Arabic Language Day

إذا تم العقل نقص الكلام

“The smarter you are, the less you speak.”

Arabic proverb


The Arabic language is spoken by 300 million people across the world, for instance in such countries like Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iraq, Algeria, Egypt or Ethiopia. Arabic is an ancient language and is full of proverbs and sayings. Modern Standard Arabic is a descendant of Classical Arabic, which derivets from the 6th century. The Arabic alphabet is read from the right to the left.

In 2010 UNESCO proclaimed December, 18 as Arabic Language Day "to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six of its official working languages throughout the organisation". This particular date has been choen as on December, 18 1973 the General Assembly approved Arabic as an offcial UN language.

5 interesting facts about Arabic Language:

  1. Arabic is at least 1500 years old!
    Classical Arabic has its origins in the 6th century, yet earlier versions of the language existed.

  2. There are at least 11 words for 'love'.
    Arabic has at least 11 words for 'love' and all of them convey a different meaning depending on the stage of the process of falling in loive. "'Alaaqa', which comes from the root word (‘a-l-q) which means ‘to cling on to’ describes the next stage when the heart begins to attach itself to the beloved, before evolving into a blind desire 'ishq' and all-consuming love 'shaghaf'. The final stage of falling in love, 'huyum', describes the complete loss of reason. Interestingly, the most common word for love in Arabic, 'hubb', comes from the same root as the word ‘seed’ – that which has the potential to grow into something beautiful."

  3. Arabic alphabet is not actually an alphabet.
    Arabic language is unique and difficult to learn. Its writing system does not follow that of an alphabet, but an abjad. An abjad is a system in which each letter stands for a consonant and not a vowel. That means that the user of the language needs to provide the vowels using vowel marks.

  4. Arabic and Hebrew have a lot in common.
    Arabic and Hebrew are both Semitic languages which belong to the Central Semitic Languages group. They're both impure abjads, not alphabets and they both have a unique negation marker.

  5. Arabic is the 5th mostly spoken language in the world.
    Mandarin, Spanish, English Hindi and Arabic - fifth place for most widespread Semantic language in the world, despite it is concentrated in the Arab World.


Arabic Language Day aims to increase awareness of and respect for the history and culture of the Arabic language and of course celebrate its undeniable beauty and enormous contributions to the heritage of humanity.


Beata Jaranowska


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