Perso-Arabic script

Perso-Arabic script

The Perso-Arabic script is a writing system that is based on the Arabic alphabet. Originally being used exclusively for the Arabic language, the Arabic script was modified to match the demands of being a writing system for the Persian language, adding four letters: پ IPA| [p] , چ IPA| [ʧ] , ژ IPA| [ʒ] , and گ IPA| [g] . Many languages which use the Perso-Arabic script add additional letters. The Perso-Arabic script has been applied, beside the Persian alphabet itself, to the Urdu alphabet, Kurdish Sorani alphabet, Ottoman Turkish alphabet, Balochi alphabet, Punjabi Shahmukhi script, Tatar, Azeri, Tajik-Persian Alphabet and several others.

In order to represent non-Arabic sounds, new letters were created by adding dots, lines, and other shapes to existing letters. For example, the retroflex sounds of Urdu are represented orthographically by adding a small ط above their non-retroflex counterparts: د IPA| [d̪] and ڈ IPA| [ɖ] . The voiceless retroflex fricative IPA| [ʂ] of Pashto is represented in writing by adding a dot above and below the س IPA| [s] letter, resulting in ښ. The close central rounded vowel IPA| [ʉ] of Kurdish is written by writing two ﻭ IPA| [u] , resulting in ﻭﻭ.

The Perso-Arabic script is exclusively written cursively. That is, the majority of letters in a word connect to each other. This is also implemented on computers. Whenever the Perso-Arabic script is typed, the computer connects the letters to each other. Unconnected letters are not widely accepted.

There are many Arabic-derived alphabets which were not influenced by the Perso-Arabic script, including Jawi (used for Malay), Sorabe (Malagasy), and many alphabets used in Northern Africa. These alphabets used other innovations for writing such common sounds as IPA| [p] and IPA| [g] , instead of the Perso-Arabic letters پ and گ, although the Jawi script does use the same symbol for IPA| [ʧ] ( چ ).

A characteristic feature of this script, possibly tracing back to Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, is that vowels are underrepresented. For example, in Classical Arabic, of the six vowels, the three short ones are normally omitted entirely (except in the Qur`aan), while the three long ones are represented ambiguously by certain consonants. Only Kashmiri, Uyghur and Kurdish, of the many languages using adaptations of this script, regularly indicate all vowels.


Below are the 32 letters of Persian.

Changes from the Arabic writing system

The following is a list of differences between the Arabic writing system and the Persian writing system:
# A "hamza" (ء) is not written above an "alif" (ا) to denote a "zabar" or "pesh" and below to denote a "zer".
# A "hamza" is not typically written in the final "kaaf" (ک).
# A "hamza" is not typically written in Persian to separate two vowels. For example, the word "chaai" (tea) is written چای. In Persian grammar, words ending in "yeh" versus "hamza"-"yeh" have different grammatical meanings. For example, کتابهای means "the books of," whereas کتابهائی means "some books." In Arabic, a "hamza" is used in words to separate two vowels. For example, the word "aljazaaer" (Algeria) is written الجزائر. In Persian, this convention is dropped unless the word originates from Arabic.
# The Arabic letter "taa marbuuta" (ة) is usually changed to a "taa" (ت) because "taa marbuuta" is a grammatical construct in Arabic denoting femininity. Since Persian grammar lacks gender constructs, the "taa marbuuta" is not necessary and is only kept to maintain fidelity to the original Arabic spelling.
# Two dots are removed in the final "yeh" (ی). Arabic differentiates the final "yeh" with the two dots and "alif maqsura", which is written like a final "yeh" without two dots. Because Persian drops the two dots in the final "yeh", the "alif maqsura" cannot be differentiated from the normal final "yeh". For example, the name "Musa" (Moses) is written موسی. Whether the final letter in "Musa" denotes a Persian "yeh" or an "alif maqsura" cannot be determined.
# The letters "cheh" (چ), "peh" (پ), "zheh"/"jheh" (ژ), and "gaaf" (گ) are added because Arabic lacks these phonemes, yet they occur in the Persian language. (Semitic languages like Arabic and Hebrew do not have separate phonemes for P/F or J/G. These phonetic differences are required by Persian.)

Word boundaries

Typically words are separated from each other by a space. Certain morphemes (such as the plural ending '-hā') are written without a space but separated from the previous word with a zero-width non-joiner.

Languages using the Perso-Arabic script

Current Use
* Azerbaijani
* Balochi
* Gilaki
* Kashmiri
* Kazakh In China and Iran
* Kurdish (Kurmanji dialect in Iran and Iraq, Soranî dialect)
* Kyrgyz in China and Afghanistan
* Mazandarani
* Persian, except Tajik dialect
* Western Punjabi (Shahmukhi script)
* Sindhi
* Turkmen
* Urdu
* Uzbek in China and Afghanistan
* Uyghur

Former Use
A number of languages have used the Perso-Arabic script before, but have since changed.
* Azerbaijani in the Republic of Azerbaijan (changed first to Latin, then Cyrillic)
* Chaghatay Turkic (changed first to Latin, then Cyrillic)
* Turkish (changed to Latin)
* Tajik (changed first to Latin, then Cyrillic)
* Turkmen in the republic of Turkmenistan (changed first to Latin, then Cyrillic)
* Uzbek (changed first to Latin, then Cyrillic)

ee also

* Arabic alphabet
* Scripts used for Persian
* Persian phonology
* Ottoman Turkish language
* History of the Arabic alphabet
* List of languages using Arabic script
* Nastaʿlīq
* Shahmukhi
* Urdu alphabet
* Ajami script

External links

* [ Persian Alphabet]
* [ Persian numerals]
* [ Persian language] (Persian)

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