Throughout Wikipedia, the pronunciation of words is indicated by means of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The following tables list the IPA symbols used for Lebanese Arabic words and pronunciations. Please note that several of these symbols are used in ways that are specific to Wikipedia and differ from those used by dictionaries.

If the IPA symbols are not displayed properly by your browser, see the links below.

Wikipedia transcriptions for Lebanese Arabic vowels may be either more general and abstract, using only the symbols from the first column (primary vowel), or more detailed and precise, using the symbols from the second column (variants, allophones); see narrow versus broad transcription. In narrower transcription, if the "variants, allophones" column shows two vowels joined by a tilde (as in ɑ~ʌ, for example), the first one should be used on Wikipedia — even if the second is slightly closer to the sound being transcribed.


IPA English
b bee ب
d dash د
emphatic /d/, no equivalent ض
f father ف
h he ه
ħ had, but pharyngeal ح
k kin ك
l leaf ل
m me م
n no ن
r Spanish pero, perro ر
s see ث ,س[a]
emphatic /s/, no equivalent ص
ʃ she ش
t tick ة ,ت[b]
emphatic /t/, no equivalent ط
x Scottish English loch;
Spanish jota;
German Bach
ɣ Spanish fuego غ
z zoo ذ ,ز[a]
emphatic /z/, no equivalent ص ,ظ [a]
ʒ vision ج
ʔ uh-oh, Hawai'i
(glottal stop)
ق ,ء[c]
ʕ no equivalent
(voiced pharyngeal fricative or approximant)
j yes ي
w we و
Marginal consonants
θ thin ث [a]
ð the ذ [a]
ðˤ emphatic /ð/, no equivalent ظ [a]
q close to English condo, class ق [c]
Non-native consonants
g gaggle ك ,ج ,غ
p pack ب ,پ
v valve ف ,ڤ
IPA English
Arabic letter/symbol Notes
Primary vowel Variants, allophones
a a, æ, ɑ~ʌ bad; palm ــَـ fathah,
i i, e~ɪ happy; French café; kit ــِـ kasrah,
u u, o~ʊ hairdo; cargo; put, foot ــُـ dammah [e]
ə ə, all of the above[f] button, lovable ـْـ sukun [g]
Drawn-out meh, Scottish may ا [h]
æː, bad;
American English brah
ɑː ɑː~ʌː, ɒː~ɔː bra; lawyer, bowl
machine ي
rule و
, ej Drawn-out meh; may ي [i]
, ow Spanish no; boat و [i]
Diphthongs (vowel+glide)
aj aj, ej Close to light; face ـَي [i]
aw aw, ow Close to out; goat ـَو [i]
Distinct word-final vowels
-i happy ة) ,ـي [j]
-e French café ي) ,ـة
-u hairdo ـوا ,ـو [k]
-o cargo ـهو [l]
IPA Examples Explanation
ˈa [ˈkiːwi] كيوي ("kiwi") Indicates that the following syllable is stressed.
aː [kiːs] كيس ("bag") Indicates that the preceding vowel is long.
Specific cases
Examples Explanation
ال ("the") [lˈhɪnde] الهندي ("the Indian") The definite article ال consists of a single consonant in its own syllable at the beginning of a word. Its default form is [l], but it assimilates to a following coronal consonant, namely any of [t d r s z ʃ ʒ].
[zˈzeːn] الزين ("the beauty")

