History of the Arabic Language

The Arabic language is spoken across the Middle East and North and East Africa and originates from 6th Century BC Classical Arabic language. Arabic has undoubtedly a rich history and tradition. It is believed that some of the most widely spoken languages in the world today have been, throughout their history, been influenced by the Arabic language. There is a saying that when someone speaks in pure modern Arabic, they are almost able to create music, so sweet the Arabic language is!

Furthermore, it is far easier to trace the roots of the Arabic language as it is one of the best documented languages in the world.
Origin of Classical Arabic Language
The first traces of the language can be traced back to 8th Century BC. The language spoken during that time was the Musnad, which is considered to be the point of origin of the classical Arabic language.

6th Century BC
After the musnad texts of the 8th Century BC were created, the next sets of translations were the Lihyanite texts that were found around 6th Century BC. It was only in the 6th Century BC that the classical Arabic language started getting spoken. Classical Arabic is also known as Quranic Arabic as it is the language in which the Holy Quran was written.

4th Century BC
It was not until the 4th Century BC that the first documents of the Arabic language were created.

1st Century BC and later
Because Arabic has uninterrupted and comprehensive archives of written material, Arabic translation, like the language, also has a rich history. The next sets of translated texts were found all over the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas and these were in Thanudic texts. Around 1st Century BC, Safaiti etchings were found all over these regions. During this time, many authentic Arabic proper names were found in the Nabatean inscriptions. The texts used for inscribing these names were Aramaic.

The first inscriptions of Classical Arabic are also around this time, around 328 AD. As mentioned here, the Nabatean alphabets were used in the inscriptions. These inscriptions, known as Namarrah, first came to light in 1985.

4th Century AD
Pre-Islamic poetry in Arabic language was first created around 4th Century AD. This is when the Ghassanid kingdom in Syria, the Kindite kingdom in Central Arabia and the Lakhmid kingdom in southern Iraq were established. Poetries were created in the courts of these kingdoms. Unfortunately, very few of these poetry inscriptions are found today!

Spread of the language during 7th Century AD
The spread of the Arabic language started in the 7th Century AD as Islam started spreading worldwide. Nomads are the ones that to be credited the spread of the Arabic language to different regions. Some of the nomads created short stories that were widely read in all the regions they visited. And of course, as more people read the Holy Quran, the spread of the language was even more pronounced.

The Arabic language today
Today Arabic is the official language of 26 countries and more than 420 million people worldwide speak the language. However, the Arabic dialects spoken in the different countries are different – there are 12 dialects of Arabic spread in the Middle East and the North African regions.

The modern Arabic language has emerged as a mutually unintelligible language, which means that the speakers of different Arabic dialects can understand one another without any special effort or education. Arabic dialects vary from one region to another. The most popular dialect is Egyptian Arabic that is spoken by more than 54 million people. As of now, Arabic is the only surviving ancient North Arabian dialect group that was inscribed in the pre-Islamic era of 4th Century.

Arabic is one of the most flourishing languages in the modern world, and is set to dominate the language scene in the years to come!