Arabic Language Blog

Arabic Letters Pronunciation Guide Posted by on Mar 21, 2010 in Arabic Language, Pronunciation

This is an audio guide for Common Arabic Words and Sentences

Additional content for video:

·         For the letter “ع” (growling aaa) we use the number “3” – This is the equivalent of a very rough “a” where the sound is produced in the throat. It’s akin to a growl, actually. Word examples:  “3arab” and “3arabi”

·         For “ﺡ” (strong sounding “hhha”) we use “7” – This is a hard “h.” The Arabic equivalent of “h” is another letter; that is the letter “ﻫ” (ha). Word examples:  “a7mar” and “7aram”

·         For “ط” (deep ta) we use “6” – Note that “ط” is not “t”. In Arabic “ﺕ” (thin ta) is the equivalent of “t.” The letter “ط” produces the same sound as “t” but it’s from the throat; a deeper sounding “t,” and not from the top of the tongue. Word examples: “tareek” and “taraf”

·         For “ء” (frozen a) we use “2” – This is an easy letter to pronounce because its sound exists in English, but it’s used differently. It is essentially an “a.” In English, when “a” is used in the middle of a word it acts as the accent to the preceding consonant. So it’s the “ah” sound in “hat” or “bat.” In Arabic, “ء” produces the same sound that you would make when pronouncing only the letter “a” as in the begging of the word. It’s an “a” without an accent. It’s the sound you make when you say the first part of the letter “a” alone; the “a” in “at,” or the “a” in “about.” Word examples: “ya2s” and “be2r”

·         For “خ” (strong kha) we use “kh” – This is a tricky one, and a bit more difficult for English speakers because the sound does not exist in English. It does exist in German, though, and if you have heard the German pronunciation of “Zurich” you would know the letter. The “h” in Zurich is pronounced not as a “k” but a rough “kh” combination. There is no pleasant way to describe this, but imagine clearing your throat. (khanzeer, khaled)

·         For “ث” (tha) we use “th” – This is very easy and it’s the same sound you produce when “you say “think” or “thick.” Word examples: “thaletha” and “thabet”

·         For “ق” (deep ka) we use “q” or “9” – This is a deep “ka” that sounds similar to “ط” (deep ta). It is a deep sounding letter produced from the throat by trapping air, and not the tip or front of your mouth. It’s almost like a gulping sound with a “k” instead of a “g”, akin to pouring water out of a bottle. The thin version, or equivalent of an English “k” is the “ﻙ” (kaf) letter. Word examples:  “qabda” and “e3tiqal”

·         For “ض” we use “dh” – This is similar to “ق” in that it’s also a deep sound, but that sound is a deep “d” sound. Word examples:  “dhabet” and “darar”

·         For “غ” we use “gh” – This is a little tricky, but it’s easy to master. Imagine the sound “ghrrrrrr” would make if you were to roll the r letters, and you would be very close. Word examples: “ghareeb” and “ghubar”

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  1. Meyra:

    What a great post, mabrook!

    I have 2 questions:
    1. does this online system have any variation?
    2. you sad ض can be written as dh, what about ذ ?


  2. Mohamad:

    Hey Merya,

    Thanks for your comments. There are variations, yes, but they’re generally subtle. For example, “dh” sometimes is used to also replace “ذ” not “ض” and some use “9” for “ض”

    This is an improvised system, and as such there’s no official guidance on it. In the interest of keeping the guide simple I omitted the “ذ”

  3. Rafael Castillo:


    This post solves most of my questions anytime, is an all time open website in my computer.
    I have a doubt about (ط). I don’t know if this deep t sounds sometimes near to p, a deep p. ¿Arabic lacks this sound at all?

  4. Bradley:

    Just in case you are wondering the kh sound appears in standard German when a ch follows a back vowel, such as in “Bach”

    The ch in Zürich is actually palatalized and a slightly different sound than the Arabic kh, as it follows a front vowel. (Again, these are in standard German, pronunciation varies by dialect)

  5. abu:

    can you send me some words and sentences

    • aziza:

      @abu sure, I will post another posting about this soon!

  6. abu:


  7. Vargas Mentor:

    I really appreciate the assistance you have been providing to people who are in the learning process of the Arabic Language, and in step with that, i would kindly ask you to please exolain when the letters E,O A and I are hort, what sound the produce, and how to know that they are short or long.

  8. hammond:

    Thank you for creating this pronunciation guide. I have just begun learning Arabic and this has really helped me understand some of the subtle differences between some of the trickier alphabets.

  9. Sarah:

    Thank you – exactly the guide I have been looking for! I am trying to learn a basic level of Arabic using free resources only, as starting point. Would also love to see a video covering these sounds too.