How about blogging in Said Akl's "Lebanese" alphabet?

15 May, 2011 § 12

Last week, there was something on the news about a statue of Said Akl being unveiled in Zahle in his homage. It reminded me of this article I had read a couple of years ago about Said Akl's "Lebanese Language" in Bidoun Magazine.

I'm someone who loves the Arabic language and who won't go into the "Are we Arabs or Phoenicians" argument because it doesn't matter to me, we're all passers-by. But you have to salute Said Akl's radical nationalism (and I'm not necessarily referring to his rather controversial political views here, only to his literary ones).

So Akl's "Lebanese" is a Latinate version of colloquial Arabic, rooted in ancient Phoenician script. It uses Latin letters in addition to a few newly designed letters and some accented Latin letters to suit the Lebanese phonology. Below is an image of his alphabet.

He published a tabloid newspaper Lubnaan using the Lebanese dialect. It persisted for 15 years, despite finding limited favor amongst Lebanese and arabs.
I sadly couldn't find any images of this newspaper on the web and my scanner refuses to work today so I took some pictures of it from my mac cam, excuse the quality.

Said Akl once stated that literary Arabic would vanish from Lebanon. And the way things are going, I think the guy is a psychic! It isn't a statement to be proud of, but there's something about Lebanon that just refuses to be part of this region, we're different geography-wise, language-wise, culture-wise and religion-wise.

In all cases, theTurkish alphabet was latinized in 1928, it would've been real interesting for Lebanon to follow the same route. Specially with the rise of this neo-Arabic language being used online and in text messaging, Lebanese would have made it much easier.

If you feel like trying out the language, I found .ttf files for it with instructions on how to use the keyboard here, maybe we should start blogging with this language!

P.S.: Did you own that he was the one to suggest to Michel Aoun to begin his speeches with "O Great people of Lebanon" rather than "Ladies and Gentlemen"?

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§ 12 Response to “How about blogging in Said Akl's "Lebanese" alphabet?”

  • elie says:

    Thanks for the enriching info you keep pouring in your blogging space Nsrn, love the material..and yeah, although i love the Arabic language, and the Lebanese dialectic in particular; i think we need us this Said Akl Alphabet for some geopolitical & cultural anthropological reasons..
    Greatest of luck and keep on tackling our curiosity with your words..

  • samah says:
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  • samah says:

    That was a really enriching post although the "said akl language" seemed harder to me than Cyrillic!
    Keep it up Niss, I'm surprised ;)

  • Nsrn Srks says:

    @elie: thing is we would not lose the arabic language only the arabic writing. Some would argue the two are inseperable, Said Akl thought against it. He even said "I would cut out my arms just not to be an Arab"! That's kinda too radical and the arabic writing is really a very beautiful one, so I guess the controversy doesn't end.
    Thank you!

  • Nsrn Srks says:

    @Samah: I tried to read what was in the magazine too and it was pretty hard! Even with all the chatting these days, dissociating the arabic language from the arabic writing in a newspaper context took me a while!
    Anyway, thank you, your input means a lot :)

    @both of you: Sorry for the late reply!

  • Thanks for posting about the lebanese alphabet but unfortunately the link of the lebanese keyboard is no longer available,can you please send it to my e-mail I'll be more than thankful ah and please if your scanner works try to send me some pages of this newspaper,just to know how I can use this keyboard cz I think using numbers 2,3,7 instead of letters it's kinda stupid.

  • Anonymous says:

    The Lebanese Language

    "...A day will come when literary Arabic will vanish from Lebanon..." Said Akl. - This blog shows the many aspects of the origin, creation and development of the Lebanese language, inspired by a prominent Lebanese figure, Said Akl.

  • Diana says:

    Hi Nisrine,
    great article! I am currently writing my Master's thesis about this topic and I'd love to get my hands on Akl's alphabet but it seems the link to the .ttf file in the article is broken… could you send it to me? I would appreciate it… Thanks!
    - Diana

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Nisrine
    I'm glad I passed by your blog and post. Master Said Akl is my idol and if u like to know more about him check this link:
    Elie H

  • malp says:

    Hello :) Can you please send me a link to download Said Akl's Keyboard
    my mail is

    merci :)

  • Hello I also need the keyboard please ( is there any way to learn in better?

  • Anonymous says:

    apparently there is only font no keyboard, you can download from here
    the link to download it is in the purple box, in the middle.

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