María Palomares Tarí
WORLD ARABIC LANGUAGE DAY: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
As-salam-aleykum! Today, as every 18 December since 2012, it’s World Arabic Day and since it was to be expected, we’re taking a moment to appreciate the Arabic language and its many contributions to humanity.
Why this date?
December 18 was chosen because that was the day the UN made Arabic one of its official languages in 1973. This celebration serves to “promote equal use of all six of its official working languages throughout the organization.”
Why is Arabic an important World Language?
Arabic is currently an official language in 22 countries and has spread both orally and through literature thanks to its long history and heritage. More than 400 million people around the world speak Arabic, in countries stretching from the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula, to North Africa, and across Africa.
This language gives access to an incredible variety of beliefs and identities and has given rise to a fascinating aesthetic, in fields as varied as poetry, philosophy and architecture.
Some Arabic Language Facts
Let’s clear things up!
The Arabic language can be classified into different forms:
Classical Arabic (CA) or Quranic Arabic is the language of the Qur’an (the holy book of Islam), as could also be found in pre-Islamic and early Islamic poetry. It is rarely used except in reciting the Quran or quoting older religious texts. The Arabic language in general derives its grammatical and syntactic rules from its classical form, but mastering classical Arabic requires years of study and oral practice.
Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is used in writing and in educational settings; TV and radio broadcasts; and formal interviews or speeches, though it is not necessarily a conversational or neutral language. Arabs more often use a mixture of both colloquial and MSA.
There are numerous local varieties of Arabic spoken across the Arab world used for everyday situations, and they can vary widely. Colloquial Arabic or ‘Ammiyya (Darija in the Maghred region) is the first language of every Arab, as they later acquire MSA in school.
Most Arab speakers adapt their speech to use ‘Ammiyya, MSA or even Classical Arabic based on various socio-linguistic factors.
In all, Arabic is a vibrant language, and has played a catalytic role in knowledge throughout history, influencing many of the languages we know today.
This celebration aims to promote the uniqueness of this language and is meant to safeguard its rich cultural heritage and promote cultural diversity.
Happy World Arabic Language Day to you all!
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