Here’s Why Arabic Is Still Strong & Celebrated
Do you know how many languages are spoken around the world?
It’s far more than 100!
It’s much more than 1,000!
If you guessed 7,151 languages, you would be right.
Here’s the mind-blowing part! Of those 7000+ languages, only 23 are spoken by half the world’s population!
40% of the languages in the world are endangered.
For a language to be threatened, less than 1000 people in the entire world speak the language. That said, Arabic is far from being endangered.
Arabic is the official language of 28 countries and has approximately 290 million speakers across the globe. It is the fifth most spoken language in the world, and that might be because of how old the Arabic language is.
How Old is the Arabic language?
Arabic is among the oldest languages in the world that is still widely spoken today. Still, the question remains: how old is the Arabic language?
There is no definitive answer, and it is still a debated question among historians.
That’s a good indication that it’s old. Nonetheless, according to Al Hasan Al Naboodah, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at the UAE University in Al Ain, “Some say Arabic script originated from Al Hirah (fourth-to-seventh-century Mesopotamia) in the north, while others say it originated from the south of Arabia, from Himyar (110 BC to AD 525).”
One thing we know for sure, the Quran was revealed in Arabic over 1,450 years ago. So the Arabic language had to have been well-established in the region already.
If you want a more precise answer to “how old is the Arabic language,” you could confidently say 2000-2500 years old.
The Arabic Quran
Since the Quran was revealed in Arabic, non-Arabic-speaking Muslims have memorized it from cover to cover. While the meaning of the language isn’t something they know, 25% of the world’s population has learned Arabic letters and words. There are approximately 1.97 billion Muslims worldwide, and each must learn enough Arabic to pray 5-time a day.
No wonder there is a World Arabic Language Day!
What is World Arabic Language Day?
On December 18th, 1973, Arabic became the sixth official working language of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Thus, in 2010, the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) made December 18th World Arabic Language Day. Their goal in doing so was to celebrate cultural diversity and multilingualism. They also wanted to promote using six of its official working languages through the organization (Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish, and Arabic).
Types of Arabic to Learn
Learning Arabic is often split into three categories:
- Verbal (typically based on the dialect of the country)
- Reading phonetically outside of understanding the language (learning Quran)
- Complete comprehension of classical Arabic (Fusha): reading, writing, speaking, comprehension
All categories take time to learn, as with anything. However, there is an exception to learning Quran. If you ask those that have learned Quran, they’ll tell you they cannot memorize anything with the same ease. They pick up letters and sounds significantly more quickly than other languages.
“And indeed We have made the Qur’an easy for seeking advice. So, is there one to seek advice?” (Quran 54:40)
The answer to “how old is the Arabic language” remains to be seen. But we know it is among the oldest spoken languages in the world!
Most importantly, it’s the language of the Quran. This is the language Allah, Our Creator, chose for us, making it worth celebrating!
Happy World Arabic Language Day!