As we mentioned in a previous article, the Arabic language is pretty unique and diverse. It makes sense to want to learn it since so many people across the globe speak it. In recent years, we can see a rise in interest in the language. Students everywhere are making an effort to learn Arabic!
To continue our examples of why the language is so special, here are more features that make the Arabic language unique:
The Arabic language is one of the most widely-spoken languages all over the world. It is the means of communication for over 422 million people, mainly in North Africa, the Middle East. Also, the surrounding areas of Turkey, Chad, Mali, Senegal, and Eritrea use Arabic frequently. However, that doesn’t mean you will hear Arabic only in the Middle East and parts of Africa; there are a few countries outside the region that recognize Arabic as a minority language. For example, Cyprus, Iran, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Turkey.
The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family which originated in the Middle East. The name originates from Shem, a son of Noah in the Book of Genesis. Around 330 million people in the Middle East and North Africa speak one of the Semitic languages. Also, a large minority of populations in both Europe and North America speak a variation. With a history extending nearly 5,000 years, the Semitic languages are among the earliest languages in the world. Arabic is the largest Semitic language considering the size of the number of speakers. Arabic has two functional variants: Modern Standard Arabic and Arabic dialects. We have discussed this in our previous article, so feel free to check it out.
The language is very important in Islam. Muslims believe that Allah (God) used it to talk to Muhammad through the Archangel Gabriel (jibril), giving him the Quran in Arabic. Many Arabic speakers are Muslims, but not all are. For over 1,400 years Muslims have said their prayers in Arabic and even until today, despite being from a range of ethnic groups and communities spread all over the world, speaking all manner of languages, this fact has remained consistent. For example Turkey’s national language is Turkish. However, due to the fact that the main religion is Islam, the population still understands Arabic by reading the Quran and listening to the prayers.
Arabic is a language made almost exclusively out of consonants and vowels could theoretically be omitted when writing words. Nonetheless, spoken Arabic obviously has vowel sounds. They are indicated by diacritical marks placed above or below the letters. However, when reciting the alphabet, you can notice three long vowels: ا alif, و waw, and ي yah.
The Arabic alphabet is actually an abjad. The distinction between an alphabet and an abjad is more than technical. An alphabet is defined as a writing system in which each written character represents one unit of sound. Common examples include Roman, Greek, and Cyrillic. An abjad, however, is defined as a writing system in which consonants are marked primarily and vowels only secondarily (and not necessarily). In simple terms, an abjad is a writing system comprised of consonants. The vowels can be marked in writing, but usually aren’t. Arabic and Hebrew are the most common examples of languages that use abjads.
The Arabic language is indeed a unique one. If you want to learn this valuable language, why not download our Arabic learning app?