Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Arabic

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ALFB NewWay transliteration[edit]

¿What do you think about it and why it was deleted? -- 17:08, 24 January 2011 83.149.41.28

The before al-?[edit]

Question: Do we use the English article "the" before the Arabic article "al-"? I ask because I'm currently working on al-Aqsa Mosque and I notice mixed usage. Sometimes a sentence will read "The al-Aqsa Mosque ..." and other times "The Aqsa Mosque." I prefer the latter, but would like to know the correct usage so I could apply it. --Al Ameer son (talk) 22:40, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

I would go with "the Aqsa Mosque". Cuñado ☼ - Talk 05:56, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
In the first instance, I would agree with Cuñado - to avoid tautology, "the Aqsa Mosque" should be used. However, there may be instances where the primary transciption (or primary usage) of a name requires the "al-" as well as the article in English, for example, "the Alhambra". The primary transcription point is similar the usage of bin or ibn -- ibn is preferred under the MoS, unless a primary transcription requires bin (as in Osama bin Laden). On this specific point of al-Aqsa, I note that current edits refer to "the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade", suggesting that there is a primary transcription (or primary usage) requiring "the al-Aqsa Mosque". gergis (talk) 13:44, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
Sorry for my very late reply, I forgot to put this page on my watchlist. I'm still not really sure what to do. The "Alhambra" seems like a Latinized version of the Arabic word "Al-Hamra" so I would consider that to be a different scenario altogether. Al-Aqsa means "the Farthest," but saying "the Aqsa ..." means the same thing. It's no big deal, but to me it sounds awkward (maybe because I speak Arabic) and it's clearly a repeat of the article "the" except in two different languages. Is there any clear MoS Arabic policy regarding this matter? If not, I think we should draw one up. --Al Ameer son (talk) 20:08, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
i have exactly the same question! For al-Fassi family. The article name has consensus, but for the content (e.g. first sentence), "The al-Fassi family" sounds OK to someone who doesn't know what "al-" means, but once you do know what it means, this is literally saying "The the Fassi family", which sort of suggests why some English texts capitalise al- in order that "The Al Fassi family" sounds less strange... i will go for using "The Fassi family" in text when "the" (English) is needed.
i agree that a policy on this should be added to the al-page. ;) Boud (talk) 08:28, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

Transcription for articles on the Arabic language[edit]

Hello. I'm doing a lot of work on the articles on the Arabic language (e.g. Arabic language, Arabic grammar, varieties of Arabic). I notice that this MoS page proposes two transcription systems, a "standard" one and a "strict" one, where only the strict one is non-lossy. I understand why even the strict one uses digraphs like sh, th: It's intended for those who know nothing of Arabic phonology or grammar, to be used in random WP pages that happen to cite an Arabic word. But for pages discussing the Arabic language directly, I really don't like the solution of using digraphs plus an apostrophe to separate letters when they are intended to be pronounced separately -- for one, the apostrophe is too easily confusable with hamza or `ain, and for two, the structure of words is often important in these pages, and having a digraph just confuses the structure.

In practice, the pages often use DIN, but I don't like this much either. Primarily is the use of ğich is woi for j. j is standard, well-known and unambiguous. ğ is confusable with ghain, among other things, and generally not easily recognized. But same could be said for various other transcriptions: E.g. vs. , vs. ? Which letter is intended? Not obvious ... I propose a couple of "linguistic" systems meant specifically for use discussing the Arabic language itself. These systems start from the "strict transliteration" and replace only the digraphs, along with the letter , which is really an interdental.

I prefer the first system ("Lingu. translit. 1"). It simply uses IPA, which is the least arbitrary: IPA is already in wide use, and it's a lot more likely that a reader of one of these pages (who probably has some background in some other languages, and quite probably is already familiar with IPA) will know IPA than ISO-233, DIN-31365, or one of these other random systems. The second system ("Lingu. translit. 2") instead borrows symbols from ISO or DIN; this makes it more "alphabetic" but it suffers from the same problems that the ISO and DIN systems themselves suffer from, namely arbitrary, unfamiliar and easily confusable notation.

