Although it has a real alphabet, Arabic is substantially more difficult to write than languages that use the Latin alphabet This is because most Arabic letters have four different forms, depending whether the letter is written stand-alone, at the beginning of a word, between other letters, or at the end of a word. Printed Arabic is the same as written Arabic. It takes more space on a printed page than a Latin printed text, especially because of the elegant curves and loops of the Arabic letters.
The Arabic script is derived from the Aramese script and is written from right to left. It is based on 18 different forms that vary according to the preceding and following letters. By using dots above and under 8 of these forms, all 28 consonants and the 3 long vowels can be spelt.