Arabic albayancalligraphy.svg
al-ʿArabiyyah in written Arabic (Naskh script)
Pronunciation/ˈʕarabij/, /alʕaraˈbijːa/
Native toCountries of the Arab League, minorities in neighboring countries and some parts of Asia, Africa, Europe
Native speakers
310 million, all varieties (2011–2016)[1]
270 million L2 speakers of Standard (Classical) Arabic[1]
Early form
Standard forms
Arabic alphabet
Arabic Braille
Latin (incl. Arabic chat alphabet, Hassaniya (Senegal),[2] Moroccan, Lebanese)
Signed Arabic (national forms)
Official status
Official language in
Modern Standard Arabic is an official language of 26 states, the third most after English and French[3]
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated by
Language codes
ISO 639-3arainclusive code
Individual codes:
arq – Algerian Arabic
aao – Algerian Saharan Arabic
bbz – Babalia Creole Arabic
abv – Baharna Arabic
shu – Chadian Arabic
acy – Cypriot Arabic
adf – Dhofari Arabic
avl – Eastern Egyptian Bedawi Arabic
arz – Egyptian Arabic
afb – Gulf Arabic
ayh – Hadrami Arabic
acw – Hijazi Arabic
ayl – Libyan Arabic
acm – Mesopotamian Arabic
ary – Moroccan Arabic
ars – Najdi Arabic
apc – North Levantine Arabic
ayp – North Mesopotamian Arabic
acx – Omani Arabic
aec – Saidi Arabic
ayn – Sanaani Arabic
ssh – Shihhi Arabic
ajp – South Levantine Arabic
arb – Standard Arabic
apd – Sudanese Arabic
pga – Sudanese Creole Arabic
acq – Taizzi-Adeni Arabic
abh – Tajiki Arabic
aeb – Tunisian Arabic
auz – Uzbeki Arabic
Dispersión lengua árabe.png
Dispersion of native Arabic speakers as the majority (dark green) or minority (light green) population
Arabic speaking world.svg
Use of Arabic as the national language (green), as an official language (dark blue), and as a regional/minority language (light blue)
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Arabic (Arabic: العَرَبِيَّة‎) al-ʻarabiyyah [alʕaraˈbijːa] (About this soundlisten) or (Arabic: عَرَبِيّ‎) ʻarabī [ˈʕarabiː] (About this soundlisten) or Arabic pronunciation: [ʕaraˈbij]) is a Central Semitic language that first emerged in Iron Age northwestern Arabia and is now the lingua franca of the Arab world.[5] It is named after the Arabs, a term initially used to describe peoples living from Mesopotamia in the east to the Anti-Lebanon mountains in the west, in northwestern Arabia, and in the Sinai Peninsula. Arabic is classified as a macrolanguage comprising 30 modern varieties, including its standard form, Modern Standard Arabic,[6] which is derived from Classical Arabic.

As the modern written language, Modern Standard Arabic is widely taught in schools and universities, and is used to varying degrees in workplaces, government, and the media. The two formal varieties are grouped together as Literary Arabic (fuṣḥā), which is the official language of 26 states and the liturgical language of Islam. 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 post-classical 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 not mutually comprehensible. The former are acquired in families, while the latter in the course of formal school education. Hence, there is no speech community of Modern Standard Arabic. The relation between Modern Standard Arabic and these dialects reminds that of Latin and vernaculars (or today's French, Czech or German) in medieval and early modern Europe.[7]

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 (Hull and Ruffino). Balkan languages, including Greek and Bulgarian, have also acquired a significant number of Arabic words through contact with Ottoman Turkish.

Arabic has influenced many languages around the globe throughout its history. Some of the most influenced languages are Persian, Turkish, Spanish, Urdu, Kashmiri, Kurdish, Bosnian, Kazakh, Bengali, Hindi, Malay, Maldivian, Indonesian, Pashto, Punjabi, Tagalog, Sindhi, and Hausa, and some languages in parts of Africa. Conversely, Arabic has borrowed words from other languages, including Greek and Persian in medieval times, and contemporary European languages such as English and French in modern times.

