Is there any evidence, either personal or academic, that learning Arabic only with the Franco-Arabic alphabet (a.k.a., Arabish, Araby, Arabizi, Arabic chat alphabet) and not the normal Arabic alphabet has any effect on your ability to pronounce Arabic (dialect or MSA) properly?

Asked another way, does being able to read the Arabic alphabet matter for learning to speak Arabic?

  • If anything, this is closer to a phonemic orthography of Arabic than the Arabic script is
    – b a
    Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 14:52

2 Answers 2


Disclaimer, I am not an expert in Arabic literature, but being from Lebanon, Arabic is my mother tongue. So this is only from experience.

Yes, knowing how to read the Arabic alphabet can help you more in pronunciation. Using Arabish is still possible but you won't be able to get the pronunciation 100% correctly all the time.

There are 2 main problems with using Latin characters.

  1. You lose the Arabic diacritics. They help a lot in pronouncing and accentuating every letter of a word correctly. However, even on Arabic text, you don't see these often. As editors usually don't bother with adding them. But you most definitely will see them in educational books, especially ones that are teaching you the Arabic language. And that will help you plenty when learning the Arabic language (After some practice, you won't need them as you get used to the pronunciation).
  2. There are several letters that are pronounced similarly, and when writing them with latin characters, you would use the same latin character. For example, the following 2 Arabic letters د and ض‬ are slightly similar but when saying the second letter, you basically add more bass to the sound of the letter. However, both are represented with a d in Latin. So when reading them in Latin, you won't be able to distinguish which pronunciation to use. The same goes for ت and ط‬ which use t, and س‬ and ص which use an s etc.
    If you check the comparison table in this Wikipedia article, you can see how many times the same Latin characters (I consider them characters and not letters because in some cases we use numbers) exists for multiple different Arabic letters.

So as a recommendation, if you have the option, use the Arabic script for learning Arabic. But using Arabic chat language isn't completely bad, but it definitely isn't as good.


Yes, since you have to speak clearly to understand what are you going to say. However, you can talk with any native Arabic speaker, so that person will understand your speech as well help you out to correct your pronunciation.

  • 1
    -1 Speaking clearly is of course necessary to being understood, but where does this answer address whether learning the alphabet affects speaking/pronunciation?
    – Hatchet
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 22:13
  • Yes, it does. Each Arabic latter has 4 sounds. If you got all, your pronunciation will be perfect. Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 17:05
  • Your answer is too short to help people understand why learning Arabic only with the Franco-Arabic alphabet would have a negative effect on a learner's ability to pronounce MSA correctly.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Nov 24, 2018 at 18:58

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