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Learn The Arabic and Persian Alphabet: Differences and Pronunciation

written by: Nadia iblagh • edited by: Rebecca Scudder • updated: 10/2/2012

Learn the Arabic and Persian Alphabets, their pronunciation and their differences.

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    As mentioned in part one, the Persian and Arabic languages share the same ahabets with four extra letters in the Persian language. Those letters and their equivalent letters in English are explained below. However, before learning the letters, one should keep in mind the following:

    1. Arabic (and Persian) is written horizontally from right to left.
    2. Although the two languages share the alphabet some letters are pronounced slighlty differently in Persian than in Arabic.
    3. Some letters are labeled as throat letters; the sound is produced from end of the throat or mid throat, as illustrated in the following link: picture These letters do not have an equivalent in English, and most are not pronounced from throat in Persian.

    These are the letters and their equivalents in the English alphabet:

    Alif = أ = As in A for Apple

    Baa =ب = As in B for Ball

    Ta = ت = As in T for Table

    Tha = ث = As in Th for Thank you; (however, this is pronounced as S for sea, in Persian)

    Jeem = ج = As in J for James

    Haa = ح = This Arabic letter has no equivalent in English; it is a throat letter and the closest pronouciation is as H for Hat, and that is how it is pronounced in Persian

    Kha = خ = Another throat letter, which is pronounced alike in both Arabic and Persian, it is usually expressed as (kh).

    Daal = د = As in D for Door

    Thzaal = ذ -As in Th for These

    Raa = ر= As in R in Red

    Seen = س= As in S in Sea

    Sheen = ش= َِAs in Sh in shine

    SSaad = ص= As in S ( stressed S) a whistle sound, however, it is pronounced as S in Sea in Persian

    Dhad = ض= This is another letter which has no equivalent in English, but the nearest letter sound is Dh; in Persian it is pronounced as Z in Zoo

    TTa = ط= A stressed T; in Persian it is simply pronounced as T as in Table

    Thza = ظ= There is no such equivalent in English; it can be pronounced with a combination between th and Z, in Persian it is simply another letter pronounced as Z

    Ain = ع= A throat letter; in Persian it is pronounced as A for Apple

    Ghain = غ = A throat letter which is pronounced alike in both Arabic and Persian and has no English equivalent. (It is pronounced as is French for R)

    Faa = ف= As F in Food

    Qaf = ق= Does not have an equivalent in English, and In Persian it is mostly pronounced as K

    Kaf = ك= As K in Kite

    Lam = ل= As L In Lion

    Meem = م= As M in Milk

    Noon = ن= As N inNadia

    Haa = هـ= as H in Hat

    Waw = و= As W in Water

    ya = ي= As Y in Yougurt

    Hamza = ء = As A in Apple.

    The Four letters which are in the Persian alphabets but not in the Arabic alphabet are:

    Peh = پ = P in People

    Cheh = چ= Ch in Chart

    ja = ژ= Does not have an equivalent in English; nearest letter is J

    Gaf = گ= as G in Game

    Notice that there are 18 letter shapes out of 32 letters in Persian and Arabic; they are differentiated by adding one or two or three dots to the letter according to their phonetic character.