Arabic language

Semitic language

Arabic (عربي) is a Semitic language, like Hebrew and Aramaic. Around 292 million people speak it as their first language. Many more people can also understand it as a second language. The Arabic language has its own alphabet written from right to left, like Hebrew. Since it is so widely spoken throughout the world, the language is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. The others are English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese.

العربية, al-ʻaarabiyyah
Arabic albayancalligraphy.svg
Al-ʿArabiyyah in written Arabic (Naskh script)
Pronunciation/al ʕarabijja/, /ʕarabiː/
Native toMajorities in the countries of the Arab League, minorities in neighboring countries: Israel, Iran, Turkey, Eritrea, Mali, Niger, Chad, Senegal, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Arabic-speaking communities in the Western world
Native speakers
292 million (2017)[1][2]
Standard forms
Arabic alphabet
Arabic Braille
Syriac alphabet (Garshuni)
Hebrew alphabet (Judaeo-Arabic)
Official status
Official language in
Standard Arabic is an official language of 27 states, the third most after English and French[3]
Language codes
ISO 639-1ar
ISO 639-2ara
ISO 639-3ara Arabic (generic)
Arabic speaking world.svg
Use of Arabic as the sole official language (green) and an official language (blue)
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
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 so different from one another that speakers have a hard time understanding the other.

Most of the countries that use Arabic as their official language are in the Middle East. They are part of the Arab World because the largest religion is in the region is Islam.

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.

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,[4] cotton,[5] magazine,[6] algebra,[7] alcohol[8] and emir.[9][10][11]

Arabic is an official language of these countries:

It is also a national language of:


  1. "Arabic - Ethnologue". Ethnologue. Simons, Gary F. and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). 2017. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Twentieth edition. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  2. "World Arabic Language Day". UNESCO. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  3. Wright, 2001, p. 492.
  4. "sugar, n." Oxford University Press – via Oxford English Dictionary.
  5. "cotton, n.1". Oxford University Press – via Oxford English Dictionary.
  6. "magazine, n." Oxford University Press – via Oxford English Dictionary.
  7. "algebra, n." Oxford University Press – via Oxford English Dictionary.
  8. "alcohol, n." Oxford University Press – via Oxford English Dictionary.
  9. "emir - Search Online Etymology Dictionary".
  10. "emir - Definition of emir in US English by Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries - English.
  11. "Definition of EMIR".