simple to learn when you are ready to start making words.

You will also notice on this chart the names of each letter. Some letters make the same sound as their names while others may be slightly different.

Arabic Alphabet: Remember letters in Arabic are written and read from right to left, so the first letter of the Arabic alphabet is alif and the last letter is yah
Arabic Letters and Letter Names

Arabic Alphabet Sounds

In Arabic, the sounds can come from different parts of the lips, mouth or throat.

The lip letters require you to move your lips in order to make the sound clearly. There are four lip letters, and each one requires you to bring your lips together in some way.

The throat letters, on the other hand, require you to form the sound in more than just your mouth; you need to make the sound deeper, by staying in your throat. Think of a sound that forms at the bottom or middle of your throat, sometimes with vibrations. A good example of this is the sound a rooster makes. Say ‘qaw!’ Don’t be shy; say it with pride like a rooster. Do you feel how deep of a throat sound that is? You might also imagine mouthwash in your throat and the vibrations from the gargling sounds you make. By noticing these differences, it will make saying these types of letters much smoother.

Look at the chart to find out how to say each letter’s sound and also where the sound comes from.

Arabic Alphabet 2
Arabic Alphabet 2

Lesson Summary

The Arabic alphabet, although very different than English, can be learned quite easily. Pay attention to where the letter’s sound comes from to make sure you say the letter as accurately as possible. Here’s a tip: use a mirror as you say the letters, and pay attention to where the sound is coming from. Is it coming from your lips, mouth or throat? Once you have said all 28 letters a few times, you could start learning your first Arabic words!