Arabic language

Semitic language and lingua franca of the Arab world
(Redirected from Algerian Arabic)

Arabic (العربية, al-ʿarabiyyah) is a Semitic language that first appeared in the mid-ninth century BCE in Northern Arabia and Sahara southern Levant. It is related to other Semitic languages like Hebrew and Aramaic.[14][15] Unlike the latter two, where the former derives from the other, however, Arabic is itself a root language, like Latin. Unlike Latin, it is still widely used and spoken today. Around 292 million people speak it as their first language. Many more people can also understand it as a second language in the Maghreb. The Arabic language is written from right to left in a consonant alphabet, which is also called an abjad.[16] Since it is so widely spoken throughout the world, the language is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. The other official languages of the UN are: English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese.[17]

al-ʿarabiyyah in written Arabic (Naskh script)
Pronunciation[ˈʕarabiː] (audio speaker iconlisten)
[al ʕaraˈbijːa] (audio speaker iconlisten)
Native toArab world and surrounding regions
EthnicityArabs and several other peoples of the Middle East and North Africa
Speakers380 million native speakers of all varieties (2024)[1]
330 million L2 users of Modern Standard Arabic (2023)[2]
Early forms
Standard forms
Arabic alphabet
Signed Arabic (different national forms)
Official status
Official language in
Special status in Constitution
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated by
Language codes
ISO 639-1ar
ISO 639-2ara
ISO 639-3ara – inclusive code
Individual codes:
arq – Algerian Arabic
xaa – Andalusi Arabic
abv – Bahrani Arabic
avl – Bedawi Arabic
shu – Chadian Arabic
acy – Cypriot Arabic
adf – Dhofari Arabic
arz – Egyptian Arabic
acm – Gelet Iraqi Arabic
afb – Gulf Arabic
ayh – Hadhrami Arabic
mey – Hassaniya Arabic
acw – Hejazi Arabic
apc – Levantine Arabic
ayl – Libyan Arabic
ary – Moroccan Arabic
ars – Najdi Arabic
acx – Omani Arabic
ayp – Qeltu Iraqi Arabic
aao – Saharan Arabic
aec – Saʽidi Arabic
ayn – Sanʽani Arabic
ssh – Shihhi Arabic
sqr – Siculo-Arabic
arb – Standard Arabic
apd – Sudanese Arabic
acq – Taʽizzi-Adeni Arabic
abh – Tajiki Arabic
aeb – Tunisian Arabic
auz – Uzbeki Arabic
  Sole official language, Arabic-speaking majority
  Sole official language, Arabic-speaking minority
  Co-official language, Arabic-speaking majority
  Co-official language, Arabic-speaking minority
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Arabic language poem

Many countries speak Arabic as an official language, but not all of them speak it the same way. The language has many dialects, or varieties, such as Modern Standard Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, Gulf Arabic, Maghrebi Arabic , Levantine Arabic and many others. Some of the dialects are spoken so differently from one another that some speakers have a hard time understanding the other. Many dialectic words however are nonetheless still rooted in the original, or classical language.

Most of the countries that use Arabic as their official language are in the Middle East. They are part of the Arab world, the largest religion in the region is Islam. The Arabic language is considered to be the language of Islam as the Quran was revealed in the Arabic language and it was also the native language of and spoken by Muhammad, the religion's founder.

Arabic is very important in Islam because Muslims believe that Allah (God) used it to talk to Muhammad through the Archangel Gabriel (Jibril), giving him the Quran in the language. Many but not all Arabic-speakers are Muslims. The miracle of the Quran is believed to be in its language.

Arabic is also becoming a popular language to learn in the Western world even though its grammar is sometimes very hard to learn for native speakers of Indo-European languages. Many other languages have borrowed words from Arabic because of its importance in history. Some English words that can be traced to Arabic are sugar,[18] cotton,[19] magazine,[20] algebra,[21] alcohol[22] and emir.[23][24][25]

Arabic is an official language of these countries:

It is also a national language of:

The Arabic alphabet is a consonant alphabet with 28 letters, as listed below:

