Arabic | The Language

Facts about Arabic Language

ARABIC ranks sixth in the world's league table of languages. It is spoken by more than 200 million people as a first language, most of whom live in the Middle East and North Africa. As the language of the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam, it is also widely used throughout the Muslim world.

Arabic is a Central Semitic language, thus related to and classified alongside other Semitic languages such as Hebrew and the Neo-Aramaic languages. Arabic has more speakers than any other language in the Semitic language family. It has been a literary language for over 1500 years, and is the liturgical language of Islam.

Spoken in: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Gaza Strip, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, West Bank, Yemen by a majority, many other countries as a minority language.

Types of Arabic Language

Arabic usually designates one of three main variants:

a. Quranic or Classical Arabic: This is the Arabic of Islam's holy book, the Quran (or Koran). It is archaic, which means that it is very old, dating from the late 600's when the Quran was written down. It is used in the Quran and in the holy books of Islam. No one speaks Classical Arabic as a native, nor is it used for conversation. It is learned primarily for reciting and reading the Quran.

b. Formal or Modern Standard Arabic (MSA): This is an updated version of Classical Arabic which is taught in the schools of Arab countries. It is the language of the news, modern literature and education. No one speaks it as a native language but it is used as a common language for people who speak very different varieties of Arabic or by second-language speakers.

c. Spoken or Colloquial Arabic: There are many local varieties of Arabic, many languages in their own right. The most widely spoken and understood of these is Egyptian Arabic. Other distinct varieties are Iraqi, Levantine (Lebanese/Syrian/Jordanian/Palestinian) and Moroccan Arabic.

Influence of Arabic on other Language

Arabic has lent many words to other languages of the Islamic world, like Turkish, urdu and Persian. During the Middle Ages, Arabic was a major vehicle of culture in Europe, especially in science, mathematics and philosophy. As a result, many European languages have also borrowed many words from it. Arabic influence is seen in Mediterranean languages, particularly Spanish, Portuguese, Greek and Sicilian, owing to both the proximity of European and Arab civilizations and 700 years of Arab rule in the Iberian peninsula

Arabic is a major source of vocabulary for languages such as Sindhi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Berber, Kurdish, Pashto, Persian, Swahili, Urdu, Hindustani (especially the spoken variety), Malay, Rohingya, Bengali, Tagalog, and Indonesian, as well as other languages in countries where these languages are spoken. For example, the Arabic word for book (/kitāb/) has been borrowed in all the languages listed, with the exception of Spanish and Portuguese which use the Latin-derived words "libro" and "livro", respectively, and Tagalog which uses "aklat".

In addition, English has quite a few Arabic loan words, some directly but most through the medium of other Mediterranean languages. Other languages such as Maltese[9] and Kinubi derive from Arabic, rather than merely borrowing vocabulary or grammar rules.

Arabic and Islam

Arabic is the language of the Qur'an. Arabic is often associated with Islam, but it is also spoken by Arab Christians, Mizrahi Jews and Iraqi Mandaeans.

Most of the world's Muslims do not speak Arabic as their native language but can read the script and recite the words of religious text

Studying Arabic worldwide

Because the Quran is written in Arabic and all Islamic terms are in Arabic, millions of Muslims (both Arab and non-Arab) study the language. Arabic has been taught in many elementary and secondary schools, especially Muslim schools, worldwide. Universities around the world have classes teaching Arabic as part of their foreign languages, Middle Eastern studies, religious studies courses.

Software and books with tapes are also important part of Arabic learning, as many of Arabic learners may live in places where there are no academic or Arabic language school classes available. Radio series of Arabic language classes are also provided from some radio stations. A number of websites on the Internet provide online classes for all levels as a means of distance education.

Provision to study Arabic in India

It is evident that without knowing the language, one cannot understand the real meaning and depth of the message. Particularly the holy Quran, which is a message to the mankind. Unlike other parts of the world there is a growing demand to study Arabic in India. There are various attempts being made by several individuals & organizations.

MESCO Hyderabad, is One such organization, which has surveyed and designed an syllabus to learn the Arabic language in a systematic way from nursery to 7th grade. This syllabus has been adapted by more than 200 schools in India and also approved by CBSE.

Subject taught includes Tajweed, Mesco Arabic course for understanding Quran without the assistance of any translation, Seerathunnabi (PBUH), Islamic knowledge, Teaching methodology, Time management , Basic English, Computers and Practical classroom training

Right age to learn a language

Normally all other languages are being taught at an early stage but Arabic has been ignored or being taught at later stages. It is a well-known and well-documented fact, that there is a window of opportunity or a critical period when the child’s brain is best able to learn different languages.
That window starts right from when the child is a baby and can hear to typically 12 years of age. In fact, the earlier the child has regular exposure to a language, the higher are the chances of the child understanding and talking the language fluently and with the accent of a native speaker.

A child's brain can handle what all languages that are thrown at it regularly at an early stage. If the brain does not hear a language, then those neural connections for that language will not get stimulated and the brain will slowly retire these connections. That is why after 10-12 years of age, it is more difficult to learn a particular language. After that age, the brain becomes rigid and the neural connections, that encourage fast and easy language development, get discarded.
Millions of children are crossing this age limit and may find it difficult to learn this great language

Hidayah Foundations efforts on Arabic language

Citing the need of Arabic language, Hidayah foundation initially brought 2 trained teachers from MESCO Hyderabad and conducted classes for nearly 45 students in Mangalore. Later in the month of January 2010, manage to send 9 teachers to Hyderabad for a course of 6 months. These teachers who have completed their training in the month of july 2010 are hired in different schools of southcanara.

Now with the intention of creating more teachers to meet the local demand of Muslim managed schools, we are preparing a batch of B ed/D ed/ graduates for a fresh 6 months Arabic language training program at Hyderabad starting from November 1st. above program includes teaching methodology, time management, basic English, computers & practical class room training.

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