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Learning the Arabic Language

There are several varieties or dialects of Arabic: Eastern Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic, Iraqi Arabic and others not mentioned here.

Modern Standard Arabic is the formal Arabic that is written and read throughout the contemporary Arab world. It is widely used in newspapers, books, radio, television, and universities, and is widely read and understood throughout the Arab world. Arab speakers from two diferent countries may use Modern Standard Arabic when speaking to each other. It is the form of Arabic taught in schools of the Arab world and is essentially the same in every country. We suggest that you start by learning Modern Standard Arabic.

Colloquial Eastern (Levantine) Arabic is spoken in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. Some observers say that Lebanese is a separate language unto itself.

Colloquial Egyptian Arabic is used in some literature, on Egyptian TV (available by satellite in many countries) by a movie industry based in Egypt and in some movies seen throughout much of the Arab world. The dialect of Egyptian Arabic spoken in Cairo is widely understood in much of the urbanized Arabic-speaking world. If you learn Colloquial Egyptian Arabic you will be understood in much of the Arab world.

Saudi Arabic is spoken on the Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Bahrain). There are wide variations in these countries, and within these countries. However, you should be understood if you speak one of these dialects.

Classical Arabic is used by Muslim scholars and constitutes an enormous wealth of tradition in the Arab world. We do not currently offer any books on Classical Arabic.

Arabic is in great demand at the State Department and by the military and intelligence services. It will be needed more and more for the rebuilding of Iraq, the introduction of technology into the Middle East, and for travel.

Here are some English words that come from Arabic: Admiral, alcohol, apricot, artichoke, elixir, lilac, magazine, mattress, zero.

Although spoken Arabic is nowhere near as hard as it appears to be, learning Arabic is no trivial task, so MarHaba and get cracking!

Books and CD's for Learning Arabic
Arabic Online Radio and TV
Arabic Online Newspapers and Magazines
Arabic Online Language Courses
Arabic Online Dictionaries and Translators
Arabic Language Learning Software


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