Arabic Name Standard translit. Strict translit. Lingu. translit. 1 Lingu. translit. 2 Notes
ب bā’ b b
ت tā’ t t
ث thā’ th th θ the sequence ته is written t′h
ج jīm j j pronounced [g] in Egyptian Arabic
ح ḥā’ h
خ khā’ kh kh x the sequence كه is written k′h
د dāl d d
ذ dhāl dh dh ð đ the sequence ده is written d′h
ر rā’ r r
ز zāy z z
س sīn s s
ش shīn sh sh ʃ š the sequence سه is written s′h
ص ṣād s
ض ḍād d
ط ṭā’ t
ظ ẓā’ z ð̣ đ̣
ع ‘ayn ` different from hamza
غ ghayn gh gh ɣ ġ
ف fā’ f f
ق qāf q q sometimes transliterated as "g"
ك kāf k k
ل lām l l
م mīm m m
ن nūn n n
ه hā’ h h
ء hamzah ' omitted in initial position[1]
ة tā’ marbūṭah a or at or atan ah or at or atan usually as ah, but sometimes as at or atan.[2]
و wāw w w See also long vowels
ي ya’ y y See also long vowels
ِيّ (yā’) iy or i īy or ī romanized īy except in final position[3]
آ ’alif maddah a, 'a ā, ’ā ā, Initially ā, medially ’ā
  1. ^ "In initial position, whether at the beginning of a word, following a prefixed preposition or conjunction, or following the definite article, hamza is not represented in romanization. When medial or final, hamza is romanized." [4]
  2. ^ (Same pdf as note 1) "When the word ending in ة is in the construct state, ة is romanized t. [...] When the word ending in ة is used adverbially, ة (vocalized ةً) is romanized tan."
  3. ^ (Same pdf as note 1) "Final ِىّ is romanized ī."


Comments? Benwing (talk) 12:04, 15 August 2011 (UTC)


Unfortunately, symbols like ʃ and ɣ are ordinarily reserved for specialized technical use among professional linguists, and are not really suitable for broad general-purpose Arabic transcriptions into English. I agreee that ğ should be avoided (except possibly for transcriptions of Egyptian dialect forms)... AnonMoos (talk) 17:49, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

Status of this page[edit]

So what's the status of this page? Is it actually applied? Is it superseded by another page somewhere?--Kotniski (talk) 09:48, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

It was never formally ratified as a policy, but it's a compendium of "best practices" on the part of many with practical experience in dealing with Wikipedia articles on Arabic topics, and someone who proposed diverging radically from what's on the page (unless for a very narrow and appropriately specific special case) would probably not find broad approval for such a proposal... AnonMoos (talk) 13:49, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Sounds to me (if there are no objections to that assessment) that in that case, it just about qualifies as being marked as a style guideline. Any objections to doing so?--Kotniski (talk) 17:53, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
I would be in favour of converting it to a full-blown guideline. At the moment we don't have any official advice on Arabic transliteration as far as I'm aware - it seems to be either this or nothing. And I would say that this is definitely better than nothing. Looking at the archives, it looks like this proposal just petered out before it could get a true consensus for adoption, not because of any great problem with the proposal. Maybe we could have an RfC re-proposing it? Let me know your thoughts. — Mr. Stradivarius 06:31, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

Lang template[edit]

Per Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Accessibility#Other languages, this part of the MoS should advise editors to wrap non-English text in {{Lang}}. How should we word that, in this case? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 19:26, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Saddam Hussein[edit]

Hi everyone! Shouldn't there be only one "d" in the strict transliteration of his name? It would be confusing and erroneous to write two "d"s, since only the shadda can double the letters and I see none in his Arabic name. I think the second "d" should be removed. Bryan P. C. C. (talk) 19:03, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

The diacritics (as opposed to the basic consonant dots and hamza) are rarely found in ordinary Arabic text, so you could only deduce something based on the absence of shadda if you were starting from a text which is known to be fully-diacriticized. There are bogus double letters in English transliterations of Arabic names which do not correspond to real geminated consonants in the original Arabic, but these usually involve "ss" (i.e. Nasser, Hussein, etc.). AnonMoos (talk) 23:26, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Yep. There's alternatives with Latin alphabet, but it's correct within its current state in English. ~ AdvertAdam talk 08:46, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
Thank you both for your help, it sounds more clear now :) Bryan P. C. C. (talk) 12:05, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
Saddam, does actually have a shadda in Arabic. Not sure why did you think it didn't! Hussein, doesn't; but it is the more popular way to write the name Hussein, in English. Yazan (talk) 09:46, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

Consistency[edit]

We need to settle on a single romanization for Arabic. I went through articles on republics having Arabic as an official language and copied the romanization for their official names. As you can see, they all have minor variations.

