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Arabic Reading Course

Learn the Arabic alphabet online for free

Basic facts about the Arabic alphabet

Here are five basic facts about the Arabic alphabet that you need to understand before you start lesson 1 of the course. You can watch the two minute video or read the facts below.

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  1. The Arabic alphabet contains 28 letters. In addition to the 28 letters, there are 3 special characters that are written above and below other letters.

  2. Arabic contains 5 sounds that we do not use in English. You'll need to try extra hard to learn to pronounce these sounds.

  3. Arabic is read from right to left and the letters in words also run from right to left. Here is an example using the English alphabet:
    English order: This is my new car.
    Arabic order: .rac wen ym si sihT

  4. Each Arabic letter can take a different form depending whether it's at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of the word.
    This is not so different to English where some words take a capital letter at the beginning. In the English alphabet capital letters look completely different to lower case letters: A a / B b When you learnt to read the English alphabet, you learnt to recognise the capital letters as well as their lower case forms. In Arabic you also need to learn to recognise more than one form of a letter.

  5. When written in words, most Arabic letters are joined together, without spaces between. In English you're used to seeing a space between each individual letter so, as a beginner, it can be difficult to distinguish where one Arabic letter ends and the next begins. Step 2 of each lesson in this course is designed to help you pick out individual letters from within a word.

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