Belarusian Arabic alphabet

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The Belarusian Arabic alphabet (Belarusian: Беларускі арабскі алфавіт, Biełaruski arabski ałfavit (Latin script)) or Arabitsa (Арабіца), was based on the Arabic script and was developed in the 16th century (possibly 15th). It consisted of twenty-eight graphemes, including several additions to represent Belarusian phonemes not found in the Arabic language.

The Belarusian Arabic alphabet was used by the Lipka Tatars, who had been invited to settle in Belarusian territory, at the time part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. During the 14th–16th centuries they gradually stopped using their own language and started using the Old Belarusian language rendered in the Belarusian Arabic alphabet. Books of that literary tradition are known in Belarusian as Kitab (Belarusian: "Кітаб"), which is Arabic for book.


Some Polish texts were also written in the Arabic script in the 17th century or later.[1]

Additional graphemes[edit]

Infographics demonstrating the genesis of the Belarusan Arabic alphabet
  • For the sounds /ʒ/ (ж), /tʃ/ (ч) and /p/ (п), which are absent from the Arabic language, the following Persian graphemes were used:
پ چ ژ
  • For denoting the soft /dz/ (дз) and /ts/ (ц) sounds, the following newly constructed graphemes were used:
ࢮ ࢯ‎ (Letter sad with three dots.png Letter dal with three dots.png)
These graphemes were used during the 16th–20th centuries to write Belarusian and Polish.[1]
  • The sounds /w/ (ў) and /v/ (в) were both represented by the same symbol:

Equivalence chart[edit]

Vowels are not listed as they were marked with diacritical marks, as in Arabic.

Cyrillic Latin Arabic
А, а A, a ا
Б, б B, b ب
Ц, ц C, c ‎ (Letter sad with three dots.png)
Ч, ч Č, č چ
Х, х CH, ch خ
Д, д D, d د
ДЖ, дж DŽ, dž ج
Ф, ф F, f ف
Ґ, ґ G, g غ
Г, г H, h ه
Й, й J, j ى
К, к K, k ق
Л, л Ł, ł ل
М, м M, m م
Н, н N, n ن
П, п P, p پ
Р, р R, r ر
С, с S, s ص
Ш, ш Š, š ش
Т, т T, t ط
Ў, ў Ŭ, ŭ و
В, в V, v و
З, з Z, z ض
Ж, ж Ž, ž ژ
ЦЬ, ць Ć, ć س
ДЗЬ, дзь DŹ, dź ‎ (Letter dal with three dots.png)
ЛЬ, ль L, l ل
НЬ, нь Ń, ń ن
СЬ, сь Ś, ś ث
ЗЬ, зь Ź, ź ز
ТЬ, ть TJ, tj ت
КЬ, кь KJ, kj ك
' ع
Ь, ь -

Source: be-x-old:Беларускі арабскі альфабэт


  1. ^ a b Ilya Yevlampiev, Karl Pentzlin and Nurlan Joomagueldinov, N4072 Revised Proposal to encode Arabic characters used for Bashkir, Belarusian, Crimean Tatar, and Tatar languages, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2, 20 May 2011. [1]
  • Д-р Я. Станкевіч. Беларускія мусульмане і беларуская літаратура арабскім пісьмом. [Адбітка з гадавіка Беларускага Навуковага Таварыства, кн. I.] – Вільня : Друкарня Я. Левіна, 1933 ; Менск : Беларускае коопэрацыйна-выдавецкае таварыства ″Адраджэньне″, 1991 [факсімільн.]. – 3-е выд.

External links[edit]

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