Arabic (العربية) is a Semitic language, in the same family as Hebrew and Aramaic. Around 250 million people use it as their first language. Many more people can also understand it, but not as a first language. It is written with the Arabic alphabet, which is written from right to left, like Hebrew. Since it is so widely spoken throughout the world, it is one of the six official languages of the UN, alongside English, Spanish, French, Russian, and Chinese.
Many countries speak Arabic as an official language, but not all of them speak it the same way. There are many dialects, or varieties of a language, like Modern Standard Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, Gulf Arabic, Maghrebi Arabic, Levantine Arabic, and many others. Some of these dialects are so different from each other that speakers have a hard time understanding the other.
Most of the countries that use Arabic as their official language are in the Middle East. They are part of the Arab World. This is because the largest religion in the Middle East is Islam.
The language is very important in Islam, because Muslims believe that Allah (God) used it to talk to Muhammad through the Archangel Gabriel (Jibril), giving him the Quran in Arabic. Many Arabic speakers are Muslims, but not all are.
Arabic is also becoming a popular language to learn in the Western world, even though Arabic grammar is sometimes very hard to learn for native speakers of Indo-European languages. Many other languages have borrowed words from Arabic, because of its importance in history. Some English words that can be traced to Arabic are: sugar, cotton, magazine, algebra, ,alcohol and Emir
Arabic is an official language of:
- Western Sahara
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
It is also a national language of: