Arabic chat alphabet

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Arabic alphabet
ا    ب    ت    ث    ج    ح
خ    د    ذ    ر    ز    س
ش    ص    ض    ط    ظ    ع
غ    ف    ق    ك    ل
م    ن    ه‍    و    ي
History · Transliteration
Diacritics · Hamza ء
Numerals · Numeration

The Arabic chat alphabet or Arabish[citation needed] (عربيزي ‘Arabīzī[citation needed]) is used to communicate in the Arabic language over the Internet or for sending messages via cellular phones when the actual Arabic alphabet is unavailable for technical reasons. It is mainly a character encoding of Arabic to the Latin alphabet (ASCII). Users of this alphabet have developed some special notations to transliterate some of the letters that do not exist in the Latin alphabet (ASCII).[1]

There are no strict rules for conversion into Arabic chat alphabet; the table below represents how Latin alphabets (ASCII) are primarily used. The way of writing greatly varies by accent and country.

It is an SMS language that allows SMSes (text messages) to be sent in Arabic on a Latin alphabet (ASCII) keypad. Arabic letters are replaced by letters that are phonetically equivalent, or nearly equivalent, in English. Arabic letters that have no phonetic counterpart in English are represented by numbers, or numbers preceded by an accent mark.


[edit] History

During the last few decades and especially since the 1990s, Western-invented text communication technologies have become increasingly prevalent in the Arab world, such as personal computers, the World Wide Web, email, bulletin board systems, IRC, instant messaging and mobile phone text messaging. Most of these technologies originally had the ability to communicate using the Latin alphabet (ASCII) only, and some of them still do not have the Arabic alphabet as an optional feature. As a result, Arabic speaking users communicated in these technologies by transliterating the Arabic text in to English using the Latin script (ASCII). To handle those Arabic letters that do not have an approximate phonetic equivalent in the Latin script (ASCII), numerals and other characters were appropriated. For example, the numeral "3" is used to represent the Arabic letter "ع" ("ayn").

There is no universal name for this type of transliteration, as it is relatively young and is only used in an informal setting. Some people have named it Arabic chat alphabet because it was most often used to communicate on online chat services; the main name is "Aralish" or "Arabish" (a portmanteau of "Arabic" and "English"). The most frequently used term for such transliteration in Modern Standard Arabic is عربية الدردشة (ʿarabiyyat ad-dardašah), literally "Chat Arabic."

Though Arabish was once a necessity for sending SMSes in Arabic, phone service providers now widely offer Arabic alphabet support. Despite this, use of Arabish continues, in part due to its popularity, and in part due to its usefulness in transliterating Arabic to English.

Some traditional Arabs[citation needed], regardless of religion, view Arabish as a detrimental form of Westernization. Arabish emerged amid a growing trend among Arab youth, especially in Lebanon and Jordan, to incorporate English into Arabic as a form of slang. Arabish is used to replace Arabic script[citation needed], and this raises concerns regarding the preservation of the quality of the language.

[edit] Usage

Online communication, such as IRC, bulletin board systems, and blogs, are often run on systems or over protocols which do not support codepages or alternate character sets. This system has gained common use and can be seen even in domain names.

It is most commonly used by youths in the Arab world in very informal settings, for example communicating with friends or other youths. The Arabic Chat Alphabet is never used in formal settings and is rarely, if ever, used for long communications. The length of any single communication in ACA rarely if ever exceeds more than a few sentences.

Even though the Arabic language is well integrated with modern versions of Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, people still use it in Arabic Internet forums and instant Messaging programs such as Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger because they don't always have Arabic keyboards, or because they are more used to the Latin alphabet layout (QWERTY) for typing.

[edit] Comparison table

Because of the informal nature of this system, there is no single "correct" way, so some character usage overlaps (e.g. 6, which is used sometimes for both ط and ح).

Most of the characters in the system make use of the roman character (as used in English or French) that best approximates phonetically the Arabic letter that one wants to express (for example, ﻙ corresponds to k). This may sometimes vary due to regional variations in the pronunciation of the Arabic letter (e.g. ﺝ might be transliterated as j in the Gulf dialect, or as g in the Egyptian dialect).

