5 Things I’d Like to Share About the Arabic Language

Speaking Cultures Buddy, Maya, shares 5 cool tips about her native language to help us learn.

1. Arabic is the official language in 26 countries 

With more than 300 million speakers worldwide, Arabic is an official language in 26 countries.

It’s also one of the 6 official languages of the United Nations, and the UN declared December 18th as Arabic National Day when the language was officially approved in 2010.

2. Arabic is at least 1,500 years old

Classical Arabic originated in the sixth century, but earlier versions of the language existed, including the Safaitic dialect, an old Arabic dialect used by the pre-Islamic nomadic inhabitants of the Syro-Arabian desert. Some of its inscriptions date back to the first century.

3. There are three “types” of Arabic

Classical Arabic

Classical Arabic, otherwise known as Qu’ranic Arabic (used as a global, universal standard), dates back to the literary texts from Umayyad and Abbasid times; its the language of the Quran.

Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) (used as a global, universal standard)

MSA is the Arabic of newspapers, novels, and text-book. This literary variety of Arabic is used in writing and in most formal speech, and is pretty similar to Classical Arabic.

Colloquial Arabic (varies according to the region and country)

 magine having people in 26 countries with different geographical borders, cultures, cities, and groups, all speaking the same language…

The national or regional varieties of spoken Arabic differ significantly from MSA and Classical Arabic, as well as from each other!

For example, Syrians, Palestinians, Saudi Arabians or Egyptians can communicate with each other easily, however, would have more difficulty communicating with Moroccans or Algerians, with its greater influence from French.

4. Arabic words are written from right to left; numbers are written from left to right

This can be confusing if you are not a native speaker, meaning you might well end up in the right place at the wrong time on the wrong day. Make sure you learn the numbers well from day 1 and take comfort in knowing you are using left /right brain skills at the same time!

5. There are more than 100 words for camel!

Number 1: Al-Jafool’ means a camel that is frightened by anything. ( A nervous camel!!)

‘Trust in God, but tie up your camel’ is a great (and practical) Arabic proverb used to express the nature of destiny and personal responsibility.

The rest I set as a challenge for you to find out for yourself…or you ask me in the Arabic Group!

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