The Arabic Writing System
Arabic writing system can be split into two types: Modern Standard Arabic and Classical Arabic. For those wanting to do business in Arabic-speaking markets, the former (Modern Standard Arabic) is the more important of the two, because it is common to all the countries in the Arab world, and is used in newspapers, magazines, books, and government documents. Classical Arabic writing, on the other hand, is used solely for text found in the Qur'an and classical Arabic literature.1
The Arabic alphabet (أبجدية عربية abjadiyyah arabiyyah) is the script used for writing a lot of languages in different geographical areas.
The alphabet was first used to write texts in Arabic, but since the Qurʼan, "the holy book of Islam" and the spread of Islam, it came to be used to write many languages for several language families beside the Arabic Language.
In Asia, the Arabic alphabet is used to write several languages including Persian, Urdu, Pashto, Baloch, Malay, Fulfulde-Pular, Hausa, Brahui (in Pakistan); Kashmiri, Sindhi, Balti, and Panjabi (in Pakistan); Arwi (in Sri Lanka and Southern India), Chinese, Uyghur (in China and Central Asia), Kazakh, Uzbek and Kyrgyz (all in Central Asia), Azerbaijani (in Iran), Kurdish (in Iraq and Iran).
In Africa, the Arabic alphabet is used to write Mandinka in West Africa and Swahili in East Africa.
In Europe, the Arabic alphabet is used to write Belarusian (amongst Belarusian Tatars), Ottoman Turkish, Bosniaks (in Bosnia), and Mozarabic.
Check an online article on the Arabic alphabet for more information.
Below are some of the main features of Modern Standard Arabic writing:
- Words are written from right to left.
- Numbers are written from left to right.
- Depending on where they are placed in a word (beginning, middle, end, or standalone), some Arabic letters will change form.
- The Arabic alphabet is derived from Aramaic script and contains 28 letters.
- Letters are always joined together in Arabic writing (both written and typed) except in very rare cases.
For additional information on the Modern Standard Arabic writing system, you can check out the following external resources at:
For information on the Arabic Language and Arabic Translation, please see our Arabic Language Library:
Find more Arabic translation resources in our translation blog and website:
- Arabic Website Localization for the UAE
- Arabic Translation and Localization Challenges
- Translation Services in UAE and Dubai
- Translation Services in Qatar
You may also check out our Arabic website for complete information about our translation services in Arabic Language: