Is it Arabic What is written here

About the spelling

In contrast to German and most of the other languages ​​you know, Arabic is not written (and read) from left to right, but from right to left. This means that you start reading at the right edge of the page and move to the left, letter by letter and word by word. Take a look at the following example here:

Write / read direction

Write / read direction

German: I am pleased to get to know you.
Transcription: ʾ innī masrūrun bi-t-taʿarrufi ʿalayka

In the right column you can see the translation of the Arabic characters into Latin in addition to the German translation. In order to make it easier for you to read the romanization, this will always be done from left to right in your grammar, i.e. just as you are used to reading the Latin letters.

As you can see from the example above, both the German translation and the transcribed text are left-justified, i.e. they are on the left edge of the column, while the Arabic sentence is right-justified.

Since the direction of writing is from right to left, not only is the individual page read from right to left, but also - according to our reading understanding - a book is read from “back” to “front”.

However, you have to be careful with numbers. These are written from left to right - exactly as you know it from German. However, other characters (most likely from India) are used for the numbers, e.g. 345 is used in Arabic

shown (= 3, = 4 and = 5).

Please also have a look at the chapter on the Arabic cardinal numbers.

Another peculiarity of Arabic is that it is always written in "cursive". This means that there are only minor differences between handwritten records and printed matter (e.g. in newspapers). You will not find clear differences in form, as you know it from German between block letters and script letters, in Arabic.

It should be noted that most letters change their shape, depending on whether they are at the beginning or the end of the word, in the word itself or whether they are on their own. Please have a look at the chapter on the Arabic alphabet. In this we show you the different ways of writing the individual letters in the respective word order.

Especially if you learn the Arabic language without any prior knowledge, you will have difficulty reading the typeface at first. We therefore recommend that you - before you start working with this grammar - print out the chapter on the alphabet so that you can always check which letters are used in words and texts. (Just click on the following link to print out the .pdf file)

When you take a trip through the Arab world, you will notice different fonts and types. The angular ones differ most clearly kufic Font (which is mainly found in stone inscriptions) and the round, italic fonts (NasḫiScript, on which the writing styles of all modern regional variants of modern-day Arabic are based).

In addition to the regular standard Arabic script, as you can see in this language course, you will often find elaborate calligraphy ("beautiful fonts") in which the characters of the Nasḫi- Fonts can be supplemented with a large number of additional characters and flourishes. This is especially true for Koran writings. Due to the prohibition of images in Islam, there are no depictions in the holy scriptures; instead, great importance is attached to particularly artistic and ornate script.

For the inexperienced reader this may be difficult at first, but with a little practice and patience you will also be able to read such calligraphies.

Now read some introductory words on pronunciation.