Yo Lebanon!!! Wazzzzzzuuuuuuuuuup?
Another Monday, another week... I hope everybody had a nice weekend...
When the Internet was introduced in Lebanon, it was impossible to write in Arabic. Email programs and chat rooms only supported few non-Latin languages, and Arabic wasn't one of them. We had to stick to English or French when typing until we found a way to overcome this problem...
We started to write Lebanese*... Lebanese!?
Yes Lebanon, and by writing Lebanese, I mean using Latin characters to write Arabic words. We had already done so a million times... Since schooldays, we had to write the names of our cities and villages in French and English on non-Arabic forms. Even now, my home address contains the word "Jdeideh", the Lebanese equivalent to "new".
Having the reputation for adapting to all situations, Lebanese people started to write Lebanese in chat rooms... We even created characters for the sounds not available in Latin. So instead of using "h" for writing "habibi" (which means "my love"), we started to use the number 7 to write "7abibi". This way, translating from characters to sounds was faster and clearer. We also used the number 2 for the Arabic "A" and its variations, and the number 3 for a previously written "aa" sound. For example, the translation of the word "crowded" became "3aj2a", a word impossible to write previously.
Lebanese became the standard for writing in chat rooms, and later the same thing happened with mobile phones messages known as SMS.
Few years later, the option to write Arabic became available, but apparently, few are the people who can type it quickly on a computer or a mobile phone. The Lebanese language proved to be more practical, faster and more effective when it came to expressing ourselves in writing.
We think Lebanese, we speak Lebanese and we write Lebanese.
Some say we are Arabs, others say we are Phoenicians (I know I say so), but one thing is for sure... We are LEBANESE!!!
* I believe Mr. Said Akel was the first person to come up with the Lebanese language idea, but he encountered opposition by the advocates of the Arabic Lebanon ideology.