Classical Arabic is the liturgical language of 1.8 billion Muslims, and Modern Standard Arabic is one of six official languages of the United Nations.[8][9][10][11] All varieties of Arabic combined are spoken by perhaps as many as 422 million speakers (native and non-native) in the Arab world,[12] making it the fifth most spoken language in the world. Arabic is written with the Arabic alphabet, which is an abjad script and is written from right to left, although the spoken varieties are sometimes written in ASCII Latin from left to right with no standardized orthography.



Arabic is a Central Semitic language, closely related to the Northwest Semitic languages (Aramaic, Hebrew, Ugaritic, and Phoenician), the Ancient South Arabian languages, and various other Semitic languages of Arabia such as Dadanitic. The Semitic languages changed a great deal between Proto-Semitic and the establishment of the Central Semitic languages, particularly in grammar. Innovations of the Central Semitic languages—all maintained in Arabic—include:

  1. The conversion of the suffix-conjugated stative formation (jalas-) into a past tense.
  2. The conversion of the prefix-conjugated preterite-tense formation (yajlis-) into a present tense.
  3. 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).
  4. 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:[13]

  1. negative particles m *; lʾn *lā-ʾan > CAr lan
  2. mafʿūl G-passive participle
  3. prepositions and adverbs f, ʿn, ʿnd, ḥt, ʿkdy
  4. a subjunctive in -a
  5. t-demonstratives
  6. leveling of the -at allomorph of the feminine ending
  7. ʾn complementizer and subordinator
  8. the use of f- to introduce modal clauses
  9. independent object pronoun in (ʾ)y
  10. vestiges of nunation

Old Arabic

Arabian languages

Arabia boasted a wide variety of Semitic languages in antiquity. In the southwest, various Central Semitic languages both belonging to and outside of the Ancient South Arabian family (e.g. Southern Thamudic) were spoken. It is also believed that the ancestors of the Modern South Arabian languages (non-Central Semitic languages) were also spoken in southern Arabia at this time. To the north, in the oases of northern Hejaz, Dadanitic and Taymanitic held some prestige as inscriptional languages. In Najd and parts of western Arabia, a language known to scholars as Thamudic C is attested. In eastern Arabia, inscriptions in a script derived from ASA attest to a language known as Hasaitic. Finally, on the northwestern frontier of Arabia, various languages known to scholars as Thamudic B, Thamudic D, Safaitic, and Hismaic are attested. The last two share important isoglosses with later forms of Arabic, leading scholars to theorize that Safaitic and Hismaic are in fact early forms of Arabic and that they should be considered Old Arabic.[14]

Beginning in the 1st century CE, fragments of Northern Old Arabic are attested in the Nabataean script across northern Arabia. By the 4th century CE, the Nabataean Aramaic writing system had come to express varieties of Arabic other than that of the Nabataeans.

Old Hejazi and Classical Arabic

In late pre-Islamic times, a transdialectal and transcommunal variety of Arabic emerged in the Hejaz which continued living its parallel life after literary Arabic had been institutionally standardized in the 2nd and 3rd century of the Hijra, most strongly in Judeo-Christian texts, keeping alive ancient features eliminated from the "learned" tradition (Classical Arabic).[15] This variety and both its classicizing and "lay" iterations have been termed Middle Arabic in the past, but they are thought to continue an Old Higazi register. It is clear that the orthography of the Qur'an was not developed for the standardized form of Classical Arabic; rather, it shows the attempt on the part of writers to record an archaic form of Old Higazi.

