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Today, December 18 is World Arabic Language Day

posted on: Dec 18, 2019

By: Nisreen Eadeh/Arab America Contributing Writer

December 18 is World Arabic Language Day, where the international community takes a moment to appreciate Arabic and its contributions to humanity. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated the day in 2010 in order to “celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity.”

Ibn-Haytham, founder of the scientific method.

As the scientific body of the United Nations, UNESCO dedicates World Arabic Language Day to highlighting the historic role of Arabic in research and knowledge. Arabic is the first language of algebra, medicine, chemistry, alchemy, and astrology. From Ibn-Haytham and Ibn-Sina of the Middle Ages to Dr. Ahmed Zewail and Dr. Elias Corey of modern times, Arabs have been some of the most brilliant scientists to ever live. UNESCO aims to promote both the learning of Arabic and its scientific history on an international platform on December 18.

World Arabic Language Day also serves to “promote equal use of all six of its official working languages throughout the organization.” December 18 was chosen because that was the day the UN made Arabic one of its official languages in 1973.

Since the sixth century, the Classical Arabic language, and its varieties have been spoken from the Middle East to North Africa. With over 420 million Arabic speakers in the world, Arabic has become the sixth most commonly spoken language in the world. Descendants of the Arabic language, including Arab Americans, have made Arabic the fastest growing language in the United States.

In light of the recent uptick in hate crimes towards Arab Americans and Arabic language speakers in the U.S., celebrating World Arabic Language Day is more important than ever. In order to demonstrate the true beauty of the Arabic language, Americans of all backgrounds are encouraged to attend Arabic Day celebration events and learn more about the language.

Attend any of the events featuring Arabic, poetry readings, and art exhibits found on Arab America.

You can teach a friend a few Arabic words on December 18.

You can begin with English words that have Arabic roots, such as cotton, alcohol, coffee, monkey, and so many others!

You can also share these 9 surprising facts about the Arabic language that anyone can enjoy – native Arabic speaker or not!