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#1 smk

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 12:49

This is for people who have shown an interest in learning how to write Arabic.

I was asked to help with learning to write Arabic some time ago. After giving the matter some thought, I realized that while videos are good at providing instruction, there is no way to address all the problems a beginner might have - or answer all the questions they might ask. In an effort to solve this problem I decided to do a series of short videos that teach how to write a few letters each and couple that with feedback on this forum.

Here is what I believe will be a workable process:

1. I will upload a sample of the handwritten alphabet on one page.
2. I will upload (link) lessons in video format from time to time.
3. People who wish to learn can practice each lesson on their own and then upload a scan of their work when they are satisfied for feedback.
4. I will provide feedback on the scans uploaded by each person and answer all questions.

Anyone can start at any time - there can be multiple people at various steps, no problem.

I would appreciate feedback on the instructions and videos - I will try my best to improve any shortcomings.

So, without further ado, here is LESSON No. 1:

The Arabic alphabet consists of 28 letters. Here is what they look like:

Posted Image

Lesson 1
In the video for Lesson No. 1, I have shown how to write letters alif, baa, taa and thaa. Here is the video:

Lesson 1

Please feel free to ask any questions. Post scans of your work when ready and I will provide feedback.

I will upload future lessons after we know this process works and that there is enough interest.

Salman

NOTE: I will add the videos here for all the lessons so they are easy to find:

Lesson 1
This lesson covers the letters alif, baa, taa and thaa.

Lesson 2
This lesson covers the letters jeem, Haa and kha:

Lesson 3
This lesson covers the letters daal, dhaal, raa and zay:

Lesson 4
This lesson covers the letters seen, sheen, Saad and Daad.

Lesson 5
This lesson covers the letters Taa, Dhaa, ayn and ghain.

Lesson 6
This lesson covers the letters faa, qaaf, kaaf and laam.

Lesson 7
This lessons covers the letters laam, meem and noon.

Lesson 8
This lesson covers the final three letters haa, wow and yaa.

Now we start with the different shapes the letters take depending on where they fall in the word. I will link the exemplar instead of showing it here since it takes a lot of space.

Exemplar for joining shapes

Lesson 9
Introduction to joining letters, covers different shapes of alif, baa, taa and thaa. NOTE: I sometimes use the Persian/Urdu names of the letters in these videos - please do not use them to learn how to pronounce Arabic :-)

Lesson 10
How to join letters jeem, Haa and khaa.

Lesson 11
Shows how to join letters daal, dhaal, raa and zey.

Lesson 12
Shows how to join seen, sheen, Saad and Daad.

Lesson 13
Shows the joined up forms of Taa, Daa, ayn and ghain.

Lesson 14
Covers the shapes of faa, qaaf and kaaf.

Lesson 15
Covers 'laam', 'meem' and 'noon'.

Lesson 16
Shows the joined up forms of the last three letters 'haa', 'wow' and 'yaa'.

Edited by smk, 02 December 2012 - 16:01.

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#2 thleeal

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 13:05

great, good video,

the two dots joint see almost like a u with a longer tail.?
If all that we are is summed by those who survive us in a few words, I would have them say "he was good to me".

#3 smk

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 13:48

the two dots joint see almost like a u with a longer tail.?


You could say that - a very short and very wide u. It comes from writing the two dots quickly without lifting the pen.

S.

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#4 mboschm

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 16:40

I decided to learn arabic a while ago. I'm already at the long vowels (alif al-madd, ya al-madd and so on).
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#5 smk

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 18:26

I decided to learn arabic a while ago. I'm already at the long vowels (alif al-madd, ya al-madd and so on).


That's pretty cool - how long did it take you to get to this point? Also, what resources are you using for instructions?

Salman

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#6 mboschm

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 19:34


I decided to learn arabic a while ago. I'm already at the long vowels (alif al-madd, ya al-madd and so on).


That's pretty cool - how long did it take you to get to this point? Also, what resources are you using for instructions?

Salman


It will have been a week for now. I still struggle with remembering all letterforms.
Right now I've covered:
-Isolated letters.
-Short and double vowels: fathah, kasrah and dammah.
-Long vowels: Alif al-Madd, Yaa al-Madd and Waw al-Mad.
I'm using madinaharabic.com.
Thing is, I work with a lot of Moroccan kids, and basic arabic knowledge is nearly a must.
I don't want to start learning vocabulary before I can read the alphabet (more or less).
I guess I'll be asking your help a lot when I start linking letters.

