Learning Arabic is not as hard as you think!


  • Estimates vary, but it is believed that Arabic is spoken by close to a billion Arabs and Muslims around the world.
  • Arabic is spoken as a native language throughout much of North Africa and the Middle East.
  • Since the Middle Ages, Arabic has left an indelible mark on numerous other languages, related and unrelated — including English.
  • The English language, for example, uses many words borrowed from Arabic – admiral, alcohol, algebra, algorithm, amber, artichoke, assassin – and that is just a small sampling of the words beginning with “a.”
  • Arabic is now the fourth most widely spoken native language in the world after Chinese, Spanish, and English (other estimates place it second after Chinese).
  • The Arabic alphabet is the second most widely used alphabet in the world, because it has been adopted by numerous languages such as Persian, Kurdish, Urdu, Malay, Ottoman Turkish, and other Turkic languages. It consists of 28 letters and is written from right to left.
  • The writing system also has another 14 extra-alphabetical symbols that designate aspects of pronunciation, grammar, and spelling.
  • A very large number of Arabic words are formed by fusing letters of the alphabet. The shape of most letters slightly changes according to their position in a word.
  • Arabic characters are often the subject of dazzling calligraphy arts, which have a very deep history and continue to flourish today in numerous Arab and Muslim countries.

Cultural Knowledge

  • Arabic is a primary language of Islam, a faith with over one billion adherents. In addition to Muslims, Arabic is also spoken by Christians, Jews, and others.
  • Arabic is the language of the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book, and is the religious language of Muslims, who belong to many diverse nationalities and ethnic groups.
  • Hundreds of Arabic literary works have been translated into world languages, and the Qur’an is, among other things, one of the world’s great masterpieces of verbal art.
  • Not all Muslims speak Arabic, but learning Arabic for any Muslim facilitates performance of religious rites such as daily prayers and the reading of the Qur’an.

Career Opportunities

  • Though Arabic is certainly a challenging and unconventional language to learn, the cultural and professional benefits it offers are unsurpassed.
  • Proficiency in Arabic is a path to a wide range of professional opportunities. Arabic speakers are in great demand among international organizations like the United Nations and the World Bank, international companies, foreign aid agencies, intelligence agencies, and many other sectors.
  • Lawyers, doctors, journalists, and other professionals who speak Arabic also enjoy a wide range of exciting career choices.
  • Arabic is also an official language of many international organizations.

But What Can I Do With Arabic?
(What’s Your Major or Minor?

  • Knowledge of Arabic is in great demand and has helped recent college graduates get high-paying job opportunities.
  • Learning Arabic can benefit anyone, and especially those majoring or minoring in international relations, political science, comparative literature, Islamic studies, religion, history, anthropology, social studies, African studies, women’s studies, linguistics, and many other fields.
  • Also, numerous short and long-term scholarships in Arabic studies are available through federal agencies.

More at JCU!

  • Foreign language study is a required part of the integrated core curriculum at John Carroll University. Why not choose Arabic?! (For further information on the core, please see the Undergraduate Bulletin.)

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