Aralish is a kind of language which is used to communicate in the Arabic language over the Internet or for sending messages via cellular phones when the actual Arabic alphabet is unavailable for technical reasons. It is mainly a character encoding of Arabic to the Latin alphabet. Users of this alphabet have developed some special notations to transliterate some of the letters that do not exist in the Latin alphabet.
History: During the last few decades and especially since the 1990s, Western-invented text communication technologies have become increasingly prevalent in the Arab world, such as personal computers, the World Wide Web, email, bulletin board systems, IRC, instant messaging and mobile phone text messaging. Most of these technologies originally had the ability to communicate using the Latin alphabet only, and some of them still do not have the Arabic alphabet as an optional feature. As a result, Arabic speaking users communicated in these technologies by transliterating the Arabic text in to English using the Latin script. To handle those Arabic letters that do not have an approximate phonetic equivalent in the Latin script, numerals and other characters were appropriated. For example, the Latin numeral "3" is used to represent the Arabic letter "ayn".
There is no universal name for this type of transliteration, as it is relatively young and is only used in an informal setting. Some people have christened it Arabic Chat Alphabet because it was most often used to communicate on online chat services, the main name is "Aralish" or "Arabish" (as "Ara"/"Arab" stands for the first letters of "Arabic" and "Lish"/"ish" stands for the last letters of "English"), Egypt was one of the first countries if not the first one which used it, also there are some people who names it Franco-Arab.
Usage: Online communication, such as IRC, bulletin board systems, and blogs, are often run on systems or over protocols which don't support codepages or alternate charactersets. This system has gained common use and can be seen even in domain names such as "Qal3ah".
It is most commonly used by youths in the Arab world in very informal settings, for example communicating with friends or other youths. Aralish is never used in formal settings and is rarely, if ever, used for long communications. The length of any single communication in Aralish rarely ever exceeds more than a few sentences at a time.
Even though the Arabic Language is well integrated with every Windows XP and Macs, people still use it in Arabic Forums and Instant Messenging programs such as MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger because they don't always have Arabic keyboards.
Comparisons: Because of the informal nature of this system, there is no single "correct" way, so some character usage overlaps (eg 6, which is used sometimes for both "tah" and "hah").
Most of the characters in the system make use of the roman character (as used in English) that best approximates phonetically the Arabic letter that one wants to express (for example, "kaf" corresponds to k). This may sometimes vary due to regional variations in the pronunciation of the Arabic letter (eg. "geem" might be transliterated as j in the Gulf dialect, or as g in the Egyptian dialect).
Those letters that do not have a close phonetic approximate in roman are often expressed using numerals or other characters. These have been selected so that the numeral graphically approximate the Arabic letter that one wants to express (eg. "ayn" is represented using the numeral 3 because the latter looks like a horizontal reflection of the former).
Since many letters are distinguished from others solely by a dot above or below the main character, the conversions frequently used the same letter or number with a comma or apostrophe added before or after (eg. 3' is used to represent "gheen").
A sentence in Aralish:
Ana 7aroo7 3and 5aly El 6ob7
I'll go to my uncle in the morning