As a modern written language, Arabic is widely taught in schools and universities, and is used to varying degrees in workplaces, government and the media. Literary Arabic Standard Arabic (الفُصْحَى, al-fuṣḥā) is the official language of 26 states, as well as the liturgical language of the religion of Islam, since the Quran and Hadith were written in Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic largely follows the grammatical standards of Classical Arabic and uses much of the same vocabulary. However, it has discarded some grammatical constructions and vocabulary that no longer have any counterpart in the spoken varieties, and has adopted certain new constructions and vocabulary from the spoken varieties. Much of the new vocabulary is used to denote concepts that have arisen in the industrial and post-industrial era, especially in modern times. Due to its grounding in Classical Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic is removed over a millennium from everyday speech, which is construed as a multitude of dialects of this language. These dialects and Modern Standard Arabic are described by some scholars as not mutually comprehensible. The former are usually acquired in families, while the latter is taught in formal education settings. However, there have been studies reporting some degree of comprehension of stories told in the standard variety among preschool-aged children. The relation between Modern Standard Arabic and these dialects is sometimes compared to that of Latin and vernaculars (or today's French, Spanish or Italian) in medieval and early modern Europe. This view though does not take into account the widespread use of Modern Standard Arabic as a medium of audiovisual communication in today's mass media—a function Latin has never performed.
During the Middle Ages, Literary Arabic was a major vehicle of culture in Europe, especially in science, mathematics and philosophy. As a result, many European languages have also borrowed many words from it. Arabic influence, mainly in vocabulary, is seen in European languages, mainly Spanish and to a lesser extent Portuguese and Catalan, owing to both the proximity of Christian European and Muslim Arab civilizations and 800 years of Arabic culture and language in the Iberian Peninsula, referred to in Arabic as al-Andalus. Sicilian has about 500 Arabic words as result of Sicily being progressively conquered by Arabs from North Africa, from the mid-9th to mid-10th centuries. Many of these words relate to agriculture and related activities.[full citation needed] The Balkan languages, including Greek and Bulgarian, have also acquired a significant number of Arabic words through contact with Ottoman Turkish.
The conversion of the suffix-conjugated stative formation (jalas-) into a past tense.
The conversion of the prefix-conjugated preterite-tense formation (yajlis-) into a present tense.
The elimination of other prefix-conjugated mood/aspect forms (e.g., a present tense formed by doubling the middle root, a perfect formed by infixing a /t/ after the first root consonant, probably a jussive formed by a stress shift) in favor of new moods formed by endings attached to the prefix-conjugation forms (e.g., -u for indicative, -a for subjunctive, no ending for jussive, -an or -anna for energetic).
The development of an internal passive.
There are several features which Classical Arabic, the modern Arabic varieties, as well as the Safaitic and Hismaic inscriptions share which are unattested in any other Central Semitic language variety, including the Dadanitic and Taymanitic languages of the northern Hejaz. These features are evidence of common descent from a hypothetical ancestor, Proto-Arabic. The following features can be reconstructed with confidence for Proto-Arabic:
negative particles m *mā; lʾn *lā-ʾan > CAr lan
mafʿūl G-passive participle
prepositions and adverbs f, ʿn, ʿnd, ḥt, ʿkdy
a subjunctive in -a
leveling of the -at allomorph of the feminine ending