14 Surprising facts about the Arabic Language

The Arabic language is interesting and exceptional.  We propose you to discover 14 surprising facts about the Arabic language:



1. Arabic is a 1,500 years old language



Knowing the origin of a new language can help you explore various new aspects. You might be surprised to know that classical Arabic marked its origin in the sixth century itself. But, many earlier versions of this language used to exist, which included the Safaitic dialect. This old dialect became a part of the pre-Islamic nomadic inhabitant life of those living on the Syro-Arabian desert. 


The Arabic language belongs to the family of Semitic languages, a group called Southern. Arab historians write that in the Arabian peninsula of Antiquity there were two types of Arabs: there were the Yactanid Arabs or Jectanides (“al-Arab al-qahtâniyya“), mainly inhabiting the south of the peninsula, and there were Arab Adnanites (“al-Arab al-‘adnâniyya“), whose primary habitat was the Center and the North of the peninsula.


Arab historians also report that Hagar and Ishmael were left in a valley of the Arabian Peninsula by Abraham – respectively husband and father to them. A spring of water then gushes into this valley. A group of nomads of Yactanid descent, the Jur’hum, passing in the vicinity and noticing the presence of water, approached and decided to settle on the spot too. Thus the city of Mecca was founded. If Abraham was Mesopotamian and Agar Egyptian, Ishmael himself learned the Arabic language “al-Arabiya” from the Jurhum, among whom he lived. It was also in the Jur’humites that he married, and so his children were born.


2. Historians divides Arabs into two main categories



It is one of the interesting facts about the Arabic language that Arab historians, therefore, classify the Arabs into two main categories: the “Arab musta’riba” – the Arabs descended from Ishmael – and the “Arab Arabic” – the Arabs descended from peoples present in the peninsula before Ishmael installs himself there.


To what extent do these classifications correspond to reality? This is another debate. However, what is certain is that in the South, we spoke mainly of “South Arabic” dialects (like the Sabean), while in the North, we spoke of “North Arabic” dialects. There was a definite difference between the North Arabic language – from which the present “Arabic” language was derived – and the South Arabic language – from which the present languages ​​Soqotri, Jiball, were formed. The Arabic language in which the Koranic text is written is derived from the Nordarabic dialects only.


On the other hand, the ancient Arab historians considered both the North Arabic and South Arabic populations to be Arab.


In fact, it is not impossible that the language that Ishmael had learned from the Jurum was a dialect of a kind of “proto-Arab” spoken here and there in the peninsula and that it is this “proto-Arab” “which formed the basis of the southern group (of the family of Semitic languages). Some dialects of this group then evolve and give the North Arabic languages, other dialects to give the South Arabic languages. This “proto-Arab” spoken in the time of Ishmael everywhere in the peninsula would then be the ancestor not only of the North Arabic languages ​​but also of the South Arabic languages.



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3. The Arabic language is rich in dialects



Among the surprising facts, it should not be forgotten that the distinction between language and dialect is not linguistic but only social: Linguistically speaking, a dialect is a form of a language with a lexical, syntactic, and phonetic system. Arabs speak dialect in a more restricted environment than the language. Unlike the language in which it developed, the dialect did not acquire its cultural, institutional, and social status. This distinction is not linguistic but social.


Indeed, initially, there is a set of people who spoke the same language. As this group has grown, some small groups are moving away from it and settling in relatively distinct areas. There, in contact with different peoples and the relative distance, different mother tongues appear. If no external event hinders the process, the different dialects become different dialects, becoming different languages.



4. Arabic is the language of the Quran


importance of Arabic and Quran


The Qur’an, which is the word of Allah, has been revealed in the Arabic language. In many verses of the Qur’an, Allah the Highest tells us that His book was revealed in the Arabic language.



Allah says in the Holy Quran:



Indeed, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an that you might understand.” Sura Yussuf, verse 12.


He says:


And We certainly know that they say, “It is only a human being who teaches the Prophet.” The tongue of the one they refer to is foreign, and this Qur’an is [in] a clear Arabic language.” Sura An Nahl, verse 103.



And thus We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an and have diversified therein the warnings that perhaps they will avoid [sin] or it would cause them remembrance.” Sura Ta-Ha, verse 113.



The nobless of the Holy Quran



Thus, this Qur’an is the noblest of books and has been revealed with the most magnificent of styles. It was brought by the most eminent of emissaries who is Jibril (peace be upon Him).


This Qur’an has been revealed in the noblest land, which is Mecca, the sacred land of Allah. And he has revealed it on the grandest of the prophets Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).


The Qur’an descended during the noblest month of the year, the month of Ramadan called “the month of the Quran,” during the noblest night of the year: Laylat al Qadr.



