Help:IPA for Arabic

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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents the Modern Standard form of the Arabic language in Wikipedia articles. The charts also have Egyptian Arabic sounds, though not necessarily all other varieties of Arabic. Actual pronunciations differ, depending on the native variety of Arabic of the speaker, as Modern Standard Arabic is not anyone's native language.

A note on the pharyngealized consonants is that they are velarized by west Asians, in east Arabia, and in Iraq, but it is a common practice to use the pharyngealization diacritic instead, to distinguish the emphatic consonants. See Arabic phonology for a more thorough look at the sounds of Arabic.

The transliteration of consonants has the standard of ALA-LC written first.

IPA Letter(s) English approximation Transliteration
b ب bee b
d د deed d
ض dark    d
 ~ ʒ[1][2] ج joy / measure j   ǧ
ð[3] ذ this dh      z
ðˤ ~ [4] ظ thus / bazaar    z
f ف fool f
ɡ[1][5] غ good g (in ALA-LC standard for words of non-Arabic origin only)
h ه he h
ħ ~ ʜ[6] ح (No equivalent)    h
j ي yes y
k skin k
l ~ ɫ[7] ل leaf / bell l
m م man m
n ن no n
θ[3] thing th      s
q[8] ق scar q   k
r ~ ɾˤ[9][10] ر roughly like rule r
s س see s
ص massage    s
ʃ ش she sh   š   ch
t ت     sometimes ة stick t
ط star    t
w و we w
x ~ χ[11] خ loch (Scottish English) kh      
ɣ ~ ʁ[11] غ French R gh   ġ   
z ز zoo z
ʕ ~ ʢ[6] ع (No equivalent) ʻ   ʿ      `   '
ʔ ء ‎   أ ‎   آ ‎   إ ‎   ئ ‎   ؤ uh-(ʔ)oh ʼ   ʾ      '
Marginal consonants
IPA Letter(s) English approximation Transliteration
p پ spin p
[2] تش ‎   چ[2] church tsh   ch   č     tch
v ڤ vine v
Historical pronunciation
IPA Letter English approximation Transliteration
ɕ ش roughly like she sh
ɬˠ ~ ɮˤ ض (No equivalent)
IPA Letter(s) English approximation Transliteration
narrow broad[12]
a ~ æ ~ ɐ ~ ɛ[13] a bat / bet / cut a   ah   è   e
ɑ[14] part a   ah
e ~ ɪ[15] i set / sit e   é / i
i[15] see i
o ~ ʊ[16] u port / put o / u   ou
u[16] boot u   ou
 ~ æː ~ ɛː[13] ا jazz / says ā   a   è   e
ɑː[14] ا part ā   a
[17] ي ‎   ـيه air ē   ei   ai   ēh   eh   eih   aih   é
ي see ī   i   ee
[17] و port ō   o
و boot ū   u   ou   oo
IPA Meaning Example Transliteration
ˈ stress mark عربية [ʕɑrɑˈbɪjjɐ]  ʻarayah
ː vowel length عاش [ʕæːʃ]  ʻāsh


  1. ^ a b That phoneme is represented by the Arabic letter jīm (ج) and has various pronunciations: [d͡ʒ] in most of the Arabian Peninsula, north Algeria, and some areas of the Levant; [ɡ] in Egypt and some regions in Yemen and Oman, as well as in Morocco and Algeria in some words, especially colloquially; [ʒ] in much of the Levant and most other places across North Africa. In the Arabian Peninsula it is sometimes softened to [ʒ]. Some regions in Sudan and Yemen have a [ɡʲ] or [ɟ].
  2. ^ a b c In case of loanwords: /d͡ʒ/ or /ʒ/ are realized as [ʒ] in Egypt and can be transcribed by چ which is used to transcribe /ɡ/ in Israel. In case of transcribing Iraqi and gulf Arabic, چ represents: /t͡ʃ/. چ as used for /t͡ʃ/ is rare and mostly used only in Iraq (and less likely for other Gulf Arabics), but usually تش is used instead. Elsewhere it is usually realized as [t]+[ʃ] and a buffer vowel might be inserted in between, before or after the consonants. It might be approximated to [ʃ].
  3. ^ a b In Egypt, Sudan and Levant, /θ, ð/ are always approximated to [s, z] in loanwords in their regional dialects.
  4. ^ Ẓāʼ (ظ) represents [zˤ ~ z], in Egypt, Levant and Sudan, for both of regional dialects and Modern Standard Arabic.
  5. ^ [ɡ] can also be used in loanwords. If not غ, other letters may represent the phoneme, such as: ج‎, ك‎, ق‎, گ‎ or ڨ‎ (in Tunisia/Algeria only).
  6. ^ a b In Iraq and Persian Gulf pronunciation, it is epiglottal.
  7. ^ In Modern Standard Arabic, [ɫ] is only found in the name Allah, but it normally occurs in other dialects. Most speakers of other regions lack the sound, even when pronouncing Modern Standard Arabic.
  8. ^ In many geographic regions, regional dialects replace /q/ with [ʔ], [ɡ] or [ɢ], with some exceptions.
  9. ^ In the northern most of Egypt and in Lebanon, /r/ is in free variation between [ɾ] and [r].
  10. ^ The emphatic /rˤ/ exists in North Africa.
  11. ^ a b In some geographic regions, it is uvular.
  12. ^ Broad transcription only corresponds to Modern Standard Arabic.
  13. ^ a b The front vowel /a/ corresponds to: [æ] in Egypt and central Arabia, also an allophonic pronunciation in Iraq and Persian Gulf; [a] in Levant; [ɛ] in northwest Africa in stressed syllables in dialects which have stress while in these dialects, the unstressed form is [æ]. In west Arabia, it's mainly [a] with an allophone [æ], if there are no emphatic consonants or emphatic consonant clusters, before /n, l/ and after /j, ɡ/.    [ɐ] is another allophone of unstressed /a/ in Iraq and Persian Gulf.
  14. ^ a b The phonemes /a, aː/ are retracted to [ɑ] and [ɑː], respectively, around the emphatic consonants, /tˤ, dˤ, sˤ, ðˤ/, also sometimes /r/. Some standards also include /ʁ, χ/.     [ɑ] is the main stressed open vowel in Iraq and Persian Gulf pronunciation.
  15. ^ a b [e]~[ɪ] is an allophone of short /i/ in some pronunciations. Although in proper pronunciation of loanwords of non-Arabic origin, it can be [i].
  16. ^ a b [o]~[ʊ] is an allophone of short /u/ in some pronunciations. Although in proper pronunciation of loanwords of non-Arabic origin, it can be [u].
  17. ^ a b Modern Standard Arabic diphthongs /aj, aw/ are especially monophthongized to [eː, oː] in names of Arabic origin. In Lebanese Arabic, medial /aː/ sometimes has [] as an allophone.