Is Arabic the only language spoken within the Arab world?
No. For example, Assyrian and Chaldean services use a dialect of the
original Aramaic. Berber and Kurdish are other non-Arabic languages of the
do all Arab Americans speak one of these languages?
No. Remember that many Arab-American families have been in the United States
for generations. Do not assume that an Arab American should know Arabic, any
more than any other American should speak the language of his or her ethnic
recently immigrated Arab Americans also know French. Why is that?
Part of the recent history of Arab people is colonization by the French and
British. In colonized countries, people in business and government had to
know one or more European languages.
Arab schools teach other languages?
Definitely. It is much more common for Arab Americans to speak more than one
language than it is for non-Arab Americans. Many countries place more
emphasis on language than the United States does. Many immigrants come to
the United States having learned two or three languages in their country of
origin. Arab countries emphasize the importance of knowing a foreign
language, and they are very familiar with Western media.
there any advice on pronouncing Arabic names?
Not really. It can be quite difficult to transliterate Arabic words into
English, a language that uses different sounds and fewer letters. Unless you
know the Arabic alphabet, it's hard to know how to pronounce words
correctly. The "r" sound is rolled, and there are characters for
three different pronunciations of the "th" sound. If you are
unsure, respectfully ask a source to explain. Write down the pronunciation
and the spelling, so you can give readers both. Be aware that, for these
reasons, spellings vary.
there any trick to spelling Arabic words?
There are so many variations that it is crucial to ask, as you would with
any word. Because Arabic and English characters and sounds are different,
there is more than one way to transliterate the words. The Associated Press,
for example, recently changed its style for the spelling of Mohammed to
Muhammad, and it has changed its style for Koran to Quran.
is Arabic written?
Arabic is one of several languages written from right to left. It would be
narrow-minded to think of this as backwards writing. Think how you might
feel if someone thought that you were reading this sentence backwards.
characters in Arabic different than those we use to write English?
Yes. English is written in Latin characters. Arabic is written in the
28-character Arabic alphabet. In Arabic, a character may change depending on
its placement in the word or sentence. Arabic letters are connected like
script. Fine writing is called calligraphy and is held in high regard and
appreciated as an art form in the Arabic culture.
Contents :: Overview
:: Origins :: Language :: Demographics
:: Family :: Customs
Religion :: Politics
:: Terminology :: Stereotypes
:: Coverage :: Resources
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