Edited by mboschm, 22 November 2012 - 19:35.

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#7 tdzb36

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 06:57

In fact .....I feel Arabic front is very bueatuful

#8 smk

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 07:14

I guess I'll be asking your help a lot when I start linking letters.


Sure - I'll be glad to help.

These writing lessons will progress differently than the lessons you are following since the purpose is to teach how to write, not learn the language. The next step after learning to write the letters is to learn to write their joined forms. I think I will need to come up with some exercises for practice for joining letters.

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#9 smk

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 07:18

In fact .....I feel Arabic front is very bueatuful


I quite agree. The various ways in which the letters can be joined gives a lovely versatility to the script that has been exploited well by all the different styles. Not only that, the individuality in people's handwriting is amazing in it's diversity.

Salman

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#10 Mt.Roll

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 12:52

I've done a bit of copying out the alphabet during class today :embarrassed_smile:
Having trouble with kaaf though, is it essentially a long hook'd J with an s floating above it or is the s symptomatic of joined up dots?

What I don't really like about this is that.. learning how to write Arabic is essentially useless without learning anything about the language. Will your instructions develop more into the language or just writing?

#11 smk

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 14:29

I've done a bit of copying out the alphabet during class today :embarrassed_smile:
Having trouble with kaaf though, is it essentially a long hook'd J with an s floating above it or is the s symptomatic of joined up dots?

What I don't really like about this is that.. learning how to write Arabic is essentially useless without learning anything about the language. Will your instructions develop more into the language or just writing?


The 'kaaf' is essentially an 'alif' attached to the right side of a 'baa'. You start with writing an alif and continue without stopping into a baa and you've got a kaaf. The floating symbol is called a 'hamza', it is very much like the top of the letter 'ayn' i.e. a semi-circle with a short dash attached to the bottom end.

My intention with these lessons is to provide instruction on forming the letters, followed by people uploading their efforts. I will provide feedback and point out mistakes if there are any, if not, they can advance to the next lesson. I have prepared a couple more that I will upload shortly.

I do not intend to teach the language. There are a number of resources that help you learn Arabic out there. I had originally intended to find something that I could recommend to people who needed help with learning how to write too but found that while excellent instructions exist a combination of showing how to write with an online feedback system did not exist.

After the individual letters, I plan on showing the joined-up shapes of the letters and then maybe some examples of words and short phrases. It is inevitable that some words and phrases will be picked up along the way but that will be a happy side-effect rather than the primary goal.

The link shared by mboschm provides a good introduction to the language and pronunciation.

Salman

Edited by smk, 23 November 2012 - 14:45.

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#12 mboschm

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 14:36

^^^ I'm going to learn a bit of the language as well. If Salman gives a hand, we could start a learning group.
By the way, I've started studying linking letters and I've decided to give a go at linking words.
Here we have got.
Marc: my name.
Salaam: peace.
Salman: the OP.
Naanaa: mint.
Shay: tea.
Cheba: Moroccan arabic for "absinthe wormwood".

Posted Image

Smk, could you please correct? I'm basically interested at letter linking. Odds are that I have made quite a few ortography mistakes, could you point them out as well?
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#13 smk

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 17:27

That's a good attempt mboschm. Only a couple of things:

1. In 'salam' write the final 'alif' from the top down after making the 'laam'. You don't have to join it with the tail of the 'laam' but it's ok if you do.

2. Na'na is spelled like I have shown below. There are two spellings.

3. In 'Salman', the 'meem' is written like a 'faa' without a dot. The meem loops under the line while the 'faa' and 'qaaf' are above - and are differentiated by the dots.

I hope the scan below clarifies the above.

Posted Image

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#14 smk

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 18:15

Added lessons 2 and 3 in the first post.

I will add more when I get the issues with my Vimeo account sorted - they have flagged my brand spanking new account for spam without specifying a reason! (Can anyone suggest a video hosting site other than YouTube and Vimeo?)

Salman

ETA: The issue with Vimeo is now resolved, they are tweaking their spam filtering routines and are currently getting a lot of false positives.

Lessons 4, 5 and 6 are online. I will upload the final three in a day or so.

S.

Edited by smk, 24 November 2012 - 12:32.

