Arabic is a magnificent language spoken by more than 300 million people around the world.
It’s also the official language of more than 20 countries.
Along with French, Spanish, and Chinese, Arabic is now widely taught in the American educational system.
But before international trade made increased its importance, Arabic had already left an incredible mark on the cultural history of the world.
Don’t believe us? Wondering why you should learn Arabic?
Perhaps without even realizing it, you use Arabic words when you speak English, you use the Arabic numeric system when you do math, and when you point out a constellation in the sky to your friend, that’s also thanks to an Arab legacy in science and astronomy.
This language of business, communication, and cultural promotion is an invaluable asset as you embark on your professional career.
Most students opt to learn the more traditional foreign languages like Spanish, French, German, or Italian, so why not stand out from the crowd by choosing one of today’s most in demand languages?
Even if that’s not your goal, why not take Arabic lessons for its rich cultural history?
By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to start learning Arabic. Most of all you’ll know all of the cultural benefits to be discovered in Arab culture.
Arabic will no longer be so mysterious. We’ll go over the basics of the Arabic alphabet, the vowels, possessive pronouns, and pronunciation.
The Arabic language has been at the center of a number of fields for centuries.
We still see the cultural impact of the Arabic language, its culture, and the richness of its civilization.
Across literature, philosophy, and sciences, Arabic influence is found in many forms.
Would you like a little proof? Here’s a small taster…
The Arabic Language and Medicine
Diseases were once considered divine punishment, the result of evil spirits, and treatments were archaic and ineffective.
It was due to Arab ideas that medicine began to change and take a new direction. Arab medicine promoted the principle that physical health allowed for a better relationship with God.
And so treating and saving others helps develop the health of the soul.
Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi was an influential doctor in the 9th century
There have been significant contributions to Western medicine by Arab world:
The Arabic Language and Mathematics
The cultural legacy of the Arabic language also extends into the field of Mathematics.
One of the greatest influences by Arabs on our culture and civilization is the lending of Arabic numerals and of course the invention of the number zero. Thanks to this advancement, the 10-digit number system was born and an easier and more flexible system than the Roman numeral system took hold.
The mathematical notion that scares so many students, and which is omnipresent in our information era and especially on social network sites, the algorithm, was invented by a Arab scientific genius named Al-Khawarizmi.
He is still considered the “Father of Algebra.”
But it’s also in the field of astronomy that Arab mathematical know-how has made its most significant impact.
Arab culture has influenced astrology
While Christians in the West were still certain that the Earth sat at the center of the universe, Arabs studied great Greek texts to continue their work, creating works that are still referenced today.
Arab cultural contributions have been so great in this realm that certain stars and moon craters have been named in Arab astronomer’s honor, like Al-Battani and Al-Tûsi.
Astronomical tools were both invented and perfected by Arabs, such as the astrolabe, the astronomical clock, the compass, and the sundial.
The Arabic Language, Literature, and Philosophy
Some of the greatest thinkers in the Arab world influenced Christian thought in the Middle Ages, and brought new concepts concerning, for example, humanity and the environment, ideas they’d explored after being inspired by the ancient Greeks.
Discover Arabic comics!
Some of these great writers, all of whom who wrote in Arabic, were:
The Arabic language is characterized by two types of distinct languages that together enable you to travel across the geography of the Arab world.
Between the Arabian-Persian Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean, through Morocco, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, Iran, and other places, the Arabic language helps us explore marvelous countries, including the very cradle of civilization.
In historic terms, Arabic also allows us to better understand current conflicts by looking back to understand how these great empires were formed and spread, at one point ruling over the entire Mediterranean and Middle East, with famous grand cities like Cordoba, Damascus, and Baghdad.
Understand the issues of the Arab world.
To understand these cultural differences, one must focus on dialectic Arabic, and the Ancient Arabic that became literary Arabic, or Modern Standard Arabic, which is found in the Holy Quran.
Ancient Arabic is now essentially a dead language. Having quickly absorbed the main dialects of Saudi Arabia and other Semitic languages to become Modern Standard English, the literary Arabic language can be learned with ease.
With dialectic Arabic, it’s actually many different dialects that use the same Arabic vocabulary, but which are distinguished from each other by their pronunciation and grammar.
The result is that Yemeni Arabic is considered the purest; what’s spoken in Mecca is fairly confusing due to the number of pilgrims that pass through the holy city; the Bedouins speak a variety of sub-dialects that originate with desert nomadic tribes; Syrian and Maronite are Arabic dialects used in Lebanon; and Egyptian Arabic, along with Maghreb and Moorish Arabic, are used in the southern Mediterranean countries.