In the late 6th century AD, a relatively uniform intertribal "poetic koine" distinct from the spoken vernaculars developed based on the Bedouin dialects of Najd, probably in connection with the court of al-Ḥīra. During the first Islamic century, the majority of Arabic poets and Arabic-writing persons spoke Arabic as their mother tongue. Their texts, although mainly preserved in far later manuscripts, contain traces of non-standardized Classical Arabic elements in morphology and syntax. The standardization of Classical Arabic reached completion around the end of the 8th century. The first comprehensive description of the ʿarabiyya "Arabic", Sībawayhi's al-Kitāb, is based first of all upon a corpus of poetic texts, in addition to Qur'an usage and Bedouin informants whom he considered to be reliable speakers of the ʿarabiyya.[16] By the 8th century, knowledge of Classical Arabic had become an essential prerequisite for rising into the higher classes throughout the Islamic world.


Charles Ferguson's koine theory (Ferguson 1959) claims that the modern Arabic dialects collectively descend from a single military koine that sprang up during the Islamic conquests; this view has been challenged in recent times. Ahmad al-Jallad proposes that there were at least two considerably distinct types of Arabic on the eve of the conquests: Northern and Central (Al-Jallad 2009). The modern dialects emerged from a new contact situation produced following the conquests. Instead of the emergence of a single or multiple koines, the dialects contain several sedimentary layers of borrowed and areal features, which they absorbed at different points in their linguistic histories.[16] According to Veersteegh and Bickerton, colloquial Arabic dialects arose from pidginized Arabic formed from contact between Arabs and conquered peoples. Pidginization and subsequent creolization among Arabs and arabized peoples could explain relative morphological and phonological simplicity of vernacular Arabic compared to Classical and MSA.[17][18]