  • ا (alif, pronounced a)
  • ب (ba, pronounced like the English letter ‘b’)
  • ت (ta, pronounced similar to the English letter ‘t’)
  • ث (tha, pronounced like the ‘th’ in ‘bath’)
  • ج (jeem, pronounced like ‘j’)
  • ح (haa, pronounced like a heavy ‘h’ from the neck)
  • خ (khaa, pronounced like a retch or a snort from the throat)
  • د (dal, pronounced like ‘d’)
  • ذ (thal, pronounced like the ‘th’ in ‘the’)
  • ر (ra’, pronounced like ‘r’ in Italian)
  • ز (zay, pronounced like ‘z’ in zebra)
  • س (seen, pronounced like a hiss)
  • ش (sheen, pronounced like ‘shh’)
  • ص (saud, pronounced like the seen but slightly heavier)
  • ض (dah, pronounced like dal but heavier)
  • ط (tah, pronounced like a pressured ‘t’)
  • ظ (tha, pronounced by pulling the midsection of your tongue down while trying to say a heavy ‘th’)
  • ع (‘ain, pronounced similar to a gagging sound)
  • غ (gha, pronounced like gargling water)
  • ف (fa, pronounced like ‘f’)
  • ق (qaf, like the sound made in comical cartoons when the characters gulp down a drink)
  • ك (kaf, pronounced like ‘k’)
  • ل (lam, pronounced like ‘L’)
  • م (meem, pronounced like ‘m’)
  • ن (noon, pronounced like ‘n’)
  • ه (ha, soft ‘h’ sound)
  • و (waw, pronounced like ‘w’ or ‘ooh’)
  • ي (ya, pronounced like ‘y’)
  1. The constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran recognizes the Arabic language as the language of Islam, giving it a formal status as the language of religion, and regulates its spreading within the Iranian national curriculum. The constitution declares in Chapter II: (The Official Language, Script, Calendar, and Flag of the Country) in Article 16 "Since the language of the Qur`an and Islamic texts and teachings is Arabic, ..., it must be taught after elementary level, in all classes of secondary school and in all areas of study."[5]
  2. The constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan states in Article 31 No. 2 that "The State shall endeavour, as respects the Muslims of Pakistan (a) to make the teaching of the Holy Quran and Islamiat compulsory, to encourage and facilitate the learning of Arabic language ..."[6]


  1. Arabic language at Ethnologue (27th ed., 2024)  
  2. Arabic, Standard at Ethnologue (27th ed., 2024)  
  3. Shachmon, Ori; Mack, Merav (2016). "Speaking Arabic, Writing Hebrew. Linguistic Transitions in Christian Arab Communities in Israel". Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes. 106. University of Vienna: 223–224. JSTOR 26449346.
  4. "Eritrea", The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency, 2023-04-26, retrieved 2023-04-29
  5. Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran: Iran (Islamic Republic of)'s Constitution of 1979. – Article: 16 Official or national languages, 1979, retrieved 25 July 2018
  6. Constitution of Pakistan: Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 – Article: 31 Islamic way of life, 1973, retrieved 13 June 2018
  7. "Implementation of the Charter in Cyprus". Database for the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Public Foundation for European Comparative Minority Research. Archived from the original on 24 October 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  8. "Basic Law: Israel – The Nation State of the Jewish People" (PDF). Knesset. 2018-07-19. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 April 2021. Retrieved 2021-01-13.
  9. "Mali". Retrieved 2023-04-29.
  10. "Niger : Loi n° 2001-037 du 31 décembre 2001 fixant les modalités de promotion et de développement des langues nationales". (in French). Retrieved 2023-04-29.
  11. Constitution of the Philippines, Article XIV, Sec 7: For purposes of communication and instruction, the official languages of the Philippines are Filipino and, until otherwise provided by law, English. The regional languages are the auxiliary official languages in the regions and shall serve as auxiliary media of instruction therein. Spanish and Arabic shall be promoted on a voluntary and optional basis.
  12. "Decret n° 2005-980 du 21 octobre 2005". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2021-12-10.
  13. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (PDF) (2013 English version ed.). Constitutional Court of South Africa. 2013. ch. 1, s. 6. Archived (PDF) from the original on 23 August 2018. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  14. Al-Jallad, Ahmad. "Al-Jallad. 2018. The earliest stages of Arabic and its linguistic classification". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  15. Al-Jallad, Ahmad. "Al-Jallad. A Manual of the Historical Grammar of Arabic". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  16. "Abjads / Consonant alphabets". Retrieved 2022-04-14.
  17. Nations, United. "Official Languages". United Nations. Retrieved 2022-04-14.
  18. "sugar, n." Oxford University Press – via Oxford English Dictionary.
  19. "cotton, n.1". Oxford University Press – via Oxford English Dictionary.
  20. "magazine, n." Oxford University Press – via Oxford English Dictionary.
  21. "algebra, n." Oxford University Press – via Oxford English Dictionary.
  22. "alcohol, n." Oxford University Press – via Oxford English Dictionary.
  23. "emir - Search Online Etymology Dictionary".
  24. "emir - Definition of emir in US English by Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries - English. Archived from the original on 2019-03-26. Retrieved 2019-01-20.
  25. "Definition of EMIR".