Teaching Arabic to Latin readers


The western world has a tough time learning Arabic. Here's a suggestion to make it a bit easier:

Arabic words have no vowels: alif, waw, and ya' play ambiguous roles that are outside the scope of this discussion. Consonants are stringed together, with diacritics providing pronunciation and more precise meaning. So let's do the same with Latin consonants, which provide as much meaning as their Arabic counterparts. This will give something like:

k_t_b_ al w_l_d_ b_q_l_m_h_

Now it remains to choose Latin diacritics that will perform the same functions are the Arabic counterparts. Unfortunately, it seems that the current Unicode Latin script does not contain all possible combinations between letters and even the basic Arabic diacritics (fatha, kasra, damma). So what follows is only an approximation:

kataba al waladu biqalamihi

Hey, that *does* look closer to Arabic! You get to see the roots and forms of the verb more clearly too. So all that remains is completing it ;-)