is the mother tongue of speakers in twenty Middle-Eastern and North
African countries with a population of about 250 million people extending
from the Persian Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean. Arabic is the national
language of Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya,
Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan,
Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
Arabic is also the sacred language of twenty-four non-Arab Muslim
countries with a population of about one billion. Arabic is the language
of Islam, a rich literary tradition, and a civilization that contributed
greatly to all areas of human endeavor. The Arabic alphabet is the second
in use after only the Roman alphabet. The United Nations adopted Arabic as
one of its six official languages in 1974. Arabic has become indispensable
for anyone interested in Islamic studies, comparative theology,
Middle-Eastern studies, international law, political sciences, or
international business. Although there are many regional varieties of
Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is understood by all dialect speakers.
All native speakers learn MSA once they enter school.
Colloquial Arabic is the language spoken at home and in daily life
but it is rarely written. Classical Arabic, the language of the Muslim
holy book, the Qur'an, is used only in writing and rarely in speech.
Written Classical Arabic has changed little over the centuries.
Today, all literary, official, and media output is in MSA.
like Hebrew, is a Semitic language. They
share the root system for deriving words and many lexical terms.
Examining any dictionary will reveal that English, French, German,
Spanish, Italian, Greek, Russian, Persian, Aryan, Sanskrit, Hindi,
Chinese, and Latin have borrowed many words from Arabic. Words such as admiral, alcohol, algebra, average, checkmate, elixir, lute, magazine, saffron, tell, and
as many as 1000 other words passed from Arabic to European languages alone. Visit http://www.ajeeb.com for more information.
Arab world has become the focus of international attention because of the
production of oil and large-scale economic investments and development. Arabic is the language of world-class modern literature such
as the works of the Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz, an Egyptian
novelist; Gibran Khalil Gibran, a Lebanese poet and philosopher; and
Mahmoud Darwish, a Palestinian poet. Events in the Middle East affect our
daily lives, and the study of Arabic provides necessary insights to better
understand the cultural, ideological, and political forces of that vital
region of the world.
the Department of Africana Studies