Letters of the Alphabet
Initial Medial Final Alone Romanization
l L omit (see Note 1)
~ + .,... ..,. b
;; .:;,. .::.. .::. t
... ... ~ ... th
~ ~ ~
.... ..... e- ~ j
1:- e It
~ ,;._ e- t kh
::. ::... ::... ::. d
;. s, s, ;. dh
J f f J
.; _;. _;. .; z
v- ..... s
., ..;;.. ~ J:. sh
v- V"
..;, ..... ....... uO> Ii
.J.. .l... .J.... .J.. I
.l:. .I;.. .l... .l:. '?
oS; ~ t ' (ayn)
l; ~ i!- t: gh
oS .i. ...A.. .... f (see Note 2)
.. .i. .j.. " q (see Note 2)
~ .s; d -!l k
J .L J. J I
r: m
_; ..... V- v n
Ib ~ a..,c,\, 0,& h (see Note 3)
s ~ ~ s w
~ ~ u- ..s y
Vowels and Diphthongs
0 a 10 a (see Rule 5) T
, a (see Rule 6(a» ;0
0 u aw
9 .,0 ii -So ay
page 10 ALA-LC Romanization Tables Arabic

Letters Representing Non-Arabic Consonants

This list is not exhaustive. It should be noted that a lettter in this group may have more than one phonetic value, depending on the country or area where it is used, and that the romanization will vary accordingly.

3 g 1r ch .j v
3: g 1r zh " v
~ p j zh ~ v Notes

1. For the use of alif to support hamzah, see rule 2. For the romanization of hamzah by the consonantal sign' (alif) see rule 8(a). For other orthographic uses of alif see rules 3-5.

2. The Maghriblvariations ~ and dare romanizedfand q respectively.

3. ;; in a word in the construct state is romanized t. See rule 7(b).


Arabic Letters Romanized in Different Ways Depending on Their Context


As indicated in the table, ~ and <J may represent:

(a) The consonants romanized wand y, respectively wad'






~~ v-y: _,.b

~ ~ ~

(b) The long vowels romanized ii, r, and ii respectively

iila ._.J ~l

~firah dhfi Iman jn

rr kitiib sa1;liib jumiin

0..J~ ~~ .;.~I ..H,... ..r'


..,.b.... .;.t...,.

See also rules l1(a) and 11(bl-2).

ALA-LC Romanization Tables



(c) The diphthongs romanized aw and ay, respectively


nawm law aysar shaykh 'aynay

~I p_'" .,tl


~ u-':!&

See also rules 11(a)(2) and U(b)(3).

2. I (ali!>, -' and 0 when used to support. (hamzah) are not represented in romanization. See rule 8(a).

3. I (alif) when used to support Ei (wa~lah) and [) (maddah) is not represented in romanization.

See rules 9 and 10.

4. I (alif) and -' when used as orthographic signs without phonetic significance are not represented in romanization.

fa'alii ula'ika

'i1man wa-iamalan

See also rule 12 and examples cited in rules 23·26.

5. I (alif) is used to represent the long vowel romanized a, as indicated in the table.

fa'i1 J.:u


This I, when medial, is sometimes omitted in Arabic; it is always indicated in romanization. See rule 19.

6. Final 0 appears in the following special cases:

(a) As 00 (alif maq.yiirah) used in place of 10 to represent the long vowel romanized d.

~atta -w
rnada ....;;...
kubra 0::..4
Ya~ya ~
musamma ..,...........
Mu~\afa ;:...u....,... page 12 ALA-LC Romanization Tables


(b) As 0' 9 in nouns and adjectives of the form fa'il which are derived from defective roots.

This ending is romanized r. not 0/, without regard to the presence of a (shaddah). See rule 1l(b2).

Radi al-Din

Compare thefa'il form of the same root ~_)I [with out shaddah) al-Radl.

(c) As 0' 9 in the relative adjective (nisbah). The ending, like (b) above, is romanized r. not

Compare ;;;;~I al-Mi~ro/ah and see rule ll(bl).

7. 0 (tii' marbu(ah)

(a) When the noun or adjective ending in 0 is indefinite, or is preceded by the definite article, o is romanized h. The 0 in such positions is often replaced by e,


al-Risiilah al-bahlyah mir'iib

Urjiizah rr al-tibb

0)1..., ~I ;;JL..._)I oTJ" -,..W I .,. 0 _jy..)

(b) When the word ending in 0 is in the construct state, 0 is romanized t.

Wiziirat al-Tarbiyah ~_;JI 0.)_j..9

Mir'iit al-zaman .;,1o_)1 oTJ"

(c) When the word ending in 0 is used adverbally, 0 (vocalized &) is romanized tan. See rule 12(b).

