Arabic Facts – 20 Interesting Things You May Not Know About Arabic
As you begin studying Arabic, you’ll learn a lot about both the language and the culture. However, there are some Arabic facts and secrets that you won’t find in a textbook or on an online app (except for the Kaleela Arabic learning app, of course).
Here are 20 of them:
- Around 420 million people speak Arabic. It ranks as the 5th most spoken language in the whole world after Mandarin, Spanish, English and Hindi!
- Many of the most popular languages in the world have been influenced by Arabic. For example, English, Spanish, Indonesian, French, Persian, Urdu, Kurdish, Bengali, Hindu, Malay, Tagalog, Portuguese and Turkish.
- Speaking of influence, Arabic is a member of the Semitic languages family. It was also influenced by other languages such as Aramaic, Hebrew, Persian, and Hellenistic Greek. For example, the word “madina” (meaning city) is of Hebrew origin.
- The Maltese language is considered a branch of Arabic and is also the only Arabic dialect written in Latin alphabet!
- While it’s true that classical Arabic only dates back to the 6th century, the Arabic language is, in fact, at least 1,500 years old. Older versions of the language and dialects exist. This is before the emergence of Islam dating as far back as the 2nd century BCE when the Nabataeans. They lived in what is known as Jordan today. They wrote a cursive Aramaic which developed into the Arabic alphabet.
- The Arabic language has an “abjad” system and not an alphabet. The Arabic abjad is made up of 28 letters, written from right to left. All of the letters are consonants, since the vowels in Arabic are denoted by diacritics. These are marks that can be added either on top or underneath the letters.
- Each Arabic alphabet letter can be written in four different ways when writing a word. Either stand-alone or isolated, when it is at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of the word.
- The Arabic alphabet includes letters or sounds that other languages do not have. For example, you have Haa, Kha, Ayn, Ghain, Dad, Haa, Saa, Taa, Thaa, Qaf, and some unique sounds like the rolled “r” which is similar to Spanish r. Then there’s also the raspy Kh, the gargling GH and the glottal stop “ayn” which doesn’t have an equivalent in English.
Speaking of Arabic letters pronunciation, check out our article about the Arabic alphabet.
Now let’s get back to our list:
- Arabic language is a cursive language. Remember, however, that each letter has four different forms depending on its position in the word.
- Arabic language has almost unlimited vocabulary, with no exact or verified number of words. Sources are conflicting and claim it can be between 100,000 to 500 million; nevertheless, there is no definitive answer.
- While you write words from right to left in Arabic, numbers are the opposite, from left to right.
- Arabic uses punctuation marks like other languages. However, they are backwards! Since Arabic is from write to left, doesn’t that make sense؟
- In case you’re wondering, “Does Arabic use capital letters?” the answer is no.
- There is no verb “to be” in the Arabic language.
- There are at least 11 words for “love” (Hubb, حب), and a 100 for “camel” (Jamal, جمل).
- It will take you between 1,000 and 1,500 hours to reach the high intermediate level in Arabic.
- People often consider Arabic as one of the hardest languages to learn after Chinese. However, recent studies have shown that it’s actually not really that much harder to learn than other languages. Just the approach is different because of the way the letters and the root system of words. So it’s not the language, it’s the approach to it that is difficult.
Did you know that meters of rhymed Arabic poetry are very difficult? Additionally, Arabic poetry played an important part in Arabic culture history and language. For example, poetry played an important role in war propaganda, praise and mockery. Very often, poetry battles would stand in lieu of real war-field battles.
Here are a couple of Arabic literature facts especially when it comes to Arabic poetry:
- Arabic calligraphy started as a tool of communication. It started as an artistic expression such as construction, design, currency. In fact, modern artists consider Arabic calligraphy its own separate area of the arts.
- Many students in the Arab world treat the language as “inferior” or “outdated”. Even more so, they treat it as an “uncool” language and opting to rely on English for self-expression. However, as it is now the fourth largest language in the world.
Aside from these fun facts, there are numerous benefits to gain from learning Arabic. For example, you’ll get benefits you’ll reap in your work, leisure and health. The sooner you learn Arabic and the more often you use it, the greater the benefits will be. So why not start today? Once you’ve started reaping its rewards, you’ll be glad you did.
So, what’s the best way to learn Arabic and start taking advantage all of its benefits today? Why, it’s through Arabic learning apps like the one offered by Kaleela, of course!
Our user-friendly app is downloadable to both IOS and Android mobile devices. It is available in a number of languages including English, Spanish, Indonesian, and Chinese – with more to come!
After downloading the app, you can choose from a variety of Arabic language courses. The app has Modern Standard Arabic (also known as fusha) and Arabic dialects. Some included are Egyptian Arabic, Levantine Arabic, Syrian dialect, or Iraqi dialect.
Visit kaleela.com today for more info and start learning Arabic today!
Kaleela – Learn Arabic the Right Way!