Arabic language

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العربية al-ʻarabiyyah
Arabic albayancalligraphy.svg
al-ʿArabiyyah in written Arabic (Naskh script)
Pronunciation /al ʕarabijja/, /ʕarabiː/
Native to Majorities in the countries of the Arab League, minorities in neighboring countries: Israel, Iran, Turkey, Eritrea, Mali, Niger, Chad, Senegal, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Arabic-speaking communities in the Western world
Native speakers 295 million  (2010)[1]
Language family
Standard forms
Writing system Arabic alphabet
Arabic Braille
Syriac alphabet (Garshuni)
Hebrew alphabet (Judaeo-Arabic)
Official status
Official language in Standard Arabic is an official language of 27 states, the third most after English and French[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-1 ar
ISO 639-2 ara
ISO 639-3 ara Arabic (generic)
Arabic speaking world.svg
Use of Arabic as the sole official language (green) and an official language (blue)

Arabic (العربية) is a Semitic language, in the same family as Hebrew and Aramaic. Around 250 million people use it as their first language. Many more people can also understand it, but not as a first language. It is written with the Arabic alphabet, which is written from right to left, like Hebrew. Since it is so widely spoken throughout the world, it is one of the six official languages of the UN, alongside English, Spanish, French, Russian, and Chinese.

Many countries speak Arabic as an official language, but not all of them speak it the same way. There are many dialects, or varieties of a language, like Modern Standard Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, Gulf Arabic, Maghrebi Arabic, Levantine Arabic, and many others. Some of these dialects are so different from each other that they have a hard time understanding the other.

Most of the countries that use Arabic as their official language are in the Middle East. They are part of the Arab World. This is because the largest religion in the Middle East is Islam.

The language is very important in Islam, because Muslims believe that Allah (God) used it to talk to Muhammad through the Archangel Gabriel (Jibril), giving him the Quran in Arabic. Many Arabic speakers are Muslims, but not all are.

Arabic is also becoming a popular language to learn in the Western world, even though Arabic grammar is sometimes very hard to learn for native speakers of Indo-European languages. Many other languages have borrowed words from Arabic, because of its importance in history. Some English words that can be traced to Arabic are: sugar,[3] cotton,[4] magazine,[5] algebra,[6] ,alcohol[7] and Emir[8][9][10]

Arabic is an official language of:

It is also a national language of:

References[change | change source]