The United Nations first adopted Arabic as certainly one of its working languages in 1973.
Picture Credit score: Shutterstock

Abu Dhabi: One of the vital broadly spoken languages on the earth, Arabic might be celebrated the world over tomorrow. Marked yearly on December 18, Arabic Language Day commemorates the day in 1973 when the United Nations first adopted Arabic as certainly one of its six working languages.

Greater than 400 million individuals converse the language throughout the Arab world. It’s the lingua franca of the UAE, and the Arabian Gulf, of the Levantine and numerous African nations. And because the liturgical language of Islam, Arabic is held in excessive honour by almost two billion Muslims.

Fluent expats

Whereas native Arabic audio system are discovered all through the UAE, many expats are additionally eager to grasp the world’s fifth most generally spoken language. In actual fact, some are so fluent that it will be troublesome to set them other than native audio system.

Gulf Information spoke to numerous such expats to seek out out what drives their ardour for Arabic.

Nabil Haskanbancha’s diction, alternative of phrases and dialect is ideal in each manner, and it appears unbelievable that the 21-year-old college senior from Thailand has been learning Arabic for simply three years.

Stunning language

“After I arrived within the UAE as a freshman, I didn’t know a lot about Arab tradition, not to mention the language. I signed up for an Arabic class, and I vividly bear in mind my first day on the 9AM class. I bear in mind pondering that Arabic was such a ravishing language. In actual fact, I didn’t know what I’d main in proper then, however I knew I needed to grasp Arabic earlier than I graduated,” Haskanbancha stated.

Regardless of admitting to not being a morning individual, Haskanbancha made certain to be current on the morning Arabic lessons, and he’s quickly set to graduate from New York College Abu Dhabi (NYU Abu Dhabi) with a minor in Arabic. Not solely can he converse the language fluently however he also can write and skim at a sophisticated degree.

Nabil Haskanbancha

Introduction to dialects

“We started with Trendy Commonplace Arabic, the literary model of the language that’s not often ever utilized in speech. And I bear in mind how I’d usually get awkward stares after I tried to speak. That’s after I realised that Arabic is spoken in its many dialects, and I made it my mission to grasp and talk in them,” Haskanbancha stated.

And he knew he had succeeded when he may play the information within the background and nonetheless perceive what was being stated.  “Some time in the past, I realised I didn’t have to focus on Arabic speech to grasp the message, and I actually felt like I had unlocked a significant achievement,” he stated.

High 10 broadly used Arabic phrases and phrases

Kariman Al Assil, 61, has been instructing the Arabic language trainer for greater than a decade. She has additionally printed two books for learners. Chatting with Gulf Information, she offered a small pattern of essentially the most broadly used Arabic phrases and phrases.

■ Marhaba: It principally means ‘whats up’.
■ Assalaam alaykom: This interprets actually into ‘peace be upon you’, and is used as a greeting
■ Ma sha Allah: Which means ‘it’s the need of Allah’, it’s used to point out admiration for one thing and need the individual properly.
■ Al humdulillah: The phrase, that means ‘reward be to Allah’, is used throughout a variety of conditions, from unhappiness to sick well being. When utilized in a troublesome state of affairs, it conveys the truth that issues might be even worse.
■ Shukran: This phrase is an easy ‘thanks’.
■ Bas khalas: That’s all!
■ Habibi: The phrase means ‘my beloved’, and is equally beloved as its that means.
■ Majlis: You will have heard it many instances, and it means ‘reception’.
■ Tamr: That’s what you name the delectable ‘date’ in Arabic.
■ Qahwa: That is the Arabic phrase for one of many world’s most beloved drinks – espresso.

Language of the host

For Henry Roberts, studying Arabic felt like a prerequisite to pursuing his Bachelor’s diploma within the UAE. The 22-year-old Australian stated he took his first Arabic course in Australia, simply to have the ability to say just a few phrases when he got here to the Arab area. “I used to be involved in learning on the NYU Abu Dhabi, and it felt like an obligation to study the language of the area that may be internet hosting me for the following 4 years or so. It appeared like the easiest way to know the individuals, and to extract one of the best from the place.

Henry Roberts

So he learnt the usual 28-letter Arabic alphabet and its notations, and signed up for one more Arabic course after reaching Abu Dhabi. Right this moment, he can pull off a dialog within the Emirati and the Levantine dialect. “Arabic is a fancy language, and the Egyptian and Maghrebi dialects are nonetheless international to me. However specialising in Levantine Arabic, I determine I can talk with most audio system,” the Physics main stated.

Discovering idiosyncracies

Earlier this yr, to correctly immerse himself in Arabian tradition, Roberts spent a couple of month staying with an Emirati household in Al Ain. “I learnt so many idiosyncracies of the spoken language that I’d not have identified in any other case. It was really particular,” he stated.

In actual fact, it was his information of Arabic that helped Roberts get pleasure from a volunteering gig in Jordan, and a crowdsourcing expertise in Oman. “Neither would my bond have been as deep with my Emirati pals,” Roberts stated.

Children learn Arabic
Greater than 400 million individuals converse Arabic throughout the Arab world.
Picture Credit score: Gulf Information archives

Haskanbancha, who’s fluent within the Emirati, Levantine and Egyptian dialects, echoed the same sentiment. “I join so properly with my pals within the UAE. We benefit from the hummus and the shawarma on the many Center Japanese eating places right here, and love our desert safaris. However none of those experiences would have been as immersive with out my information of Arabic. In actual fact, Arabian hospitality and my information of the language assist me really feel at house within the UAE, and I hope to remain on and work on this metropolis that I really like,” he stated.

