I need to put the Arabic words for deaf and restoration into an English language book review. I know what these should look from the book under review, but I can't find a guide for the Roman letters to use for transliteration in Babel.

For instance, \AR{ASm} is close for deaf (should be أصم), but there's an extra dot and the leftmost symbol might be off. (Embarrassingly, I know nothing about Arabic, as you can probably tell.) The sense of restoration is described as resetting broken bones; it is the word that led to "algebra."

I realize this is a much more basic question than many previous ones about putting documents in Arabic, and is really asking about a particular transliteration system that is old-school now. But there are people out there who still use COBOL; anyone up on this?

TeX code:

The Arabic word for deaf is close to \AR{ASm}, which has a strange connection 
to the mathematical term surd.
  • Is the transliteration provided by ArabTeX en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ArabTeX can help? If you provide a minimal tex document it would be helpful.
    – Name
    Nov 22, 2014 at 13:57
  • Thanks Name, I added the code. I found that wikipedia page, but the same commands of not work in Babel (the underscore makes TeX think it should be in a math environment, apostrophes and periods just come back as punctuation). I had tried ArabTeX, but it seems the font is set at 14pt and disrupts line spacing. Nov 22, 2014 at 15:07
  • For أصم you can use \AR{AaOm}.
    – Name
    Nov 22, 2014 at 16:35
  • Wonderful! Can you work out الجبر (restoration)? If this isn't too onerous, صفر (empty) and سمت (path) also? Please put these as an answer so I can acknowledge your help within the system. Nov 22, 2014 at 22:34

2 Answers 2


For أصم use \AR{AaOm}.

For صفر use \AR{Ofr}.

For سمت use \AR{smt}.

For الجبر use \AR{Al\jeem br} by using the package inputenc (unfortunately I am not able to do it without this package). In this case you can also use \AR{\alefhamza Om} which resembles more visually to أصم.

By the way, the Arabic word أصم is used for irrational [number] in most old mathematical texts in Persian, I am not sure about the Arabic. Literally it means "deaf" or "surd". But I think in Mathematics the "surd" is a more correct translation, see the Steingass Persian-English dictionary http://dsalsrv02.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.0:1:3290.steingass

In contemporary Arabic it seems that another term which has nothing to have with "surd" is used for irrational [number], see http://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D8%B9%D8%AF%D8%AF_%D8%BA%D9%8A%D8%B1_%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A8%D9%8A

  • Thank you so much. I really don't know how else I could have found this out. Regarding surd, Anthony Lo Bello's Origins of Mathematical Words explains that the Greek root, used as "not in proportion, not reasonable," literally meant "not having the use of words," which connected to أصم and the Latin translation surdus. It's not surprising that there's a different modern Arabic term for this; surd is fairly arcane in English language mathematics, but does have an interesting etymological story. Nov 23, 2014 at 16:04

This is a relatively comprehensive list of Arabic and Persian characters to use between \AR{} environment:

\hamza ء

\alefmadda آ

\alefhamza أ

\wawhamza ؤ

\aleflowerhamza إ

\yahamza ئ

\alef ا

\baa ب


\T ة %taa marbuuta

\taa ت

\thaa ث

\jeem ج


\Haa ح

\kha خ

\dal د

\dhal ذ

\ra ر

\zay ز

\seen س

\sheen ش

\sad ص

\dad ض

\Ta ط

\za ظ

\ayn ع

\ghayn غ


\keshchar ـ

\fa ف

\qaf ق


\kaf ك


\lam ل

\meem م

\nun ن

\ha ه

\waw و


\ya ي

\alefmaqsura ى

\nasb ً

\raff ٌ

\jarr ٍ

\fatha َ

\damma ُ

\kasra ِ

\shadda ّ

\sukun ْ


\tatweel ـ

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