There are, of course, many links between the Arabic language and Islam, but many Islamic populations have never adopted Arabic, while there are many Arab populations that never became Islamicized.
Today, there are 1.25 billion Muslims around the world, but only 240 million of them are Arab, and 120 million who speak literary Arabic as a second language. More than 90% of Muslims are unable to read the Quran in the original version.
Learning to write Arabic means being introduce to a vast, diverse, and fascinating group of people.
Today, when we discuss academic advantages, we generally think of physical sciences and mathematics.
But when it comes to foreign languages, you can’t forget that learning a language like Arabic can prove to be extremely useful in terms of impressing recruiters in the future.
In this era of globalization, in which many students focus on Spanish, German, or French, some are turning to Asian languages, but only a few are turning to Arabic. Even if you have only done an ‘Arabic for beginners’ course, you will have an advantage over the vast majority of people who do not.
This is a grave mistake because there is actually high demand for people who speak this language, and there are lots of different ways to learn Arabic.
Take every opportunity at your disposal as you learn Arabic.
It’s a considerable advantage that can guarantee you a better job because Arabic is increasingly required in a number of commercial sectors, most notably in the world of tourism, the trade markets, international retail, and finance, so don’t wait to get started!
Speaking Arabic allows you to talk with people from a variety of Arab countries within what is known as the Arab world, such as Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Morocco, etc.
The important role of oil-producing countries encourages Arabic language classes; it’s a strategic decision to make at the beginning of your college career (or even high school if possible!), because it will help you add real value to your skill-set as you compete in the job market, and you’ll stand out from your classmates who won’t be able to converse with foreign clients or manufacturers.
If you have a mother, father, or grandparent who’s already taught you how to read Arabic or write the Arabic alphabet, and if you don’t have any problem with Arabic phonetics, then highlight this firsthand knowledge — it will help you differentiate yourself from other candidates.
Today, thanks to the Internet, with free online courses, distance learning classes, and even everyday radio broadcasts, you can follow along with Arab news, download podcasts, learn Arabic through practice dialogues, add to your Arabic vocabulary, and improve your Arabic pronunciation by listening to native speakers talk among themselves.
This will help with your overall comprehension of Modern Standard Arabic and the Arabic alphabet, both essential to a good foundation within the Arabic language.
Arabic satellite TV stations like Al Jazeera, as well as online courses, will give you a real understanding of the culture, allowing you to integrate the language into a concrete context.
You’ll never be able to say that learning Arabic is difficult again!
Follow world news on the Al Jazeera channel.
For a long time now, the Arabic language has been contributing to Western culture and our own civilization. Whether it’s in the arts, literature, in the sciences, the cultural contributions of the Arabic language are undeniable.
Learning this Semitic language is also a great opportunity to learn about new cultures, to understand new traditions and social interactions, especially in these economically and geo-politically important Arab countries.
It’s also an incredible advantage as you work to differentiate yourself in your academic career because people still undervalue the importance of the Arabic language in the world of international affairs, business, and commercial trade.
Beyond that, knowing about the Arab world will allow you to avoid cultural misunderstandings, something that happens far too often over certain global and diplomatic issues.
Often unfavorably compared to the West, the Middle East has a very rich culture, especially in the areas of religious thinking and the arts.
The first human societies were Arab. They established the first permanent civilization, a culture based on raising grains and breeding livestock, and built the first cities that promoted a diversity of competencies and professions to support each other.
Arab Civilization and Its Heritage
The Muslim religion has permeated all of the Arab world and Arabic culture.
Learning the Arabic language offers you a fresh look at the capitals of the Middle East.
Following the path of the first societies, rich cultures and complex civilizations were built: ancient Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Phoenicia to name a few.
Calligraphy is, etymologically, “beautiful writing,” the art of creating handwritten characters. The word comes from Greek roots: kallos, meaning “beautiful,” and grapheîn, meaning “to write.”
Styles of calligraphy vary greatly but fall into two larger categories: Kufic, with an angled typography (the more ancient form), and cursive, with a looser typography.
In the cursive forms, there are six canonical styles:
Learn to write Arabic calligraphy!
Find out what your name looks like in Arabic with this link.
So are you now convinced of the contributions Arabic has made on your everyday life? As you have seen, the benefits of learning Arabic are endless.