The Arab Language History

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The Arab Language History
Arabic belongs to the Semitic family of languages, which also includes Hebrew, Syriac, Aramaic, and several languages of Ethiopia, such as the Amharic and the Tigrinya. Arabic and Hebrew are the only Semitic languages that are still used today both in their writing and speaking forms.

Arabic is widely spoken on two continents, from North Africa to the Arabian Peninsula. It is the official language of twenty countries with more than 220 million inhabitants, placing it among the top ten languages of the world in number of speakers. The numerical, political, cultural, and religious status of the language was formally recognized by the United Nations in 1973 when Arabic was made the sixth official language of that body (the others are Chinese, English, Russian, French, and Spanish).

Most people know that Arabic is the written and spoken language of the 220 million people of the Arab world, but few realize that the Arabic script is used by approximately one-seventh of the world's population. Its alphabet, with some modification, is used to write non-Semitic languages as well, such as Persian, Urdu and Kurdish (i.e. The Arabic Zaa' with the addition of two dots, becomes the sound 'Zhe' as in Zhivago; the Arabic Faa' with the addition of two dots, makes the 'V' sound and so on—sounds that do not exist in Arabic, but do in Kurdish, Persian and Urdu). The Turkish language employed Arabic script until the 1920's. Several African and Asian languages, such as Swahili and the Malaysian tongue, have also used the Arabic script at some point. The Arabic script is still used today in Afghanistan, sections of China, and Muslim areas of the Soviet Union.

While it is universally written, read, and understood in its standard (or formal) form, spoken Arabic has undergone regional and dialectical variations. Colloquial Arabic is diverse from region to…...

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