From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Script type
Alphabet, based upon the
Perso-Arabic script
Time period
15th–20th century
The handbook, Bosnian Book of the Science of Conduct published in 1831 by the Bosnian author and poet Abdulvehab Ilhamija, is printed in Arebica.

Arebica (آرەبٖٮڃآ) is a variant of the Arabic script used to write the Serbo-Croatian language. It was used mainly between the 15th and 19th centuries and is frequently categorized as part of Aljamiado literature. Before World War I there were unsuccessful efforts by Bosnian Muslims of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia to adopt Arebica as the third official alphabet for Yugoslavian alongside Latin and Cyrillic.[disambiguation needed]

Apart from literature, Arebica was used in religious schools and administration, though in much less use than other scripts.


Arebica was based on the Perso-Arabic script of the Ottoman Empire, with added letters for /t͡s/, /ʎ/ and /ɲ/, which are not found in Arabic, Persian or Turkish. Full letters were eventually introduced for all vowels (as with Kurdish Arabic script), making Arebica a true alphabet, unlike its Perso-Arabic base.

The final version of Arebica was devised by Mehmed Džemaludin Čaušević at the end of the 19th century. His version is called Matufovica, Matufovača or Mektebica.

Contemporary use[edit]

The first literary work to be published in Arebica since 1941 was the comic book "Hadži Šefko i hadži Mefko" in 2005, by authors Amir Al-Zubi and Meliha Čičak-Al-Zubi. The authors made slight modifications to Arebica.

The first book in Arebica with an ISBN was "Epohe fonetske misli kod Arapa i arebica" ("The Age of Phonetic Thought of Arabs and Arebica")[1] in April 2013 in Belgrade by Aldin Mustafić, MSc. This book represents the completion of the standardization of Mehmed Džemaludin Čaušević's version, and is also a textbook for higher education.


The final version of Arebica alphabet was devised at the end of the 19th century by Mehmed Džemaludin Čaušević.

Latin Cyrillic Arebica
Contextual forms Isolated
Final Medial Initial
A a А а ـآ آ
B b Б б ـب ـبـ بـ ب
C c Ц ц ـڄ ـڄـ ڄـ ڄ
Č č Ч ч ـچ ـچـ چـ چ [b]
Ć ć Ћ ћ
D d Д д ـد د
Dž dž Џ џ ـج ـجـ جـ ج [c]
Đ đ Ђ ђ
E e Е е ـە ە
F f Ф ф ـف ـفـ فـ ف
G g Г г ـغ ـغـ غـ غ
H h Х х ـح ـحـ حـ ح
I i И и ـاٖى
اٖٮـ اٖى [a]
J j Ј ј ـي ـيـ يـ ي
K k К к ـق ـقـ قـ ق
L l Л л ـل ـلـ لـ ل
Lj lj Љ љ ـڵ ـڵـ ڵـ ڵ
M m М м ـم ـمـ مـ م
N n Н н ـن ـنـ نـ ن
Nj nj Њ њ ـںٛ ـٮٛـ ٮٛـ ںٛ [b]
O o О о ـۉ ۉ
P p П п ـپ ـپـ پـ پ
R r Р р ـر ر
S s С с ـس ـسـ سـ س
Š š Ш ш ـش ـشـ شـ ش
T t Т т ـت ـتـ تـ ت
U u У у ـۆ ۆ
V v В в ـو و
Z z З з ـز ز
Ž ž Ж ж ـژ ژ


  • ^a The diacritic beneath the ا appears on the letter preceding the ى.
  • ^b Mustafić uses ڃ and ݩ instead of Hah with inverted v below.svg and Noon with inverted v above.svg for Ć ć/Ћ ћ and Nj nj/Њ њ .
  • ^c Mustafić uses ݗ and Al-Zubi and Čičak-Al-Zubi use ڠ for Đ đ/Ђ ђ.


Like the standard Arabic alphabet, when ا connects to either ل or ڵ a special ligature is used instead.

Latin Cyrillic Arebica
Contextual forms Isolated
Final Medial Initial
la ла ـلا لا
lja ља ـڵا ڵا

Prior to standardization, the most widespread Arebica conventions were based on Ottoman Turkish conventions, and similar to contemporary aljamiado conventions adopted for Albanian and Greek. Vowels are often written using matres lectionis, with the exception of /e/, which is only represented word-finally, as <ە>. /o/ and /u/ are not distinguished. /ɲ/, /ʎ/ and /ts/ were not distinguished from /n/, /l/ and /tʃ/, respectively spelt as <ن>, <ل> and <چ>. Palatal affricates /tɕ/ and /dʑ/ are both typically spelt as <ك>, due to the Persian letter <گ> not having been widely adopted yet, while velar stops /k/ and /g/ are represented with <ق> and <غ>.[2]

Text examples[edit]

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1[edit]

Serbo-Croatian (Arebica): سوا ڵۆدسقا بٖٮڃا راݗايۆ سە سلۉبۉدنا وٖ يەدناقا ۆ دۉستۉيانستوۆ وٖ پراوٮما. ۉنا سۆ ۉبدارەنا رازۆمۉم وٖ سوۀشڃۆ وٖ ترەبا دا يەدنۉ پرەما درۆغۉمە پۉستۆپايۆ ۆ دۆحۆ براتستوا.
Serbo-Croatian (Latin): Sva ljudska bića rađaju se slobodna i jednaka u dostojanstvu i pravima. Ona su obdarena razumom i sviješću i treba da jedno prema drugome postupaju u duhu bratstva.
Serbo-Croatian (Cyrillic): Сва људска бића рађају се слободна и једнака у достојанству и правима. Она су обдарена разумом и свијешћу и треба да једно према другоме поступају у духу братства.
English: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.


Serbo-Croatian (Arebica) تَهْرَان يە غلاونٖى وٖ نايوەڃٖى غراد إِيرَانا، سەدٖٮشتە تەحەرانسقە پۉقرايٖٮنە وٖ يەدان ۉد نايوەڃٖٮح غرادۉوا سوۀتا. [citation needed]
Serbo-Croatian (Latin): Teheran je glavni i najveći grad Irana, sjedište Teheranske pokrajine i jedan od najvećih gradova svijeta.
Serbo-Croatian (Cyrillic): Техеран је главни и највећи град Ирана, сједиште Техеранске покрајине и један од највећих градова свијета.
English: Tehran is the capital and largest city of Iran, capital of Tehran Province and one of the largest cities in the world.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Foreword to "The Age of Phonetic Thought of Arabs and Arebica" by Aldin Mustafić
  2. ^ Selvelli, Giustina. "Caratteri arabi per la lingua bosniaca. Esempi di scrittura fra influssi ottomani e riappropriazioni locali. (Arabic Characters for the Bosnian Language. Writing Examples Between Ottoman Influences and Local Reappropriations)". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • Enciklopedija leksikografskog zavoda, entry: Arabica. Jugoslavenski leksikografski zavod, Zagreb, 1966