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Arabic Language Day!
On December 18, 1993, the United Nations recognized Arabic as one of six official UN languages, acknowledging its importance and widespread use throughout the world.
Although learning Arabic might challenge the average English speaker, we can thank Arabic for a number of important and useful English words: algebra, alcohol, coffee, loofah, tariff, cotton, and many more English words come from Arabic roots.
Most words are constructed from a basic, thematically related root. All words related to writing, for example, contain the letters “k, t, b,” augmented with additional word parts. In this way, you can understand a word’s category in the world by studying its root.
Like other Semitic languages, Arabic is written from right to left and contains some sounds that don’t exist in English or other languages. Arabic’s beautiful “alphabet” isn’t an alphabet at all, at least not in the phonetic sense we’re used to. In the abjad writing system, each symbol stands for a consonant, with accents providing the vowel sounds. Instead of capital letters, emphasis is created through the use of quotation marks.
Most of our knowledge of Classical Arabic comes from the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book. The scripture is the first major record of the written Arabic language and provides valuable insight into the structure of the old language. Today, over one billion Muslims study Arabic in order to read the Qur’an in its original tongue.
One of the world’s most ancient languages and the sixth most commonly spoken in the world, Arabic originated in the Proto-Semitic languages of the Middle East in the 7th century. The word “Arab” means “nomad,” hinting at the language’s roots in the nomadic tribes of today’s Arabian Peninsula.
Arabic speakers gave us some of civilization’s most important tools, including algebra, chemistry, and the toothbrush. Arabs had a strong influence on European music, culture, and science. Can’t live without coffee? You can thank the Yemenis of the 9th century for bringing it to you!
If you’ve ever fancied trying to learn some Arabic, then Arabic Language Day on December 18 is the day to start. Dating back more than a millennium, Arabic was born out of Proto-Semitic languages of the ancient Middle East. Today, it’s spoken by more than 400 million people in 25 countries.
Idiomatic is now starting it's own Arabic Department. More soon!