Arabic Language: The Benefits of Speaking Arabic and How to Learn
By: Amana Tashfeen/Arab America Contributing Writer
The beautiful language of Arabic serves well over 300 million native speakers. Being the official language of over 15 countries, most of these speakers reside in the Middle East and the other Arab States. As a Semitic language, the Arabic alphabet consists of 28 letters all in the representation of consonants and read from right to left. The modern standard for Arabic has grown to have a great influence on other languages such as Urdu, English, Bengali, and many more. Let’s dive into the benefits of learning the Arabic language and ways to help become a self-taught speaker!
The Importance of Arabic in Islam
With the majority of Arab states consisting of a predominantly Muslim population, the Arabic language serves to be a crucial and fundamental aspect of the religion of Islam. The Holy Book, the Quran, is written in the entirety of Arabic in its original context. For Muslims, many learn the language of Arabic through Islamic and Quran classes at a young age so that they can read the Quran. It is obligatory for Muslims to have some sense of memorization of the Quranic Arabic language as it is required to perform the five daily prayers. Islamic culture is deeply embedded in Arabic, and learning the language has allowed Muslims to build a greater understanding of the religion of Islam. It is interesting to note that because of this, the Arabic language is not limited to just Arab-Muslims as Muslims serve as one community in Islam. Moreover, there is a huge diversity among Arabic speakers across the world as a result.
Increase in Job Opportunities
When learning a language, not everyone thinks about the economic benefits that may serve as an incentive to learn. In the Western world, there has been a growing demand for Arabic speakers, but low supply. Arabic speakers in the United States serve to be highly valuable in fields such as journalism, foreign service, business, and more due to the extreme importance of international affairs embedded into these fields. Jobs such as translators, interpreters, and teachers are in high demand and are a great way for Arabic speakers to take advantage of their bilingualism. These jobs are also a great way for Arabic culture to assimilate into the Western world. The strategic importance of Arabic in various fields opens up many learning and job opportunities that can cater to one’s professional development.
A Glimpse of Arab Culture
The Arabic language allows us to gain insight into the rich Arab culture, heritage, and history. In understanding Arabic, the script will enable one to become growingly aware of the way of living and thinking for Arabs. Even in Arabic greetings such as “as-salaamu ‘alaykum” which translates to peace be upon you, this simple statement shows us the respect and kindness Arab’s have towards one another. When analyzing Arabic dialects like this, we are able to take apart the different words and put them into a context that helps us grasp a sense of Arab culture. Calligraphy, translating to “beautiful writing,” is also an important part of Arab culture seen through the form of art and history. This type of writing encourages Arab speakers to use creative and artistic ability to present the Arabic language differently by creating decorative calligraphy on pottery, canvases, and more. Calligraphy can be used to form geometric shapes as well as pictures. It truly goes to show the beautiful versatility of the Arabic language.
Learn Arabic Online
With the growing popularity and interest in learning Arabic, there are now countless opportunities for people to learn Arabic at home, and online! Many apps and websites offer free learning lessons ranging from beginners to advanced levels. Programs such as Duolingo, Mondly, and even YouTube channels have been proven to help learn Arabic. These sites provide a list of comprehensive courses and are self-paced, allowing users to learn at their own time. Programs such as ArabicPod101 also provide linked YouTube videos for students who are more visual learners. Users have access to many reading, writing, speaking, and interactive lectures to help them further understand Arabic pronunciation and dialect. With the great number of benefits in learning Arabic, these open resources are effective for people of all ages to learn and gain more knowledge of the Arabic language.
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