3arabizi, and other oddities of Arabic language interactions with modern technology

October 8, 2021

Baraa Orabi

Do you have an Arabic speaking friend (preferably an older millennial one)? Have you ever seen them texting? You might see something funny-looking like this one their screen: “2imta 7atou9al 3albeit?”, “3al3a9ir”, “Ok”. If you have, you probably wondered WTF is up with these numbers in the middle of the words?! Why are they writing in Latin script (wasn’t Arabic written in, hmm, Arabic script?)? Welcome to 3arabizi! In this UDLS talk, I’ll introduce some features of Arabic that gave rise to interesting phenomena when Arabic interacts with modern technology! Including what these numbers are, why I feel tensed up whenever I see Arabic writing in a movie or video game, and my personal thoughts on why Arabic is underserved in tech despite being one of the most spoken languages in the world! See you at the talk! Baraa, Bara2, /baraːʔ/, براء