Talk:Arabic alphabet

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Untitled[edit]

For users needing assistance with Arabic script, please add requests at Wikipedia:WikiProject Arab world/Requests for Arabic script.

Talk:Arabic alphabet/from the French Wikipedia - temp page moved into talk namespace, as per policy.

Adding photos for demonstration[edit]

I need help in adjusting the photos.--Ashashyou (talk) 18:50, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

About Languages Written in Arabic Script[edit]

After I removed a list of languages written in Arabic script, 62.220.33.64 (talk · contribs · WHOIS) wrote: "[T]here were some which aren't mentioned in the article, i.e. Crimean Tatar, Avar and so on. It will be a good idea to collect the information about another languages which used or use Arabic writing system and add them." I am writing my reply here, since this is about the article:

From your contributions, you seem to be pretty active in the area of Arabic and related scripts, so you probably know more about the subject than I do. If you - or any other of the dedicated editors here - feel I removed important information, please feel free to put it in the appropriate section. I do hope, though, that the list will not just be reinserted as it was. Lists like the one we had in this version, that stretch over 11 lines, are very hard to read, and of not much use for the reader who wants to get an overview of the topic. There are better ways to organize such information:

  1. a table. Such a table could contain a number of other pertinent information, such as influences and dates of introduction.
  2. A category. We have already category:Arabic-derived alphabets; that already provides a way to find languages using those alphabets. If that is not direct enough, it might make sense to create a category like category:Languages using Arabic-derived alphabets.
  3. combining entries using higher level terms. This would allow for a better text flow. Also, it would probably be easier to cover all. E.g. one article like Perso-Arabic script already lists two rows full of languages. — Sebastian 05:18, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Three comments[edit]

  • Under "modified letters", with 3alif maddah, it says it has initial and medial forms, but they look the same as isolated and final. Can 3alif maddah only by final or isolated, or is it just typed incorrectly? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jorge Morejón (talkcontribs) 21:28, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
  • Under "Modified letters" it says "The Arabic letters are made up of Avestan letters. Avestan language is the language of the ancient Iranians in 1000 B.C." These sentences seems out of place in that section.
  • Under "Ligatures" it says "Because Arabic script is used to write other texts rather than Koran only, rending lām + lām + hāʾ as the previous ligature is considered faulty:" This is followed by three bullets showing other ways of composing the word, but it isn't clear if the three approaches are considered acceptable of not. --agr (talk) 14:43, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

chart maintenance[edit]

Removed an edit typo of some kind (clearly "Bold Text" was not intended), also removed the following line:


(Persian ى‎)

I do not know what this line was meant to display or indicate, it seems to me that variants for other languages are covered in the appropriate sections below the chart. I don't understand why this needed to be there. However, I am not a complete expert and perhaps it is meant to be so, in which case feel free to correct seemed out of place to me though. 72.83.128.51 (talk) 20:30, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Why list contextual forms before the isolated form in chart?[edit]

In this edit, the columns of the chart have been rearranged to list the contextual forms before the isolated form. For me, at least, this makes it less intuitive. (Generally, to define any entity, it usually most intuitive to use the non-contextual form.) Moreover, that the isolated form is the appropriate row head is supported by the fact that it has the link to the article. Is there any reason for this change? Are there any objections to undoing it? — Sebastian 18:12, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

