The Arabic language has become very popular in recent times and speakers of the middle eastern language are always in high demand for many different types of work. Arabic language courses focus on all four skills- speaking, listening comprehension, writing and reading, supplemented with cultural readings and guided conversations in class. While this language is still new to the school, its courses fill up the fastest when time slots open in the registration system. We encourage you to speak with an advisor in the Arabic department here at the School of Modern Languages for more information on tailoring a program to fit your learning needs.
Main Characteristics of the Arabic Language
- Arabic belongs to the Semitic family of languages.
- There are 28 letters in the Arabic alphabet, consisting of consonants, vowels, and symbols, and it is read and written from right to left.
- Arabic is a phonetic language.
- There are three main forms of Arabic: the classical Arabic, the modern Arabic language, and the colloquial Arabic.
- There are codified rules for classical Arabic and an emphasis on mastering these rules. The modern and colloquial Arabic are not static.
- The issue of diglossia - the fact that Arabs read and write one form of Arabic but speak a variety of different dialects.
- There are many dialects. The most common are the Egyptian, Levantine, Iraqi, Moroccan, and Najdi in the Arabic peninsula.
- The Arabic calligraphy is an art in itself.
- It has been a literary language for over 1,500 years and is spoken by many different people over a vast area of land.
Some Facts About the Arabic Language
- It is the fifth most spoken language globally- more than 200 million native speakers of this language around the word.
- It is one of the six UN languages. There are 22 countries where Arabic is the official language.
- It is the liturgical language of Islam. The classical Arabic is the language of the Holy Qur’an.
- In the United States, an estimated 687,000 people speak Arabic at home, and it is the 11th most spoken language in the country. (The Language educator, Vol. 2, issue 3, p:32)
- The Arab world has its own unique culture of art, music, literature, and cuisine with specific values and norms that distinguish the culture.
- Arabs have made significant contributions in the advancement of most sciences. (Medicine, pharmacy, biology, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, dynamics, mechanics, music, and astronomy). Experimentation was the fundamental method in most of the Arabs’ scientific research and conclusions.
More reasons to start learning Arabic
- With the growing importance of the Middle East in international affairs, there is a great demand for people who master the Arabic language.
- With the integration of the Arab world into the global economy, numerous businesses and job opportunities are open in areas such as international banking, international consulting, market analysis, intelligence analysis, and company managing.
- Other positions open for Arabic speakers are foreign correspondents, reporters, translators, petroleum engineers, geophysicists, reservoir engineers, geologists, international lawyers, and foreign service officers in addition to teaching and research positions.
- Learning Arabic and understanding the Arabic culture would change the stereotyping of the Arabs and lead to better communication.
- Knowing the language and gaining deep insights into the Arabic culture would fix the gap between the Arabs and the Western World and is necessary to do business effectively.
- The United States government is planning and implementing more incentives for learning and teaching Arabic.