The immense desserts of Arabia, at the heart of the Mediterranean...a nomad language.
Originally Arabic was the language of a few nomadic tribes roaming the immense deserts of Arabia. Overflowing the boundaries of its deserts of origin, it suddenly experienced considerable expansion from the 7th century as a result of military conquests, the propagation of Islam and the diffusion of the Koran. The language of the Book thus spread over all of North Africa and Asia Minor in less than a century in an immense empire encompassing the Middle East, the entirety of the Mediterranean border of Africa, Spain, Sicily, Malta... During the following centuries, inheriting from Middle Eastern cultures and Greek literature, Arabic became the language of numerous learned people and writers who played a fundamental role in modern culture.
Today we can distinguish two principle forms:
- Dialectical Arabic originates at the same time from the fragmentation of Arabic in the 7th century and the fusion of speakers resulting from military conquests and the mixing of populations of southern Arabic, Berber, African languages, etc.
- Literary Arabic, also called eloquent Arabic or grammatical Arabic, is a prestigious language associated with religion and written language, thus with literary culture, science, technology and administrative functions.
Spoken nowadays by 250 million people throughout the world, Arabic is an international and intercontinental language which is evidence of an exceptionally rich cultural heritage and of one of humanity's largest historic civilizations.
Classification by family: Semitic languages>Arabic>Dialectical Arabic