Arabic/Romanisation System

Romanisation System


To make Arabic more accessible, this book uses transliteration along with Arabic written in Arabic letters. The system used in this book is based on the loose conventions used to chat in Arabic when the Arabic alphabet is not supported.

  • The following numerals are used to represent Arabic letters not having a Latin equivalent: 2, 3, 6, 7, 9.
    • 2 represents hamza ء (original alif sound), the sound that separates vowels as if "Martin" were written in Arabic. It would most likely not be written with a hamza because that is not how it is usually pronounced in English. If you find that someone pronounces "Martin" as "Mart-in" rather than "Mar-tin", that pronunciation would be written with a hamza in Arabic (in transliteration, mart2in).
    • 3 represents 3ain. 3ain is an important Arabic sound but is difficult to people unfamiliar with Arabic.
    • 6 is the "emphatic" "t" sound. It is a "t" sound pronounced with more of the tongue touching the roof of the mouth.
    • 7 is a special "h" sound. It is pronounced far deeper in the throat the normal "h".
    • 9 is the emphatic "s" sound. Unlike the normal Arabic "s" sound, this "s" sound is pronounced with the tongue near the place behind the upper teeth. It is not that important to master.
  • The apostrophe is used to indicate modify consonants to represent different consonants. For example: t', d', 7', 3' represent the more frictive versions: the th in think, the th in "the", the throaty "ch" in Munich, the throaty Parisian French "r" (approximately)).
  • The apostrophe is used after a vowel to lengthen it.

The orthography or spelling conventions used with the transliteration are a compromise between transcribing actual pronunciation and spelling (although in Arabic, they do not significantly differ). Keep the following in mind:

  • tilde (~) indicates that the letter before must be pronounced like the letter after it so eL~Da'r must be pronounced ed-da'r.
  • The definite article in Arabic will be spelt and is pronounced as (L)
  • Anything in parentheses after a word is pronounced in some registers and not others. You should be capable of understanding Arabic pronounced either way.


  1. L kalime(tu) huna'k(a)
  2. L kita'b(u) huna'k(a)
  3. L kursiy(yu) huna'k(a)
  4. L madrase(tu) huna'k(a)
  5. L mu3allim(u) huna'k(a)
  6. L~tilmi'd'(u) huna'k(a)
  7. L qalam(u) huna'k(a)
  8. L ma77a'ye(tu) huna'k(a)
  9. L~daftar(u) huna'k(a)
  10. L kita'b(u) huna'lik(a)