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. Actual pronunciations differ, depending on the native variety of Arabic of the speaker, as Modern Standard Arabic is not anyone's native language.

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[1] د deed d
[1][2] ض dark    d
 ~ ʒ[3][4] ج joy / measure j   ǧ
ð[5] ذ this dh      z
ðˤ ~ [2][6] ظ thus / bazaar    z
f ف fool f
ɡ ~ ɟ[3][7] ج good g (in ALA-LC standard for words of non-Arabic origin only)
ɡ ~ ɢ[8] ق somewhat like good g   q
h ه he h
ħ ~ ʜ[9] ح (No equivalent)    h
j ي yes y
k skin k
l ~ ɫ[10] ل leaf / bell l
m م man m
n ن no n
θ[5] thing th      s
q[8] ق scar q   k
r ~ ɾ ~ [11][12] ر roughly like rule r
s س see s
[2] ص massage    s
ʃ ش she sh   š   ch
t[1] ت     sometimes ة stick t
[1][2] ط star    t
w و we w
x ~ χ[13] خ loch (Scottish English) kh      
ɣ ~ ʁ[13] غ French R gh   ġ   
z ز zoo z
ʕ ~ ʢ[9] 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
[4] تش ‎   چ[4] church tsh   ch   č     tch
v ڤ‎ ‎   ڥ vine v
Historical pronunciation
IPA Letter English approximation Transliteration
ɕ ش roughly like she sh   š
ɬˠ ~ ɮˤ ض (No equivalent)
IPA Letter(s) English approximation Transliteration
narrow broad[14]
a ~ ä ~ æ ~ ɐ ~ ɛ[15] a bat / bet / cut a   ah   è   e
ɑ[16] part a   ah
e ~  ~ ɪ[17] i set / sit e   é / i
i[17] see i
o ~  ~ ʊ[18] u port / put o / u   ou
u[18] boot u   ou
ə[19] again e
 ~ äː ~ æː ~ ɛː[15][20] ا jazz / says ā   a   è   e
ɑː[16][20] ا part ā   a
 ~ e̞ː[21][20] ي ‎   ـيه air ē   ei   ai   ēh   eh   eih   aih   é
[20] ي see ī   i   ee
 ~ o̞ː[21][20] و port ō   o
[20] و boot ū   u   ou   oo
IPA Meaning Example Transliteration
ˈ[22] stress mark عربية [ʕɑrɑˈbɪjjɐ]  ʻarayah
ː[20] long vowel عاش [ʕæːʃ]  ʻāsh
. syllabification مية [ˈmej.jæ]  meyya
ˑ half-long vowel transcribing long vowels in fast speech


  1. ^ a b c d In Tunisia, east Syria, east Jordan and Hijaz area, the alveolar stop consonants /d, t/ and their emphatics /dˤ, tˤ/ are dental [d̪, t̪, d̪ˤ, t̪ˤ]. In western Asia (except Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Hijaz area), the alveolar stops are dental, however, their emphatics are velarized [d̪ˠ, t̪ˠ]. There is a common practice to ignore the dental diacritic.
  2. ^ a b c d The pharyngealized consonants /dˤ, ðˤ, sˤ, tˤ/ are velarized [d̪ˠ, ðˠ, sˠ, t̪ˠ] 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.
  3. ^ 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 mostly at the east of the Levant; [ɡ] in most of Egypt and some regions in Yemen and Oman, as well as in Morocco and Algeria in a few colloquial words; [ʒ] in most of the Levant and most other places across North Africa. In the Arabian Peninsula it is sometimes softened to [ʒ]. Sudan and some parts of Yemen, have a [ɟ] or [ɡʲ].
  4. ^ 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].
  5. ^ a b In Egypt, Sudan and most of the Levant, /θ, ð/ are always approximated to [s, z] in loanwords in their regional dialects.
  6. ^ Ẓāʼ (ظ) represents [zˤ ~ z], in Egypt, Sudan and most of the Levant, for both of regional dialects and Modern Standard Arabic.
  7. ^ The palatal [ɟ] is the common pronunciation in Sudan and parts of Yemen. /ɡ/ can also be used in loanwords and spelled by many letters depending on the region: غ‎, ج‎, ق‎, ك‎, گ‎, ڨ‎ (in Tunisia/Algeria only) or ݣ‎ (in Morocco only).
  8. ^ a b In many geographic regions, regional dialects replace /q/ with one of these: [ʔ], [ɡ] or [ɢ], with some exceptions.
  9. ^ a b In Iraq and Persian Gulf pronunciation, it is epiglottal.
  10. ^ In Modern Standard Arabic, [ɫ] is only found in the name Allah, but it normally occurs in other dialects, mostly in the Persian Gulf and Iraq. Most speakers of other regions lack the sound, even when pronouncing Modern Standard Arabic.
  11. ^ In the northern most of Egypt and in Lebanon, /r/ is in a free variation between [ɾ] and [r].
  12. ^ The emphatic /rˤ/ exists in North Africa.
  13. ^ a b In some geographic regions, it is uvular.
  14. ^ Broad transcription only corresponds to Modern Standard Arabic.
  15. ^ a b The front vowel /a/, if not around emphatic consonants, it corresponds to: [æ] in Egypt and central Arabia, also the unstressed form in northwest Africa in dialects which have stress, also an allophonic pronunciation in Iraq and Persian Gulf; [ɛ] in northwest Africa in stressed syllables in dialects which have stress. In west Arabia (Hejaz), it's always an [a] or [ä] with no allophones.    [ɐ] is another allophone of unstressed /a/ in Iraq and Persian Gulf.
  16. ^ a b The phonemes /a, aː/ are retracted to [ɑ] and [ɑː], respectively, around the emphatic consonants, /tˤ, dˤ, sˤ, ðˤ, q/, also sometimes /r/. Some standards also include /ʁ, χ/.     [ɑ] is the main stressed open vowel in Iraq and Persian Gulf pronunciation, otherwise in that case, it is [ɐ] or less likely [æ].
  17. ^ 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].
  18. ^ 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].
  19. ^ The central vowel exists as a weak vowel for Persian Gulf Arabics, Libyan Arabic, Moroccan Arabic and for some pronunciations of Levantine Arabics.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g Moroccan Arabic and Algerian Arabic lack long vowels.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ Moroccan Arabic and Algerian Arabic lack stress.