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Arabic
العربية/عربي/عربى al-ʻarabīyah/ʻarabī 
Pronunciation /al ʕarabijja/, /ʕarabiː/
Native to Majorities in the countries of the Arab League, minorities in neighboring countries: Israel, Iran, Turkey, Eritrea, Mali, Niger, Chad, Senegal, South Sudan, Ethiopia
Native speakers 295 million  (2010)
Language family
Afro-Asiatic
  • Semitic
    • Central Semitic
      • Arabic
Standard forms
Modern Standard Arabic
Dialects
Western (Maghrebi)
Central (incl. Egyptian, Sudanese)
Northern (incl. Levantine, Mesopotamian)
Southern (incl. Gulf, Hejazi)
Writing system Arabic alphabet
Arabic Braille
Syriac alphabet (Garshuni)
Hebrew alphabet (Judaeo-Arabic)
Official status
Official language in

Standard Arabic is an official language of 27 states, the third most after English and French

Language codes
ISO 639-1 ar
ISO 639-2 ara
ISO 639-3 ara


Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD. This includes both the literary language and varieties of Arabic spoken in a wide arc of territory stretching across the Middle East, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa. Arabic belongs to the Afro-Asiatic language family.

The literary language is called Modern Standard Arabic or Literary Arabic. It is currently the only official form of Arabic, used in most written documents as well as in formal spoken occasions, such as lectures and news broadcasts. However, this varies from one country to the other. In 1912, Moroccan Arabic was official in Morocco for some time, before Morocco joined the Arab League.

Arabic languages are Central Semitic languages, most closely related to Aramaic, Hebrew, Ugaritic, and Phoenician. The standardized written Arabic is distinct from and more conservative than all of the spoken varieties, and the two exist in a state known as diglossia, used side-by-side for different societal functions.

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