The Different Kinds of ArabicIt might come as a bit of a surprise that Arabic comes in several flavors, but the truth is that there are several versions of it. The most widely used version of Arabic is called Modern Standard Arabic and is a derivative of the ancient Arabic tongue that the Holy Book of Muslims, the Quran, was revealed in. The Quran preserved the language used by Arabs 1,430 years ago and it is still in use today under the name Classical Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic encompasses Classical Arabic but also adds to it terminology that has been borrowed from other languages and cultures. It is influenced by technological advancement as well as geopolitical lexical influences.
Here is a list of facts that explain further how widely MSA (Modern Standard Arabic) is used:
- All Arabs understand this form of Arabic, from Morocco all the way to Oman (that includes Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, U.A.E, Qatar, Lebanon, Yemen and Oman)
- All Arabs who live in the Middle East study at school using this language (MSA) even people who went to foreign language schools still have to complete certain requirements in Modern Standard.
- Most cartoons watched by children in the Middle east are dubbed in Modern standard, with a few exception that are dubbed in Egyptian Arabic (I worked for Disney and most promos for their cartoons and movies were in MSA) .
- All newspapers and magazines published in the middle east in Arabic are published in Modern Standard.
- The colloquial Arabic that the Moroccans speak is completely unintelligible to the people who live toward the middle of the middle east. The only way we can communicate is either in french or in Modern Standard Arabic.
- Classical Arabic originated in the area now known as Saudi Arabia.
With regards to Colloquial Arabic, certain versions of colloquial Arabic have been popularized in the Middle East through Media and Films, the biggest producers of films in the region are Egypt (the biggest) then Lebanon, then Syria and then Kuwait. Other countries produce songs/films/popularized television shows but their influence is not as profound as the countries mentioned. Otherwise every country in the list mentioned in point #1 in the list above has its own accent and its colloquially distinct lexicon. I hope this brief explanation will help you make your decision regarding what your Arabic language requirements are, sometimes choosing the right version might be confusing… the simplest thing to do is just drop me and email and I would be more than happy to help.