With an estimated 390 million speakers, Arabic is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. It is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations, as well as the liturgical language of 1.6 billion Muslims. Being one of the only modern languages to be written and read in a right-to-left form, Arabic is a fascinating language with a long history. For all of these reasons and many more, we can all agree that Arabic is more than deserving of its very own day.
History of World Arabic Language Day
Although the Arabic language is the language of Islam, it dates back over one hundred years further than the religion. The earliest Arabic inscriptions were created in the early 6th century AD. Arabic was originally based mainly on the Aramaic alphabet that was then modified and adapted over many years to finally become its very own, distinct lanuguage. In 632, the year that Muslims believe the Quran was revealed to Muhammed, Muhammed’s language became the language of his new religion. The holy book of Islam, the Quran, was written in Classical Arabic and it is still used in religious ceremonies and sermons till this day.
By the 8thcentury, many poems and other works had been written in Arabic as well. Arabic has had an enormous influence on people all over the world, as the majority of countires in the world today officially use the Arabic numerical system. Furthermore, because of the countless wars waged in the Middle Ages especially, the Arabic language is an important source of vocabulary for many European languages, such as Portuguese, Spanish, English, French and Sicilian, as well as non-European languages such as Swahili and Uzbek. Many of the words that English-speakers use regularly come from Arabic, including cotton, coffee and guitar.
World Arabic Language Day was established in 2010 by UNESCO to promote cultural understanding and to highlight Arabic as one of the most important languages in the world. Today, there are three different types of Arabic: Classical; Modern Standard Arabic, the last of which is used in publishing, education and the media across the Arab world. Colloquial Arabic, an everyday dialect, is also used in different regions and has numerous variations. Due to its elegant, flowing lines, thousands of people the world over have also chose to get tattoos in Arabic, singer Christina Perri and actors Colin Farrell and Zoe Saldana, to name but a few.
How to celebrate World Arabic Language Day
The best way to celebrate this day would be to increase your knowledge of this language. Many people living in parts of North America or Europe may not even really know how it sounds. Of course, it is nearly impossible to learn to read even small fragments of this complex language during the course of just one day, but that shouldn’t stop you from discovering it. The Arabic language is especially beautiful when sung.
If you like opera, you could check out one of Sarah Brightman’s most acclaimed albums titled, “Harem”. The songs on it are a truly original mix of Arabian pop and opera, and are sung in several different languages, including Arabic. Listening to this album will not only allow you to become acquainted with what the language sounds like, but also introduce you to various instruments and sounds typical for Middle Eastern music that you may well fall in love with.