Why learn Arabic?
10 great reasons to start learning Arabic
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6. Arabic-speaking peoples have made significant contributions
to world civilization.
While Europe was experiencing the relative intellectual stagnation
of the Middle Ages, the Arab-Islamic civilization was at its zenith.
Arabs contributed a great deal to the advancement of science, medicine,
and philosophy. Much learning from the Greek, Roman, and Byzantine
cultures was preserved for the world through the Arab libraries. Arabs
have also made significant contributions in such areas as literature,
mathematics, navigation, astrology, and architecture. A knowledge
of Arabic enables the exploration of this vast body of knowledge in
their original language.
7. The Arab-speaking world has a rich cultural heritage.
The Arab world has its own unique art, music, literature, cuisine,
and way of life. Westerners know about belly dance, perhaps have read
, and may have tried some some popular Middle Eastern
dishes such as hummus or falafel, but Western exposure to the Arab
way of life is generally limited. In exploring the Arabic world, you
will learn to appreciate its distinct cultural products and practices
and you will come to understand some of the values important to the
Arabic people, such as honor, dignity, and hospitality.
8. Knowing Arabic can promote intercultural understanding.
In addition to having limited exposure to real Arabic culture, Westerners
are presented with one-dimensional negative stereotypes of Arabic-speaking
peoples through the news media, Hollywood films, and other sources.
At the same time, events in the Middle East affect our daily lives.
Reliance on such false and superficial images can lead to mistrust
and miscommunication, to an inability to cooperate, negotiate, and
compromise, and perhaps even to military confrontation. Those who
learn Arabic gain deeper insights into the cultural, political, and
religious values that motivate people in those cultures. People who
know Arabic can negotiate the cultural and linguistic gap between
nations, assist in solving and avoiding intercultural conflict, and
help businesses successfully engage in international trade.
9. Arabic influence is evident in many other languages.
The export of concepts, products, and cultural practices from Arabic-speaking
peoples is evident in the vocabulary that Arabic has lent other languages.
was invented by Arab mathematicians in medieval times.
Such staple products as coffee
the Arab world, as well as jasmine
, and lime
Other Arabic loanwords appearing in English denote such diverse things
. The influence of Arabic
culture is apparent not only in the English language. Numerous Arabic
contributions are also discernible in Persian, Turkish, Kurdish, Spanish,
Swahili, Urdu, and other languages.
10. The Unites States has an Arab-American minority.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2002 census, there are 1.2 million
people of Arab heritage residing in the United States. Though a relatively
small population, their numbers are quickly growing; people of Arab
ancestry in the U.S. increased by about 40% during the 1990s. Intercultural
understanding begins at home. Even just a basic knowledge of the Arabic
language and culture can improve understanding and acceptance of this
often misunderstood and misrepresented group of Americans.
Why study Arabic? | Reasons
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