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#15 Rich L

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 22:08

I'm glad you started this thread. I learned to read and write Arabic from my two Kuwaiti roomates in college and I found it fun and interesting. It's such a flowing script and the decorative writing is impressive if not totally indecipherable for us tyros. I'll never forget the hilarious gargling and throat gymnastics we went through trying to capture the sounds of "ayn" and "ghain," never mind all the rolling r's and other guttural acoustics. One word I remember struggling with (to this day!) is in the picture if it doesn't show up within the parentheses ( غرغره ) was a word for a guinea fowl (it may be just a Kuwaiti word for it) but my dear roommates were trying to challenge me. I know there are a ton of challenging words.

Keep this going!

Cheers,
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#16 smk

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 12:31

Rich - I can imagine the problems ayn and ghain will pose. In fact I face a similar challenge with differentiating between 'v' and 'w' in English - I tend to pronounce both as the letter 'wow' with the 'w' sound.

Now gharghara (or al-gharghara) is a challenge indeed for someone not used to it. BTW, the same word is used for gargles (except without the 'al') so you know what it sounds like :-) Now Urdu and Pushto have even stranger sounds that Arabic speakers cannot pronounce. Non-native speakers of Pushto remain easy to pick out even if they have been speaking the language for years.

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#17 Ghost Plane

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 20:11

And then there's the Persian shift so that "fayd" becomes "fayz" :headsmack: Which I learned last night as I was correcting someone saying "wow" as "vow" :roflmho:

I'm enjoying lurking. :cloud9:

#18 Rich L

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 23:37

And then there's the Persian shift so that "fayd" becomes "fayz" :headsmack: Which I learned last night as I was correcting someone saying "wow" as "vow" :roflmho:

I'm enjoying lurking. :cloud9:


Could you write that in Persian ( فارسی ) so we can see the letters? I can't get anywhere with googling those "sounds."

Thanks!
Rich

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#19 Ghost Plane

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 01:42

Alas, I don't know how yet. :embarrassed_smile: Which is why I'm in here lurking. :rolleyes:

I live in a community where "Penglish" does NOT have anything to do with pens, unlike FPN :headsmack: There are nights where I am the only native English speaker in the room and find myself holding an impromptu English class for a crowd of Farsi-speaking immigrants with a token Arabic-speaker thrown in just to make things interesting. :bunny01:

The Persian Diversion's mom wrote out the alphabet for me, but without someone to hold my hand and show me the proper forms like I was a child, I find myself making the letters backward. :bonk:

#20 smk

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 11:46

Ah - yes, Farsi. Urdu is influenced by Farsi to a great degree, most pronunciations are derived from it.

Farsi has 4 letters in addition to the Arabic alphabet, Urdu adds another 3 on top of it!

Rich, 'fayd' and 'fayz' are both written with 'faa','yaa' and 'Daad', like this: فیض , only pronounced differently.

We were taught to read Arabic with the Urdu/Persian pronunciation with the result that most Arabs won't be able to understand what we are saying :-) I have tried to fix it over time but my pronunciation isn't even close to being correct.

Urdu and Pustho - I can teach with no problems but I'll probably do more damage than good trying to teach someone Arabic.

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#21 smk

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 11:48

The Persian Diversion's mom wrote out the alphabet for me, but without someone to hold my hand and show me the proper forms like I was a child, I find myself making the letters backward. :bonk:


So are you practicing along with the lessons? I have yet to see anyone's practice sheet, it'll be good to see someone trying :-)

S.

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#22 Ghost Plane

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 16:17

Just watching so far. :embarrassed_smile: Getting uninterrupted time to sit down and play with my pens is virtually impossible at the moment. :bonk: :bawl:

The few times I tried to copy Momma PD's sheet by myself, I find myself reversing and going left to right. :doh: So I definitely need a literal hand holder. :gaah:

I'm actually fairly ambidextrous for purposes of writing English, so I'm wondering if I emulate my left-handed overwriter if it would make things easier? One hand per alphabet? :eureka:

Got to drift over to Azam's house and see if I can borrow her children's workbooks. :blush:

#23 smk

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 18:45

Lessons 7 and 8 are online and linked in the first post. These conclude the basic letter forms.

The next step is to learn the different shapes of the letters and joining rules - fun!

S.

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#24 firefinch

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 18:46

So are you practicing along with the lessons? I have yet to see anyone's practice sheet, it'll be good to see someone trying :-)

S.



