Arabic shorthand

Are there any examples of “shorthand” in Arabic, if so can you please provide me some examples?


Shorthand is an abbreviated writing method that increases speed or brevity (shortness of duration) of writing as compared to a normal method of writing. The process of writing in shorthand is called Stenography. It has also been called Brachygraphy and Tachygraphy.

There are many different types of shorthand system that have been created, with their own unique rules and symbols. A typical shorthand system provides symbols or abbreviation for words and common phrases, and strokes or dots to represent vowel sounds, which can allow someone well trained in the system to write as quickly as people speak.

The purpose of writing in shorthand is to be able to record dictation or speech rapidly.
Last edited:
  • Arabic (Saudia) but I'm Yemeni :)
    Yes there is shorthand im Arabic, it's called الإختزال and it's like:
    الخ= إلى آخره
    أ.هـ. = انتهى
    ن.= انظر
    ج= جمع
    م= مفرد
    and so on.


    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    I'm sorry mood light, but that is not shorthand, these are acronyms or اختصارات and is used within the text itself. Shorthand, or اختزال as you say, is when a secretary (as an example) writes minutes of a meeting (as an example) while people are talking. She uses special signs that people generally can not read unless they know shorthand. You can not read the letter, you actually do not use letters but use signs.

    Take a look at this for an explanation and this for an example.

    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    Short-hand doesn't really work for Arabic. The short vowels are already omitted anyway, and, since the morphology of the language is based on the arrangement of the vowels, omitting the long vowels will make the writing incomprehensible.
    Arabic - Egypt and Standard
    I do agree that Arabic already denotes as few vowels in writing as possible while retaining the writing's legibility, but shorthand isn't all about not explicitly denoting vowels in writing: its main objective is writing in a speed comparable to that of speech. Ruq3ah cursive does a pretty good job with that, but it still isn't good enough if compared to Gregg's shorthand, or even better, the Eclectic Shorthand (which is no longer mainstream anyway). An experienced writer of the former, the more elaborate of the two, could write more than 200 *words* in a single minute, thus averaging more than three words a second! Now, that's something! So, all in all, yes, shorthand wouldn't be that radical a change to Arabic, not like it was to English anyway, but no, it'd still be pretty nifty if we did have one. I'm working on one, and it is awesome!


    Senior Member
    I agree with kemocon. The purpose is to use particular symbols understood within that community to represent words themselves; the omission of short or long vowels is irrelevant.


    New Member
    Maybe short hand as such does not exist in Arabic but one thing to consider would be the difference between the handwriting of a native speaker(writer) and a student.

    There are many ways to write different Arabic letters depending on those that precede and follow them but most students, such as myself, only learn a few of them. Some rules are very important, like where does the miim go and how to write jiim, haa, khaa when they come after al- etc.

    If this isn't relative to a discussion of shorthand I apologize but when I hear shorthand, I think handwriting, not weird symbols.


    Senior Member
    It's surely a form of scripting, but I just don't want to rule out that the usage of symbols is an integral part of shorthand. Most descriptions regarding shorthand use the term symbols when detailing the procedure of notation.

    I don't know if I'd use the word "weird", but whether we acknowledge it or not, symbols (and sometimes recognizable script) are used atypical of the original letter. It only means there is substituted representation of what the common individual recognizes. You're following a whole new system of writing rather than subscribing to the accepted standard.


    New Member
    Good point, I use @ and w/ a lot, I guess they would qualify. I do think that the idea of a system that is supposed to make it easier (on who I don't know) ends up making it so much harder to understand is silly. Like abbreviations, there is a fine line. I was mostly trying to point out that while I wouldn't think that learning short-hand Arabic to be very worthwhile, studying handwriting may be very useful.
    Arabic - Egypt and Standard
    Interesting point. In fact, Aljmet, many native speakers aren't entirely comfortable with ligatures (save laam-alif) either; I've seen freshmen who have trouble reading from the Holy Qur'aan or other books written in the actual Naskh style, as opposed to the pseudo-Naskh that is much more commonly used today, partially because of those combinations of letters, since only calligraphers and the like study them formally. Thus, most native speakers do NOT adhere to those rules as strictly as you seem to think, just as you guys do not normally write the hooks of lowercase A's.

    Now I'm with you on all that "learning handwriting is probably more practical" matter, but shorthands can still be very handy. To whom? Well, back in the time, shorthands were considerably common among journalists and stenographers since portable recorders were not an option yet they still had to quote speech essentially as efficiently as we do today. Presently, it's mainly a hobby I guess, but so what? If people are allowed to stare continuously at some well-built people injuring one another just to catch a rubber ball, all while shouting obscenities at them, and consider that a hobby: we too are allowed to consider having the ability to write very very quickly one as well. Then again, you've got the human element: even today, a recorder does just that, it records. Should any unforeseen event occur, you're pretty much stuck with a useless, hollow, plastic rectangular prism with silicon in it. On the other hand, humans can interact to a variety of circumstances they didn't see coming and save the day. Moreover, unless you're one particularly devout compulsive herder, you don't go around with a walk-man in your pocket just in case, and even if you wanted to do that, you won't always be allowed to. I think a pen and a paper are virtually allowed everywhere, though, and much easier to sneak in if otherwise. Not saying you should sneak them in.

    Do they make things harder? Not necessarily. The official textbook of the Eclectic Shorthand mentions people who learned to dexterously use that complicated system in under six months. Hundreds of words a minute isn't as easy as it sounds, so you're bound to travail, but that's something you're bound to when learning to write any writing system, unless you're just looking for the basic ability to read a phonically shollow language. And even if it were unique to stenography, ask yourself: are the results worth it? Personally, I believe they are.

    For instance, see the avatar of اسكندراني up there? As of the time of this writing, that's Ruq3ah cursive: that's how your handwriting is supposed to look in Arabic. Now, that's certainly less time-consuming that its English equivalent (Iskandaraani), but this is how to write it in Gregg's Shorthand.

    For more information, see:
    Teach Yourself Arabic Calligraphy ( A good book on Arabic calligraphy, and it does explore ligatures in details. Good book I'd say. It's in Arabic though.

    Gregg's Shorthand's Official Website (
    Last edited:
    Just in case somebody is still interested in Arabic shorthand, I'm pleased to inform that there is one although it may not be widely known. The Arabic shorthand I know is called "Hannareas" and was developed by Shafik B. Hanna and Dr. Herbert D. Reas of the American University in Cairo and presented in a book (in Arabic, 160 pages) published in 1980 (Dar al-Kutub record number 4657/77) and printed by AUC Printshop. Based on this book "Hannareas" is a full-fledged shorthand system. I have never met anybody using "Hannareas" or even knowing that it exists which, in my view, is very unfortunate.


    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Onni, that's very interesting, please provide us with more details; such as how does it (Hannareas) work as a writing system? Is it effective or not? For what purposes did the developers have in mind?


    Senior Member
    French, France
    I would just like to add that shorthand has existed in the history of Arabic. Sadly I can't give any references but I'm 100% sure that I read about shorthand systems used in the Middle Ages for Arabic.
    Maybe Arab people who have served in the armed forces have seen forms of short hand? Militaries depend on rapid communication, not necessarily codes, but their own dialect so to speak.