Spotted at the Damascus airport

Damascus airport signage

This sign was spotted at the Damascus airport. I personally thought it was hilarious (Thanks Dima).

For non-Arabic speakers, here is some explanation: Since the letter "P" doesn’t exist in the Arabic language, many Arabs find it difficult to pronounce, so they replace it with the letter "B". For the people in charge of "Brestige", it seems they are not only unable to say the letter "P" but they are also unable to write it.

By Natasha Tynes

Iā€™m a Jordanian-American journalist, writer, and media development professional based in Washington, DC.


  1. Ah! So “Brsteeg” = “Prestige”. I see. They also seem to be having some trouble with “Bartys” and “Wedeings” as well šŸ™‚ šŸ™‚

  2. That reminded me of the English teacher who spent a long time teaching his students that it is “Perhaps.. not Berhabs “. When he succeeded, he asked one student about its meaning. The student answered ” Roppama” ya ostaaz.

  3. Haha, great. There are a few really funny one’s like that here in Bahrain also. One of the signs that you see often is “No Barking”. I’ll have to take a photo before they get replaced.

  4. Blease, Natasha, why are you bashing my brothers??LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL….I have to email this around!!

  5. This is what I call Syrian self sufficiency šŸ™‚ Why should we, Arabs, abide by the Western-Centric way of writing things. We’ll just take English words, mispronounce it in Arabic, thus making them our own (that’s called ‘arabization’) and then.. We’ll write them in English, but in OUR OWN UNIQUE WAY :).
    This is called “fighting the enemy with his own weapons”. It also shows our ‘cultural uniqueness’, and that we have not been swallowed by Capitalist Globalizations.
    Wallhi shee BrsteeG

  6. I think the most difficult letter for Arabs to say , is the “R”. No matter how you say it, its always wrong.

  7. Reminds me of this dude in UJ, we used to nickname him “Shambo”
    I also remember receiving a “biktshar” from Syria that portrays two soldiers at a “chick point”. I will have look for it on my old computer and post it.

  8. Okay this is my first post, and i have to say, Natasha, I really like your blog.
    I was born and raised in Los Angeles but my parents were born in Jordan.
    I grew up hearing my parents doing the same exact thing with the letter “P” especially when pagers became popular and my older sister had to have one.
    Since then, it has been “Bager” around my house.

  9. Hi Linda,
    Welcome to Mental Mayhem. I’m glad to see you participate in this forum;-) There are many Jordanians who post here so I’m sure you can make lots of friends from your country of origin;-)

  10. Now why is the G capitalized at the end of the word….and how on Earth did you fathom the word “Prestige”???? I’ve always had a difficult time explaining to my cousins why I can’t understand those “Araglish” signs. At least they have the benefit of reading the Arabic text and understanding.

  11. That’s very true Lia, but my understanding is that Latin Americans pronounce the letter V while Spaniards refer to it as B. Is this right?

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