LLL Script

May 25th, 2020


Lebanese Latin Letters The Lebanese Latin Letters





Pronunciation in English

2 Examples in Lebanese

Meaning in English

` (Alef)AlefThe beginning sound in “If”`mar, War`aMoons, Paper
AAA in Car or CatAlam, MaraPen, Woman
BBeB in BedBalad, ṪrabCountry, Soil
CCeSh in SheCajra, MicwarTree, Trip
DDeD in DoorDibb, AdabBear, Literature
ḊaHard DḊaw, BayḋaLight, Egg
EEe“a” in care or “ai” in fairEelib, WledCast, Children
FFeF in frogFaara, CarafMouse, Honor
GGeG in GlassGilal, ArgiileMarbles, Water pipe
ĠĠeG without closing air flowĠariib, CiġilStrange, Work
HHaH in homeHawa, NahirAir, River
ḢaHard HḢilo, BaḣirBeautiful, Sea
III in IntersectImm, SinnMother, Tooth
IIII“ee” in feed or “ea” in sealIid, AkiidHand, Sure
JJeG in Beige (J without d sound)Jabal, RijjelMountain, Man
KKeK in bookKalib, AkilDog, Food
ḰaJ in Spanish, Ch in GermanḰibiz, TaḱitBread, Bed
LLeL in landLaban, WaladYogurt, Child
MMeM in manMreye, NamleMirror, Ant
NNeN in nameNaḣle, JanneBee, Paradise
OOO in openOroppa, LozEurope, Almond
PPeP in PeterPliiz, Flipper***Please, Pinball
QQaHard K *Qaarra, IiqaaxContinent, Rhythm
RRaR in orangeRas, MrabbaHead, Jam
SSaS in SamSamke, RasmeFish, Drawing
ṠaHard SṠura, RaṡiifPicture, Pavement
TTeT in toyTalij, ZaytunSnow, Olive
ṪaHard TṪawiil, MaṫaarTall, Airport
UUoo in moon, u in JuneUḋa, ṪawusRoom, Peacock
VVeV in VictorViidyo***, Bravo**Video, Bravo
WWeW in wordWarde, Maw`afFlower, Parking
XXaA stretching tongue baseXacra, LixbeTen, Toy
YYeY in yellowYamiin, LaymunRight, Oranges
ZZeZ in ZebraZġiir, LawzeSmall, Almond
ŻŻaHard ZŻarif, BużaEnvelope, Icecream

Note: Pay special attention to letters shown in bold-blue.

Letters used to pronounce sounds from other Semitic languages such as:

*Arabic and Aramaic  

** French  

*** English words used in Lebanese





Rules: There are four basic rules to reading and writing Lebanese as you speak it in the LLL system.

1- All letters are pronounced in one unique way. Also,  a letter that is always pronounced, if it is in a word, whether in the beginning, middle or end.

2- A unique characteristic of Lebanese is the use of a short “Alef” in the middle of the word. Words such as “Mas’ul”, “War’a”, or “Ra’am”, should be treated as if you are pronouncing 2 separate words joined together, they are pronounced respectively; mas ul, war a and ra am.

3- When using double of a consonant, like “rr” or “tt” etc.. you stress on the R or T letters in the respective words. When doubling one of the vowels: a, e or o, using aa, ee or oo the vowel is pronounced longer.

4- When you are not able to pronounce the Lebanese letters: “Ḋ”, “Ġ”, “Ḣ”, “Ḱ”, “Ṡ”, “Ṫ” and “Ż”, the closest letter to substitute will be: D, G, H, K, S, T, Z.

As for the letter X, if you were not able to pronounce it, you can just “X” it out, or remove it from the word. For example the word xale (means high), is very close to the Lebanese pronunciation if pronounced ale.

Understanding these four basic rules will give a key into reading and writing Lebanese exactly as you speak it. These are pretty much the only rules you need to know in order to be able to unlock the system no matter what your native language is.

