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Arabic language

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The standard Arabic greeting As-salaam `alaykum in Arabic script

Arabic is a Semitic language written from right to left. Arabic writing system consists of 28 letters: 25 consonants and 3 "long vowels".

There are also what are called "short vowels" (harakat) which are used to show correct pronunciation, for example, the word deen=religion and dayn=owe are normally written exactly the same way (3 letters D Y N) but to make the pronunciation clear deen can be written with a haraka/accent of a little dash under the D like so /. In dayn it can written as a little dash (horizantal) above the [D].

The Arabic script is used in many other languages such as Urdu and Persian. In some of these languages there are added letters (or added dots/slightly different shapes) as in Farsi to compensate for sounds that are not found in the Arabic alphabet.

How many people speak this language?[edit | edit source]

Arabic is spoken as a first language by more than 280 million people, and as a second language by another 250 million.

Where is this language spoken?[edit | edit source]

Green indicates the countries where Arabic is the only official language and blue indicates where Arabic is one of several official languages.

Arabic is spoken across the Middle East, particularly in the Arabian Peninsula, as well as in North Africa, and in portions of Saharan and Sub-Saharan Africa. Since Muslims believe the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam, can only truly be read in Arabic, it is fairly common for people in other predominantly Islamic countries to understand religious words in Arabic. People of Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, etc.) understand Arabic well, but don't talk it as fluently as others, due to the French colonisations.

History[edit | edit source]

In the third century B.C.E., Nabateans, a tribe of people in Asia, settled near the northern part of the Arabic Peninsula. They spoke a language very similar to Arabic, however they still wrote in an early language called Aramaic, which was itself closely related to Hebrew.

Modern Arabic first truly formed when Arabic and Amharic combined in the mid fourth century C.E. It stood out among other new Semitic Languages for its ability to not be overtaken by other, already existent, languages.

Around the sixth century C.E., Arabic "took over" another language found in the Arabic peninsula, Sabaic, because the chief religious text, the Qur'an, was written and spoken only in Arabic. Although Sabaic exists today as a spoken language, only a small number of people use it.

Famous authors or poets in this language[edit | edit source]

The Qur'an is the holy book of Islam

The most famous and influential book in Arabic is the holy book of Muslims called "Qur'an", which Muslims believe was revealed to Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W) over a period of about 23 years. Muslims hold that he was the last messenger of God. The Qur'an, Islam's holy book is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims believe to be the verbatim word of God (Arabic: الله‎, Allah). It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language.

One Thousand and One Nights is a collection of Arabic stories written and adapted over time by many authors. In English this collection is called "Arabian Nights" and includes the stories "Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp," "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," and "The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor."

Gebran Khalil Gebran was an Arabic writer, poet, and artist that wrote famous poems and books in Arabic and English while living in the United States between 1906–1933.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit | edit source]

  • Ahlan means “Hello” أﻫﻼ
  • Kayfa 'alok? means "How are you?" but can be used to say "Hello"
  • Ma'a salama is used to say “Good-bye”, but has a literal meaning of "Peace be with you." مع السلامة
  • Ismee means “My name” اسمي
  • Min fadlik means “Please” من فضلك
  • Shukran means “Thank you” شكراً
  • Manzil means “house” منزل Synonym: Addar الدّار
  • Uhibuki means “I love you” أحبكِ when speaking to a girl or woman.
  • Uhibuka means “I love you” أحبكَ when speaking to a boy or man.
  • Walad means “boy” ولد
  • Bint means “girl” بنت
  • Qitar means "train" قطار
  • Ana mina aldjazair means "I am from Algeria." أنا من الجزائر
  • Hal tatakalam aarabi? means "do you speak Arabic ?" هل تتكلّم عربي ؟

To introduce himself, the locutor may say : “Ahlan, ana ismi” (“Hello, my name is”), then the name....أهلا ، أنا اسمي

If he's saying hello to his friend he would say: "Ahlan ya" then his friend's name.

To ask someone their name he would say: "Ma ismik?" for a girl ما اسمكِ ؟

or "Ma ismouk?" for a boy ما اسمكَ ؟

To apologize he say:

"Asifah" for a girl when she says to other girl or to a boy.أسفه
"Asif" for a boy if he is telling to a boy or to a girl.أسف

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit | edit source]

Here are some Arabic expressions that can be learnt :

Arabic Literal Translation What it means

احفظ قرشك الأبيض ليومك الأسود

"Save your white penny for your black day."

Save your money for when you really need it.

أعط الخبز لخبازه ولو أكل نصفه

"Give the bread dough to the baker even if he eats half of it."

Give the job to a person who knows how to perform it best even if it will cost you more.

التعلّم في الّصغر كالنقش في الحجر

"Learning during childhood is like sculpting in rock"

Learning during childhood is easier than during later years.

سمن على عسل

"Cooking fat on honey."

To be doing very well.

الصديق وقت الضيق

"The friend in tight times."

A friend is the one that lends a hand during times of need.

القرد فى عين أمه غزال

"To his mother's eye a monkey looks like a deer"

A mother always thinks that their child is beautiful.

References[edit | edit source]

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