Official language of the Arab League
With over 230 million speakers throughout the 22 countries of the Arab League countries and beyond, Arabic is one of the world’s most important and oldest languages.
Written from right to left, using 28 letters, Arabic looks both beautiful and unfamiliar to English speakers however you’ve probably used an Arabic word already today – ‘Coffee’ as well as ‘syrup’ and ‘magazine’ come from Arabic.
There are many dialects of spoken Arabic in use around the world but there are only two forms of written Arabic, Classical Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic (MSA).
The language of business is MSA, Classical Arabic is mainly used by scholars.
Our Arabic language team are highly skilled and experienced in both Modern Standard Arabic and Classical Arabic.
Should you require an interpreter, we’ll be sure to match the dialect of Arabic spoken to that of your audience.
Why not give us a no-obligation call to discuss your requirement today?
- Arabic uses the same punctuation marks as English, although these may be inverted.
- Pronunciation can be difficult for western speakers as some sounds are produced very differently.
- In Arabic, the verb comes first. So the boy kicks the ball would be kicks the boy the ball.
- Adjectives come after the noun, so the blue box becomes the box blue.
An introduction to the Arabic language
Arabic is the term given to the languages considered to be descendants of the Classical Arabic language. Modern standard Arabic is the only official form of Arabic and is the official language of the Arab league.
Due to Arabic being the liturgical language of Islam, the number of people outside of North Africa and the Arab world who can speak Arabic is very high. With 290 million speakers and a further 150 million who class it as a second language, Arabic is the 5th most spoken language in the world.
Classical Arabic is the language of the Quran. Theoretically, Classical Arabic is the correct and proper form of literary Arabic. However, in practice, modern authors actually write in Modern standard Arabic. This is the Arabic that is used and understood by most educated Arabic people.
The use of Arabic in the modern world is a clear example of diglossia – a situation in which two dialects or closely related languages are used by a single language community in differing social situations.
Educated Arabs are likely to be able to converse in Modern standard Arabic and their own native dialect. These dialects are not mutually intelligible and, in fact, many linguists consider them to be completely separate languages. Linguistically, the difference between these dialects are said to be akin to the difference between the romance languages. However, sociolinguistic pressures mean that Arabic is strongly defended as one language.
The Arabic writing system and alphabet is written in a cursive style from right to left. It has its origins in the Nabataean alphabet, a consonantal alphabet that was used to write the Nabataean dialect of Aramaic from around the 4th century. Naskh is the script used in print and on computers and ruq’ah is commonly used for handwriting.
Due to the expansive nature of Arabic conquests, Arabic has influenced many different languages throughout the world. In Europe, this is most notable in the Spanish language and Sicilian dialect, with modern Spanish still using hundreds of words of Arabic origin dating from the muslim conquest of Hispania.
The religious weight that is given to Arabic means that there is a constant strive to preserve Classical Arabic, so as to properly read and pronounce the Holy Quran. Most Arabic speakers identify their regional dialect as slang and that the correct form of speaking to be Classical Arabic. Most believe Classical Arabic to be the language of God and as such, must be preserved and protected.