You are in the
Swap? Go to the Egypt Travel & General Bookshop
Books, Audio, Visual & Interactive Language Learning Resources
Listen to the Arabic Alphabet
recited by a native Arabic speaker
Arabic uses a cursive style written from right to left, with some letters joined. Some browsers may not render Arabic script properly on your computer - in which case you may see Arabic letters which look proper but which are actually unjoined and written left-to-right. You may even see other strange symbols instead of Arabic script!
The Arabic alphabet has 28 basic letters, but their shape can change depending on where in the word the letter is being used, to make a simpler or more elegant ligature when joining the cursive letter forms. Capital and lower case letters are not clearly differentiated. Some vowels have a choice of symbols - and 'short vowels' may be left out altogether in informal writing (although never in the Qur'an). Vowels are indicated by 'diacritic' marks (or 'harakat') which might be above or below the letter. Sometimes a dot is all that differentiates one letter from another!
A Qur'anic fragment written in naskh (a cursive script) typical of Qur'ans produced in Mamluk Egypt during the 14th and 15th centuries. An ayah marker (in this case a gold six-petalled rosette with blue and red dots) separates each verse.
The Qur'an is written in Arabic, traditionally using 'full vocalization' (complete with all the vowels and marks) and, in places, 'Quranic spelling'. The Arabic alphabet is the second-most widely used alphabet around the world, and has been used with many other language families (including Persian, Ottoman, Urdu, Malay or Pashto) resulting in the addition of new letters and symbols and even the development of a new 'Ajami' system of transcription. A few extra modified letters have also evolved to help with transliterating foreign words.
All of which makes it seem amazing (to me at least) that there are so many effective language learning materials available to us! It is perfectly possible for a westerner to learn to speak Arabic - even, in some cases, to a high level.
Arabic calligraphy is very beautiful. There are several recognised styles including 'Naskh, 'Nasta'liq', 'Ruq'ah', 'Thuluth', 'Kufic', 'Sini' and 'Hijazi'.
A step-by-step introduction to reading and writing simple Arabic that will enable you to read Arabic signs, notices, advertisements and headlines. The alphabet is introduced in stages so that allows the learner can identify the subtle differences between characters. There's lots of practice of each new letter before the next is introduced.
Introduces classical Arabic to English speakers, with a guide to Arabic writing, model sentences and vocabulary lists. This guide also indicates plural forms, and lists imperfect forms with tenses. In addition, it contains illustrations from the prose and poetry of eminent writers. The author himself is an Indian brought educated in his arabic in a classical madrassah
The course book accompanying this language learning course teaches you the basics of reading and writing Egyptian Arabic.
Also, see a complete review of the PDQ ARABIC (EGYPTIAN ARABIC) course
Features of the new edition:
Also see the PICTURE DICTIONARIES reviewed elsewhere on this page.
Newly revised and packaged with two DVDs with both audio and video exercises to accompany the introductory volume for the Al-Kitaab program course in Standard Arabic from Georgetown University.
Learn to recognize and produce both letters and sounds accurately through a variety of exercises designed to develop listening, reading, and writing skills.
These two DVDs includes 150 basic vocabulary words in authentic contexts, and video footage of an Arabic calligrapher, a large collection of street signs, social greetings, capsules on Arab culture, and an English-Arabic glossary.
OR order the current edition (TEACH YOURSELF READ AND WRITE ARABIC SCRIPT) immediately
Now fully updated with added learning features within the course and online.
New, easy-to-read page design and interactive features:
One, five and ten-minute introductions to key principles to get you started.
Author insights for instant help with common problems and quick tips for success
Tests in the book and online to keep track of your progress. Also due out in 2010
COMPLETE ARABIC: TEACH YOURSELF by Frances Altorfer (Paperback, Teach Yourself, 2nd ed. 26 Feb 2010) for learning MSA, Modern Standard Arabic
Complete Arabic: Teach Yourself (Audio Support) by Frances Altorfer
For complete beginners - simple step-by-step explanations (grouping the letters and their forms), practice exercises, and reading passages, all designed to get you reading and writing Arabic.
It breaks down the letters and their forms into groups, and provides practice writing and reading exercises. It provides a good pronunciation guide. Transliterations are provided in the dialogue section, which is helpful for beginners. On the publishers website you can download a pronunciation guide for of all the vowels and consonants found in Part One of the book.
ARABIC COINS AND HOW TO READ THEM (Seaby's numismatic publications)
by Richard J Plant
The three sections cover
Written by leading teacher of Arabic, this a combination of book, flashcards and audio CD helps learners of Arabic to expand their active vocabulary and move to the next level. The material is also an invaluable tool for exam preparation.