Friday, June 13, 2008


Text messages are one of the most popular ways of communication amongst youths. UAE mobile penetration is more that 150% (I wouldn’t know how many SMS’s are sent in a day over the UAE network, you can have a guess). SMS has certainly changed the way we key in several words since we are allowed only 160 characters per SMS. For example we can type “u2” for you too or “gr8” = great.

If you happen to log on to an Arabic chat room you might be lost by what you may read. The most surprising part is how the combination of numbers and letter is used to communicate with each other. The language is often used to send text messages, which is perhaps interpreted by the Arabs of the internet generation. It is referred as Arabenglish or Arabizi by the young Arabs. The language has taken its present form as Arabic has only 28 alphabets, which have sounds that are not found in English.

Some of the Arabic letters are replaced by the following numbers the sounds of which are not found in English:

3 =Ain
7 =Haa
5 =Khaa
2 =Hamza
9 =Sa'ad
6 =Ta'af

One of the alphabets will be replaced by a number which has a different sound, for example - Mashroha can be written as Mashro7a.

Some other examples: -

3 - Saeed = Sa3ed
7 - Ahmed = A7ed
5 - Khan = 5an
2 - Asaf = As2f
9 - Sabur = 9bur

Have you tried communicating with your friends in a different style? We would like to know.
Numbers in Arabic for you:


  1. Great post, K. I always used to wonder what an arabic word which had numericals in it meant(used to find them in facebook always among my arabic friends)..U solved my query..Did u get this from an arab?



  2. Hi Jaff,

    Well I was always cusrious to know abt this when i saw a shop having numbers in it name. Yes I did speak to my arab colleagues to understand this concept.



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