The Arabic script is written from right to left, so there is a very good reason to make readers aware of this and place the end forms left and the non-contextual forms first, as in Perso-Arabic_script#Letters. You can easily recognize links by there colour.
You might respect the different way of writing in Arabic.--Wickey-nl (talk) 15:24, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
Of course Arabic is written RTL, but that has nothing to do with the reading order of the surrounding article. The table is part of an English article, its column heading are read LTR, and so are all the other columns. This is certainly not a "very good reason".
The insinuation that I'm not respecting Arabic is just silly. Articles such as ar:أبجدية_لاتينية and ar:أبجدية_إغريقية do not arrange their tables LTR, either, just because they contain LTR text. It would be absurd to conclude from that that our fellow Arabic Wikipedians disrespect LTR scripts.
Also, you're missing the meaning of "row head". My point is not whether people are able to find the link, but that the link is an indication that the cell in question was intended as the one that best expresses the essence of the row - in other words, the row head.
More importantly, "as in Perso-Arabic_script#Letters", is simply not true. That table has a different arrangement of columns, it can in a meaningful way be read both LTR and RTL. The way you sorted the table here, though, assumes the reader will read column 4 first, then read 3, 2, 1, and then 5, 6, 7. All in all, an interesting idea, but it requires convoluted thinking to make sense. — Sebastian 05:59, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Arranging the forms LTR is very strange and unnatural, because it does not show how they are connected to each other. Nevertheless, you are partially right. The Perso-Arabic table is better. I propose to make the Arabic one similar.--Wickey-nl (talk) 15:16, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
I think I clearly explained why LTR is anything but "strange and unnatural", and I'm disappointed that you're flat out ignoring that. I'm very tempted to revert your change on the basis of WP:BRD. But from the lack of participation in this discussion it seems other people don't feel strongly about it one way or the other, so I'd say, go ahead and change it to the Perso-Arabic format; that's a reasonable compromise. — Sebastian 04:58, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
I admit, it was an incomplete edit. I believe, it was a test to see the reactions before spending more time and I went busy with other things. The reading order of the article as a whole cannot be the definitive criterium. Western text remains LTR in Arabic articles and Arabic remains RTL in Western texts. Wickey-nl — continues after insertion below
This argument is a non sequitur. It doesn't seem like you looked at the two Arabic articles I cited above; they clearly show that the reading order of the article as a whole can very well be the criterium for the arrangement of the table. However, as I said above, I can live with the Perso-Arabic layout, and I thank you for changing the table to that. As far as I'm concerned, we can close this discussion. — Sebastian 06:51, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
I did look to them, but they are not really comparable. If you look to the Arabic table from top to bottom it has, in fact, the western order. However, I am not so narrow minded as it may look like. There are no absolute rules. My answer of 20/04 was not quite adequate, though. I failed to re-read the original order of the contextual forms and confused it with another page where the order, stupidly, was reversed. Discussion closed.--Wickey-nl (talk) 10:04, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

English names instead of transliterations[edit]

I also have a strong preference for English names instead of transliterations, as the latter is not intuitive and not clear for most readers. E.g., ǧīm and ṯāʾ are unreadable without insight knowledge.--Wickey-nl (talk) 14:54, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

By "English names", do you mean the names used by Unicode? That's a good idea to include them. You'll find a list at de:Unicode-Block Arabisch. However, I wouldn't remove the existing names; these (or similar ones) are used in real life, and it doesn't hurt to keep them; the table is big enough. We should have a source for them, though. — Sebastian 06:51, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
I had such names in mind, indeed, but just the common English transcription (alif, ba, ta, tha, ...). As we may assume that cryptic words like "ḏāl" say nothing to most readers, I prefer to replace them. This cannot be a problem, because the next collumn gives the pronunciation.--Wickey-nl (talk) 10:36, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
No, the next column does not give the pronunciation of the name; it only gives that of one letter. Also, I question both your premise and your conclusion. Pronunciations like "ḏāl" have been widely used for over 100 years and are now an international standard; there will naturally be a significant number of readers to whom they say something. Conversely, even if there were many people to whom they said nothing, that doesn't mean that they need to be purged. These pronunciations have been in the article for over eight years (originally as a table, as here), so you'd need a somewhat better argument than "we may assume ...". If we may assume anything, it's that thousand eyes looking over this in all these years did not feel it needed to be yanked. — Sebastian 16:50, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
All true. Your arguments are strong, but I did not argue for removing all transliterations. Moreover, a long history does not guarantee a high quality, as you can easily see in WP. I maintain that ṯāʾ, ǧīm, ḏāl and šīn are cryptic and not useful for most readers. The second column is important for the pronunciation of the sound itself, though. I still think the English transcriptions are more useful, but I am not going to extend the table with one more column.--Wickey-nl (talk) 09:47, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
Sorry about misunderstanding you. I'm still not sure what you're actually proposing; do you want to just remove some, and leave others? How about if you copied the table or the article into your user space and did the change there, that would probably be easier than explaining it, and then we could simply compare them side by side. — Sebastian 20:33, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

I just want to replace ʾalif with alif; bāʾ with ba, etc. Just remove the special characters and replace a few ambiguous letters. I could make an example table, but I want to explain my concerns about transliterations.