In addition, you have to learn to pronounce new sounds characteristic of most semitic languages:

The “Ḋ”, “Ġ”, “Ḣ”, “Ḱ”, “Ṡ”, “Ṫ” and “Ż”.


  1. John
    September 30th, 2008 at 18:04 | #1

    Hi! i think what you are doing is brilliant! good luck and i really hope you’ll be successful in promoting this latin system.
    xan jadd, bravo xlaykon!
    but we need a standard for all the lebanese words. i just read you’re currently building a lebanese dictionary which will do just that! a written standard for the new alphabet.

    however, i dont understand the point of some of the letters you gave above, for example:
    -in the last example Mażbuṫ: why have a heavy T when the word Mażbut will sound exactly the same! (Mażbuṫ = Mażbut)
    -same goes with Bayḋa! (Bayḋa = Bayda) … why have a heavy D ? it will sound the same anyway.
    – Ṡura = Sura (no need for heavy S! i dont think anyway)
    – Ṫarii` = Tarii` (no need for heavy T!)

    i think the heavy sounds on the S, D, T etc are a traditional arabic sound and would be unused in the lebanese language. unless off course i am mistaken. maybe there are more examples you can give me to clarify this?!

    finally, why have II when we can have Ï ? badde ruhv la honiik (badde ruhv la honïk) – or – iide w ïdak – Hvabiibe w Hvabïbak ???

    brill website in any case

  2. maroun
    April 8th, 2009 at 10:01 | #2


    In reply to your comment, I will take an example of Bayda vs. Bayḋa. The Bayda is an Arabic word that means the “Desert”, whereas the “Bayḋa” means an egg. There are many of these words, and if we need to create a proper dictionary, these simple variations are necessary, especially when conjugation will come into play for all the words.

    We have also considered the i with a double dot. and even though it looks acceptable standing alone, ï , you can see when you put it in the word the double dot interferes with the rest of the letters.

    example: Ḣabïbak.

    I hope I addressed some of your questions here.

  3. April 25th, 2009 at 16:55 | #3


    I agree with you on this point. While Lebanon is home to many variations on the accent–some softer, some nuance their pronunciation–it is also important–moreover a responsibility of Lebanese speakers–to make this distinction known.
    I have many friends who don’t distinguish between what can be called, “heavy letters”, and others who do.

    John,consider too that many will be critical of your choosing not do so, dismissing it as “because you are anglophone,” and not because it was intentional. In Linguistics this called a “fault” where native speakers deliberately ignore a prescriptive grammar rule. It is more forgivable for native speakers than for those who are trying to learn the language.

    Just so food for thought,


  4. 260217370
    November 10th, 2009 at 17:28 | #4

    I see the merit of simplifying the alphabet to a Latin-based system (to help people learn the language, and communicate electronically, and perhaps to allow a smoother integration of foreign proper nouns and other vocabulary).

    But choice of alphabet would be influenced by the setting. This seems well-suited to the informal world of web chat rooms, text messaging and facebook (in which case many people already use the Latin alphabet to write Arabic-influenced dialects and languages, though often using numerals to designate additional sounds. But I wonder if this alphabet, or even if the Lebanese vernacular itself, are used much in more formal settings. My understanding is that Modern Standard Arabic, French, and even English dominate formal language in Lebanon. If Lebanese is to seek to upgrade itself as master in its own land, it will need a dignified written and alphabetic convention.

    That may be this Latin system, or it may lie in a some other system closer to the history of Lebanon. If not Arabic script, then perhaps in an Aramaic script, such as the Babylonian literary type standard employed in Hebrew, or the Syriac alphabet. Either one would come already well-equipped for the vocalizations present in Lebanese language. Of course the old Phoenician/Canaanite/Ancient Hebrew systems are plausible too, though they were generally replaced by Aramaic alphabets with the rise of formal writing and later press publication, and generally still look like stone carvings.

