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making it the fifth most spoken language in the world.
Arabic is written with the Arabic alphabet, which is an abjad script and is written from right to left, although the spoken varieties are sometimes written in ASCII Latin from left to right with no standardized orthography.
The two formal varieties are grouped together as Literary Arabic (fuṣḥā), which is the official language of 26 states and the liturgical language of Islam.
Modern Standard Arabic largely follows the grammatical standards of Classical Arabic and uses much of the same vocabulary.
By the 4th century CE, the Nabataean Aramaic writing system had come to express varieties of Arabic other than that of the Nabataeans.
In late pre-Islamic times, a transdialectal and transcommunal variety of Arabic emerged in the Hijaz which continued living its parallel life after literary Arabic had been institutionally standardized in the 2nd and 3rd century of the Hijra, most strongly in Judeo-Christian texts, keeping alive ancient features eliminated from the "learned" tradition (Classical Arabic).
Innovations of the Central Semitic languages—all maintained in Arabic—include: There are several features which Classical Arabic, the modern Arabic varieties, as well as the Safaitic and Hismaic inscriptions share which are unattested in any other Central Semitic language variety, including the Dadanitic and Taymanitic languages of the northern Hijaz.
Balkan languages, including Greek and Bulgarian, have also acquired a significant number of Arabic words through contact with Ottoman Turkish.The following features can be reconstructed with confidence for Proto-Arabic: Arabia boasted a wide variety of Semitic languages in antiquity.In the southwest, various Central Semitic languages both belonging to and outside of the Ancient South Arabian family (e.g. It is also believed that the ancestors of the Modern South Arabian languages (non-Central Semitic languages) were also spoken in southern Arabia at this time.Conversely, Arabic has borrowed words from other languages including Greek and Persian in medieval times, and contemporary European languages such as English and French in modern times.Classical Arabic is the liturgical language of 1.7 billion Muslims and Modern Standard Arabic is one of six official languages of the United Nations.