Arabic is one of the
world's major languages, spoken in a broad belt extending from the
Arabian Peninsula across the Fertile Crescent and on to the
Atlantic Ocean. It is the official language of Saudi Arabia,
Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Iraq,
Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and
Morocco, making it the mother tongue of about 215 million people.
In addition many millions of Moslems in other countries have some
knowledge of Arabic, it being the language of the Moslem religion
and of the sacred Koran. in 1974 Arabic was made the sixth
official language of the United Nations.
spring from great empires, and Arabic is no exception. A Semitic
language closely related to Hebrew, its use was confined to the
Arabian Peninsula until the 7th century A.D. But the spectacular
Islamic conquests of that century carried the language far beyond
its original borders, and it supplanted almost all the previous
languages of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and North Africa. After further
conquest in succeeding centuries Arabic was spoken as far east as
Afghanistan and as far west as Spain.