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A lesson on Arabic numbers

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by thegriz, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. thegriz

    thegriz Well-Known Member

    If you purchase or sell a firearm of Arabic origin you might find this little photo helpful:


    It is from the Wikipedia page on Arabic numbers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_numerals

    Serial numbers may be in Arabic. Just use the phone pad to translate to English. For all you FFL's out there I don't know the correct method for recording these numbers but I guess I would write the translated numbers with the Arabic symbols in parenthesis.

    If anybody has any other input please share it.
  2. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Nice! Thanks.:D
  3. Zero_DgZ

    Zero_DgZ Well-Known Member

    Point. I wonder what the ATF would think if you filled out the model and serial number fields of a form in Arabic.

    They'd probably stick you on some sort of watch list, just because.
  4. AndyC

    AndyC Well-Known Member

    Just for grins, here's the pronounciation (may differ from area to area, but this is how the Iraqis pronounce them):

    0 - siffer
    1 - wa-het
    2 - thnayn
    3 - tlatha
    4 - arba-ah
    5 - kamsa
    6 - sit-teh
    7 - saba-ah
    8 - thmahnee-ah
    9 - tissa-ah
    10 - ashra

    I also noticed that even though Arabic is written right-to-left, numerals like 2007 are written left-to-right as we would do it - apparently because they still read the smaller numbers first ie right-to-left.
  5. mp510

    mp510 Well-Known Member

    The ATF Import Division manual says that the importer is required to reserialize the weapon if the serial number contains characters other than our alphanumeric characters to avoid confusion if the weapon is traced. Some foreign characters have no or multiple English equivelants.

    This really became an issue when guns started coming in from the former Communist bloc esp Russia and Bulgaria.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2007
  6. Big Calhoun

    Big Calhoun Well-Known Member

    Also, that looks to be what is considered 'International Arabic' which varies greatly from what is spoken and writen locally from region to region. Basically the same as having English, but then you have English as is spoken in the UK, English as is spoken in the U.S., English as is spoken in certain parts of the caribbean, etc. etc.
  7. Henry Bowman

    Henry Bowman Senior Member

    I always thought that our numerals were considered "Arabic" (as opposed to Roman). Guess not, eh?
  8. forrestd

    forrestd Well-Known Member

    We use western Arabic numerals. The ones in the picture in the original post are eastern Arabic (sometimes called Arab-Indic) numerals.
  9. Lucky

    Lucky Well-Known Member

    What's the difference between 2 and 3?
  10. Big Calhoun

    Big Calhoun Well-Known Member

    There's an extension on the top right, extending right, that differentiates 2 from 3.
  11. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Well-Known Member

    Our numerals are modified Arabic numerals, and they are arranged in a different order.

    Single half-circle on top of 2, double on 3. Easy way to see that our numbers are converted from traditional Arabic numbers is to turn the 2 on its side so that the line that is horizontal is on the left. Then turn the 3 on its side the same way, and draw a similar vertical line on the left.
  12. jessicalois

    jessicalois Member

    my arabic teacher told us that modern arabic uses hindi numbers, which is why they don't look like our "arabic" numbers.
  13. TallPine

    TallPine Well-Known Member

  14. Kentak

    Kentak Well-Known Member


    We do use the Arabic numeral system, that is, the system using ten glyphs (0-9) and place values based on powers of ten. You could replace the glyphs 0-9 with A-J or make up your own, and it would still be the Arabic numeral system.

    This is very different from the Roman numeral system which not only had different glyphs, but a totally different way of determining the value of the number. In Roman numerals, the glyph V always has a value of "five." In Arabic numerals the glyph 5 can have a value of "five," "fifty," "five hundred million," or "five ten thousandths" depending on its position in the number.


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