Arabic is spoken by around 400 million people in its 26 varieties. While closely related to Islam and the Middle East, Arabic is a language increasingly spoken around the world. The language is the key to understand rich cultures, fantastic expressions of art, and the economic development opportunities of the territories that use it.
- Arabic is a vast language. Its varieties can be unintelligible to others depending on the geographical location and the variety itself. Arabic could be roughly divided in the following way:
- Literary forms
- Classical Arabic: Qur’an
- Modern Standard Arabic (MSA): Media, education, formal situations.
- Everyday speech
- Maghrebi or Western Arabic: Moroccan Arabic + 5 more varieties
- Eastern Arabic:
- Arabian Arabic: Gulf Arabic + 10 more varieties
- Egyptian Arabic
- Other dialects
- Literary forms
- Classical Arabic is the language in the Qur’an and the liturgical language of 1.7 billion Muslims. Most of those people do not speak Arabic but have some knowledge from reading or reciting prayers.
- Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is based on Classical Arabic but with modern adaptations.
- For everyday speech, varieties of dialectical Arabic are used that differs to MSA. Each country tends to have one or more dialects.
- Eastern Arabic dialects tend to be intelligible among each other while Eastern and Western varieties are mostly unable to understand one another. Western varieties have varying levels of mutual intelligibility.
Select a country to see which cities have Arabic language schools
By far the most populated Arabic-speaking country, Egypt’s media, cinema and music has heavily influenced the Arab World making Egyptian Arabic the most widely understood and spoken variety.
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