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Arabic Languages

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The Arabic language, which refers to a “Semitic branch of an Afrasian language family, is an official language in all Arab countries and is one of the six working languages of the United Nations”. The zone of “this sacral language stretches geographically from Kazan in the north to the Atlas Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean in the west”, in the south, it reaches the African Mozambique while in the east it includes Pakistan and India, “penetrates Indonesia and approaches closely to the borders of the Pacific Ocean at the Philippines”. The spoken language is widespread in Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Malta, Morocco, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Somalia, Djibouti, the Republic Chad. The dialects of the Arabic language are found in parts of the territory of Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Cyprus, and in Uzbekistan. The Arabic language is used by about 250 million people worldwide. Besides, studying the Arabic language is obligatory for any Muslim as the sacred book of the Muslims – the Koran – is written this language. Thus, more than billion people possess some kind of knowledge of the Arabic language.

The Arabic language has five dialectic groups – Eastern (Mesopotamic), Arabian, Central Arabic, Egyptian Sudanese and North African (Maghrib); a single literary Arabic language also exists.

The Arab writing, which has finally been created by III- IV centuries AD in Arabia on the basis of the Aramaic writing, “consists of 28 letters used for designation of consonants and long vowels”. Superlinear and interlinear symbols, which are, as a rule, used in texts of the religious contents, proper names, and dictionaries, as well as in the decorative purposes on signs, covers of books, and magazines, can also be applied to designation of short vowel sounds.

The Arab writing is read from the right to the left and, despite unusual writing for the Europeans and other users of Latin, the Arabic language is simple for studying if working with diligence. Like any other language, it has certain characteristics and difficulties.

One of the false statements is that Arabic is a very difficult language. The truth is that the Arabic language does not belong to the Indo-European language group and is constructed on absolutely other rules rather than the European languages. The Arabic grammar is rather clear, and logic word-formation often gives a chance to guess a meaning of an unknown word. As to a pronunciation, this needs only practicing. For people who study it, the language does not cause any intellectual barrier.

The following delusion concerns the nature of the Arabic language. The modern Arabic language is divided into two languages: a literary formal language, which is used in the whole Arab world and a colloquial dialect, which the population of a certain region speaks in an everyday life. The formal Arabic language is used in the press, radio and television, at conferences and so forth. The colloquial Arabic language you can hear at work, at home, in songs, cinema and soap operas.

The classical, standard Arabic language is studied at universities worldwide because it is considered that it is pure, and it is possible to communicate it in all Arab countries, and local dialects are something like a regional slang. It is not true because in practice, “the communication with the whole world” looks very poor. Knowing only classical Arabic language, you will simply not be able to talk fully to people in their native language. The communication will be unilateral. You will often fail to understand each other until the speaker of the local Arabic language reads what you want to tell him. It is clear, of course, you will not write each time. The solution is to know both the standard and the spoken languages and to use one or another (or a mix of both) depending on a situation.

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