Aspects that are unique in Arabic – Part 2

Aspects that are unique in Arabic – Part 2

As we mentioned in a previous article (link), the Arabic language is pretty unique and diverse, and it makes sense to want to learn it since so many people across the globe speak it. This is supported by the fact that, in recent years, we can see a rise in interest in the language – students everywhere are making an effort to learn Arabic!

To continue our examples of why the language is so special, here are more features that make the Arabic language unique:

Arabic Is The Fifth Spoken Language In The World

The Arabic language is one of the most widely-spoken languages all over the world. It is the means of communication for over 422 million people, mainly in North Africa, the Middle East and what is generally known as the Arab World. The Arabic language is also frequently used in the surrounding areas of Turkey, Chad, Mali, Senegal, and Eritrea. However, that doesn’t mean you will hear Arabic only in the Middle East and parts of Africa; there are a few countries outside the region that recognize Arabic as a minority language, such as Cyprus, Iran, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Turkey.

Arabic Belongs To Semitic Language Family

The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afro-asiatic language family which originated in the Middle East. The name was taken from Shem, a son of Noah in the Book of Genesis. The Semitic languages are a family of several closely related languages spoken by more than 330 million people in large parts of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as by large minority populations in both Europe and North America. With a written history extending nearly 5,000 years, the Semitic languages are among the earliest documented languages in the world. Courses at the first and second cycle are offered in Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic/Syriac and Assyriology in some countries. Arabic is the largest Semitic language if size is determined by the number of speakers. Arabic is found in two functional variants: Modern Standard Arabic and Arabic dialect. We have discussed this in our previous article, so feel free to check it out.

Arabic Is The Language Of Quran

The language 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 Arabic. Many Arabic speakers are Muslims, but not all are. For over 1,400 years Muslims have said their prayers in Arabic and even until today, despite being from a range of ethnic groups and communities spread all over the world, speaking all manner of languages, this fact has remained consistent. For example Turkey’s national language is Turkish. However, due to the fact that the main religion is Islam, the population still understands Arabic by reading the Quran and listening to the prayers.

Arabic Language Has Only Three Vowels

Arabic is a language made almost exclusively out of consonants and vowels could theoretically be omitted when writing words. Nonetheless, spoken Arabic obviously has vowel sounds. They are indicated by diacritical marks placed above or below the letters. However, when reciting the alphabet, you can notice three long vowels: ا alif, و waw, and ي yah.

Most Of The Arabic Words Start With A Consonant

The Arabic alphabet is actually an abjad. The distinction between an alphabet and an abjad is more than technical. An alphabet is defined as a writing system in which each written character represents one unit of sound. Common examples include Roman, Greek, and Cyrillic. An abjad, however, is defined as a writing system in which consonants are marked primarily and vowels only secondarily (and not necessarily). In simple terms, an abjad is a writing system comprised of consonants. The vowels can be marked in writing, but usually aren’t. Arabic and Hebrew are the most common examples of languages that use abjads.

The Arabic language is indeed a unique one. If you want to learn this valuable language, stay tuned for more articles!

Gary Greer

Gary Greer was born and raised in the United States.  After an eight year stint in the U.S. Army in 1992, he attended Delaware State University to pursue his B.A. in English Communications to become a writer. Since then he has traveled the globe, living in the Europe and the Middle East, working for such prestigious organizations as the U.S. Army, NAPA Auto Parts, and AMIDEAST, and other well-known organizations, as well.  Gary came to Jordan in 2005, bringing with him a wealth of experience in the fields of Business and Education, and has since implemented and taught specialized English and Business training courses in the Business, Hospitality, Medical and Legal sectors throughout Jordan for TE Data, The Nuqul Group, The Ministry of Justice, The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, UNRWA, and the Mövenpick and Kempinski Hotels, among others. Along with teaching, he has also pursued his dream of becoming a writer and has written and done the voice-over narration of two travel documentaries about Jordan for Seven Stars television worked as an editor for Family Flavours magazine and acted in television advertisements for USAID. He now works as a content writer for Kaleela.com.

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