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Numbers are part of our daily lives. We use them to tell our age, the time or the price of a product. Arabic numbers are actually easy to master once you understand the basics.
In this article, I’ll explain to you all you need to know about Arabic numbers and how to count in Arabic. You’ll also find an overview of all numbers written in words to help you write and say any number in Arabic.
3 Important Facts about Numbers in Arabic
Before we have a look at the numbers, let me tell you three interesting facts about numeral systems and how to correctly write numbers in Arabic. Make sure you read them (especially the third one), as this will greatly help you when learning Arabic.
What are Arabic Numbers?
As confusing as it might sound, the numbers we’re using in the Latin Script (e.g. in English) are called Arabic numerals. Yes, you read it right. Our 1, 2, 3 are actually Arabic numerals!
Why are our numbers called Arabic numerals? These numerals were initially invented by mathematicians in India. Arabs rightly referred to them as Hindu numerals. Over the centuries, the way of writing the numbers has greatly evolved.
The initial Hindu numeral system evolved into multiple numeral systems, including the Western Arabic numerals, Eastern Arabic numerals and Devanagari (used in India today).
The Western Arabic numeral system was introduced to Europe by Arab traders in the 10th century. They started to be broadly accepted during the 15th century with the invention of the printing press.
Arabs Use Two Numeral Systems
In the Middle East, you’ll find both the Eastern Arabic numeral system as well as the Western Arabic numeral system. Again, Western Arabic refers to the numbers we’re using in the Latin script, while Eastern Arabic are the numbers in the Arabic script.
However, people in the Middle East don’t always use the Arabic numbers. Like the rest of the world, Arabs rely a lot on the “Western” numerals when writing.
That being said, it’s quite common to see any of the two ways in Arabic writing:
- قديش عمرك؟ انا 25
- قديش عمرك؟ انا ٢٥
Numbers are Written from Left to Right
If you are familiar with the Arabic script, you’ll surely know that Arabic is written from right to left. However, numbers are an exception to this rule. In Arabic, numbers are always written from left to right.
This makes total sense when using Western Arabic numerals (1,2,3 as they are used in English). However, this also applies when we write Eastern numerals (the modern Arabic numbers in today’s Arabic script).
Arabic Numbers 1-10
The most important numbers to start with are the Arabic numbers 1 to 10. In fact, if you know how to write these numbers, you’ll be able to write any other number in Arabic!
Sometimes (for example on bank documents) you don’t only find the number as a numeral, but also the numbers in words. I’ve included the Arabic numbers in words in the Arabic script as you’ll find them on any official document in Modern Standard Arabic.
The Latin script can help you with the correct pronunciation if you can’t read Arabic. Note that the pronunciation varies from one country to another. I’m using Levantine Arabic (common in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine) and widely understood across the Middle East. By the way, learning the Arabic alphabet will greatly help you with the correct pronunciation of Arabic words.
|Arabic Number |
Arabic Numbers until 100
The first part was probably the hardest part. Arabic numbers 1-10 need to be learnt by heart (there’s no shortcut here). Once you know how to pronounce and read these numbers, the Arabic numbers until 100 will be much easier.
The way Arabic numbers are pronounced is very similar to English. No complex names or math involved like in French (where 94 is pronounced as 4×20+14). So in that sense, learning Arabic numbers isn’t that complicated after all.
Same as in English, you’ll still need to learn the numbers 11 and 12. Counting from 13 to 19, the principle is easy. For example, thirteen (13) is composed of 3 + 10.
For numbers greater than 20, the order in which the numbers are pronounced is reversed. Instead of saying twentyfive (25), you’ll say “five and twenty” (khamseh ou e’shreen) in Arabic. This only applies to the pronunciation, not to the way numbers are written (see my rules on Arabic numbers at the beginning of this article).
|Arabic Number |
|21||٢١||wahad ou e’shreen||واحد و عشرون|
|22||٢٢||tneen ou e’shreen||إثنان و عشرون|
|23||٢٣||talateh ou e’shreen||ثلاثة و عشرون|
|24||٢٤||arba’ah ou e’shreen||أربعة و عشرون|
|25||٢٥||khamseh ou e’shreen||خمسة و عشرون|
|26||٢٦||seteh ou e’shreen||ستة و عشرون|
|27||٢٧||saba’a ou e’shreen||سبعة و عشرون|
|28||٢٨||tamanyeh ou e’shreen||ثمانية و عشرون|
|29||٢٩||tesa’ah ou e’shreen||تسعة و عشرون|
Arabic Numbers >100
Small numbers are definitely the most frequently used numbers in daily life. Once you master them, learning numbers greater than 100 will be even easier. The principle is the same as with the numbers mentioned above. Arabic numbers are composed the same way as in English, for example twohundred (200) or tenthousand (10,000).
The only numbers you’ll need to learn by heart are the names for houndred, thousand, million and billion. The rest is pretty straightforward once you understand the idea behind Arabic numbers.
|Arabic Number |
Did you like this article or do you have any questions? Let me know your feedback or questions in the comments below!