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8 Interesting facts about the Arabic language

  |   Learn Arabic

Arabic is a fascinating language. It is surprising that it remains as one of the most magnetic and yet unknown languages. Though the secrets of Arabic may be still uncovered for many, it is the 5th most spoken language worldwide, with almost 700 million speakers. Arabic is an official language in more than 20 countries: from Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia…and the list goes on and on.

We can imagine then how broad, huge and diverse is the Arabic language, as well as the cultures who use Arabic as their way of conveying their thoughts and lifestyle. Thinking of learning Arabic?

Here are 8 reasons that, if you haven’t thought of learning Arabic, may make you want to:

Modern Standard Arabic

1.Modern Standard Arabic and Local Dialects

There are two varieties of Arabic: MSA and Local Dialects belonging to each country and region. MSA is studied at school, appears on the literature and the media. Many people recommend studying MSA in first place cause it will establish the basis upon which learning local dialects. Even though we only now MSA, we will still be understood by most people. In the previous post “MSA or colloquial Arabic, which to choose?” we discussed these two forms and where to look when deciding to study Arabic.

2.The alphabet

The Arabic alphabet has 28 letters, all consonants. Vowels appear as symbols written downwards or upwards the consonants, and they may not always appear. There are is no differentiation between capital and small letters. And, there is more! As Arabic is written in Italic letters, each letter has different shapes, which change depending on its position in the word. Therefore each letter can have four shapes: isolated, first, middle or end.

3.How to read and write

Something that non-Arabic speakers may find surprising and interesting at the same time: the Arabic language is read and written from right to left! And the reason behind it is ancient: back to the time when people used to carve planks to write, they used the hammer with the right hand and the chisel with the left one, so it was way easier to carve from right to left.

4.Arabic is thought to have the biggest lexicon

Even though it is quite a hard task to calculate the number of words each language has due to the difference amongst dictionaries, Arabic is thought to be the language with the richest vocabulary. Just for us to get an idea of how rich Arabic lexicon is: the world lion has more than 300 synonyms and there are 50 ways to express the world love. No wonder why Arabic poems are so appreciated!

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5.Mohammed is the most common name worldwide

It is estimated that more than 150 million people are called Mohammed. The name derives from the name of the prophet of Islam: Muhammad. So don’t be surprised if when visiting an Arabic country you make a friend called Mohammed!

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6.Arabic alphabet in other languages

Apart from Arabic, there are more than 10 non-Arabic languages which use the Arabic alphabet such as Persian, Urdu, Malaysian, Kurdish, Ottoman, etc.

7.You read as you write

Something that makes easier the learning of Arabic: Arabic is read as it is written. Something shared with languages such as Spanish, as opposed to languages such as English or French. A good way to start getting familiar with Arabic is via online courses.

8.Arabic is a geometric language

Geometry is an important part of Arabic culture. When it comes to Arabic constructions, we can use the high use of geometric figures. In Arabic culture, geometry represents balance. It is even reflected in the language, where all the letters derive from geometric figures as well. Every Arabic letter is a part of a triangle, a circle or a combination of both. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Though Arabic may hide many little secrets, this language attracts thousands of learners every year for a reason. Why not joining them and start learning Arabic?

Do you want to learn Arabic?

Interested in learning Arabic? Whether in Jordan, Egypt or Morocco, in Ahlan we can help you.