Arabic-English Dictionary

Does anyone know of a good Arabic-English dictionary that has the phonetic spellings of Arabic words in English?
I’m not interested in learning the Arabic script, but in learning to speak the language. I am having a hell of a time differenting between T’s and D’s and the phonetic spellings would be tremendously helpful.

Something like this, or similar:

English Arabic Phonetic
Boy Weled(sp?) Well-ed

Thanks in advance.

Sorry, this isn’t an answer to your question, but I’d recommend learning the script. You could do it in a couple weeks, and out of a book - you don’t really need practice with a native speaker to learn a script. I managed to learn the basics of the writing system (but not the language) with a book and it didn’t take me long at all.

I sorta doubt you’ll find much out there; there may be very basic texts that don’t require reading and writing the language, but I doubt there’s much suited to serious students of it. The time it takes to master the script (tricky as it is) will be miniscule compared to the time to master the language.

<sigh> I suspect you are right :frowning:
Probably the only way to become fluent probably involves lots of reading in the language you want to learn. Drat.

Any suggestions on a good resource for learning the script?

(When the hell are they going to invent a chip you can plug into your head and learn stuff as you need it? I want my quick fix, dammit!)

Well, I don’t speak Arabic, but until someone pops in with something more useful, I’d just head to the bookstore and check the language section. There’s quite a few introductory texts at my local bookstore, or you can check Amazon to see what got rated well. And fortunately, the internet makes access to texts easy. Install Arabic language support (I dunno if it comes on computers out of the block) and you should be able to find news services and so on to help you practice.

Well, I’m not at all fluent in Arabic, but I started taking Arabic classes in high scool and it was my language-requirement-filler in college. I can say that it really was easy to be “literate” in written Arabic (it is, after all, a phonetic language.) The script really is not difficult once you have a good chart of the different forms for each letter and you have practiced the pronounciation. I used this book/tape series :
“Ahlan wa Sahlan” by Mahdi M. Alosh

Mr. Alosh was the founder and examiner of both the high school and college programs, but not my actual teacher.

You can buy this series through

I have a good stock of Arabic dictionaries and such, only one is phonetic :

Vest Pocket Arabic (Cortina Language Series) by Dilaver Berberi

I did find that my university library had a very good collection of different Arabic dictionaries, so you may want to have a look at local bookstores/libraries and see what they have. They can be fairly expensive.

My most hysterical Arabic/English moment came when my mother asked me to translate a sign over a local restaurant - I was a little nervous (not having much Arabic vocab) but as I stared at the sign, the meaning become obvious. In flowing, beautiful script, the sign proclaimed… “Shish Kebab!”

There’s an EXCELLENT colloquial Arabic-English dictionary that’s served me well for years! The name of the book is A Dictionary of Syrian Arabic: English-Arabic by Karl Stowasser and Moukhtar Ani.

This book, (from the Richard Slade Harrell Arabic Series) is from the Georgetown University Department of Languages and Linguistics, and you can order it by mail.

It has a large vocabulary and an easy to understand transliteration, so it should tell you what you want to know. There’s also many good Arabic language websites that you can check into!

I’ve found some software at that teaches the alphabit.

ReadWrite Arabic is the software. It displays the script, shows you how to write it, and sounds each letter and its variants out for you. Looks like it will do what I want it to do.

Thanks everyone.