Arebica or Arabica (عَرَبٖىڄا) is a Bosniak variant of the Perso-Arabic script used to write the Bosnian language (بۉسانسقٖى يەزٖىق).[1] It was used mainly between the 15th and 19th centuries and is frequently categorized as part of Aljamiado literature. Before World War I there were unsuccessful efforts by Bosnian Muslims to adopt Arebica as the third official alphabet for Bosnian alongside Latin and Cyrillic.

Alphabet, based upon the Perso-Arabic script
LanguagesBosnian language
Time period
15th-20th century

Apart from literature, Arabica was used in religious schools and administration, though in much less use than other scripts.


Arebica was based on the Perso-Arabic script of the Ottoman Empire, with added letters for /t͡s/, /ʎ/, and /ɲ/, which are not found in Arabic, Persian, or Turkish. Full letters were eventually introduced for all vowels (as with Kurdish Arabic script), making Arebica a true alphabet, unlike its Perso-Arabic base.

The final version of Arebica was devised by Mehmed Džemaludin Čaušević at the end of the 19th century. His version is called Matufovica, Matufovača, or Mektebica.

Contemporary use

The first literary work to be published in Arebica for 64 years (since 1941) was a comic book "Hadži Šefko i hadži Mefko" in 2005 (authors Amir Al-Zubi and Meliha Čičak-Al-Zubi). The authors made slight modifications to Arebica.

The first book in Arebica with an ISBN was "Epohe fonetske misli kod Arapa i arebica" ("The Age of Phonetic Thought of Arabs and Arebica")[2] in April 2013 in Belgrade by Aldin Mustafić, MSc.
This book represents the completion of the standardization of Mehmed Džemaludin Čaušević's version, and is also a textbook for higher education.


The final version of Arebica alphabet was devised at the end of the 19th century by Mehmed Džemaludin Čaušević.

Latin Cyrillic Arebica
Contextual forms Isolated
Final Medial Initial
A a А а ـآ آ
B b Б б ـب ـبـ بـ ب
C c Ц ц ـڄ ـڄـ ڄـ ڄ
Č č Ч ч ـچ ـچـ چـ چ
Ć ć Ћ ћ [b]
D d Д д ـد د
Dž dž Џ џ ـج ـجـ جـ ج [c]
Đ đ Ђ ђ
E e Е е ـە ە
F f Ф ф ـف ـفـ فـ ف
G g Г г ـغ ـغـ غـ غ
H h Х х ـح ـحـ حـ ح
I i И и ـاٖى
اٖىـ اٖى [a]
J j Ј ј ـي ـيـ يـ ي
K k К к ـق ـقـ قـ ق
L l Л л ـل ـلـ لـ ل
Lj lj Љ љ ـڵ ـڵـ ڵـ ڵ
M m М м ـم ـمـ مـ م
N n Н н ـن ـنـ نـ ن
Nj nj Њ њ ـںٛ ـٮٛـ ٮٛـ ںٛ [b]
O o О о ـۉ ۉ
P p П п ـپ ـپـ پـ پ
R r Р р ـر ر
S s С с ـس ـسـ سـ س
Š š Ш ш ـش ـشـ شـ ش
T t Т т ـت ـتـ تـ ت
U u У у ـۆ ۆ
V v В в ـو و
Z z З з ـز ز
Ž ž Ж ж ـژ ژ


  • ^a The diacritic beneath the ا appears on the letter preceding the ى.
  • ^b Mustafić uses ڃ and ݩ instead of and for Ć ć/Ћ ћ and Nj nj/Њ њ .
  • ^c Mustafić uses ݗ and Al-Zubi and Čičak-Al-Zubi use ڠ for Đ đ/Ђ ђ.


Like the standard Arabic alphabet, when ا connects to either ل or ڵ a special ligature is used instead.

Latin Cyrillic Arebica
Contextual forms Isolated
Final Medial Initial
la ла ـلا لا
lja ља ـڵا ڵا

Text examples

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1

Bosnian (Arebica): سوا ڵۆدسقا بٖىڃا راݗايۆ سە سلۉبۉدنا وٖ يەدناقا ۆ دۉستۉيانستوۆ وٖ پراوىما. ۉنا سۆ ۉبدارەنا رازۆمۉم وٖ سوۀشڃۆ وٖ ترەبا دا يەدنۉ پرەما درۆغۉمە پۉستۆپايۆ ۆ دۆحۆ براتستوا.
Bosnian (Latinica): Sva ljudska bića rađaju se slobodna i jednaka u dostojanstvu i pravima. Ona su obdarena razumom i sviješću i treba da jedno prema drugome postupaju u duhu bratstva.
English: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.


Bosnian (Arebica): تَهْرَان يە غلاونٖى وٖ نايوەڃٖى غراد إِيرَانا، سەدٖىشتە تَهْرَانسقە پۉقرايٖىنە وٖ يەدان ۉد نايوەڃٖىح غرادۉوا سوۀتا.
Bosnian (Latinica): Teheran je glavni i najveći grad Irana, sjedište Teheranske pokrajine i jedan od najvećih gradova svijeta.
English: Tehran is the capital and largest city of Iran, capital of Tehran Province and one of the largest cities in the world.

See also


  1. Hindi (2005). Keith Brown (ed.). Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (2 ed.). Elsevier. ISBN 0-08-044299-4.
  2. Foreword to "The Age of Phonetic Thought of Arabs and Arebica" by Aldin Mustafić
  • Enciklopedija leksikografskog zavoda, entry: Arabica. Jugoslavenski leksikografski zavod, Zagreb, 1966
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