Problems memorizing alphabets

I find it difficult for me to retain Arabic, Hebrew and Japanese alphabets in my mind. After some months I learned Arabic alphabet. There is still some confusion. Which is the best way to learn alphabet. I feel it is better to learn words using a language’s alphabet to learn a language’s alphabet rather than learning the language’s alphabet in an isolate way.

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I learned how to read Arabic, Katakana/Hiragana, and Hebrew but it has been many years and I only remember the Hebrew letters. A way to do it with mnemonics is to use images that look like the letters. There’s a description here: Cyrillic Russian Alphabet mnemonics?

Hebrew and Arabic are related languages with letters that originated as pictures. Even now, you can still see some of the shapes in our Latin-based letters.

Example: “Aleph” come from a word for “ox”.

which was stylized like this in ancient Semitic languages like Hebrew and Phoenician:

which was rotated by the Greeks into “A”.

Each Semitic letter has an associated image. Wikipedia has more information.


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I love japanese language. It was late of me to discover that when you are learing Kanji, it is nice to approach it how it was written or how it comes to that. Rather than just memorizing lines to form the kanji, study how it was written.

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I asked for a website where I can find Kanji etmology.

I just read it. “Remembering the kanji” is the title if im not mistaken

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The best way to learn an alphabet is to write with it. Individual letters, especially ones that have no counterpart in your native language are not that interesting to most people and don’t form strong attachments.

I used to be a Hebrew teacher, in a former life. What I noticed with Hebrew was that Europeans found the letter confusingly similar and hard to learn because they were looking in the wrong place!

Latin and European languages are written above the ruled line. The base elements of the latin alphabet don’t carry much detailed information. It’s all in the top half. You can test this by covering the bottom half of English text - you will find it fairly easy to read but covering the top half makes it unreadable.

Hebrew and some other alphabets are written hanging from the line. Consequently the heavy base strokes are at the top of the letter and the details are at the bottom.

Once one notices this and makes a habit of looking at lower half of the letters, things are much less of a struggle.

  1. Know the limits of the alphabet (how many are there).
  2. Categorize the alphabet into some kind of logical grouping (vowels, consonants, long vowels, frictives, graphic similarities, etc).
  3. Utilize the graphical representation to remind you of another sound or ‘turning’ word you may know in your native language.