For example, for IPA you can savely guess the sound of "[ɡ]" to be as in "[gas]". For transliteration "ǧīm" this is not true. Can be as in "jam" (which is the case) or as in "gas" (I speak about the ignorant reader). "ḏāl" and "šīn" are even worse. That is what I mean with "intuitive" or not. Further, English transcriptions (jim) are clear for everyone, transliterations only for insiders. Moreover, transcriptions will give rendering problems in a number of webbrowsers and will be unreadable.

Now I think I know where your misunderstanding is coming from. I was talking about the transliteration of the names, not about the second column.--Wickey-nl (talk) 11:50, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

I now see where the misunderstanding was: I understood your intention correctly, but I expressed my message of 16:50, 22 April 2011 in a way that could be misunderstood; maybe I shouldn't have used words like "purge" and "yank". What I meant was that you propose to purge/yank "ʾalif" in favor of "alif", as opposed to my original suggestion of having both side by side.
However, that suggestion was only a compromise proposal. I'm still not convinced that the dumbed down version is really needed. Take your example of "ǧīm"; it is not anywhere near as foreign (or "cryptic", as you repeatedly claim), even to an English speaker who knows nothing about other languages. All you need to do is ignore the diacritic (which is what most English speakers do without any problem, as evidenced by many brand names that use them only for decoration). "gim" is close to "gem"; no problem there! Moreover, the main difference, the phonemic value of the first letter, is already explained in the next cell. Yes, it takes a little bit of thinking to look it up in the next cell, but even an ignorant reader can do that. Finally, even someone who misses that can always click on the link to that letter and get all the information he or she needs. In conclusion, I think there's nothing to be worried about.
As for your argument about web browsers, that may have been an argument 8 years ago, when this list was started. But by now, Unicode has become the internationally accepted standard. Letters such as "ǧ" have been an integral part since its first release in 1991. 20 years is a long time in computer history! I don't know all the possible configurations people might have on their computers, but I think it's highly unlikely that someone using a non-Arabic system can display Arabic script, but not such basic Latin characters. — Sebastian 20:02, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
The articles on the different IPA symbols are not very user friendly, and it's a pain to click on them one by one. Where equivalent English examples exist, adding them would be helpful to our readers. Also why not include direct links to the audio examples given in the IPA symbol articles?--agr (talk) 14:43, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
This doesn't seem to be a reply to the previous post, but a new topic: the Phonemic Value, or pronunciation of the letter itself. If that is so, can you make this a different section, please? (Please delete this small text, when done.)
I understand where you're coming from, and I wish things were that easy! Unfortunately, there isn't a straightforward solution to this because neither Arabic nor English are standardized enough to have a simple one-to-one relationship for the interesting letters.
  1. To narrow down the problem, let's first look at what's easy: The pronunciation of 12 letters is straightforward: ب‎, ت‎, د‎, ر‎, ز‎, س‎, ف‎, ك‎, ل‎, م‎, ن‎. For these, the letter in the IPA column already gives the best possible correspondence for an English speaker: → b, t, d, r, z, s, f, k, l, m, n, h, respectively.
  2. Another group of 9 letters simply has no counterpart in English: ح‎, خ‎, ص‎, ض‎, ط‎, ظ‎, ع‎, غ‎, ق. For most of these, the IPA symbol already looks like the closest English letter. For the few that don't, you really can't avoid having to read the article, if you're not familiar with the letter. You can't expect to be taught the pronunciation of a new letter in one cell of a table.
  3. Finally, there are 7 letters that fall in between these groups:
    1. ش can be given a straightforward English equivalent: "sh"
    2. For ث‎, ج‎, و‎, ي such equivalents can be found, too, but the pronunciation varies. If you want to keep it simple, you could go with th, j, w, y.
    3. ذ‎ is common in English, but is not distinguished from 'th'. Often, it is transcribed 'dh', but that obviously isn't "English".
    4. ا‎ varies, too, but what you could consider the main pronunciation, the glottal stop, while common in English, is not written there. That probably is best explained in its article, Aleph. — Sebastian