Romanization of Arabic Orthographic Symbols Other than Letters and Vowel Signs

The signs listed below are frequently omitted from unvocalized Arabic writing and printing; their presence or absence must then be inferred. They are represented in romanization according to the following rules:

8. • (hamzah)

(a) In initial position, whether at the beginning of a word, following a prefixed preposition or conjunction, or following the definite article, • is not represented in romanization. When medial or final, • is romanized as ' (alif).

ALA.-LC Romanization Tables

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asad ~1
uns --,1
idha I~l
mas'alah ~L...
mu'tamar ~_;..
da'im ~b
mala'a ')La
khati'a uJ..,;- (b) " when replaced by the sign a (waslah) and then known as hamzat al-wasl, it is not represented in romanization. See rule 9 below.

9. a (waslah), like initial. , is not represented in romanization. See also rule 8(b) above. When the alif which supports waslah. belongs to the article JI , the initial vowel of the article is romanized a. See rule 17(b). In other words, beginning with hamzat al-wasl, the initial vowel is romanized i.

Rihlat Ibn Jubayr ~ U-!f ~ .....

al-istidrak ...dl ..... :.:..... )/1

kutub iqtanat/ha ~1 ~

bi-ihtimam 'Abd al-Majid ~ ¥ pLc.::a.f.,.

10. [] (maddah)

(a) Initial T is romanized a alah

Kulliyat al-Adiib

(b) Medial T, when it represents the phonetic combination 'ii, is so romanized.

ta'aliI ...A,;llJ


(c) [] is otherwise not represented in romanization.

khulafa' .1iJ;.

11. ri (shaddah or lashdld)

(a) Over ~:

(1) :;6, representing the combination of long vowel plus _fonsonant, is romanized uw.

'adiiw :;~

qiiwah 0:;;

See also rule l(b).

page 14

ALA-LC Romanization Tables


(2) ::;6, representing the combination of diphthong plus spnsonant, is romanized aww.

Shawwiil JI:_;":;'


sawwara -'~


See also rule l(c).

(b) Over xs :

(1) Medial.:5g, representing the combination of long vowel plus consonant, is romanized ;y.

al-Misriyah ~.r-ll

See also rule 1 (b)

(2) Final.:5g is romanized I. See rules 6(b) and 6( c).

(3) Medial and final.:56, representing the combination of diphthong plus consonant, is romanized aw.

ayyam sayyid Qusayy

See also rule l(c)

(c) Over other letters, ~ is represented in romanization by doubling the letter or digraph concerned.

al-Ghazzf al-Kashshaf

12. Tanwin may take the written form ti, 15 (115), or g, romanized un, an, and in, respectively.

Tanwm is normally disregarded in romanization, however. It is indicated in the following cases:


When it occurs in indefinite nouns derived from defective roots.

qa9in ,Voli

ma'nan ~


When it indicates the adverbial use of a noun or adjective. tab'an

faj' atan

al-Mushtarik wad'an wa-al-muftariq suq'an

~ &~ L-,d~1 ~

ALA-LC Romanization Tables

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Grammatical Structure as It Affects Romanization

13. Final inflections of verbs are retained in romanization, except in pause.

man waliya Misr ~ ._.J.., va

ma'rifat ma yajibu la-hum ~ ~ 1.0 ;U......-

salla Allah 'alayhi wa-sallam rL-.., "Y.k e.lJ1 ...l-

al-Lu'lu' al-makniin f1l.mkm al-akhbar ~ ...... .;.~I jl.>!ll

'amma sayakiin .;.~ Leu: .J1.,.;.'Il1

14. Final inflections of nouns and adjectives:

(a) Vocalic endings are not represented in romanization, except preceding pronominal suffixes, and except when the text being romanized is in verse.

Ma'had Mawlaya al-Hasan v--JI v'll..,.. ~

u~iiluha al-nafsiyah wa-turuq ~...I:':; ".)...., ~I ~>-I


ila yawmina hadha

(b) Tanwln is not represented in romanization, except as specified in rule 12.

(c) " (la' marbfi(ah) is romanized h or I as specified in rule 7.

(d) For the romanization of the relative adjective (nisbah) see rule 6( c).

