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Arabic letter 3

The symbol for the deep "A" is a 3,is this a mistake? If not why not?

July 13, 2019



In the 'Tips' there is no mention of this character, nor how it should be pronounced. This is a missed opportunity.

  • 1404

Well, in a time when internet was just starting to be widespread around the world and specifically in the Arab world, things were primitive a bit and typing Arabic and displaying Arabic text was not an easy task. Thus, gradually back then, specially those studying abroad, started to develop some ways to communicate using the typical Latin keyboard and characters. Not all people are fluent in English as we know, so they had to find a way to type Arabic (and its dialects) in Latin, and at that moment numbers were added to the set of characters along the letters for the sounds that are not available in English. Probably the most prominent ones are "3" "2" and "7" for (ع) (ء) and (ح) respectively. I think in Russian also, people sometimes use "4" for the letter "ch" in Russian


In Arabic, the letter 3 stands for the character "ع" which is called ayin.

I myself don't really know how to pronounce it, I've been told it is really hard for non-Arabs to learn. The lessons do not pronounce this character very effectively.

You will also come across the number 2, which stands for hamza, "ء"


It seems similar to the Hebrew Ayin which is a deep "A", meaning it's pronounced from the back of the throat. Thanks for the heads up on the hamza.

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