English Romanization ALA-LC/DIN Notes
 Algeria al-Jumhūriyya al-Jazāʾiriyya ad-Dīmuqrāṭiyya ash-Shaʿbiyya ALA-LC Uses ʾ instead of ʼ, ʿ instead of ʻ
 Chad Ǧumhūriyyat Tšād DIN 31635
 Djibouti Jumhūriyyat Jībūtī ALA-LC
 Egypt Ǧumhūriyyat Maṣr al-ʿArabiyyah DIN 31635
 Iraq Jumhūriyyat al-‘Irāq ALA-LC Uses instead of ʻ
 Lebanon al-Jumhūrīyah al-Lubnānīyah ALA-LC
 Libya al-Jumhūriyyah al-Lībiyyah ALA-LC
 Mauritania al-Ǧumhūriyyah al-ʾIslāmiyyah al-Mūrītāniyyah DIN 31635
 Somalia Jumhūriyyat aṣ-Ṣūmāl ALA-LC
 Sudan Jumhūrīyat as-Sūdān ALA-LC
 Syria al-Jumhūriyyah al-‘Arabīyah as-Sūriyyah ALA-LC
 Tunisia al-Jumhūriyyah at-Tūnisiyyah ALA-LC
 Western Sahara Al-Jumhūrīyya al-`Arabīyya aṣ-Ṣaḥrāwīyya ad-Dīmuqrāṭīyya ALA-LC Uses ` instead of ʻ
 Yemen al-Jumhūrīyah al-Yamanīyah ALA-LC

The pattern we see here:

  1. Although Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Arabic recommends ALA-LC, there are some articles that use DIN 31635. If someone can argue why we should use DIN 31635 instead of ALA-LC, we should change the recommendation. If not, we should replace all use of DIN 31635 to ALA-LC. DIN 31635 does have the advantage of differentiating , , , and š from t′h, k′h, d′h, and s′h. Note that Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Arabic#Consonants recommends a prime () as a separator instead of an apostrophe (').
  2. Another thing to watch out for is the romanization of hamzah and ʻayn. The actual ALA-LC romanization for them are the modifier letter apostrophe (ʼ) and the modifier letter turned comma (ʻ), respectively. However, in some places we see the use of the modifier letter right half ring (ʾ) and the modifier letter left half ring (ʿ) instead, respectively. The latter pair are supposed to be used in DIN 31635, not ALA-LC; this shows an ad-hoc "mix-and-match" in some romanizations. Other romanizations seen are using a quotation mark () and a grave accent (`) in place of a modifier letter turned comma. Curiously, they are all characters used in Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Arabic#Consonants.
  3. Other points of inconsistency include the romanization of tāʼ marbūṭah. I'm not familiar with this letter; it seems that it's pronounced as either /a/ or /at/ and was historically pronounced /ah/. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Arabic#Consonants recommends -ah usually, but as -at or -atan in some cases. As we can see, the usage varies, and sometimes the consonant is omitted altogether.
  4. Use of macrons is inconsistent. Is it -īyya or -iyya (with or without -t or -h)?
  5. Most use the ending -yya (with or without -t or -h), but some use the ending -ya (again, with or without -t or -h). Should y be doubled or not?

--Article editor (talk) 04:07, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

Of course, these "inconsistencies" may actually not be inconsistencies, since I'm not familiar with Arabic grammar and phonology. Maybe they reflect certain grammar or phonological rules in Arabic or perhaps regional variations. Can somebody check this? --Article editor (talk) 04:33, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
At one point, one user was a great fan of DIN 31635, and went around changing articles to conform to it, but it really has very limited usefulness in most English-language contexts, and should not be adopted as the general Wikipedia standard. However "Ǧ" is OK in the article about Egypt, because it reflects the common Egyptian pronunciation, which many Egyptians consider to be pretty standard (though some non-Egyptians disagree). I'm less sure about the relevance of "Ǧ" for Mauritania and Chad... The symbols "ṯ" and "ḏ" should also be avoided in transcribing modern Arabic, but "š" actually has many uses outside of DIN 31635. AnonMoos (talk) 10:43, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree with you that DIN is not preferable. Whoever used it, though, must have been very energetic and thorough, because at one point suddenly it seemed every article on an Arabic subject was converted to DIN. If that editor is no longer active, and your criticism of of that editor's imposition of DIN reflects the general consensus of Arabic-knowing editors, then it's OK now to convert the DIN transliterations back to ALA-LC? To do so would make a great advance in consistency across articles. Johanna-Hypatia (talk) 00:27, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
At a minimum, "Ǧ" should be purged from all articles not about modern Egyptian topics, while "ṯ" and "ḏ" as transcriptions of Arabic should be purged from all articles whatsoever (except of course articles about transliteration conventions themselves, or direct quotes from scholarly sources which use such transcriptions)... AnonMoos (talk) 10:19, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. ALA-LC with "G" instead of "J" for articles about Egypt. What do we need to establish consensus? –aʙᴊıᴋʟaᴍ[|] 13:53, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
Very cool. :) I'm on board with it. Thanks! Johanna-Hypatia (talk) 15:51, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
Mahmudmasri was the main active advocate for "ǧ/Ǧ", but he seems to be mainly focused on Egyptian-related articles now... AnonMoos (talk) 03:21, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