Arabic Swadesh list (1-100).
Other Languages
Acèh: Basa Arab
Адыгэбзэ: Хьэрыпыбзэ
адыгабзэ: Арапыбзэ
Afrikaans: Arabies
Alemannisch: Arabische Sprache
አማርኛ: ዓረብኛ
Ænglisc: Arabisc sprǣc
Аҧсшәа: Араԥ бызшәа
العربية: لغة عربية
aragonés: Idioma arabe
arpetan: Arabo
অসমীয়া: আৰবী ভাষা
asturianu: Árabe
Avañe'ẽ: Áraveñe'ẽ
azərbaycanca: Ərəb dili
تۆرکجه: عرب دیلی
বাংলা: আরবি ভাষা
Bahasa Banjar: Bahasa Arap
Bân-lâm-gú: A-la-pek-gí
Basa Banyumasan: Basa Arab
башҡортса: Ғәрәп теле
беларуская: Арабская мова
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Арабская мова
Bikol Central: Tataramon na Arabe
български: Арабски език
བོད་ཡིག: ཨ་རབ་སྐད།
bosanski: Arapski jezik
brezhoneg: Arabeg
буряад: Араб хэлэн
català: Àrab
Чӑвашла: Арап чĕлхи
Cebuano: Inarabigo
čeština: Arabština
Chi-Chewa: Chiarabu
Cymraeg: Arabeg
davvisámegiella: Arábagiella
ދިވެހިބަސް: ޢަރަބި
Diné bizaad: Ásáí Bizaad
dolnoserbski: Arabska rěc
Ελληνικά: Αραβική γλώσσα
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Areb
español: Idioma árabe
Esperanto: Araba lingvo
estremeñu: Luenga árabi
euskara: Arabiera
فارسی: زبان عربی
Fiji Hindi: Arbii bhasa
føroyskt: Arabiskt mál
français: Arabe
Frysk: Arabysk
Gaeilge: An Araibis
Gaelg: Arabish
Gagauz: Arab dili
Gàidhlig: Arabais
ГӀалгӀай: Iарбий мотт
贛語: 阿拉伯語
ગુજરાતી: અરબી ભાષા
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Â-lâ-pak-ngî
한국어: 아랍어
Hausa: Larabci
հայերեն: Արաբերեն
हिन्दी: अरबी भाषा
hornjoserbsce: Arabšćina
hrvatski: Arapski jezik
Bahasa Indonesia: Bahasa Arab
interlingua: Lingua arabe
ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ/inuktitut: ᐊᕋᕕ
íslenska: Arabíska
italiano: Lingua araba
עברית: ערבית
Basa Jawa: Basa Arab
kalaallisut: Arabiamiutut
къарачай-малкъар: Араб тил
ქართული: არაბული ენა
कॉशुर / کٲشُر: عَربی زَبان
қазақша: Араб тілі
kernowek: Arabek
Kinyarwanda: Icyarabu
Kiswahili: Kiarabu
коми: Араб кыв
Kongo: Kilabu
Kreyòl ayisyen: Lang arab
Кыргызча: Араб тили
лакку: Аьраб маз
latviešu: Arābu valoda
Lëtzebuergesch: Arabesch
лезги: Араб чIал
lietuvių: Arabų kalba
Limburgs: Arabisch
lingála: Liarabi
Lingua Franca Nova: Arabi (lingua)
lumbaart: Lengua araba
magyar: Arab nyelv
मैथिली: अरबी भाषा
македонски: Арапски јазик
Malagasy: Fiteny arabo
മലയാളം: അറബി ഭാഷ
Māori: Reo Ārapi
मराठी: अरबी भाषा
მარგალური: არაბული ნინა
مصرى: لغه عربى
مازِرونی: عربی
Bahasa Melayu: Bahasa Arab
Baso Minangkabau: Bahaso Arab
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Ā-lá-báik-ngṳ̄
мокшень: Арабонь кяль
монгол: Араб хэл
မြန်မာဘာသာ: အာရပ်ဘာသာစကား
Nederlands: Arabisch
Nedersaksies: Arabies
नेपाली: अरबी भाषा
नेपाल भाषा: अरबी भाषा
日本語: アラビア語
Nordfriisk: Araabisk spriak
Norfuk / Pitkern: Erabek
norsk: Arabisk
norsk nynorsk: Arabisk
Nouormand: Arabe
Novial: Arabum
occitan: Arabi
Oromoo: Afaan Arabaa
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Arab tili
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਅਰਬੀ ਭਾਸ਼ਾ
پنجابی: عربی
Papiamentu: Arabiko
پښتو: عربي ژبه
Перем Коми: Араб кыв
ភាសាខ្មែរ: ភាសាអារ៉ាប់
Picard: Arabe
Piemontèis: Lenga aràbica
Plattdüütsch: Araabsche Spraak
português: Língua árabe
Qaraqalpaqsha: Arab tili
qırımtatarca: Arap tili
Ripoarisch: Arabische Sprooch
română: Limba arabă
Runa Simi: Arawiya simi
русиньскый: Арабскый язык
саха тыла: Арааб тыла
संस्कृतम्: अरबीभाषा
Scots: Arabic
sicilianu: Lingua àrabba
Simple English: Arabic language
slovenčina: Arabčina
slovenščina: Arabščina
словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ: Аравьскъ ѩꙁꙑкъ
ślůnski: Arabsko godka
Soomaaliga: Carabi
српски / srpski: Арапски језик
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Arapski jezik
Basa Sunda: Basa Arab
svenska: Arabiska
Tagalog: Wikang Arabe
தமிழ்: அரபு மொழி
Taqbaylit: Taɛṛabt
татарча/tatarça: Гарәп теле
తెలుగు: అరబ్బీ భాష
Türkçe: Arapça
Türkmençe: Arap dili
удмурт: Араб кыл
українська: Арабська мова
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: ئەرەب تىلى
vepsän kel’: Araban kel'
Tiếng Việt: Tiếng Ả Rập
Volapük: Larabänapük
文言: 阿拉伯語
West-Vlams: Aroabiesche toale
Winaray: Inarabo
吴语: 阿拉伯语
ייִדיש: אראביש
粵語: 阿拉伯文
Zazaki: Erebki
žemaitėška: Arabu kalba
中文: 阿拉伯语