Twenty years ago, or possibly even less, it might have seemed ‘a bit out there’ to decide to learn some Arabic as an Irish person. But today, almost all of us seem to know a friend or family member who has moved to the UAE or Dubai and we may even have visited them there or might be hoping to in the future. As well as family and friends working there, more and more of us are beginning to do business and explore import and export options with Arabic speaking countries. Lastly, we have a great number of residents in our wonderfully multicultural society who may speak Arabic as their first language, and as Ireland has a great history of friendliness, wouldn’t it be great to be able to say hello!
Arabic languages are spoken in a wide arc of territory that stretches across the Middle East, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa and belongs to the ‘Afro-Asiatic’ language family. They are most closely related to Aramaic, Hebrew, Ugaritic and Phoenician. Standardised, written Arabic is distinct more conservative than all of the spoken varieties, and the two are used side-by-side for different societal functions! The modern written form is derived from the language of the Quran.
If we consider all of the Arabic langauges as one language, it may be spoken by as many as 422 million people in the Arab world, making it one of the six most populous languages in the world!
The short video below will help you learn to say hello and introduce yourself. Enjoy the beautiful rhythmic sound of the language, and see can you find a situation to use it this weekend, or try teaching it to someone else to help you remember it longer.