Arabic Culture

International Day of Arabic Language: The Unique Characteristics of Arabic Language

December 18 was designated by United Nations as a World Day for the Arabic language. This date was chosen because it coincides with the General Assembly’s declaration of Arabic as an official language of United Nations in 1973. The aim of this initiative was to raise awareness and respect for the history and culture of the Arabic language, in addition to celebrating its beauty and outstanding contributions to human heritage. On this occasion, we present to you some facts about this historical language.

Arabic Unique Writing System

One unique characteristic of the Arabic language, which makes it difficult to learn, is that its writing system does not follow the alphabetical order, but it has its own alphabet. Within the Arabic alphabet, each letter represents a consonant rather than a vowel, which requires the speaker to produce vowels using diacritical marks.

Rich Vocabulary of Arabic Language

Arabic language is very rich in vocabulary. If someone spent his/her entire life in an attempt to learn all of them, he/she would not be able to do so. The number of Arabic words without repetition is 912,302,12 words versus 600,000 words for English, 150,000 words for French and 130,000 for Russian. Each word has dozens of names; for example, the word “honey” has 80 names in Arabic, the word “lion” has 500 names, the word “sword” has more than 1000 names, and the word “camel” has a similar number of names as well.

World languages Derived from Arabic

Languages generally “borrow” from each other because they are based on the principle of mutual influence. In comparison with other languages, the Arabic language derived very little from other languages. On the other hand, other languages borrowed much from Arabic. For example, there are 7584 words in Urdu, 3303 in Malay, and 160 words in English were derived from Arabic

Declension includes all its vocabulary

Declension is a unique feature of Arabic as it includes all vocabulary, whether names, verbs or prepositions. It is true that declension exists in other languages, such as French, Hindi…etc, but it is limited to certain words. However, in Arabic declension can apply to every word.

Arabic is spoken by more than 422 million people around the world

Native speakers of Arabic are found in the Arab countries, Turkey, Iran, Chad, Mali and Eritrea. It is the sixth language in United Nations, the first official language in the Arab countries and the second language in Eritrea and Chad.

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