National Arabic Language Day
December 18th is officially a National Arabic Language Day. So I got inspired to do some research and found interesting facts about Arabic Language that would like to share with you.
Personally, I don’t speak Arabic but absolutely love listening to the songs in Arabic; I find them so melodic and mesmerizing.
I think, my most incredible finding is that, there are over 100 words for camel and more than ten words for love in Arabic! Yes…
Arabic is the official language in 26 countries
Arabic is the official language of 26 countries and there are more than 300 million speakers worldwide. It’s also one of the 6 official languages of the United Nations. The UN declared December 18th as Arabic National Day when the language was officially approved back in 2010.
It is at least 1,500 years old
Classical Arabic originated in the sixth century, but earlier versions of the language existed, including the Safaitic dialect, an old dialect used by the nomadic inhabitants of the Syro-Arabian desert. Some of its inscriptions date back to the first century.
There are different “Types” of Arabic
Classical Arabic, used as a global, universal standard, dates back to the literary texts from Umayyad and Abbasid times.
Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) (used as a global, universal standard)
MSA is the Arabic of newspapers, novels, and textbooks. This literary variety is used in writing and in most formal speech and is pretty similar to Classical Arabic.
Colloquial Arabic(varies according to the region and country)
Imagine having people in 26 countries with different geographical borders, cultures, cities, and groups, all speaking the same language… The national or regional varieties of spoken Arabic differ significantly from MSA and Classical Arabic, as well as from each other!
For example, Syrians, Palestinians, Saudi Arabians or Egyptians can communicate with each other easily, however, they would have more difficulty communicating with Moroccans or Algerians, with its greater influence from French.
The words are written from right to left; numbers from left to right
This can be confusing if you are not a native speaker, meaning you might well end up in the right place at the wrong time on the wrong day:))
There are more than 100 words for "camel"
الربع -A camel that drinks once every 3 days
ميراد A female camel that rushes to get to the watering hole
التندية -A camel that returns to the watering hole to drink once more
المعشّر A female camel in the beginning stages of pregnancy
الجفول A camel that is frightened by anything
etc… and the list goes on and on:))
It has a root system – a huge help when it comes to vocabulary
Every noun, adjective, and verb is built on a system of 3 key letters, with changes in consonants and vowels. How cool is that?
There are more than 10 words for "love"
The most common word for love is ‘hubb’, comes from the same root as the word ‘seed’ – i.e that which has the potential to grow into something beautiful.
In the present tense, there is no verb "to be"
Instead of saying, “I am Jack”, you would simply say “I Jack”.
“The teacher is a man” = “The teacher a man”:
المُدَرِّس رَجُلٌ (al-mudarris rajulun)
Well, any time we can skip having to learn a verb has always got to be a plus, right?
You probably already know some words
15 English words that come from Arabic to get you started!
algebra, alchemy, cotton, caravan, carat ( as in gold!) magazine, safari, sofa, ghoul, mummy (as in ancient Egyptian mummy, rather than your good old mum!) sugar, lemon, orange, saffron, tarragon (yummy….)
Arabic follows an “Abjad” rather an alphabet
One of the qualities that makes this language unique and a bit tricky until you get the hang of it is that its writing system follows an abjad rather than an alphabet.
So what does that mean? An abjad is a system in which each letter stands for a consonant and not a vowel, which requires the user of the language to provide the vowels using vowel marks.