The map above shows the names of Arabic speaking countries in Arabic with romanizations to help those who don’t actually speak Arabic. Interestingly, most are quite different from the English name for the country.
Reddit user Pinuzzo, who created the map, explains that:
The colors do not mean anything and are just used to differentiate small countries near each other.
I am using my own method of Romanization that I believe better preserves the Arabic spelling that most Romanization attempts lose. For example, I transliterate 3ayn (ع) as a backwards ezh ƹ, and hamza ء as an apostrophe. Most Romanizations just make both letters an apostrophe, while the sounds they make are very different.
You may also notice that Western Sahara (الصحراء الغربية Aṣ-Ṣaḥrā’ al-Gharbīyah) does not appear on the map, although the map creator does not explain why.
Reddit user stormsmcgee also points out that:
magrib also means West, as in the far western country of the Arab world.
You can learn more about Arabic and the Arabs from the following books:
- Alif Baa: Introduction to Arabic Letters and Sounds [With DVD]
- Arabic-English Dictionary: The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic
- The Arabs: A History
Know any other interesting facts about Arabic? Leave them below:
I’m glad you included the sahara with morocco. Great work.
It is occupied, so there should be at least dashed border between Morocco and Western Sahara.
I’ve still no idea how to pronounce them…
Tova Rischi says
Letters are like English, mostly.
Vowels differ the most between dialects, but a good heuristic to go with is the ones with macrons should be pronounced “broad”; ā like ah like father, ū like oo like moon, ī like ee like keen, while the short vowels can be pronounced like English (cat, buck, tick). This is the most inconsistent though; Qataris usually say Qatar like “cutter”, for example.
R is trilled.
That weird S in Chad makes the sh sound.
Q is traditionally like k, but said with the uvula (the thing hanging in the back of your throat) instead of the soft plate. You can kind of think of swallowing k, but you don’t have any backwards motion. Some dialects say it like g in “good”, some say it like ´.
´ is just a break between sounds. Like in the middle of uh-oh.
ƹ is complicated. It’s kind of like turning the vowel in the word “cat” into a consonant, like how y is an ee sound or w is an oo sound. It’s said with parts of the throat itself and is that really weird sound in Arabic when you think weird throaty Arabic sounds.
Letters with dots above or below them are basically [that letter]ƹ . ħ is to ƹ as s is to z, you can think of it as hƹ though.
The gh in gharbiya in the description is pronounced like a French r. It’s spelled g on the map, but it still makes the French r sound.
Arabic used to have vowels at the end of nouns that kind of went silent, whence Maṣr.
I was always told that ليبيا (Libya) is the only true palindrome in Arabic.
Morocco absorbing Sahara? I am sure that UN do not aprove this.