ا (alif) and و when used as orthographic signs without phonetic significance are not represented in romanization.
- fa‘alū فعلوا
- ulā’ika أوقية
- ūqīyah أولائك
— ALA-LC guide to Arabic romanization (rule 4)
I was under the impression that in many ways, Arabic script is very phonetic. Yes, it is an (impure) abjad, so written words do not always reflect pronunciation precisely, and yes, Arabic has many regional variations of phonemes—but I never would have anticipated that its orthography would have features that are not at all reflected in the spoken language itself.
In what ways does Arabic use such letters as orthographic signs without phonetic significance?
Note: As an aspiring linguist, Arabic is of significan interest to me, though I do not know much about the elevated rules to forming Arabic sentences, inflecting nouns, etc. However, I can easily understand these concepts if they are outlined, regardless if I can emulate it myself.