If you ask a question to a Saudi Arabian, an Egyptian, an Algerian and a Syrian that which thing makes you an Arab? They will answer in just a second that speaking Arabic makes us an Arab. This language makes the Arab world and it binds the whole Arab world from Morocco to Kuwait.
This language gives identity to the Arab society and makes them aware about the history of the Arab. Since the inception of Islam Arabic is the speaking language of the Islamic world. Islamic holy book the Qur’an was initially written in Arabic.
There is a great religious significance of this language in the Islamic world. According to Muslims – if you want to understand properly the messages of Qur’an, you should read it in Arabic language. That’s why Arabic is not only the language of Arab world. (Seikaly, 2001)
Arabic language is not only official language of Saudi Arabia, but it is also considered as an official language in more than forty five countries and dialect of Arabic is being spoken by 200,000,000 people all around the world. Main part of this population lives in the Arabic countries, but a considerable number of Arabic Speakers live in some parts of Africa. Arabic is treated as a biggest member of the Semitic branch and it is some what same as Hebrew and Aramaic.
Arabic is studied widely in the Islamic world. Since 6th century Arabic is being taught as a literary language and many words of other languages had been taken from Arabic such as English and Spanish. Some words like sugar, cotton and magazine had been derived from Arabic. In Arabic these words are pronounced like sukkar, quṭūn, maḫāzin. Some other words like alcohol, algebra and zenith came from Arabic language. (Shah, 2007)
There are many verities of Arabic language. In this paper we will discuss those varieties in brief. We will mainly focus on the Najdi (A variety of Arabic language). Najdi Arabic speakers oppose the theory of generative phonology. We will move step by step and in an arranged manner.
The First Word of Arabic
The first word of Arabic, which was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, is iqra (means “recite”). According to literature the meaning of Qur’an is recitation. Muslims say that it was the command, which was given to the Muhammad by god, when the Prophet began to receive the revelation and this finally got converted into the Qur’an. The word Qur’an is based on the three letters, those are Q, R and A and the word iqra contains these 3 letter root. (Seikaly, 2001)
Forms of Arabic
Arabic language can be divided in the three forms- classical, modern standard, and colloquial. The Arabic, which has been used in the Qur’an, is considered as classical Arabic. The Arabic used in Qur’an is treated as the perfect Arabic and is a stander for written form of Arabic.
The modern standard Arabic is derived from the Classical Arabic and is used in the formal communication such as in literature, in news, in offices and in print media. Colloquial Arabic is locally spoken Arabic language and it varies from nation to nation and area to area. Many varieties of the Colloquial Arabic have been found in the Arab World and Najdi is one of them. In religious and social functions the oral Arabic is used for writing also because the written and spoken forms of Arabic language are highly interconnected.
Modern Standard Arabic is not used at such moments. It is used in television and radio news broadcasts. Modern Standard Arabic plays an important role to bind the whole Arab world because the Arabic speakers from Lebanon and Morocco cannot easily understand one-another’s Arabic language due to their local dialects. But they can talk in Modern Standard Arabic easily.
That’s why Modern Standard Arabic is used in formal meetings and occasions. Many local and regional variations have taken place in spoken Arabic and written Arabic has also been changed since 7th century. Many foreign words are being used in Spoken Arabic such as computer, telephone, television, and radio.
On the other hand lots of words have been borrowed from Arabic by the many Western languages like English, Spanish and Portuguese. In the earlier time, the Arab world was known for medicine mathematics, philosophy, and astronomy. Name of many stars are based on the Arabic language such as Betelgeuse, Rigel, Deneb, Altair, and Aldebaran. (Seikaly, 2001)
The Arabic script had been taken from Nabataean Aramaic script. Originally, Arabic language had been used since 4th century but there is no solid evidence for it. Generally 6th century is treated as the starting era for Arabic language. Initially Aramaic language was there in use, but there are fewer consonants in this language. Hence in the 7th century new Arabic letters had been created with the help of dots. Then vowels came into the picture. . (Omniglot writing systems & languages of the world, 2010)
Classification of varieties
The Arabic script had been taken from Nabataean Aramaic script. Originally, Arabic language had been used since 4th century but there is no solid evidence for it. Generally 6th century is treated as the starting era for Arabic language.
Initially Aramaic language was there in use, but there are fewer consonants in this language. Hence in the 7th century new Arabic letters had been created with the help of dots. Then vowels came into the picture. Nowadays Arabic is spoken in many different ways in different areas. (Omniglot writing systems & languages of the world, 2010)