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Monday, April 25, 2005

Let's Learn Arabic

To my eternal shame, I have lived in this country for 11 years, and have managed to learn about twenty Arabic words. Shocking, ain't it? I have tried, a bit, but unfortunately almost everyone spikka da Inglese, so you just get lazy.

Yesterday I phoned one of my clients, a big Government organisation in Abu Dhabi. I had to get the number from the phone book (it wasn't stored on my SIM card when I got my new phone), and I got the wrong one. I asked the guy, a local, to give me the number for the head office. 'Arba'a, ithnain..'. 'Whoa buddy, can we do that in English?', I said. And I did feel ashamed. I kinda know the Arabic numbers, but not confidently enough to use them. So, here we go, a quick tutorial.

0 sifer
1 wahed
2 ithnain
3 talaata
4 arba'a
5 khamsa
6 sitta
7 saba'a
8 tamania
9 tis'a

An interesting point, the numbers that we think of as 'arabic' are actually Indian (Hindi). The numbers that we use in the West (1,2,3 etc) are the true Arabic numbers! Bizarre. Another confusing thing is that even though Arabic text reads from right to left, the numbers read from left to right. Who am I to say it's crazy?

A few years ago the police in Sharjah decided that it would be sensible to use only Arabic numerals (the ones we think of as English) on vehicle registration plates. Deeply cool and much more legible than having both types of numbers or just the Hindi ones.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's thalatha and thamania...

9:44 am  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

It's tree and tirteen...

9:52 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...there's one in every squad...

10:37 pm  
Blogger rishabh said...

thank you very much,
this is a good start 4 me to learn the arebic




thx again

6:46 am  

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