The quarter began mid last week and this Monday marks the beginning of the first full week of classes. My classes are all interesting and fun and OH MY GOD, I mentioned that I’m learning Arabic, right?

On one hand, it’s no big thing – this is what I do! I learn languages! I had taken a class (a non credit, just for me class) in Japanese and learned the Japanese alphabet, I had also learned cyrillic long ago (back when I was learning Russian and had a young Russian boyfriend to help me!) Which, by the way, is why I’m choosing to learn languages AT SCHOOL instead of on my own. On my own, I get distracted by ALL THE LANGUAGES where at school, I have to be committed to sticking with it for a minimum of a year. So, learning a new language and learning a new alphabet isn’t new to me. It doesn’t make me feel scared or overwhelmed, thankfully. BUT. Arabic is a whole new ballgame. On one hand, it’s no big thing and on the other, after filling up notebook pages with practicing my first few letters, I’m like woooooah… I’m learning Arabic!

It’s so cool to look at the pages and see that I’m writing actual letters. We only learned three vowels and three letters so far but it’s amazing that I can write them and recognize them in a string of what once looked like nonsense. Arabic writing, with it’s system of dots and connected lines feels all at once primitive and highly sophisticated.

So here’s all the letters I know, individually (very excited I got my Arabic keyboard cover and have the keyboard working):

ب ت ث  ي ا و

And here they all are “connected,” in no particular order.


Well, that’s the “long” version of each vowel (the last three in the first row… or rather, the last three, since you read right to left!)

Each letter has different forms – an initial/stand alone form. A beginning form (for letters that can connect on the left), a middle form (for letters that can connect on the left AND right), and an end form (for letters that can connect on the right.)

But wait! It gets better!

Vowels can be long or short. Long vowels are just written, same as above – an initial form and, for those that can connect in different ways, a beginning, middle, and end form. Then there’s a “short” vowel sound which is a tiny little mark that’s written above the consonant that precedes it.

I get it, I understand it all so far… but it’s going to take some practice!!

And then there’s the right to left thing. Everything. Reading from right to left and writing right to left. Everything. It’s like spelling backwards. Most of the time, I’m surprised at how easily it comes to me to write “backwards”… and other times it’s a complete mindf*ck. But it’s always fun!


Had to swap out my magic rainbow colored keyboard cover for a little while…! #learningArabic #alifbaa #uw

A photo posted by Nikki (@psychogeographer) on




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