Using simple ciphers based on modular arithmetic to illustrate facts
about the integers is now a relatively common part of the discrete
mathematics and number theory curricula. However, most of the time
these illustrations stick to ciphers based on the English version of
the Roman alphabet, which has 26 letters. Other languages have
different numbers of letters --- from as few as eleven or twelve
(depending on how you count) for some Pacific languages to more than
50 for some languages of India and of the Caucasus region. But from
the point of view of number theory, the important question is not how
large the alphabet is, but the prime factorization of the number of
letters! We will explore some effects that this prime factorization
has on common arithmetic ciphers.