One of the first things you learn in Arabic is the letter أ. And then ب and ت all the way on down to the 28th letter ي. And of course part of learning each letter is learning how each letter morphs according to its position in the word.
Here is where the first great rule of Arabic comes into play and you should write it down and remember it every time you’re learning something new: Arabic makes sense. Always always always look for patterns.
The alphabet is grouped so that letters that morph similarly are next to each other*:
أ ب ت ث ج ح خ د ذ ر ز س ش ص ض ط ظ ع غ ف ق ك ل م ن ه و ي
There are 6 oddball حروف (they’re the red ones above). They’re oddballs because they never change, and they only connect on the right. They’re easy to remember because when you transliterate them into English, they become (roughly) ‘the roads’.
You can remember them as ‘the roads (that dead end)’ because they don’t connect from the left side.
With the small exception of ي (because he keeps a tail when he’s at the end), all of these guys morph the same:
ب ت ث ن ي
As do these guys:
ج ح خ
ص ض ط ظ
These guys are the only exceptions! And there’s only 4 of them! So easy:
ك ل م ه
So ultimately you only have to memorize 6 letter formations. If you know the alphabet, you know that the neighbours are going to morph the same. You remember the exceptions (‘the roads (that dead-end)) and that the end is a bit wonky (these will be easy to remember because they don’t have neighbours).
(Master Tip: You WILL trip up on those dots. Just keep going. I think it took me two semesters to get those all straight. Eventually you will not trip, and it will be awesome.)