Mustapha Rufai
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Mustapha Rufai 's Blog

Arabic For English Speakers #LessonOne

Arabic For English Speakers #LessonOne

Simple Guide To Learning Arabic

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Mustapha Rufai
·Nov 8, 2021·

2 min read

This is the beginning. The Kindergarten of Arabic Language; where we learn about its alphabets.

I am trying to make you remember when you were learning English Language alphabets; A for Apple, B for Ball, and so on. That is the sort of thing we will be doing here.

Well, let’s get started. Arabic has 28 letters. These letters (see image below) are all consonants. And they are written from right to left. So the first alphabet is ا (alif) and the last is ي(yaa).

consonants.jpg

To make sound possible, these letters are attached to vowels. To keep things simple, there are 3 short vowels and 3 long vowels, making 6 in total. Just like the vowels in the English Language.

Vowels are little symbols placed on top or underneath each letter. In Arabic we only have the ha, he and hu sound. So when you add the letter b to the sound ha you get ba. (The h in ha is for emphasis on how the sound should be pronounced.)

vowels.jpg Let's start with consonants. The reason we are starting out with consonants is because in the real world, nobody uses vowels. This is the Arabic version of the BBC , notice how they did not use any vowel. It is hand-holding to read with vowels, once you get the hang of it, you can move faster.

To learn to read without vowels means 3 things :

  • You will memorise the word with its vowels.
  • You will memorise the same word without its vowels.
  • You will do 1 and 2 above for all words you come across.

We will get back to learning to read soon. First you need to understand the anatomy of an Arabic word. You see, in English, each letter in a word stands alone. Using the image below as an example, notice how each letter connects the word to themselves. In English, this is not necessary and most times not advised as it isn't legible.

In Arabic, the reverse is true. It is a must for you to join the letters in the words. If you don’t join the letters of a word in Arabic, most (in fact all) Arabs won’t be able to read what you are writing. Looking at the word for “Boy” ولد in the image below. The word comprises 3 letters و ل د. You need to join the letters and (for now) add the vowels for people to be able to read it.

words joining.jpg

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