An Arabic language overview – Fun facts

An Arabic language overview – Fun facts

Ever wanted to know more about the Arabic language?

With over 250 million native speakers in the world, it is the sixth most spoken language in the world and one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

Where is Arabic spoken?
It is an official language in 21 countries stretching from Southwest Asia to Northwest Africa.Arabic language facts

There are two main forms of Arabic

  • Formal or classical Arabic is the language written in the Qur’an and the form which is taught in schools, although today it is written more than spoken.
  • Modern standard Arabic is much more commonly used and is understood across the Arab world.

As with other languages which are spoken across many countries, Arabic has many different dialects, although Modern standard Arabic is understood throughout. The most widely spoken dialect is Egyptian Arabic.

Written Arabic 

  • The language is written and read from right to left, meaning that books and documents are read from back to front. Numbers,Arabic language facts however, are written from left to right.
  • Arabic script is the second most widely used writing system in the word and words are always written with joined up letters.
  • There are 28 basic letters in the Arabic alphabet. Other languages which use the same alphabet include Farsi, Urdu, Pashto and Kurdish.
  • Arabic was originally written without dots above or below letters. The dots have been introduced more recently.

Is Arabic a difficult language to learn?

  • It does have a different root system to many European languages. Words are constructed from a three letter ‘root’ which conveys an idea. Letters are then added in and around this ‘root’ to create words. This makes Arabic a vocabulary rich language.
  • There are very few words which resemble English words, so learning vocabulary can be difficult. However once a few ‘roots’ have been learned vocabulary can get easier.

So what about the culture…

Did you know…?

  • The one piece garment traditionally worn by Arab men is called the ‘disdasha’ and the head cover is known as the ghutra or eid celebrationsmagh
  • Arab women traditionally wear a long black dress known as an ‘abaya’ with a headscarf called a ‘hijab’
  • Eid is the biggest celebration in Arabic culture
  • Arabic art and handicrafts are world famous
  • There is a regional multi-sport event held between nations from the Arab world called the Pan Arab Games
  • Poetry is the earliest form of Arabic literature

Click here for more information about our Arabic language translation services

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Comments (5)

  • Jane Marks Reply

    A very interesting overview of the Arabic language. Thank you, Jacqs. I imagine the Arabic script itself might be quite difficult to learn?

    16th August 2012 at 8:14 am
    • lizz Reply

      yes indeed it it difficult to learn but once you get the idea it would be quite easy
      and it’s awesome to now how to read and write arabic
      😉

      11th January 2013 at 6:25 pm
      • angel cullen Reply

        I find the Arabic alphabet, and reading and writing easier then speaking Arabic! I’m just learning That is how I found this page! Thank you.

        18th March 2013 at 2:19 am
  • marty Reply

    this website helped me out facts that i needed for school
    and has good facts

    4th February 2013 at 6:19 pm
  • Kazumi Reply

    I don’t know what brought me here. I’m an Arab and I speak fluent Arabic and I was learning Japanese and suddenly bumped into this. But I actually enjoyed reading it lol thanks~

    24th January 2014 at 6:32 am

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