I came across this list of numbers to represent sounds in Arabic netspeak:

2 is A

3 is a heavy (so heavy) A, sure you can't even pronounce it but you could replace with a regular A, no one would care

4 is basically (th) like the word (tho).

5 is k and h together it's hard to pronounce so you could just pronounce with a regular k

6 is kind of between hard T and hard D, a difficult letter for non-Arabic speakers, but you can just pronounce it as a T.

7 is the most common number that ME players use, it pronounces heavy H but you can pronounce it with a regular h

8 is basically (g) like in the word (go).

9 is a heavy S, but you can pronounce it with a regular s

How do the numbers relate to the Arabic alphabet? Is there a specific reason that the number matches the sound/letter?

Curious to see how all of this works.

  • 4
    The shapes of the numbers resemble the shapes of the Arabic letters the numbers stand for. You can start from here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_chat_alphabet
    – Yellow Sky
    Mar 2, 2023 at 22:52
  • 1
    The word "heavy" is doing a lot of heavy lifting here, but the majority of the cases are really referring to pharyngealisation or the emphatic series.
    – jogloran
    Mar 3, 2023 at 4:02

1 Answer 1


These numbers are chosen to resemble various Arabic letters that don't have Latin equivalents.

  • 2 is ء
  • 3 is ع‎
  • 5 is خ
  • 6 is ط‎
  • 7 is ح‎
  • 9 is ص‎

You can see that the number vaguely resembles the shape of the Arabic letter.

I'm not sure which letters they're describing for 4 and 8; there are multiple Arabic letters that could fit that description, and none of them look especially like the number.

  • The usage of 4 is typically used for "ش", but it's not used very much.
    – ieatglue
    Mar 6, 2023 at 14:07
  • 8 here is probably ق. They're probably describing a variety of Arabic that has undergone the /q/ > /g/ sound change.
    – Elliot Yu
    Oct 2, 2023 at 12:56

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