Do you ever wonder how the phenomenon of the so-called language, Franco Arab, usage started in Egypt? Do you happen to come across this sort of typing in the most bizarre situations? Have you ever considered learning it? If you like, you’ll find several tutorials and articles about learning the Franco alphabet on several online platforms. Shouldn’t be too hard to grasp.


The rise of Franco in Egypt

As most of you probably already know, Franco is a method of typing Arabic words using English lettering. It began spreading drastically in our culture years ago at the time when cell-phones were being introduced in Egypt. Some say we started using it in SMSs as each English letter was equivalent to 2 Arabic ones and so writing with English letters gave us more space in a single SMS.

Others claim that with the rising popularity of chatting programs in the 2000s, most popular of them was the Msn, the phenomenon began to spread widely. The connection is that these programs did not provide Arabic in their chosen languages. So people started to use Franco more frequently as a result.

Ridiculous situations comes with typing in Franco   

Despite the reasons behind the rise of the infamous trend, which are obviously not the case anymore these days, we still use it quite often. In fact we see that it’s used in situations that seem totally out of place or even ridiculous. Imagine a journalism student from Cairo University sending an official email to a newspaper in Arabic written with English letters and numbers. Or first-year students from the American University in Cairo sending their professors emails using these coded messages.


Influence of bilingualism on the phenomenon   

Perhaps nowadays there is no obvious reason to use this style in typing. The only explanation for still using Franco, in other words Arabizi عربيزي, is that bilingual people tend to combine both languages together in their speech. Instead of switching to the other language on their keyboard, they just use the same letters for both languages. And that is how the newer phenomenon of texting English words with Arabic letters appeared.

When did we start texting English words in Arabic? 

For years now many people have realized the dangers Franco puts on our Arabic language. They decided to text and type in Egyptian Ameya instead. Ironically enough, people started texting any English word, that comes in their Arabic sentences, using Arabic letters. As long as they don’t go around sending official emails with mixed up letters and numbers, it is fine by all of us.

Honestly speaking using this method in texting and typing could have serious consequences. Especially if used frequently with children or young people. The reasons behind Franco usage is understandable at the time of its first appearance years ago. However, to keep using it is perhaps destructive to both language and culture and should be taken into consideration.