Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Why Study Arabic?

Why Study Arabic? (From the American Association of Teachers of Arabic)

Arabic, a Semitic language with ancient roots, has been functioning as a vital written and spoken language throughout the centuries in different parts of the world. In addition to a rich literary tradition, during the Middle Ages Arabic was the main language of literature, sciences, philosophy, and theology in a large region that stretched from Spain in the West to India in the East. Thus, Arabic has had considerable influence on other languages in terms of alphabet, vocabulary, and grammar. Among the languages influenced by Arabic are Farsi, Turkish, Urdu, and others. Today Arabic is spoken by 300 million persons in over 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. As the language of the Qur’an, Arabic is used for religious rituals by over 1.5 billion Muslims all over the world. Arabic is grammatically and structurally different from English, but it is not difficult. Arabic is a very important language to learn because:

  1. Proficiency in Arabic presents a wide range of professional opportunity in various fields, such as economics and politics, in the United States and the Middle East. Arabic speakers are currently in great demand.
  2. Learning Arabic will increase awareness, understanding, and appreciation of “the other”; i.e., Arab culture and people. Knowing the Arabic language will be of great relevance to CSU students especially since the Cleveland area is considered one of the largest concentrations of Arabs or people of Middle Eastern ancestry in the United States.
  3. As the main language in the Middle East, Arabic is the primary source of media in that region. In this regard, one ought to mention the role of al-Jazeera, al-Arabiyya, and other media channels in presenting current events and burning issues that affect the Middle East as well as the Arab World.
  4. Arabic is the one of the six main languages used in the United Nations.
  5. The US Department of State offers many fellowships to learn Arabic in the United States and the Arab World.
  6. Arabic courses can be counted toward the CLASS language requirement and other minors and majors, such as Middle Eastern Studies, Classical and Medieval Studies, International Relations, and International Business.

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