No excuse not to learn Arabic now

Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre has launched the digital ‘We Speak Arabic’ programme

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Published: Wed 23 Feb 2022, 11:47 PM

One of the unique standpoints about living in the UAE is that you do not really need to know the ‘official’ language of the country, which is Arabic.

The way the country has been envisioned has made it so inclusive that there is no language arrogance.

Unlike many countries where if one is not conversant with the ‘local’ tongue, it leads to many problems, here a lot of ‘foreign’ languages thrive, with English being a lingua franca at every step.

But a recent announcement by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC) — which is part of the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi — that it has launched the digital ‘We Speak Arabic’ programme (that is accessible online) is a very welcome move: not only does it usher in a wave to help expat residents to be proud to learn the language that guides the vision of the country that they live in, the move will also help non-Arabic speakers across the world to get acquainted with a language that has a supremely rich history — and is much in demand as being a language of the future by intellectuals, thought leaders, policy makers and discerning people globally.

The programme targets ages and nationalities, and “encourages mastering of Arabic as a language of knowledge, culture and creativity”.

Saeed H. Al Tunaiji, acting executive director of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, points out that “promoting the take up of the Arabic language locally and internationally is one of the centre’s primary objectives through a wide range of projects and initiatives.

Delivering our mandate through digital means is a major focus that provides easy accessibility to those looking to learn, and of course, cooperation and collaborative efforts between entities, institutions, and communities are essential to achieve our goals”.

The agency of Arabic — which is also the liturgical language of Islam (since the Holy Quran and the Hadiths were written in Classical Arabic) and spoken by approximately 420 million people worldwide (making it the fifth-most spoken language in the world) — has been growing exponentially as the Middle East emerges as a geopolitical and cultural power hub.

As an official language, it is next only to English and French in the number of countries it represents; and it is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

There’s more: as a nod to its relevance in the modern-day roadmap, Arabic is now the fourth most used language on the Internet in terms of users, and in the top league as a ‘language for business’.

With the hallowed portals of universities such as Oxford and SOAS making the Arabic language course one of their most sought-after offerings, the time has come to work towards a world where the creativity and eloquence of a syntax that is on an uptick is made even more voluble.

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