1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Arabic
  4. >
  5. Arabic font size too small?

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eastwest_liou

Arabic font size too small?

Currently, I have a hard time reading the Arabic words in the current font size. So I am curious if other people experience the same, especially more advanced or native speakers.

Is this because I am new to the Arabic alphabet? Or is it really small?

October 4, 2019

19 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TJ_Q8
  • 1381

I don't know what system you are using but here is the story:
Each glyph of any font for any language is assigned a specific space inside a rectangle. Let's say this rectangle is X wide and Y high. When people make fonts, say for the Latin and Latin-based systems of writing, they have to leave some space above the letter so that in the future users can put accent, grave, circumflex marks and so on. Also, a tiny space is left below the letter or the glyph for the future to be used for other marks like cedilla or ogonek.
When it comes to Arabic, the makers should leave a space or margin in all four directions because we have the Harakat or diacritics which happen to occur above and below the letter. Moreover, some diacritics can occur on top of each other (like Shaddah with Dhamma for example ــُّــ). This contributes even more to the shrinkage of the Arabic glyph when making the font.

Now, if you are using any browser on PC, I think pressing CTRL and + would be enough to zoom the page. You can press as much as you like to zoom in (probably limited to 300% not sure). The percentage of the zooming usually appears on the address bar in the browser, this is how it is in my firefox. To get back to the regular size, I just click that number and it's all back to normal size.
If on Android, I'm really not sure. I heard some say there are fonts for Arabic that are large and such but I'm really blank when it comes to smart devices.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eastwest_liou

Thanks, that is enlightening. To be more specific, I have the problem with the translation exercises where you choose multiple words to form a sentence. The multiple-choice questions are fine, as a larger font size is used. I guess I'll just have to increase the font size when studying Arabic.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/annwitbrock

Yes, I've been using ctrl + on desktop browser, and it helps. Also, attempting to use gestures to zoom stretch the screen on android tablet, but I've given up trying on my phone.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/annwitbrock

The developers know about this, I mentioned it to them at duocon. To me it seems likely that using a larger css font (about 4pt bigger, I reckon) would help to address this quickly and simply, especially in the sentences, which often contain words we haven't seen before. In general, I agree almost all the arabic font is too small to see the letter shape, let alone the marks. It might be big enough if you are very young with good eye-sight and have been reading arabic for years but for the rest of us, it is a struggle to see the words.

On the plus side, it has made me listen more carefully, but that isn't really good enough.

The introduction to the sounds and letters and marks is far better than on memrise, which I was using before duolingo hatched arabic.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/georgetsilo

It is really small. At first I had same problem. Νow I have more experience and I can guess the symbols if I can't see them. It is in any case uncomfortable and tiring to see the small letters. many users have reported and complained about this. Ι hope they fix it some time.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tricho340

Also, on my Android phone I am noticing that certain characters are not displayed properly. But anyway, thumbs up for the course, I really like it!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EmmaLEdwards

I agree that the font is too small to read comfortably. I especially have trouble trying to distinguish the marks above the letters and, when you review the Arabic answers to the questions, the font is even smaller. I do really like the course, though.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nyagret

Duolingo could ameliorate the problem by choosing a more legible Arabic font. I looked at all the Arabic fonts on my Mac and the one that is easiest to read on a computer screen is called KufiStandardGK. The one that Duolingo has chosen for us is called Geeza Pro. It's one of the more difficult ones to read on a computer screen.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VitalyFedr

Using modern/computerized/simplified/textbook Arabic fonts is good only on the first stage. At some point being accustomed to some clearly readable and 'linear' fonts would become a problem -- when switching to real-life texts like newspapers and signage.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nyagret

I don't see why it would. On KufiStandardGK the diacritics at the top are legible, which is the bar that I held everything up to when evaluating all of the Arabic fonts. The loop at the bottom of the letter has been changed to something more rectangular, but learning with that font shouldn't make a more traditional font seem alien.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VitalyFedr

A test we did as an exercise: 1. Type some ligatures like ﳌ ﳜ ﳔ in Word, using Arial Unicode MS or any other beginner's font. 2. Copy the text side-by-side and change it to a default font (MS Uighur is widely preinstalled for example) 3. Feel the difference


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/0o0o0o0oo

Why is Arabic course so weak?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alebaqueiro

I study with OneNote for grammar and Google Sheets for vocabulary, I always increase the font size.

The "standard" font size is usually 12 but for arabic (and mandarim) I use 20.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Krizzards

It seems that since they are putting such a big emphasis on learning the writing system before the spoken language, they should make the script exercises at the beginning very large to make it easier to examine the nuances of the script. (I'd like to see a little more emphasis on spoken language, especially since many people who travel would like to say hello and thank you before reading script! I'd recommend trying another program first like Drops to get some vocabulary).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ILoveLanguages04

I don’t know how to help, but I find it cool that you’re learning Arabic. I already know the whole Arabic Alphabet and how to read and write it, but I don’t know how to speak it or the translations.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EdgardRefi

I had the same problem. Now, I installed an extension to the browser that enhances arabic script. It's way more legible, althought a bit uglier. The one I'm using is Wudooh.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/anginribut

There is nothing wrong with font size. Your eye will be comfortable once you used to it. I remember when i was learning Russian i have the same problem, then my brain starts to adapt the shapes and by the time Hey! I can read Cyrillic!. I suggest you to read a lot. Read read read even if none of syllables seem to be familiar with. Thanks for interesting in our language :) لولولولوللوييي


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Krizzards

People over 50, who tend to have myopia (need reading glasses), use Duo too. You don't get used to seeing a complete blur.

Related Discussions

Learn Arabic in just 5 minutes a day. For free.