Explore Arabic

Spoken Far
And Wide

Arabic is an amazing and fascinating language! Learning Arabic will expose you to diverse cultures and more academic, travel, and career opportunities. Scroll for some interesting facts!

Quick Facts

400

m

Arabic is the language of more than 400 million people, making it the fifth most spoken language in the world.

2

nd

Arabic is the second most common language spoken by English Language Learners in the US.

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of

6

Arabic is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

Arabic is at least 1500 years old.

It's poetry

Arabic is considered a poetic language due to the rich number of words for objects and feelings in addition to its case and mood ending system (i‘rab).

9

/10

Nine out of 10 U.S. employers report a reliance on U.S.-based employees with language skills other than English, with one-third (32 percent) reporting a high dependency.

About Arabic

History
Of Arabic

What are the historical origins of the Arabic writing system? Examine the link between earlier alphabets and how they developed into the Arabic alphabet we know today. LEARN MORE

Roots

Generally, Arabic words are broken down to a three-letter root which serves as the foundation for the language. For example, the words “book,” “library,” and “office” are all composed of the same three-letter root, ka ta ba, also the root for the verb “to write.” Though there is not a visual connection between these words in English, in Arabic they contain the same three root letters.

Verb Patterns

All verbs fit into ten different verb patterns. These patterns vary in complexity and meaning and are also based on the root system.

Types of Arabic

There are three larger forms of Arabic:

Classical/Qur’anic Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), and the dialects. Classical Arabic is the language of the Holy Qur’an and was the literary form of the northern dialects of Arabia between 7th century AD until the 9th century AD. Modern Standard Arabic is the highly codified and standardized form of the language. It is used in writings and formal spoken situations such as newspapers, media, and even cartoons for Arabic-speaking children across the Arab World. The dialects are the spoken variant of the language used in everyday, ordinary conversation. Though historically, writings were traditionally only conducted in MSA, there are many emerging forms of writings that are now in the dialects, despite not having a standardized system of grammar and spelling.

There are five larger dialect groups:

Maghrebi Arabic (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya), Egyptian Arabic, Levantine Arabic. (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine), Gulf Arabic (Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar), and Iraqi Arabic.
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Arabic Letters
and Sounds

All languages have specific sounds that convey meaning when combined. Each sound has a specific place and manner of being produced in our mouths. The Arabic language has 28 specific phonemes, which are the building blocks of any Arabic word. In Arabic, unlike other languages such as English or French, each phoneme matches with a specific letter. This diagram displays all 28 consonant letters of Modern Standard Arabic and where they are produced in the mouth.
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