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Confusion with Descrip. 1

Let me preface this by saying that I am a native English speaker, but incredibly excited at the opportunity to learn Arabic.

I am currently on the Descrip. 1 lessons, and have encountered some confusion centered specifically around the parts with 'ki3aa', 'ba3ii', et cetera. Can someone please help me understand why there are numbers with these letters?

July 16, 2019




"3a'yn". That letter is called "3" because it does not exist in English but it looks like a flipped 3.

This sound exists in other languages too: Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac...

  • 1416

When internet started to be spread over, there were problems in typing and displaying Arabic text (and hence communicating), thus people invented a way to type sounds unavailable in English using numbers; Numbers that look like them. I've stated before in this forum that this is confusing for non-Arabs, but well, I guess no good substitute for the time being (I've created my own system but it's impractical as well). Things you will encounter:
.3 = ع
.7 = ح
.2 = ء

and maybe "9" for (ص) - some people invented more and some don't use many. It's quite not a stable system but we are able to read it in general; Like we know what a person means by such a character either by the context of the word or by resemblance of the letter and so on. It is not a standard thing, nor officially used any where, only in the cyber world.


Here they are not numbers, but the duo's transcription for the letter "ain" because the letter ain seems to be a reverse 3.


Thank you so much for the information, everyone!

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