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Lesson "Descrip 1"

I am a new learner of Arabic, as my wife and I hope to work in the Middle East next year. So far I am enjoying it very much, although I am still in the introductory lessons.

I am very puzzled by the lesson "Descrip 1" which often includes made-up script sounds with the number "3" stuck in the middle of phonetic sounds. So it will ask me for instance which arabic script means "bii3"

Is this just a bug, or do numerals have some sort of meaning in Arabic that I am missing?

I apologise if this is a really stupid question, but as I mentioned above I am an absolute beginner at this.



September 27, 2019


  • 1383

Well, this sound is not common in European languages so commonly, in the internet-age, people adapted the number "3" to write it down along with the rest of the Latin alphabet. It stands for the letter ع and was picked because of the similarity in shape. There are plenty of others as well but I'm not sure if Duolingo uses them:
2 = ء (hamza)
6 = ط
7 = ح

and there are others but anyway they are not a standard or official or anything, so many people might use different methods to convey sounds not available in English. However, the usage of "3" is quite common.


Oh thank you so much!

Can you guide me how to properly pronounce ع please? I am not really picking it up from the app.

  • 1383

Welllll ..... i think youtube is the place to go to : https://youtu.be/OSwHMvc0zM4

and there are more videos like this all over


Very helpful. Thank You.


You need to read the Tips & Notes. They are on the web and mobile web version of Duolingo but not on the app. You can also find them here: https://www.duome.eu/tips/en/ar

But generally I would suggest that you find other resources to learn Arabic because this course here is very problematic.

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