So, you’re thinking about learning Arabic, but aren’t quite convinced that it’s the right language for you? Well, to help you be sure you’re making the right decision, here are 10 great reasons why Arabic is really the language you should be learning in 2020.
Recent numbers put Arabic at around 315 million native speakers living in 22 countries. This makes it the 5th spoken language in the world. That’s a lot of people that you can practice with when you learn to speak Arabic. Although they are mostly in the 22 Arabic-speaking countries, there are minority groups of native speakers throughout the world.
Over 19.2 percent of the world’s population, or about 1.8 billion people, claim Islam as their religion. As Arabic is the language of the Quran, most Muslims (from Palestine to the Philippines and beyond) understand it. This proves the influence the language has on our modern world.
Both in business and politics, the Middle East is growing more and more important on the international stage; however, you’ll find very few Westerners who’ve actually learned the Arabic language. This means that there is a high demand for Arabic speakers in many career fields. This includes journalism, business and industry, education, finance and banking, translation and interpretation, consulting, and foreign service and intelligence, among others. In fact, of the 12,000 FBI agents in the U.S., only 1 % has any knowledge of Arabic at all. Therefore, you can be a step ahead of your peers who’ve only learned Spanish or French by learning Arabic.
In 2006, the US government designated Arabic as a language of strategic importance. As a result, the National Strategic Language Initiative (NSLI) started a program that promotes learning Arabic. If you’re an American, NSLI offers numerous scholarships and supported learning opportunities. You can find language courses from beginning to advanced levels, study abroad programs, intensive instruction opportunities, teacher exchanges, and professional development.
With its rapidly growing population and an annual GDP of 600 billion dollars, the Arab region has a lot to offer the global business market. However, to be effective at promoting international trade in the Middle East, businesses must speak the Arabic language and understand Arab culture in order to successfully negotiate and conduct trade in the Middle East.
When Europe was stumbling around the intellectual darkness of the Middle Ages, Arabs were contributing quite a bit to the improvement of science, medicine, and philosophy. Nearly everything the world learned up until that time from the Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines was preserved for future ages in Arab libraries. Additionally, Arabs have also made very important contributions in literature, mathematics, navigation, astrology, and architecture. Learning Arabic thus allows anyone to explore these vast bodies of knowledge in the original language of its contributors.
No doubt you’ve heard of 1001 Nights and belly dancing. Maybe you’ve even eaten hummus or falafel. However, you’re only barely scratching the surface of Arab culture. There’s much, much more to its unique art, music, literature, cuisine, and lifestyle. When you explore deeper into the culture of the Arabic world, you’ll learn to appreciate and understand the important values Arabs hold dear like honor, dignity, and hospitality.
Once you’ve been exposed to Arab culture, you’ll be able to help overcome the negative one-dimensional stereotypes. Events happening in the Middle East affect the daily lives of everyone in the world. When they rely on such misconceptions, it builds a relationship of mistrust and miscommunication, hindering cooperation, negotiation and compromise. Learning Arabic can help you gain a keener insight into the cultural, political and religious values of the Arab people. It will allow you to help close the gap of intercultural conflict, while also helping businesses successfully participate in international trade throughout the region.
Believe it or not, you may already know some Arabic without even realizing it. Arabic influenced many other languages as well. Did you study algebra in school? Are you reading this sitting in a café drinking coffee with sugar in your comfortable cotton shirt? Well, algebra, coffee, sugar and cotton are all Arabic loan words. Even if your mother tongue isn’t English, the influence of Arabic is apparent in many other languages. This includes Persian, Turkish, Kurdish, Spanish, Swahili, and Urdu, among others.
According to the Arab American Institute, there are roughly 3.5 million Arab-Americans living in the U.S. They live in all 50 states and Washington, D.C, with most living in metropolitan areas. Though that’s only about 10% of the total population, their numbers are growing, increasing by 40% since the 1990s. That also means the likelihood of finding someone to practice Arab with has increased as well. Not only will this help you with your Arabic language learning, but even gaining only a basic knowledge of the Arabic language and culture can help improve intercultural understanding between Americans and Arabs.
We hope this article gave you some great reasons why Arabic may be just the language you’re looking to study.
Whether you’re learning Arabic for business or pleasure, you’ll find the best way to learn Arabic is through Arabic learning apps like the Kaleela Arabic learning app. It is available now for download to your iOS or Android device. With the Kaleela Arabic learning app, you’ll learn to read Arabic, Arabic pronunciation, and Arabic writing. You’ll start with Modern Standard Arabic, but you can dive much deeper into the language by going on to learn Egyptian Arabic and other Arabic dialects like Levantine Arabic, Palestinian-Jordanian Arabic, and even Syrian Arabic. With Kaleela, we’re sure you’ll be convinced that learning Arabic is the right language for you!
Kaleela – learn Arabic the right way!