Note that due to the fact that many are contributing here and a consistent method of transliteration has yet to be reached, the following may not remain consistent throughout the book.

When adding new sections to the book, do not provide transliteration, simply provide the arabic. A standard has not been decided for this book to follow. Once a standard is decided on, transliteration will be added. This measure should be followed to prevent further inconsistancies throughout the book.

Any authors making proposals for transliteration ideas please add them to the discussion page (click the tab at the top).



Short Vowels

  • a - vowel sound between cat and all. NEVER fate.
  • i - vowel sound between bit and machine. NEVER like or bite.
  • u - vowel sound between put and glue. NEVER refuse.

Long Vowels


These are pronounced twice as long as their corresponding short vowels. The short vowels are to the left of the arrow.

  • a → aa
  • i → ii or ee
  • u → uu or oo


  • au/aw - as in blouse
  • ai - as in bait

non-phonetic Indicators

  • aà- alif maksuura
  • ä-taa' marbuuTäh
  • N-tanwiin/nunation
  • aá-non-spelt alif
  • uù - waaw and then a silent alif

tanwiin pronounced as "aa" in pausal form:

Whenever vocab is introduced: It should be introduced with taa' marbuuTäh represented thus: ä.
When it is in a sentence where it is pronounced with a "t" sound: ät
dhahaba ilaà al-jaami`äh[i].
dhahaba ilaà al-jaami`äti wa jalas[a].

  • Whenever "h" occurs directly after a constanant and is not part of a diagraph it must be italicized. This takes away the problem of italicizing every digraph which was experienced in writing this book (which was tedious).
  • Unpronounced parts should be enclosed in square brackets, that is: [like this]



b, t, j, d, r, z, s, sh, f, k, l, m, n, h, w, y The following table displays the transliterations of Arabic consonants and their explanations. Blank explanations mean it's the same as English.

Transliteration Phonetic Value (IPA)
ʼ / ʾ / [ʔ]
ā / ʼ / ʾ / various, including [æː]
b [b]
t [t]
/ th [θ]
ǧ / j / g [ʤ] / [ɡ]
/ ħ [ħ]
/ kh / x [x]
d [d]
/ dh / ð [ð]
r [r]
z [z]
s [s]
š / sh [ʃ]
/ ḍh [ðˁ] / [zˁ]
ʻ / ʿ / / c / 9 [ʕ] / [ʔˁ]
ġ / gh [ɣ] / [ʁ]
f [f]
q [q]
k [k]
l [l]
m [m]
n [n]
h [h]
w, ū [w] , [uː]
y , ī [j] , [iː]

th vs dh.
th as in think, third, or thanks.
dh as in this, that, or them.

The more difficult sounds


kh-the German "ch" in "bach" or the Scottish "loch.". sounds like k in English except with gargling happening.
gh- voiced version of the above. This is the gargled Parisian "r" sound.
` - Most English people don't hear this sound at all. If you don't know how to pronounce "`ain" just ignore the `ain sound and pronounce it as if it weren't there.
' - This apostrophe is used to represent "hamza", the least important of Arabic sounds. The sound it makes is known as a glottal stop. What is important is that you know it is a vowel separator. When it's not a vowel separator English people don't hear it. Transliteration: su'aal
Syllable by syllable: su-aal

Special Arabic constanants: H, S, D, T, Dh To beginners these sound like the lowercase counterparts in the transliteration. Note they are different letters in Arabic and change meaning. For example "ba`d" (after) vs. ba`d (some). These will take time to pronounce properly, in the meantime pronouncing them as if they were the non-capital versions is good.

  • h- Special Arabic h.

Pronounced with more force. Try whispering "hello" as loud as you can, and you get the sense of this consonant.

  • s- emphatic of s (also can be pronounced as the emphatic of z)
  • d- emphatic of "d".
  • t- emphatic of "t".
  • đ-

q- sometimes sounds like a k or a g. Instructions: try to pronounce a "k" or the "g" in "god" while preventing your tongue from going up at its usual place. Relax your tongue. Open the back of your throat by dropping your chin down. The sound comes from as far back in the throat as you can make it.