Arabic is one of the world's major languages, being spoken in a broad belt extending from the Arabian Peninsula across the Fertile Crescent and on to the Atlantic Ocean. It is the official language of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco, making it the native language of about 215 million people. In addition, many millions of Moslems in other countries have some knowledge of Arabic, it being the language of the Moslem religion and of the sacred Koran. In 1974, Arabic was made the sixth official language of the United Nations.
Great languages spring from great empires, and Arabic is no exception. A Semitic language closely related to Hebrew, its use was confined to the Arabian Peninsula until the 7th century A.D. But the spectacular Islamic conquests of that century carried the language far beyond its original borders, and it supplanted almost all the previous languages of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and North Africa. After further conquest in succeeding centuries Arabic was spoken as far east as Afghanistan and as far west as Spain.
The Arabic alphabet is believed to have evolved from that of an ancient people known as the Nabateans, but how, when, and where exactly it originated is still a matter of controversy. By the early Mohammedan period, two scripts were in use~the Naskhi, the ordinary cursive form used in books and correspondence, and the Kufic, an angular script used mainly for decorative purposes. The present alphabet of twenty-eight letters consists basically of consonants, the vowel signs being indicated by marks above or below the letters. While these marks are generally omitted, they do appear in elementary school books and in all editions of the Koran. Like the other Semitic languages, Arabic is written from right to left. (ln the text the numbers appear at the end, rather than the beginning, of each verse.) The script is employed in many other languages, such as Persian, Pashto, Urdu, and Sindhi.
Spoken Arabic naturally varies from country to country, but classical Arabic, the language of the Koran, has remained largely unchanged since the 7th century. It has served as a great unifying force in the development and standardization of the language. When educated Arabs from different countries meet, they generally converse in classical Arabic. On the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula the people speak a number of dialects known collectively as South Arabic, but these differ so greatly from the Arabic of the north that South Arabic is often considered a separate language.
Arabic has contributed many words to the English language, many of them beginning with the Arabic definite article. These include algebra, alcohol, alchemy, alkali, alcove, alfalfa, and albatross. Others are mosque, minaret, sultan, elixir, harem, girafte, gazelle, cotton, amber, sofa, mattress, tariff, magazine, arsepial, syrup, sherbet, and artichoke. Coffee is also an Arabic word which entered Fnglish by way of Turkish and Italian. The word assassin comes from a similar Arabic word meaning "hashish addicts."
Transmart can provide you with quality and fast Arabic desktop publishing services with DTP tools designed for Arabic,
including creation and localization of electronic documentation, to ensure the final works maintain Arabic style.