5 Facts about the Arabic language

18/12/2020 | Rebecca Twose

Happy World Arabic Language Day!

تهانينا بمناسبة اليوم العالمي للغة العربية

Arabic language day

Every year on the 18th of December the United Nations host World Arabic Language Day. Arabic has been one of  the six official languages of the United Nations since 1973, and the date coincides with when the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted Arabic as the sixth official language of the UN. To celebrate Arabic Language Day we have put together 5 facts about the Arabic language below!

  1. Arabic is the official language of 22 countries

These 22 countries form the Arab League which stretches from Southwest Asia to Northwest Africa. Arabic is also the liturgical language of over a billion Muslims around the world as it is the language of the Qur’an, the Holy Book of Islam.

  1. Arabic is the 5th most spoken language in the world

According to Babbel, recent numbers place Arabic at around 315 million native speakers making it the 5th most spoken language in the world after Chinese, Spanish, English and Hindi.

  1. There are two different forms of Arabic

Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is similar but easier than Classical Arabic. MSA is used in newspapers and by television presenters and politicians, as well as to teach Arabic as a foreign language. The other form of Arabic is Classical Arabic which is what the Qur’an is written in and is the base of the grammatical norms of the Arabic language. Classical Arabic is used by religious scholars and is taught in schools. Today, Classical Arabic is considered more of a written language than a spoken one.

  1. Arabic is written from right to left

Arabic words and sentences are written and read from right to left, and books and papers from back to front. However, Arabic numbers are read and written from left to right.

  1. Arabic is part of the Central Semitic language family

The Central Semitic language family includes Hebrew, Aramaic and Phoenician. Babbel also states that Arabic is believed to have evolved from Aramaic more than a millennium ago among the Bedouin nomadic tribes in the deserts of the Arabian peninsula.

So there you have our 5 facts about the Arabic language. If you have any more interesting facts about the Arabic language or culture then please share them with us in the comments below!

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One Reply to “5 Facts about the Arabic language”

  1. Arabic is also a prime example of diglossia, as any/all spoken versions differ relatively dramatically from both MSA & CA. It is also spoken in official, semi-offical or unofficial capacities by relatively long-established (perhaps even ‘idigenous’) communities in ca. seven other sovereign countries that are not the memebres of the 22-member Arab League you mentioned: Israel, Chad, Iran, Turkey, Nigeria, South Sudan & Cyprus (See the nearly moribund Cypriot Maronite Arabic). Furthermore, about 40% of Maltese grammar/vocabulary/syntax is Arabic, making it the only Semitic-based language spoken natively in the EU today. As for vocabulary and/or sript, it has influenced – both directly and indirectly – numerous languages and scripts spanning both Africa & Asia, and until a century or two ago, certain languages in Eastern & Balkan Europe were written in Arabic script, amongst other scripts as well. Today, the script is used from the Atlantic coast of Africa to within NW China, in a geographical continuum, although not all the languages covered are Arabic nor Semitic.

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