15. Pronouns, pronominal suffixes, and demonstratives:

(a) Vocalic endings are retained in romanization. ana wa-anta

hadhihi al- \lal

mu' allafatuhu wa-shuriihuha

.::...;1.., 1..;1 Ji.J1 0;"" ~..,~.., "-JWj.a

(b) At the close of a phrase or sentence, the ending is romanized in its pausal form.

hayatuhu wa-tasruh o~.., "-J~

Tawfiq al-Hakim, ,0.J~1, ~I ~y

afkaruh, iitharuh o.Jl::oT

16. Prepositions and conjunctions:

(a) Final vowels of separable prepositions and conjunctions are retained in romanization.

anna .;.1

annahu <>...;1

bayna yadayhu "'"~ ~

Note the special cases: L.u, mimma, V.o..o mimman.

page 16

ALA-LC Romanization Tables


(b) Inseparable prepositions, conjunctions, and other prefixes are connected with what follows by a hyphen.

bi-hi ~

wa-rna'ahu la-silki'

17. The definite article:

(a) The romanized form al is connected with the following word by a hyphen.

al-kitab al-thanf ....... WI ...,.~I

al-ittil;tad ~b..:;\l1

al-asl J- \II

al-athiir _,I:l \II

(b) When JI is initial in the word, and when it follows an inseparable preposition or conjunction, it is always romanized al regardless of whether the preceding word, as romanized, ends in a vowel or a consonant.

ila al-an u \II ~I

Abii al-Wam' .1lI_,J1 "....1

Maktabat al-Nahdah al-Misriyah ;;'_"__,........JI ~I ~

bi-al-tamam wa-al-kamal J~I_j pL.:JL,.

Note the exceptional treatment of the preposition J followed by the article:

lil-Shirbini' ~_,.;;J.J

See also rule 23.

(c) The J of the article is always romanized I, whether it is followed by a "sun letter" or not, i.e., regardless of whether or not it is assimilated in pronunciation to the initial consonant of the word to which it is attached.

al-huriif al-abjadiyah

Abii al-Layth al-Samarqandi

~:.-.\l1 ~_j_,.J1 0::..A ~l .::¥.JI "....1

Orthography of Arabic in Romanization

18. Capitalization:

(a) Rules for the capitalization of English are followed, except that the definite article al is given in lower case in all positions.

(b) Diacritics are used with both upper and lower case letters.

al-fj! 1.7"':',)11

al-Aliis! u-"'_,J \II

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19. The macron or the acute accent, as appropriate, is used to indicate all long vowels, including those which in Arabic script are written defectively. The macron or the acute accent, as the case may be, is retained over final long vowels which are shortened in pronunciation before hamzat al-wasl.

Ibrlihim Dli'iid

Abii al- Hasan ru'iis


'ala al-'ayn

~...,.,.l,~l...,.,.l :>jb, :>_,jb v-JI_,..I V"j_, dE ~I~

20. The hyphen is used:

(a) To connect the definite article al with the word to which it is attached. See rule 17(a).

(b) Between an inseparable prefix and what follows. See rules 16(b) and 17(b) above.

(c) Between bin and the following element in personal names when they are written in Arabic as a single word. See rule 25.

21. The prime (') is used:

(a) To separate two letters representing two distinct consonantal sounds, when the combination might otherwise be read as a digraph.

Ad/ham 1'""':>1

akramar/hs ~..?I

(b) To mark the use of a letter in its final form when it occurs in the middle of a word.

Oal'ah/jf ....,

Shaykh/zadah o:>I..i~

22. As in the case of romanization from other languages, foreign words which occur in an Arabic context and are written in Arabic letters are romanized according to the rules for romanizing Arabic.

Jlirmliniis (no/ Germanos nor Germanus) Liird Ghrlinfll (not Lord Granville) fslighiiji (/lot Isagoge)

v->-,L..)". ~I_,l; :>..I.,J "",.,.,4.1

For short vowels not indicated in the Arabic, the Arabic vowel nearest to the original pronunciation is supplied.

Gharsiyli Khayin (not Garcia Jaen)

page 18

ALA-LC Romanization Tables

Examples of Irregular Arabic Orthography


Note the romanization of e.l:JI, alone and in combination.

Allah biUiib lilliib bismillah al-Mustansir billah


Note the romanization of the following personal names.


Yasin 'Amr Bahjat


Voil and Voi are both romanized ibn in all positions.

Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Abf al-Rabi' Sharh Ibn 'Aqil 'ala Alfiyat

Ibn Mlilik

~_)I ..r.1 Voi ~ Voi :.-1 ~I ._..h ~ Voil ~ dlL. Voil


Bin-'Abd Alliib

Exception is made in the case of modern names, typically North African, in which the element Voi is pronounced bill.

Bin Khiddah

26. Note the anomalous spelling ;;":;L., romanized mi'ah.


Special Characters

USMARC hexadecimal code


soft sign (prime) alif (hamzah) ayn


Character Modifiers

USMARC hexadecimal code


6 Ei Q

acute macron dot below

E2 E5 F2

ALA-LC Romanization Tables

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