What is the Quran?



Allah the Highest has revealed the Qur’an in the Arabic language. Indeed, the Quran is the word of Allah.


Allah the Almighty did speak Arabic letters and sounds, and he passed this on to Jibril (AS) in Arabic. And Jibril passed it on to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in Arabic. And the Prophet (PBUH) passed on the message of his Lord in the Arabic language.


The Quran is the miracle of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that exists and will exist until the end of time. This Quran, which ensured that this Arabic language reached its peak.


It is through the Qur’an that the Arabic language has reached an eloquence never equaled and never will be. And Allah the Almighty has defied, a challenged that will exist until the end of time, that whoever claims that this Qur’an does not come from Allah brings a similar Qur’an and if he can not, that he brings 10 chapters (Suras) and if he still can not bring a single Sura that he tries to bring a single verse. Until today, this challenge has not been met by anyone.



5. No Abbreviation or Capitalization



Among the surprising facts about the Arabic language, people must not worry about the proper nouns in Arabic because every letter receives equal importance. It does not matter whether it is at the start, middle, or end of the sentence. Thus, it is not a practice for Arabic speakers to either use contracted or abbreviated words. It is a common habit for English speakers.



6. Spoken in 26 Countries


26 countries speak arabic language


One of the interesting facts about the Arabic language is that this language has some amazing and surprising facts about its usage as Arabic languages have got more than 300 million speakers globally. Also, this language is the official language of around 26 countries. This clearly shows the various advantages and avenues open for all those willing to learn a new language like Arabic any time soon. Also, the Arabic language is one of the official languages of the United Nations (UN.



7. Left to Right Alignment for Numbers



It is one of the interesting facts about the Arabic language that if you are a non-native speaker, it won’t be evident for you to learn Arabic numbers. Indeed Arabs write numbers from left to right. However, Arabs write Arabic words from right to left.



8. Religious Language



There is a big reason for the preservation of Arabic amongst many Muslims. The reason is that all Muslims have high importance and regard for Quran and Islamic texts. As a result, many people exert conscious effort to learn and even teach Arabic to many people. 



9. Cursive Format



Unlike other Latin alphabets, Arabs read Arabic from right to left. Since Arabic has a cursive writing style, its letters do not possess lower or upper case; rather, its words are in a connected style wherein each Arabic letter has a different shape and position in different words.



10. Geometric Language



In Arabic culture, geometry has remained an important part. Geometry means balance in the Arabic culture. The reflection of the geometric figures in the Arabic language is indeed there.


A strong relationship exists between geometric figures and Arabic letters. It is fascinating to know that every Arabic letter is a part of a triangle.



11. Root Words



Among the interesting facts about the Arabic language, it is a language that possesses an unusual and complex word construction method.  You can construct all Arabic words from root words, which refer to the pattern of 3 letters. For instance, (ب, ت, ‎ك) or (K-T-B) is the foundation for different yet interrelated words, including Kitab (Book), Maktab (Office/Desk), and so on. The Arabic language’s beauty conveys in-depth meaning and emotions that you cannot find in any other language.



12. Some punctuations used are “backward” in Arabic


the holy Quran is in arabic


Punctuations play a significant role in every language. Thus, knowing about it while learning a new language is recommended at all times. Are you aware that some Arabic punctuation like the comma (،) and the question (؟) marks are used in an inverted form used in the English language?


Though many people might know how Arabic writing really looks, very few might know about the inverse punctuations used in this language.



13. You might already Know About Some Arabic Words



One of the surprising facts about the Arabic language is that you might use many words in your daily lifestyle without knowing that those words were actually derived from Arabic words. Various English words popularly used, such as cotton, algebra, magazine, and safari, were derived from Arabic. This is the reason that makes this language familiar to many people.



14. Number of words for Camel is more than 100



It might fascinate you to know that this language has around 100 words for a camel, used differently to refer to various situations. For example, when referring to a camel who is frightened by anything, then ‘Al-Jafool’ is used. Other than that, ‘Al-harib’ is used to refer to a female camel.


These were some of the surprising facts about the Arabic language that will motivate you to learn it even more proficiently. This language has got a wide scope as Arab and non Arab speak it widely around the world. Knowing the core of every language can be a big plus point. Thus, we suggest you know all such points that help explore various aspects of a language. Make sure you have gone through all the above points to know about the Arabic language.


If you are interested in learning the Arabic language or studying the Quran with a qualified tutor, do not hesitate to contact us.

The Al-dirassa Center offers online Arabic, Quran and Islam courses for non-Arabic speakers. If you would like to join our class, please get in touch with us.

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