    With new technology there are a few scenarios for languages in the Middle East. Standard Arabic could consolidate its presence over the local dialects and vernaculars with the spread of a common media market. Alternatively French and English could become so widespread in formal settings that Standard Arabic fades, and the lingua franca for international communication between Middle Eastern states may become French or Arabic. Groups could work consciously to make one or the other of this happen. I think local dialects could actually be strengthened by proclaiming their independence from Arabic, and by displacing MSA with French and English to communicate beyond the local region.

    In this case, Lebanese could be upgraded within Lebanon, and could potentially replace MSA in national media and culture. To declare its full autonomy from the Arab world an alphabetic switch could be useful, though the Latin alphabet may lose some of the history. A Babylonian alphabet might be controversial or unacceptable given that it is shared by Israeli Hebrew speakers. But a Syriac alphabet is native to the region and not associated with what I assume many see as the enemy.

  5. Marun
    December 21st, 2009 at 10:25 | #5


    What you should remember is that the eastern or Semitic approach to writing a language differs greatly from the western or Latin approach. the problem is in the lack of vowels system in the Arabic, Syriac, Aramaic, Phoenician, Hebrew, Babylonian, etc… systems. Latinizing the alphabet means the adoption of a “vowel” based system. This has nothing to do with politics, religion, or other non-linguistic based theories. This is purely a linguistic approach towards making the Lebanese Language easier to learn.

  6. Joseph
    March 29th, 2011 at 00:38 | #6

    Dear Sylvie,

    Try to add a bookmark in your browser give it a name “libnene” and the following as URL. Once on a page, click on the link of the bookmark and you will be able to write in Lebanese.

    javascript:(function(){var script=document.createElement('script');

  7. Roy
    October 17th, 2011 at 05:13 | #7

    Hello, please can you clarify the difference between the i and the e? because it’s confusing and they sound the same, for example should I write Enno or Inno? Thank you, and keep up the good work

  8. Roy
    October 17th, 2011 at 05:14 | #8

    yaxne or yaxni?

  9. Marun
    October 17th, 2011 at 11:32 | #9


    That is a good question by the way. It is difficult to regulate this with the Lebanese population, because we have different accents.

    I personally tend to use the “i” as word endings, for example:

    Inno Yixni (I don’t say yaxni)

    I also always use the “e” as a long sound always, no matter if it comes in the end of the word, in the beginning or middle:

    “e” (meaning yes)
    rame (he threw him)
    el (he said)
    wedi (valley)

    I find that this simplifies things. Others might approach this differently though. I think that when many people start to use the system, it will sort itself out eventually into a unified pattern.

  10. Roy
    December 25th, 2011 at 05:57 | #10

    Hi again, I have a question, if I want to say: The Door, do I say lbeb or l beb? lyom or l yom? thank you, w miled majiid 🙂

  11. Roy
    December 25th, 2011 at 06:10 | #11

    and what’s the difference between ee and e? thank you

  12. Roy
    December 25th, 2011 at 06:51 | #12

    oh and one more thing, is your alphabet inspired by ṡaid Akl’s?

  13. marcosruben
    December 16th, 2013 at 17:23 | #13

    As a learner of the lebanese language, I must say this script system is very practical and I hope it was used more widely in the future.
    We need more reading materials written in this system. You can create a new blog with only readings in lebanese for lebanese learners in this script.
    Or even you must create a new wikipedia, a lebanese language wikipedia. There is already a project of wikipedia in northen levantine but it is inactive. You must create a new project and find people that could help with it until it will be approved and officially we have a new wikipedia in lebanese.nshallah we have a lebanese wikipedia in 2015 🙂



    wikipedia in marroccan arabic:

  14. Mwh96
    May 22nd, 2017 at 09:39 | #14

    This is awesome.
    I just suggest to use “HEAVY” instead of “HARD”. It just makes more sense, at least for me. It would be easier for a foreigner to imagine the sound.

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