I noticed when I roll the cursor over the table of letters at the top right of the article, most of the transliterated names of the letters are actually the names of the corresponding Hebrew letters (Aleph, Bet, Taw, Gimel, Heth... not Alif, Baa, Taa, Jeem, Haa, etc.) not Arabic. Strange, but I am unsure how to change it. RandallC (talk) 12:46, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Phonemic Values in table[edit]

It seems that opinions differ about the purpose of the "phonemic values" column in the table. For me, this column serves as a quick reference for people who want to know (or be reminded of) the pronunciation of a letter. Others seem to favor a complete list of dialect variants. This became apparent after I removed the addition of [gʲ] to the entry for ج. Before talking about this specific letter, I would like to first understand what goals the esteemed editors here have for that column in general. (I hope you're with me on that one, Wikey-nl; this time I'm for reducing confusion!) — Sebastian 20:33, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

I am not sure if that addition was a serious edit (!), but if [gʲ] really exists, I have no idea what it means. I think it is useful to list dialect variants, as far as they are used by a relevant number of people. For the name column I would be more restrictive, as long as it is clear for the reader which letter is meant. Alef or alif refer to the same letter, as do jim and jeem. Names will certainly be far more diverse than sounds.--Wickey-nl (talk) 11:12, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
It clearly was a serious edit. (I wasn't so sure at first, partly because it was done by an IP editor. But I realized later that 62.220.33.64 has been a dedicated editor to many language related articles, so there is no doubt that he or she is serious and well-intended.) (Regarding the name column: Please let's keep that discussion in the previous section, which is precisely about that.) — Sebastian 20:11, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
I have a good proposal to make a Dialect Table. I even tried to do something like that in the main article — Arabic language after the table of sounds — but some people think that it is an unnecessary abundance. 62.220.33.64 (talk) 17:01, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
I'd like to take a look at that. Would you have a diff pointing to your version? — Sebastian 20:11, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
Just an idea: Maybe the problem was just the location; maybe your Dialect Table would fit into the article Varieties of Arabic? — Sebastian 20:16, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
It was just a list of phonemes made with numbers because the normal and broaden table can cause argues! But some of dialectal additions are still in the main article (after the Consonants table). I can try to make a broaden table in Varieties of Arabic but I'm not sure that the most of people will consider it as a necessary addition. 62.220.33.64 (talk) 15:02, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
It is hard for us to comment on your table without actually seeing it. Please provide a WP:DIFF to your edit. — Sebastian 16:07, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
When I will be able to present the full variant of the table I'll inform you. 62.220.33.64 (talk) 17:43, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
The main article about the individual letter is the right place for the pronunciation in dialects.--Wickey-nl (talk) 11:00, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Seriously Wikipedia?[edit]

Some asshole does nothing but remove a letter and add 'pop' to the alphabet and nobody changes it back? Wikipedia sucks.

We rely on lots of eyes watching the articles, but sometimes things get missed. Thanks for calling attention to this issue. I restored the alphabet in question to an earlier version. --agr (talk) 17:26, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Other ligatures, e.g. ba + ya?[edit]

Why no mention of ligatures like ba+ya, such as seen here: http://i.imgur.com/g8a9Y.png --Sonjaaa (talk) 13:19, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Many ligatures such as the one you're mentioning exist in Arabic. There's even a whole list of ligatures encoded in Unicode. However, most of these are only a matter of style and calligraphy, and they certainly aren't mandatory to write proper Arabic. Lam+alif is mentioned in this article because it is a mandatory ligature. — Abjiklam (talkstalk) 15:55, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
My problem with the ligature section is that it is all about Unicode, talking about ranges and workarounds for text processors and browsers and font configuration and zero width joiners. This page should be about the alphabet, not encoding the alphabet. When are the ligatures used? What are some of the general forms they take? (I was trying to figure out a text when I came here, and look as I might, I didn't find some of the 'letters' I was seeing in the text. I twigged to the fa-ya ligature pretty quickly, but it took me forever to figure out a nun-jim ligature that looked like an initial kaf with some diacritics.) Such information useful to understanding the application of ligatures to the Arabic alphabet, but the section contains nothing but Unicode trivia - the Allah page has more useful content on the Allah ligature in one figure than all this article's talk of whether DejaVu Sans or any other font does or does not show a superscripted alif. I still don't know when ـلا is used instead of لا, but I now have the critical information that my computer will encode it using something in the Presentation Form B U+FExx range, whatever the heck that is. Agricolae (talk) 01:23, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
I had hoped that someone more knowledgeable might attack this, but as it hasn't happened, I have taken the first step by moving the detailed UNICODE and font discussion to the section on Computers and the Arabic alphabet. That leaves almost nothing behind. I think the section could benefit from several more examples, both some that are somewhat obvious and some that are not immediately evident (the fa-ya and nun-jim ones I mention above would be good, and perhaps a couple of others). Some historical or usage context for the Allah ligature would also be beneficial, but I am not the person to do it. Agricolae (talk) 03:54, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

