Malay - Connecting Letters

Previous: Alphabets

This feature is used in Jawi only unless you are using cursive writing in Rumi which I found it way easier since I learnt the writing for a year in primary school.

Anyway, like any abjad (Arabic alphabets)-based language (eg. Arabic, Persian etc.), the connection between letters are the same. Knowing any of these language might be handy for this lesson.

Do take note that Jawi is written from your right hand side to the left hand side.

There are several 'fonts' used in abjads but for Jawi normally we use the one that you can see in this lesson. This kind of writing is called 'Nasakh' writing.

The rest of the writing is typically used in calligraphy and it takes years to master one even for me. Maybe we can learn calligraphy after we master all the Malay lessons? Maybe?

The Jawi alphabets are categorised into 3 groups.

Group A: ا أ إ د ذ ر ز و ؤ ۏ

Group B: ب ت ث ج چ ح خ س ش ص ض ط ظ ع غ ڠ ف ڤ ق ک ݢ ل م ن ه ة ي ى ئ ڽ

Group C: ء

Group A can be connected with Group B only and cannot connects with any letters.

  • B = A

ت + ر = تر

  • A ≠ B

ا + ب = اب

  • A ≠ C

ر + ء = رء

  • C ≠ A

ء + ط = ءط

  • A ≠ A

ا + د = اد

To memorise this, just remember "roda" (رودا) which means wheel. As you can see none of these letters can be connected to each other. Just add a dot or hamza above it then you are good to go.

For Group B, you can connect with any groups except for Group C. Group B also can be connected with its group only.

  • B = B

ل + ه = له

  • B = A

ق + ر = قر

  • B ≠ C

ث + ء = ثء

  • C ≠ B

ء + ڤ = ءڤ

  • A ≠ B

و + ل = ول

For Group C, hamza cannot connect or be connected with any letters. The letter is considered 'homeless'.

  • C ≠ C

ء + ء = ءء

  • A ≠ C

ذ + ء = ذء

  • C ≠ A

ء + ک = ءک

  • B ≠ C

ڠ + ء = ڠء

  • C ≠ B

ء + ز = ءز

These are exceptional when connecting lam "ل" with alif "ا".

lam alif (لا / ـلا)

If you connect both of the letters like it should be, it would be like this:


Wow, that looks pretty weird.

There are reasons why Group A can't connect with other letters and Group C can't be connected or connect with any letters.

  • If you connect Group C with other letters, the hamza "ء" would looks like ain "ع".

ء + ڠ ≠ عڠ

  • When alif connects with other letters, the alif "ا" would looks like lam "ل".

ا + م ≠ لم

  • For "و ؤ ۏ", it would looks like fa "ف".

و + ت ≠ ڡت

  • For "د ذ ر ز", it would looks like ya "ي" or nun "ن".

ذ + غ ≠ نغ

For your information, there are two types of hamza in Malay.

The 'Arabic' hamza "ء" and the 3/4 hamza.

The thing is that the 3/4 hamza has not been added into Unicode. Even the letter va "ۏ" is considered new in the Unicode.

The 3/4 hamza is written by superscripting the hamza.

Now for your homework!

Answer the following equation whether the following letters can be connected or not.

  • ء + ݢ

  • ة + ج

  • ر + ظ

  • ل + ت

  • م + ز

You won't need to worry about with connecting letters when typing in devices since the letters are readily connected correctly.

In conclusion, turn left and right before crossing the road!

Next: Alphabets 2


February 22, 2017


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