Photo courtesy of Erin Gilmartin

Quick Facts


Total Worldwide Speakers: 221,002,544


Language Family: Afro-Asiatic


Spoken in:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Cyprus, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebannon, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Oman, Palestinian West Bank & Gaza, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, Uzbekistan, Yemen



The Arabic script evolved from the Nabataean Aramaic script. It has been used since the 4th century AD, but the earliest document, an inscription in Arabic, Syriac and Greek, dates from 512 AD. The Aramaic language has fewer consonants than Arabic, so during the 7th century new Arabic letters were created by adding dots to existing letters in order to avoid ambiguities. Further diacritics indicating short vowels were introduced, but are only generally used to ensure the Qur'an was read aloud without mistakes. Today, each Arabic speaking country or region also has its own variety of colloquial spoken Arabic.



Sources: The Ethnologue & Omniglot


Ahlan wa Sahlan: Functional Modern Standard Arabic for Beginners

Author: Mahdi Alosh
Publisher: Yale University Press
Copyright: 2000
ISBN: 978 030 005 8543
No. of Copies: 1
Audio: Available
Instructor's Manual: Available

Al-Manar: An English-Arabic Dictionary

Author: Hasan S. Karmi
Publisher: Longman
Copyright: 1977 Second Edition
ISBN 0-582-76147-6
No of Copies 1

Arabic Dictionary & Phrasebook

Author: Mahmoud Gaafar & Jane Wightwick
Publisher: Hippocrene Books, Inc
Copyright: 2000, 2009 12th Edition
ISBN 978-0-7818-0973-3
No of Copies 1



Audio Tracks Arabic, Hebrew
Subtitles English, French
Running Time 120 min
Rating Not Rated

The Syrian Bride

Audio Tracks Arabic, Hebrew, English, Russian
Subtitles English, French
Running Time 97 min
Rating Not Rated


Rosetta Stone V3 — Arabic Levels 1 & 2

One of the leaders in language learning software, Rosetta Stone allows you to learn a new language almost effortlessly. The interactive software helps you learn through immersion rather than repetitive memorization. Learn the essential structure needed to help you develop a foundation in the language.

Web-Based Resources

Web-Based Software

Mango Languages LogoMango Languages is available free to all Saint Michael's students, faculty, and staff in a number of languages. Each Mango lesson is focused on practical, common conversation skills and includes instruction on vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and culture. For assistance with Mango, please see the Getting Started with Mango Languages guide. The following languages are also available: Egyptian, Levantine, and MSA


Saint Michaelís is now offering online accounts to use Rosetta Stone, a leader in language learning software. While the LLRC still has Rosetta Stone software available in the lab, this software can be used anywhere, anytime! Interested in learning more? Click here to get started.



Web-Based Links

BBC Language — Arabic

BBC Language is an online base language learning software that offers courses for Spanish, French, English, Greek, Chinese, German, Italian, and Portuguese. Learn the basics of 36 different languages and the culture as well!

Global Road Warrior

Use this database to get acclimated to a country's business culture and etiquette (greetings & courtesies, ethics, meetings, attire), society and culture (gift giving, food, media, time & punctuality) and travel tips (money & banking, transportation, and more) for 175 countries.

Learn Arabic Online

Free resources for learning Arabic, including complete audio lectures, informational articles on the history and value of Arabic, Arabic grammar in depth, vocabulary, and the study of rhetoric in an Arabic context.