Language Centre Resources - Arabic
An Afro-Asiatic language and the chief member of the Semitic branch, spoken by over 200 million people in some 20 countries of northern Africa and south-eastern Asia and by sizeable émigré communities in many other countries. It is also widely used throughout the Islamic world.
The earliest attested inscriptions date from the 4th century and by the 9th century Classical Arabic was fully established as the linguistic medium for learning and literature. At the same time it also became the language of the Koran and the sacred language of Islam that has remained largely unchanged to the present, differing from Modern Standard Arabic mainly in style and vocabulary. Spoken Arabic, however, has developed into a variety of regional dialects differing considerably.
The language is spelt is the Arabic alphabet, containing 28 letters written from right to left. It is a consonantal alphabet, derived from Aramaic, used by a vast number of other languages, such as Persian, Urdu, Pashto, Swahili, Malay and over a hundred others.
CLASSIFICATION = Afro-Asiatic family SCRIPT = Arabic