Those letters that do not have a close phonetic approximate in the Latin alphabet (ASCII) are often expressed using numerals or other characters. These have been selected so that the numeral graphically approximate the Arabic letter that one wants to express (e.g. "ع" is represented using the numeral 3 because the latter looks like a horizontal reflection of the former). This usage is similar to a subconvention in the l33t form of text communication, wherein Roman letters are replaced with similar-looking numbers or symbols (e.g. $ for "S", 3 for "E", and 4 for "A").

Since many letters are distinguished from others solely by a dot above or below the main character, the conversions frequently used the same letter or number with an apostrophe or grave added before or after (e.g. 3' is used to represent "غ").

Arabic Chat IPA Formal transliteration
2 , ** 4 /ʔ/
3 /ʕ/
gh , 3' /ɣ/ ( /ʁ/ ) gh
7 /ħ/ h , H
kh , 5 , 7' /x/ kh
s , * S , ** 9 /sˁ/ s , S
d , * D , ** 9' /dˁ/ d , D
t , * T , * 6 , ** TH /tˁ/ t , T
z , * Z , ** ZH , ** 6' /zˁ//ðˁ/ z , Z , DH
2 , q , ** 9 , ** 8 /ʔ//q/ ' , q
a , ** I /æ(ː)/ , /ɑ(ː)/ ( /a(ː)/ ) a , aa
b /b/ b
d , ** v /d/ d
d , z , * dh , ** v' /d/ , /z/ , /ð/ d , z , dh
f , ** ph /f/ f
h /h/ h
g , j /ɡ//ʒ/ ( /ʤ/ ) g , j
k /k/ k
l , L /l/, /lˁ/ (in Allah only) l
m , ** p /m/ m
n /n/ n
r /r/ r
s /s/ s
sh , ch /ʃ/ sh , ch
t /t/ t
s , t , * th /s/ , /t/ , /θ/ s , t , th
w , o , u , ou , oo /w/ , /o(ː)/ , /u(ː)/ w , o , u , ou , oo
y , i , ee , e /j/ , /i(ː)/ , /e(ː)/ y , i , ee , e
z , ** j /z/ z

Most common:

  • 7=ح
  • 5=خ
  • 9=ص
  • '9=ض
  • 6=ط
  • '6=ظ
  • 3=ع
  • '3=غ
  • q=ق

  • Transliterations which have this mark ( * ) are not used very frequently.
  • Transliterations which have this mark ( ** ) are very rare and may not be understood by all Arabic speakers.
  • The "Formal transliteration" is written in formal writings; such as in names and maps, & can be used in chatting.

[edit] Examples

هذه ويكيبيديا القاموس المجاني على الانترنت
Arabizi transliteration: hathihi wikibedia al-qamus (2l-qamus) al-majjani (2l-majjani) 3ala al-internet.
ALA-LC Romanization: hadhihi wīkībīdīyā al-qāmūs al-majjānī al-intarnat.
English translation: This is Wikipedia, the free dictionary on the internet.
ذهب مع الريح
Arabizi transliteration: Thahaba ma3a ar-ree7 / Zahab ma3 ar-ree7
ALA-LC: Dhaba maʿa al-rīḥ
English translation: Gone with the Wind
كيف الطقس اليوم في مدينة الرياض؟
Arabizi transliteration: kayf(a) a66aqs(u) alyawm(a) fi madinat(i) arrya9'?
ALA-LC: kayf(a) al-ṭaqs(u) al-yawm(a) fī madīnat(i) al-Rīyāḍ?
English: "How is the weather in Riyadh today?"
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
Arabizi: As-salam(u) 3aleykum, wa ra7matu (A)llah(i) wa barakatuh(u)
ALA-LC: Al-salam(u) ʿalaykum wa-raḥmatu Allah wa-barakātuh(u)
English: "Peace be with you and God's Mercy and Blessings upon you" (a common greeting throughout the Arab world)
بصل أو طماطم
Arabizi: ba9al aw 6ama6em / basal aw tamatem
ALA-LC: baṣal ʾaw ṭamaṭam
English: Onion or tomato
بريطانيا العظمى
Arabizi: bri6ania al3o'6ma / britanya el 3ozma
ALA-LC: Brīṭānīyā al-ʿuẓmá
English: Great Britain

[edit] References

  1. ^ David Palfreyman; Muhamed al Khalil (November 2003). ""A Funky Language for Teenzz to Use": Representing Gulf Arabic in Instant Messaging". Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (USC Annenberg School for Communication) 9 (1). Retrieved on 2008-08-25. 

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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