• Continental Interpreting

Arabic Language Day

Updated: Dec 18, 2020

The United Nation Arabic Language Day is observed on December 18th each year.


This is an opportunity to share some key information on the Arabic language.


Overview

There are over 290 million Arabic speakers around the world, in North Africa, the Middle East, and plenty of Western countries like the United States.


Varieties

Even though a standardized written Arabic language exists (also called Modern Standard Arabic), most Arabic speakers mix a local variety with the standard Arabic variety.

The 5 most common regional Arabic varieties are: Maghrebi, Egyptian, Levantine, Gulf, and Iraqi.


Maghrebi


Spoken in the North African Maghreb, this variety is sometimes difficult for other Arabic speakers to understand due to its French and local Berber influence.


Egyptian


Originating in Egypt, this variety has been popularized due to media and the video entertainment industry.


Levantine


Spoken in a smaller region of the Middle East and closely related to Aramaic.


Gulf


This variety is thought to be most closely related to the Modern Standard Arabic variety because it is spoken where MSA was developed.


Iraqi


This variety resembles the Gulf variety with differences in pronunciation, conjugation, and more.


Read more about the structure of these languages on this University of Pennsylvania article.


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