Pronouncing Transliterated Arabic

You will find a number of different spellings for many words. This is mainly due to assumptions in transliteration of the Arabic script that normally does not show short vowels. It also can be due to regional variations. For instance, for "town", the Hippocrene dictionary gives the spelling "balad" for Syrian Arabic and "beled" for the Egyptian version. (Note Egyptian Arabic is often quite different from standard Arabic in both pronunciation and vocabulary).

Most transliterations can be pronounced as written in English but there are a couple of specials:

* often no distinction is made in at all transliteration

Where possible, I have included the Arabic script for the word so you can double check.

Arabic script is written right to left. Letter shapes vary according to where they are in the word and the font or handwriting style adopted. (When in doubt count the dots). Some Arabic calligraphy is indeed an art form in itself.

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Updated by JEWEL