English phrases borrowed from Arabic

Arabic has lent to a variety of various languages, from Hindi to Portuguese, and most undoubtedly English. This is a take a look at a few of them.
■ Suk kar: sugar
■ Koton: cotton
■ Ghazal: gazelle
■ Jamal: camel
■ Astrlab: astrolab
■ Jabal Tareq: Gibraltar
■ Alkohoul: alcohol
■ Safar: safari
■ Yasmin: jasmine
■ Kahf: cave
■ Zarafe: giraffe
■ Mir’aa: mirror
■ Ta’refah: tariff

Love for languages

Gabrielle Branche feels a equally deep reference to Arabic. The polyglot, who can learn, write and converse Spanish and French, and also can converse in German and Chinese language, knew she needed to study Arabic when she arrived in Abu Dhabi to review Interactive Media and Dance.

“I had highschool pals from Palestine, and I needed to study Arabic even earlier than getting right here. It slot in completely with my love for languages,” stated the 22-year-old senior from Trinidad and Tobago. “Arabic was the primary non-Greek, non-Latin language that I used to be making an attempt, and its formal model appeared daunting. However as I went about studying to learn street indicators and draw parallels with the opposite languages I knew, I realised it wasn’t all that completely different or intimidating; in truth, I started to really get pleasure from it,” Branche stated.

Gabrielle Branche

She has already taken 4 Arabic programs, and has lined up one other one for the following semester. Branche can also be decided to not lose her information of Arabic even after she stops formally studying it.

Helps to have interaction

“Studying Arabic helped me really get pleasure from a visit to Jordan. And even after I come throughout individuals from Egypt and Morocco, the place vastly completely different dialects are spoken, I really feel completely happy to have the ability to interact extra,” Branche stated.

The NYU Abu Dhabi senior can also be hoping to encourage others round her to study extra languages.

“I bear in mind realizing simply English as a younger little one as a result of it was my mom tongue, and as a broadly spoken language, it was all I wanted to know to get by. However then I discovered myself envious of people that communicated fluently in English even whereas fluent in one other language that was their native tongue. So I made a decision to arm myself with languages too,” she stated.

Centres to study Arabic within the UAE

Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, Abu Dhabi
Arabic Language Centre, Dubai
Eton Institute, Abu Dhabi and Dubai
The Mom Tongue Centre, Abu Dhabi
Berlitz, Abu Dhabi and Dubai
Iqra’a Arabic Language Centre, Dubai
Observe: Lots of the centres additionally present on-line programs.

Favorite phrases

And in line with her buoyant spirit, Branche’s favorite Arabic phrase is ‘hayaah’, which suggests life.

Haskanbancha, however, loves ‘yalla’, a phrase that’s simply understood throughout most Arabian dialects. He additionally loves the way it can imply various things primarily based on context, together with ‘hurry up’ or ‘let’s go’.

Roberts stated he couldn’t simply choose a favorite phrase or phrase. “I do, nonetheless, assume ‘benafsaji’, the Arabic phrase for ‘purple’, is gorgeous due to its many various consonant sounds,” he supplied.

Arabic varieties and dialects

As a result of Arabic is spoken natively over such a large area, it has developed numerous completely different variations over time, together with many dialects. Here’s a fast take a look at a number of the hottest variations within the Arab World.

Fusha: That is classical Arabic, and is the language of Islam’s holy e book – the Quran.

Trendy Commonplace Arabic: That is the model that’s learn and written at the moment, and spoken in formal environments, comparable to in courts.

Khaleeji: This model is the one spoken by Emiratis, in addition to by the populations of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, japanese Saudi Arabia, southern Iraq and northern Oman.

Levantine or Shami: The identify refers back to the area of Sham, and this model is spoken by Palestinians, the Lebanese, Syrians and a few Jordanians.

Najdi: That is spoken within the rural desert areas of central Saudi Arabia.

Hijazi: Saudi Arabians within the western a part of the nation -the Hijaz area – converse this model.

Egyptian: The dialect is distinctive and guttural, and although broadly spoken by Egyptians, it may be troublesome for these unaccustomed to it.

Maghrebi: This dialect is spoken in Algeria, Tunis, Morocco, and within the western portion of Libya. The affect of Romance languages like French, and the Berber languages of Africa, on it’s fairly clear.

Yemeni: That is clearly spoken by the individuals of Yemen, though it has its personal completely different sub-branches.

Iraqi: That is spoken by natives of the Mesopotamian basin of Iraq, in addition to by Syrians, Iranians and other people of southeastern Turkey.

Numbering system

Right this moment’s generally accepted numbering system, and the premise for the assorted branches of Math, had been derived from the Hindu-Arabic numbering set of 10 symbols – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 0. In accordance with the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, the system is understood to have originated in India within the sixth or seventh centuries, and was launched to Europe at in regards to the 12th century by way of the writings of Center Japanese mathematicians, particularly the daddy of algebra, Al Khwarizmi, and the daddy of Arab philosophy Al Kindi. They represented a profound break with earlier strategies of counting, such because the abacus, and paved the best way for the event of algebra. This contribution additionally explains why many English numerals look much like their Arabic counterparts.


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