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f ظ ,ذ ,ث represent [s], [z], [zˤ], respectively, except in certain words borrowed from Modern Standard Arabic, where they represent [θ], [ð], and [ðˤ].
  2. ^ a b c The letter ة appears at the end of a word, indicating that it is singular and feminine. It represents the sound [-t] when the word is grammatically possessed by something. Otherwise, the letter only represents a vowel that varies between [a~ɑ] and [e~i]. In broad transcription, use /a/ following an emphatic consonant or any of /ʔ h ħ ʕ x ɣ r/, except following /iːr/, in which case use /e/. Also use /e/ after all other consonants. In narrow transcription, follow the same rules, except use [ɑ] after an emphatic consonant.
  3. ^ a b Original */q/ ق continues to be pronounced as /q/ by the Lebanese Druze, but speakers in the rest of the country exhibit this pronunciation only marginally and mostly in proper nouns like /qur.ʔaːn/ “Qur'an”. In all other words, despite occasional regional variation, its most-standard pronunciation is /ʔ/. Therefore, transcribe as /q/ in such proper nouns and in terms pertaining to the Druze, and as /ʔ/ otherwise.
  4. ^ Broad transcription should use /a/ exclusively. Narrow transcription should instead use [ɑ] when either immediately after an emphatic consonant or anywhere before one in the same word.
  5. ^ a b Except word-finally, there is no functional phonemic distinction between "tense" [i u] and their "lax" counterparts [ɪ ʊ], and for some speakers they are in free variation. Broad transcription should use /i u/ exclusively. Narrow transcription can use [i u] invariably before the semivowels [j w] and in light syllables, but [ɪ ʊ] in stressed and heavy/superheavy syllables. If a consonant-final word ends in an unstressed syllable containing /i/, however, use [i] in narrow transcription rather than [ɪ].
  6. ^ Assimilates to nearby consonants and vowels.
  7. ^ Inserted sometimes to break up a cluster of two consonants at the end of a syllable, creating an extra syllable that can never be stressed. Prefer not to transcribe, as in برد /bard/ “cold”, but if the intent is to match an English transliteration that represents it, then use parentheses as in برد /bar(ə)d/.
  8. ^ (The pronunciation of "long a" in a given context varies greatly from region to region, so if a word can be demonstrated to have a common pronunciation in violation of the following guidelines, record it as well.) The default pronunciation is // []. In broad transcription, use // when directly adjacent to an emphatic consonant or /r/, as well as when anywhere before an emphatic consonant in the same word, and lastly when immediately following any of /x ɣ ħ ʕ ʔ/. In narrow transcription, follow the same rules, except use [ɑː] in the same proximities of an emphatic consonant and [æː] after [ʔ]. (The pronunciation /ɒː~ɔː/ is a regional variant of /ɑː/).
  9. ^ a b c d In Lebanese Arabic, the original Arabic diphthongs */aj aw/ are typically preserved in all syllables that are not word-final. In word-final closed syllables, they are only rarely (and/or regionally) conserved, instead resulting in the monophthongs / / in "standard" speech. In both cases, certain speakers may substitute /ej ow/, but this should not be favored in transcription.
  10. ^ Only appears in monosyllables like شِيi(ː)/ “something” as an alternative realization of /-iː/, as well as traditionally in various suffixes spelled with ـي: the verbal second-person-feminine conjugational suffix seen in تَعِي /taʕi/ “come! (feminine)”, the first-person possessive enclitic seen in كتَابِي /kteːbi/ “my book”, the nisba suffix as in لِبنانِي /libneːni/ “Lebanese”, and others. The latter set of examples is merged by many speakers into -e, however. Therefore, transcribe with both, as in لِبنانِي /libneːne, -ni/.
  11. ^ Only appears in monosyllables like شُوu(ː)/ “what” as an alternative realization of /-uː/, as well as traditionally in the verbal third-person-plural conjugational suffix: إِجُوا /ʔiʒu/ “they came”. The latter is merged by many speakers into /-o/ as seen below, however. Therefore, transcribe with both, as in إِجُوا /ʔiʒu, -o/.
  12. ^ Traditionally and for certain speakers, only appears in loanwords like French-derived /gatˈto/ and /majˈjo/, as well as in the “he” enclitic pronoun: كتَابُو /kteːbo/ “his book”. In both cases, it is misleadingly spelled with و in the Arabic script, but do not take this to mean that it should be transcribed /-u/.