Learning the Arabic language has many professional and personal benefits. By getting a grasp of the Arabic language, you can advance in your career, converse with friends who already know the language, get a leg up in the language before visiting an Arab-speaking place, or simply get a better understanding of the Arab culture.
The Arabic language is an ancient language spanning thousands of years. Today it is spoken by millions of people around the world, comprising of more than 30 varieties.
Arabic is the native language for numerous countries in North Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia. Each country has established its own preferred form of Arabic. Even within countries, you’ll find different Arabic dialects.
The Arabic language originated on the Arabian Peninsula and can be widely categorized by four regions, or language family origin. The first is the North African dialect and comes from the Afro-Asianic language family. The most common and highly popular language of this Arabic branch is Egyptian Arabic.
Present day Egyptian Arabic was the result of Muslim conquest during the 7th century AD. The original Egyptian language was the Coptic language that at one time influenced the French, Italian, Turkish, Greek and English languages.
Egyptian Arabic is not only the language of more than 90 million Egyptians, but it is the language most widely recognized, understood and spoken among the Arabic-speaking countries. The more than a century long predominance of the Egyptian Arabic language is largely due to the influence of Egyptian media, music and cinema. Big movie companies such as Disney use the Egyptian Arabic dialect for its films shown in the Arabic-speaking world.
Since Egyptian Arabic is the widely understood Arabic dialect and the preferred one for business and entertainment in the region, it has become a popular form of Arabic among students learning the Arabic language. In fact, it is recommended that students new to Arabic learn Egyptian Arabic first.
Omani and South Asian Arabic
The second dialect of Arabic is Persian or South Asian Arabic. This kind of Arabic comes from the Indo-Iranian language branch of the Indo-European language family.
An example of this form of Arabic is that of Omani Arabic.
Persian Arabic is considered one of the oldest forms of Arabic and its prestige rivaled that of traditional Arabic. At its height, Persian Arabic or Omani Arabic, was spoken in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
Today Omani Arabic is only predominantly spoken in the Al Hajar Mountains and coastal neighborhoods of Oman, though it was once spoken in Kenya and Tanzania.
Aramaic and Jordanian Arabic
The third major form of Arabic is Northern Arabic or Aramaic. This form of Arabic comes from the Northwest Semitic group of the Afro-asiatic language family. Aramaic includes Canaanite languages of Phoenician and Hebrew and its alphabet was widely adopted by other languages.
Aramaic has been around for more than 3,000 years and had been used as the language for religious study, religious worship and administration. At its peak, Aramaic was widely spoken in what is today Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Kuwait, Palestine, Turkey and Iran.
Over time Aramaic, also called Jordanian Arabic came to have numerous varieties and dialects because of its long history and widespread use. Today, there is no singular Aramaic language. Some of the variations are considered completely different languages.
Today, Eastern and Western Aramaic are the two largest spoken forms of Jordanian Arabic and they are restricted to parts of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Turkey and Israel. It is however, the official language of Jordan.
Jordanian Arabic is not only not as widespread as Egyptian Arabic, but it is a harder variety of Arabic to learn. With Aramaic, there are differences in addressing groups, men and women, irregular plurals and verb conjugations and difficult to pronounce letters of the alphabet.
The final major region of Arabic is Moroccan Arabic. This form of Arabic comes from the same family as the Romance languages of Spanish, French and Italian.
Moroccan Arabic is popular in Moroccan TV, cinema, advertising and entertainment as well as in daily life.
However, Moroccan Arabic is the first language to only about half of the Moroccan population. The other half speak Berber. Not too long ago, Berber became the official language of Morocco.
Arabic has become an invaluable language to learn. Yet, there are many forms and dialects of Arabic that can make learning it difficult.
Unless you’re going to be traveling to a certain country, it is highly recommended that students learn Egyptian Arabic.
This widespread, preferred and easy to learn form of Arabic is taught by experienced teachers in an easy-to-learn method at Arab Academy.
Sign up for a free lesson today to learn more about our Egyptian Arabic courses!