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Character 3

I have just started lesson 5 in Arabic and an arabic character is written in western script as "3a", as if 3 was a letter. I can make no sense of this. What is it about?

November 24, 2019



3 represents the sound of ع


Does this mean that the sound is so different to anything in english, that it cannot be represented by some letter or combination of letters?

I find this a very odd decision by the designers of the course.


The decision was a logical one considering that it was around long before the duolingo arabic course started. In fact, it was already being used before duolingo came into existence. People have been using 3 to represent ع since the early days of the internet. Similary, 7 is used to represent ح

We only have 26 characters, so they had to find something besides letters to represent some of the Arabic ones. Here's a list of some numbers used to represent letters:



Thank you for that. It is very interesting (but I still find it odd).

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