Diphtong[edit]

What's the rule used for diphtongs? Is it like in ALA-LC? Is it Shaikh or Shaykh? Syockit (talk) 14:26, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

If "Saddam Husayn (strict Ṣaddām Ḥusayn)" is indicative, the latter... AnonMoos (talk) 15:06, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

er- or el- ?[edit]

At Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Arabic#Definite article, it says:

  1. For a definite article in initial position, the definite article is written as el- in both the standard and the strict transliterations; e.g. الوهاب el-Vehhāb, الرمضان er-Ramażān.

Should the "r" be "l"? —[AlanM1 (talk)]— 01:44, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

I don't know, since that's Turkish (not Arabic itself), but in Arabic the "l" of the article would be assimilated there... AnonMoos (talk) 20:38, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Title transliteration for Wikipedia's 4 millionth article[edit]

Any guidance at Talk:Izbat Al Burj#Title spelling would be appreciated. Thanks! Kaldari (talk) 18:06, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

The the ال vs family آل issue[edit]

See Template:Did you know nominations/Suliman al-Reshoudi. Boud (talk) 19:55, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

As far as I can tell, آل is an altered form of standard أهل which isn't even listed in most Standard Arabic dictionaries, and which occurs much less frequently than the definite article, mostly in certain collective dynastic or quasi-dynastic names... AnonMoos (talk) 13:58, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
What our wiktionaries say:
  • wiktionary:اهل - there are Persian and Pashto links, but no Arabic wiktionary link as of 19:31, 7 September 2012 (UTC). In the en page, آل is not listed in the Related terms section.
  • آل exists on the Arabic wiktionary and gives meaning 1 for the Saud dynasty and meaning 2 for any family, according to my robot translator. There are no sources, and no en.wiktionary entry.
Boud (talk) 19:31, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
I consulted two paper Arabic dictionaries, but I guess I made a mistake, because آل is actually listed under root alif-waw-lam. However, I still suspect a connection with أهل... It's strange for any Arabic dictionary not to include أهل, since this occurs in the highly-prominent Shi`ite term Ahl-ul-Bait... AnonMoos (talk) 23:20, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
So I went ahead and created the Wiktionary entry wiktionary:أهل; n.b. this is a different page from the above-linked Persian word ahl, even though it's borrowed from the identical Arabic word—because Persian doesn't use hamzah on initial alif, but Modern Standard Arabic orthography does use the hamzah there. Johanna-Hypatia (talk) 22:43, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Practical tests: Wikipedians trying to decide in specific cases[edit]

Time to conclude?[edit]

It's unfortunate that there was almost no participation in this, though I think it may have been discussed previously. Is the result that we should always use al- for dynastic names, like al-Saud and al-Qasimi, both of which are on my list of proposals to make? —[AlanM1(talk)]— 20:02, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
I think you may be confused there, but it's not your fault, so let's try to summarise. I was hoping for more participation too. See my response below the proposal. Boud (talk) 19:02, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

Proposed update to MOS/Arabic[edit]

  1. We leave the general recommendation for al- (the definite article) unchanged;
  2. We add some text like the following: === Dynastic "Al " === Some Arabic names, especially in Saudi Arabia for the House of Saud dynasty, start one of their names with آل, which seems to be an altered form of أهل. This means something like "family" or "dynasty", and is distinct from the definite article ال. If a reliably-sourced version of the Arabic spelling includes آل and the person is clearly a member of a dynasty, then this is not a case of the definite article, so "Al " (capitalised and followed by a space, not a hyphen) should be used. "Ahl " should be used if the Arabic spelling is أهل. Dynasty membership alone does not necessary imply that the dynastic آل is used - e.g. Bashar al-Assad.