Hello smk. You have truly reminded me of my Arabic grammar lessons in secondary school, that is between 1983-1987. Arabic was a compulsary subject for us in Malta at that time. Despite being imposed on us, I didn't do bad in the language, although since then I simply did not practice it any longer and so forgot everything about the language.

Your videos spurred me to actually try my hand again at arabic writing. I'll scan my practice sheet (obviously written with one of my fountain pens) and upload it later on.

christopher

#25 smk

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 20:52

Great to know you'll be joining Christopher. I'll be looking forward to seeing your exercises.

Speaking of fountain pens, I broke out my Marlen especially for writing these lessons as it has an M nib that seems like a Broad to me as I generally like finer nibs. With a dry ink (MB Midnight Blue) it writes a bit finer than it's usual line.

Salman

ps. Is anyone else actually learning from these lessons?

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#26 Ghost Plane

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 21:19

And yet my Marlen B feels like an M to me :headsmack:

It's beyond useful to be able to repeat a video over and over again to get the hang of it. :thumbup:

#27 smk

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 21:52

Thanks GP, its great to know these lessons are useful.

S.

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#28 Rich L

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 22:41

Again, let me say I love this thread because it's another way to get beautiful script on paper. My writing is rusty and this gets me going on it again. One thing I might suggest is a few short sentences or phrases that would go beyond just writing individual letters especially because the form changes depending on where in the word it is. Is there such a thing as "The quick brown fox ..." in Arabic that uses every letter at the beginnin, middle, and end of the word??

One thing that helped me was writing what was (is) on the Saudi Arabian flag (if you need to you can ignore the religious overtone) and some of the common verses in the Koran. I had Muslims teaching me this way back in the seventies. Also, rewriting text I found in Arabic books and newspapers. Now it's easy because BBC Arabic is on line. It's also fun to see how English names and new words get transliterated into Arabic. Case in point "Gangnam Style" is غانغنام ستايل It has that awful "ghain" in it - twice! You'll note some shorthand with the letter "seen" ( س ) and the new, even more effective, technique for the "double dot." :rolleyes: Boy, I really am rusty at this!

Cheers,
Rich

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#29 pmhudepo

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 08:55

Salman, thank you for creating these video instructions. Although I have no immediate interest in learning to write Arabic, I spent a fun hour yesterday writing along with your videos. I thought it might be cool to be able to write my own name in Arabic, but I haven't seen the letter "p" just yet.

Patrick.

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#30 smk

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:43

Again, let me say I love this thread because it's another way to get beautiful script on paper. My writing is rusty and this gets me going on it again. One thing I might suggest is a few short sentences or phrases that would go beyond just writing individual letters especially because the form changes depending on where in the word it is. Is there such a thing as "The quick brown fox ..." in Arabic that uses every letter at the beginnin, middle, and end of the word??


Thanks Rich.

I'm not aware of any 'quick brown fox' type sentence. It would be too long anyway. Calligraphy is generally taught by showing the individual alphabet followed by learning and practicing how each letter is joined with all the other letters. Its quite long but by the time you're done with that the forms are fixed in your memory.

Handwriting is quite different and you get to develop some of your own ways to join letters. A lot depends on the style of one's teacher. I'm trying to keep it as simple as I can with little regard for aesthetics - I do use all shortcuts available to me in my own handwriting and it'll be very confusing to try and teach that style.

One thing that helped me was writing what was (is) on the Saudi Arabian flag (if you need to you can ignore the religious overtone) and some of the common verses in the Koran. I had Muslims teaching me this way back in the seventies. Also, rewriting text I found in Arabic books and newspapers. Now it's easy because BBC Arabic is on line. It's also fun to see how English names and new words get transliterated into Arabic. Case in point "Gangnam Style" is غانغنام ستايل It has that awful "ghain" in it - twice! You'll note some shorthand with the letter "seen" ( س ) and the new, even more effective, technique for the "double dot." :rolleyes: Boy, I really am rusty at this!

Cheers,
Rich


That's my plan too. I just wanted to start at the beginning since I was asked to help at that level. I was thinking of taking a pause here to let people catch up a bit before proceeding into the joining (that and I'm getting tired of listening to the sound of my own voice in the videos :-)

You might be rusty but that lettering is pretty good and perfectly readable. Did you ever use qalams or oblique nibbed pens when learning?

Salman

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