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Numbers in Words!

February 2nd, 2010

Today, most people that use the Latin letters to write the Lebanese language on the web insert letters in the words they use to substitute for sounds that exist in the Lebanese language and that are lacking in the Latin alphabet. I am mainly writing this post to encourage anyone who want to write Lebanese, to use the Lebanese Latin Letters, and to download and install the keyboard to type them.

The most commonly used substitutions are the “3” for the “x”, the “7” for the “ḣ”, and the “2” for the “`”. This system started on chat rooms in the early 90’s and people just got used to it, and still use it. The problems that this system presents outweigh its convenience by far. The first problem is that it does not allow for proper spelling of words as they are actually pronounced in Lebanese. On the other hand, people are at a loss how to represent the sound of a word using such a system, because it lacks much more in terms inclinations that exist in the Lebanese language.

Because of this, additional numbers were introduced to supplement the primary 3 numbers, but it never gained popularity, and thus, the system remained defunct.

On the other hand, there are no spelling standards when you use such a system, and consequently, you cannot actually search for any information using search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and others. There is a lot of information, but it is scattered all around, and misspelled. This means that you can never find it.

Using the LLL system overcomes all these problems because of its convenience. The LLI has been using this system for years to teach people the proper Lebanese language, and the general public can use this system since all its tools are provided for free. So learn your alphabet, download the keyboard, and start typing.

If you have any questions or inquiries, we’ll be more than glad to help.


  1. February 4th, 2010 at 14:34 | #1

    The global way of writing Lebanese can not tolerate the use of numbers as alternate for letters in words for three main reasons: ( keeping in mind that we are talking about people from all over the world who are trying to read and write Lebanese, not only those in Lebanon who know both the Lebanese language and the Arabic language):

    1- The human eye normally scans the words, and with a number planted between the letters, the human eye will stop every time it encounters one. This will demote the Lebanese words form being composed from an alphabetical script to being just a form with which that people will have to guess. It is just if we are trying to teach people to use symbols from the time before our ancestors invented the alphabet.

    2- People who do not understand any Arabic, can not understand the significance of the number in a word, or which letter it is attempting to substitute. It is something that they really have never seen, nor need to learn.

    3-The people who use Latin letters in their language, will tend to read the numbers as they are accustomed to use them in their language. So using numbers to substitute for letters will confuse them.

    Example: the number 2 in English will be read as it sounds like when they write the word 2moro = tomorrow, also the number 4 like in b4 = before, so we can’t go and tell them that the number 2 will be read different than it sounds.

    Please let us know if you have any questions

  2. Marun
    February 14th, 2010 at 06:47 | #2

    That is true Tony,

    It is extremely confusing especially for foreigners to even try to understand this at all!

    Check this question on yahoo answers for example:


    It is a clear demonstration of the confusion this system creates.

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