DUBAI: In celebration of International Mother Language Day on Feb. 21, we’ve rounded up some interesting facts about the Arabic language — if you’re unfamiliar with the lingo, these could surprise you.
Arabic is the official language of the 22 countries that form the Arab League. There are over 200 million Arabic speakers in the Middle East and North Africa.
A Semitic language
Arabic is a Semitic language — other Semitic languages include Hebrew and Syriac.
Many English words are of Arabic origin. Examples include algebra, ghoul, sherbet, coffee and more. Spanish also has words of Arabic origin, such as sugar and pillow.
The Arabic alphabet does not comprise any capital letters. However, Arabic letters come in different forms depending on whether the letter comes in the beginning, middle or end of the word.
There are many varieties of Arabic dialects. Speakers from different countries and areas may struggle to understand each other’s dialects.
There are more than 11 words for love and hundreds of words for camel, including “Al-Jafool” meaning a camel that is frightened by anything and “Al-Harib,” a female camel that walks far ahead of the others.