ǧ considered harmful[edit]

The transcription ǧ comes from a German library-cataloging standard (since the "j" or [dʒ] affricate sound is written with a four-letter sequence Dsch in German orthography), and really doesn't have much legitimate use in English-language transcriptions of Arabic (since the "j" or [dʒ] affricate sound is written simply with the single letter J in English orthography). "J" is in fact used far more often than "ǧ" in English-language transcriptions of Arabic, and is really vastly preferable in almost all cases (unless there is a specific reference to German library-cataloging standards, or possibly for transcription of Egyptian dialect forms only). "J" is also consistent with the past efforts towards transcription standardization at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Arabic... -- AnonMoos (talk) 05:16, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

further complication[edit]

With the most recent change, some of the digraphs ("gh", "kh", "sh" etc.) are displaying backwards in the "Alphabetical order" section... AnonMoos (talk) 22:54, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

Problem solved! — Abjiklam (talkstalk) 03:19, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Typo: "Alif maqsurah" instead of "Ya"[edit]

In the alternative hija'i order (in the Alphabetical Order section) I believe ى is being used instead of ي, however I'd prefer if someone who actually knows Arabic would take a look. Additionally the prefacing sentence says: 'until it was replaced by the Mashriki order', however I don't find that order defined, does that refer to the first hijai order given or the current order based on shape. Menachemsdavis (talk) 10:05, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Traditionally Mashriq is the opposite of Maghrib (though in modern political usage a number of Arab countries don't fit neatly into either category), so yes it means the immediately preceding order... AnonMoos (talk) 20:12, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Order of columns in Consonants table[edit]

I realise that Arabic is written from right to left, but I find tables ordered from right to left confusing in an article that is written in English. The columns should be ordered according to the language of the text, not according to the subject matter. FilipeS (talk) 18:17, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Arabic script needed for animal article[edit]

Hi. I'm currently re-writing the spotted hyena article on my userpage. Part of the article lists local names for the species, including ones in several different Arabic/Somali dialects. At the moment, they are transcribed in Roman script. I would appreciate it if someone here could transcribe them in Arabic script. Thanks in advance.Mariomassone (talk) 21:42, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Written vs Printed/Typed[edit]

The article seems to show the letters of the Arabic printed or typed language and not the Arabic handwritten language. The letters can be written somewhat differently than printed or typed. For example the sīn, among other letters, is often written without the small 'teeth', instead, you have a straight line when written by hand.

It might also be a good idea to include two parallel notebook solid lines with a middle dashed line and the letters written inbetween the solid lines to show how each letter and how each component of each letter is positioned relative to notebook lines (like with English, some parts maybe positioned below the bottom solid line, some components inbetween the bottom solid and middle dashed line, etc...). Or at least include a source that has this information if it'll make the article too long. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.80.113.162 (talk) 05:42, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

No it is not different. What you are talking about is Riq'a. A style of writing developed for speed in writing.--BelalSaid (talk) 22:54, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
75.80.113.162 -- In handwriting, there's traditional ink-pen calligraphy (with strokes that narrow and widen) and modern "ballpoint-pen" type handwriting. I think that the "ballpoint-pen" handwriting is widely considered an ugly purely utilitarian makeshift expedient, and it doesn't exert much influence on the letter-shapes used in books, newspapers, or most computer fonts so I'm not sure that we need to focus on it in this article... AnonMoos (talk) 02:37, 7 November 2012 (UTC)