Connectors and non-connectors
Words are made of letters of different kinds.
- Letters are split into two groups:
- Every Connector letter will connect to the next letter in a word.
- ب + ت ← بـ ـت ← بـت
- Notice that ب (baa) is connected to the next letter. This is because baa is a connector, not because the next letter is one.
- Another example
- ه + ت + م ← هـ ـتـ ـم ← هـتـم
- Notice that ه is connected to ت and ت is connected to م .
The above examples also show letters changing form in order to connect. Example: ه (haa-single form) became هـ (haa-initial form), they are both the same letter, but in different forms, so they can be handwritten together. But how do we know which form a letter is supposed to take on in a word?
When a word only has connector letters, then the following applies:
- The first letter is in the initial form.
- The final letter is in the final form.
- All other letters are in the middle form.
- So if you had to connect five letters of the letter ت (taa) together...
- ت + ت + ت + ت + ت
- ...then the first letter would be in the initial form (i.e. تـ ), the last letter would be in the final form (i.e. ـت). So:
- تـ + ... + ـت
- All other letters would be in the middle form (i.e. ـتـ ).
- ت + ت + ت + ت + ت ← تـ ـتـ ـتـ ـتـ ـت ← تــتــتــتــت
- Another example
- How to write: ب + ه + م ?
- بـ ← (baa initial form) ← ب
- ـهـ ← (haa middle form) ← ه
- ـم ← (meem final form) ← م
- So the word becomes:
- ب + ه + م ← بـ ـهـ ـم ← بـهـم
- That is how it looks when it is all connected properly. That is how Arabic words are written.
The non-connector letters are: ا د ذ ر ز و
- Non-connectors only have 2 forms
- Being connected - used if the previous letter is a connector
- Unconnected - used otherwise (if the previous letter is a non-connector, or if there is no previous letter)
- Because non-connectors do not connect to letters after them they create breaks in words.
In the next examples, an ampersand (this symbol &) will be used to show where one letter does not connect to the next one (where the breaks are) in the following example. The breaks always occur directly after the non-connector.
- Write in Arabian script: b-b-b-r-b-b
- ب + ب + ب + ر + ب + ب
- First find out where the break is:
- ب + ب + ب + ر & ب + ب
- Let's do the first part (the part on the right of the ampersand "&"). We know that the first letter ب (baa) should be in the initial form. The last letter is a non-connector. Which form should it be in? Because the letter before it is a connector, this letter ر (raa) should be in connected form:
- ب + ب + ب + ر ← بـ ـبـ ـبـ ـر ← بـبـبـر
- This was only the first written part of the word. We have to do the part after the non-connector letter.
- ب + ب ← بـ ـب ← بـب
- Now we have to have the parts side by side to make the word.
- Technical note: Although there is a break between the letter ر (raa) and the next letter when it is written by hand, when one word in Arabic is typed the space bar is never touched. The letters automatically get connected properly by the computer.
- Another example
- Now let's do an actual Arabic word.
- ت + ر + ك
- First find out where the breaks are:
- ت + ر & ك
- In the first part, we see that the first letter is a connector and it is not the only letter, so we know automatically that it should be in initial form. We noticed that ر is a non-connector. The letter before it (i.e. ت ) is a connector, so ر should be written in connected form.
- ت + ر ← تـ + ـر ← تر
- The second part is just one letter so it should be written in single form which it already has:
- ك ← ك
- Put them side by side.
- ترك (transliteration: t-r-k)
- This is an Arabic word meaning: he left (something). It is pronounced (ta-ra-ka).
With practice, you will be able to write better and better. In the near future, some exercises will be added.