Arabic – The beautifully dotted language

Did you know that you already know some Arabic words? If you speak Spanish, Italian or English you must know some words which have been borrowed from Arabic such as ‘cotton’, ‘magazine’, ‘algebra’ and ‘alchemy’. Arabic words such as ‘kitab’ (book) have made their way into some African local languages. Arabic has the same punctuation rules as English, even though the symbols may be inverted, such as in the case of the comma and question mark. It may take sometime to master how to speak some Arabic letters, given that they are produced at the back of the throat. Literary Arabic known as Modern Standard Arabic, is derived from the Quran language and is used for writing and also speaking in formal occasions such as when giving lectures. There are different types of spoken Arabic, which differ depending on the region which it is used.

Arabic is the official language in 22 countries which comprise of the Arab League. It is language to millions of people who live in the middle east and all over the world. It is also the language in which the Quran, the holy book of Muslims, was written. Arabic is written from right to left and read, from what would be considered, back to front by most western countries. The good thing about learning Arabic is that it will make it easier for you to learn other semitic languages such as Hebrew, Phoenician, Ugaritic and Aramaic since there are some similarities between the languages. Arabic has 28 letters of the alphabet, 3 of which are vowels. Dots play an important part when it comes to writing letters. There are a number of letters which look the same, what differentiates them being the number of dots and there placement above or below the letter. Therefore, a missing or wrongly placed dot can cause a lot of confusion.

Arabic is usually closely associated with Islam. However, it is also spoken by Arab Christians, Iraq Mandeans and Mizrahi Jews. Calligraphy is an artistic way of writing Arabic. It is normally used as a decoration on buildings and considered a source of beauty and culture.

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