Before selecting a new language to learn, it is always good idea to do some research. Learning interesting facts about Arabic can help you become interested in studying it. Also this way you will get an idea of what to expect and what challenges are waiting for you. Bellow we provided a list of some of the most interesting and useful facts about Arabic.
1. Varieties of Standard Arabic.
There are two different types of Standard Arabic – Classical and Modern Standard Arabic. Classical also called Fus-ha is the language in which Qur’an is written. Modern Standard form is understood all across Arabic world and is used by politicians and TV reporters.
2. Alphabet Only Has Consonants.
The alphabet of Arabic Language consists of 28 unique letters. One quite special feature of this alphabet is that it contains only consonants.
This type of writing system is called Ajbad. It means that you will not find any vowels in this type alphabet. Instead vowels appear in ajbad written as symbols on consonants. Hence users of Arabic language need to know them by using vowel marks.
3. 22 Countries With Millions of Arabic Speakers.
The Arabic has official language status even in twenty two separate countries. When we combine all speakers of this language it is more than 200 million. Based on statistics, even more than three percent of worlds population speak Arabic as their first language.
Writing script of Arabic is used even by 1/7 of world’s population. This number is higher, because some other foreign languages uses this script as well.
4. Written from Right to Left.
Unlike European languages, Arabic script is written and read differently. Words in Arabic are written from right to left horizontally. As English speakers are used to write left to right, this unique feature can be challenging in the beginning. The good news is that numbers in Arabic are written from left to right. Hence you will not need to get used to this.
5. No Capital Letters.
All letters and words are treated equally in this foreign language. Hence capitalization of letters is absent in Arabic language. Instead of this, double or single quotes are used to show emphasis.
6. Alphabet Has 8 Different Diacritics.
There are 8 unique diacritics in the alphabet, which are used to show how correctly pronounce words. They are needed, because the same Arabic words might have different tenses or even meanings. It is somewhere similar to giving tones to sentences, which might make it either a question or a statement.
7. Many Different Spoken Dialects.
Spoken form of Arabic language has a lot of unique dialects. They are so different that people speaking different dialects might find it difficult to understand each other. However Modern Standard form or popular dialects (Egyptian) allows people to communicate for different region speakers.
8. English Has Some Borrowed Arabic Words.
Arabic language has a long and rich history. Throughout the years it had a strong impact on languages that it has come into contact with. Even though English originated from different languages, it still has some borrowed Arabic words. Some of the best known words are alcohol, algebra, cumin, lime, saffron, sugar, orange, mummy, sesame and many others.
9. Arabic Language Has Extensive Lexicon.
When it comes to vocabulary, there are not much languages that would be able to compete with Arabic. Since it is a difficult task to calculate all words of a language, precise numbers of vocabulary are not clear. However everyone would agree that Arabic has one of the largest vocabulary.
The main reason for this is that many Arabic words have a lot of synonyms. For instance word like lion has even up to 300 synonyms and it is possible to say word love in at least 50 different ways (depending on the stage).
10. Belongs to Sematic Languages.
Arabic is part of Sematic group of languages. Other languages assigned to this group are Ethiopic, Hebrew, Assyrian, Amharic and others. Many of Sematic Languages uses Arabic alphabet. This means that you would be able to read in Urdu, Kurdish, Persian and Pashto by learning this alphabet. Of course, even though you would know how to pronounce words, it doesn’t necessary mean that you would understand their meaning.
11. Four Unique Arabic Sounds.
One of the things that makes studying Arabic challenging for new learners is its unique sounds. These sounds doesn’t exist in other foreign languages. Hence learning to pronounce them takes time and effort. It is important to learn how to pronounce these sounds correctly, because otherwise it can completely change the meaning of Arabic words.
Four unique sounds in Arabic alphabet are Ayn, Kha, Ghyan and Haa. These unique Arabic sounds are commonly referred to as throat sounds. This is mainly because they require to use your throat.
12. Roots Make Learning Arabic Vocabulary Easier.
Many similar meaning words in Arabic tend to have the same root. In most cases this root consists of three consonants. Different vowels and other letters are added in additional to this root, which creates different words. For more advanced learners this feature makes learning Arabic vocabulary way easier. With a help of root, many learners can even guess the meaning words later on.
One possible example of Arabic roots can be k-t-b root used in words maktab (office), maktaba (library) and kitaab (book). As you can see all of these words have the same root and their meaning is related.
13. One of The Oldest Languages.
As with many languages, the exact timing when Arabic originated is not clear. Nevertheless this language is believed to be at least 1500 years old. It is thought that Nomadic Tribes used Arabic for their communication in Arabian Peninsula. This form of old Arabic was called Safaitic dialect. The first inscriptions of this dialect use date backs to approximately the first century.
The other version of Arabic (Classic Arabic) originated around the 6-th century. It was the language used to write Koran (Quran). Today this dialect of Arabic is no longer spoken. Nevertheless everyone who wants to read Quran in its original form, needs to learn Classical Arabic.
14. Egyptian is the Most Popular Spoken Dialect.
In the beginning many new students have doubts when selecting particular Arabic dialect to study. Egyptian dialect tends to be a popular choice among those who are learning Arabic for communication reasons. Many resources even cite Egyptian as the most widely understood dialect in Arabic speaking countries.
One of the reasons for this is that population of Egypt is the largest in the region. Also this Egyptians produce 3/4 of all Arab Word films. As a result Egyptian dialect is heard all over Arab world through television and films.