So in answer to AlanM1's question: No, the dynastic names should stay as "Al ", since they are something like "House of Windsor", which we don't rewrite as "the Windsors". In the case of Al Qasimi, you should try asking Arabic-speaking Wikipedians to search with a search engine to try to find out if it should really be written آل rather than ال. It's obvious that it's a dynasty. But are their names normally considered to be "House of Qasimi" names? I have no idea. AFAIK it's generally considered optional whether or not to write the tilde on top of the 'alif, in the same way that vowels are often left implicit, so in this case, where the evidence for being a dynasty is strong, it would seem unreasonable to me to assume that the intended usage is with the definite article. Individual cases will probably often have to be hashed out on individual talk pages when it's unclear whether it's "the" or "House of". Boud (talk) 19:02, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

In the case of al-Qasimi, the definite article should be used. The name literally means "the Qasimite" as opposed to "House of Qasim" which would have been written آل قاسم in Arabic. The definite article is what is used in the Arabic articles on WP, and since Qasimi is an adjective it makes a lot more sense to use the definite article. ABJIKLAMǁTǁC 22:37, 2 November 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the fast and clear reply! So non-or-very-weak-Arabic-speakers should really try to consult better Arabic speakers in any ambiguous cases. I propose further discussion on the particular al-Qasimi case go to Talk:Al_Qasimi#Inconsistency_in_spelling. I'll leave a note on Egeymi's talk page to see if s/he wishes to comment in either the general case or al-Qasimi - it was Egeymi who first brought up the "Al Saud" case to me. Boud (talk) 19:18, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
I agree with both of your assessments, with one extra clarification. While the nature of the word (Qassimi being an adjective, in this case) can give a subtle indication, it can hardly be used as a rule. (Faisal al-Qassem being a case in point, where the last name properly uses the definite article). I also think that in contemporary usage (and correct if I'm wrong) the dynastic Al, is hardly ever used any more except for royalty (and specifically Gulf royalty), so it shouldn't present much confusion. Yazan (talk) 02:15, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
I updated the article (i.e. WP:MOS/Arabic, not "the", which itself is... an article :P). Boud (talk) 00:35, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

The apostrophe in Qur'an[edit]

The table at WP:Manual of Style/Arabic#Examples gives “Qur'an” as the standard transliteration, but the article itself is at Quran, the link in the title above being a redirect. (I notice that the {{Cite quran}} template lacks the apostrophe as well.) But titles are sometimes subject to special policies. What is the consensus for the spelling in articles, where current practice seems to be mixed? Should the example be changed, leaving the apostrophe only in the “strict” column?—Odysseus1479 (talk) 23:02, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

In article titles, the single apostrophe (') is often used for `ayn ع (e.g. Ta'awwudh, but in ordinary transcription style it would represent a glottal stop. Not sure that such de facto quasi-contradictions between article title practices and other transcription practices have been resolved. Notice that the "strict" column uses (’), not (')... AnonMoos (talk) 05:36, 11 November 2012 (UTC)
Though in Nastaʿlīq script an actual (ʿ) appears in the article title. AnonMoos (talk) 14:28, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

Arabic Transliteration/Romanization Wiki Engine[edit]

I would like to know where to download Arabic Transliteration/Romanization Open Source Wiki Engine So I would like to ask for link to source code. And only this part of source code. (Hindi, Pinyin, Russian Wiki Open Source would be also good to get). — Preceding unsigned comment added by 62.21.56.80 (talk) 16:38, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

Standard Transliteration of ة[edit]

The Transliteration section says: "The strict transliteration is based on the ALA-LC Romanization method (1997), and standards from the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names. The standard transliteration is the same, without accents, underscores and underdots.", but for the "ة" from the table says that the strict transliteration is "a" instead of "ah" of strict transliteration, is this an error? Also is there any open source software that do the transliteration? 37.239.107.231 (talk) 23:40, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for catching that error. I've corrected it. Johanna-Hypatia (talk) 02:53, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi, thank you for correcting this, can you please correct the examples as well? like "al-Qahira" must be "al-Qahirah", I can correct them but I wanted a more experienced user to approve this.05:37, 29 December 2013 (UTC)37.239.109.195 (talk)