Belarusian Arabic alphabet

Belarusian Arabic alphabet

The Belarusian Arabic alphabet was based on the Arabic script and was developed in the 16th century (possibly 15th). It consisted of twenty-eight graphemes, including several additions to represent Belarusian sounds not found in Arabic.

The Belarusian Arabic alphabet was used by the Lipka Tatars, who had been invited to settle on Belarusian territories. During the 14th-16th centuries they gradually stopped using their own language and started using the Old Belarusian language rendered in the Belarusian Arabic alphabet. Books of that literary tradition are known as Kitab ( _be. "Кітаб"), which is the Arabic word for "book".

Some Polish texts were also written in the Arabic script, dated not earlier than 17th century. Fact|date=February 2007

Additional graphemes

* For the sounds IPA| [ʒ] (ж), IPA| [ʧ] (ч) and IPA| [p] (п), which are absent from the Arabic language, the following Persian graphemes were used:

پ چ ژ

* For denoting the soft IPA| [ʣ] (дз) and IPA| [ʦ] (ц) sounds, the following newly-constructed graphemes were used:


These graphemes were used during the 18th-20th centuries. Fact|date=February 2007

* The sounds IPA| [w] (ў) and IPA| [v] (в) were both represented by the same symbol:

rtl- _ar. و

Equivalence chart

As only consonants were written there does not seem to be equivalents for vowels.



* Д-р Я. Станкевіч. Беларускія мусульмане і беларуская літаратура арабскім пісьмом. [Адбітка з гадавіка Беларускага Навуковага Таварыства, кн. I.] – Вільня : Друкарня Я. Левіна, 1933 ; Менск : Беларускае коопэрацыйна-выдавецкае таварыства ″Адраджэньне″, 1991 [факсімільн.] . – 3-е выд.

External links

* [ Kitabs, the unique highlight of the Belarusian language] at

ee also

* Belarusian Latin alphabet

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