Arabic (الْعَرَبيّة al-ʿarabiyyah or just عَرَبيْ ʿarabī) is the largest living member of the Semitic language family in terms of speakers. Classified as Central Semitic, it is closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic, and has its roots in a Proto-Semitic common ancestor. Modern Arabic is classified as a macrolanguage with 27 sub-languages in ISO 639-3. These varieties are spoken throughout the Arab world, and Standard Arabic is widely studied and known throughout the Islamic world.
Modern Standard Arabic derives from Classical Arabic, the only surviving member of the Old North Arabian dialect group, attested epigraphically since the 6th century, which has been a literary language and the liturgical language of Islam since the 7th century.
Arabic has lent many words to other languages of the Islamic world, as Latin has contributed to most European languages. And in turn, it has also borrowed from those languages, as well as Persian and Sanskrit from early contacts with their affiliated regions. During the Middle Ages, Arabic was a major vehicle of culture, especially in science, mathematics and philosophy, with the result that many European languages have also borrowed numerous words from it, especially Spanish and Portuguese due to both the proximity of European and Arab civilization and 700 years of caliphate government in the Iberian peninsula
Official Language of: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Western Sahara, Yemen by a majority; it is also the liturgical language of Islam.
Total number of speakers: 186 – 422 million
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