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|Arabic Language Program
Today Arabic is spoken throughout the Arabian Peninsula: Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Yemen and Chad. It is the mother tongue of over 225 million people in Africa and Asia. And since the Qur'an is written in Arabic, people in other Muslim countries have from basic to advanced knowledge of Arabic like in Indonesia (largest Muslim population), Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Israel, and India (which also has one of the world's largest Muslim populations, although Islam is not the principal religion there). Moreover, it is spoken in Djibouti, Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria, and in many places where Islam is the dominant religion, and even among small Muslim communities, since Arabic is related directly to the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam. Arabic is also an official language of many international organizations, including the United Nations.
Arabic is a member of the Semitic language family. The terms Classical Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic are used to describe its medieval and modern variants. Classical Arabic was codified in the Qur’an. Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) differs from Classical Arabic (CA) only in vocabulary and stylistic features; the morphology and syntax have remained basically unchanged over the centuries. MSA is the official language used in writing, education, literature and formal settings. While standard Arabic is learnt formally at school or at home as part of the child’s education, standard Arabic is confined to formal written and spoken occasions, while the regional and social variety of Arabic is used at all other times. There are four main dialects among the regional and social dialects of Arabic: the Moroccan dialect, the Egyptian dialect, the Levant dialect, and the Gulf dialect. Egyptian Arabic is generally understood by Arabs everywhere. It is the most widely used of the dialects as the Egyptians play a leading cultural role in exporting their films, TV programs, and popular songs (in their own dialect) as entertainment for the entire Arab world. The Moroccan dialect, by contrast, is the most unintelligible dialect to speakers of other dialects.
Proficiency in Arabic is a path to a wide range of professional opportunities. Arabic speakers are in great demand among international organizations like the United Nations and the World Bank, international companies, foreign aid agencies, intelligence agencies, and many other sectors. Lawyers, doctors, journalists, and other professionals who speak Arabic also enjoy a wide range of exciting career choices. The cultural and professional benefits it offers are unsurpassed. That is why there is a sharp rise in the number of students who are interested in the language all over the whole world. It is a clear indication of the natural realization of this period as the age of Arabic learning and a time when job opportunities abound in this field. It is taught in over 100 universities in the United States. According to the statistics of the Modern Language Association of America, the number of Arabic language students at U.S. universities is currently 12,000. Alongside the increase in students, the number of universities and institutes that offer Arabic courses has also increased. It is also taught in many universities in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
|Department of Linguistics
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|This page last updatedSeptember 20, 2010|