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World Arabic Language Day: On this day in 1973, Arabic officially became a UN language

afkarali@khaleejtimes.com Filed on December 18, 2020
Photo: Alamy

Through the years, the UAE has been committed to promoting and preserving the language.

Today is the best time to ask expats and tourists in the UAE: How many Arabic phrases do you know? The UAE is set to kickstart a host of activities and programmes today to celebrate World Arabic Language Day. And with all the webinars and virtual events lined up, residents and visitors can easily expand their Arabic vocabulary as they learn more about the language.

On December 18, 1973, Arabic officially became among the six official languages of the United Nations. These include French, English, Russian, Spanish, and Chinese. An international day of celebration was set for each language. The goal, UN said, is to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity and promote equal use of all six languages throughout the organisation.

15 Arabic phrases to know if you're travelling around the UAE

Through the years, the UAE has been committed to promoting and preserving the language.

“The efforts made by UAE has contributed to developing the language to keep pace with the global waves of modernisation and development,” said Dr Issa Saleh Al Hammadi, director of the Educational Centre for the Arabic Language for the Gulf States.

Earlier this year, His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has unveiled the first eight volumes of the Historical Corpus of the Arabic Language — a project that chronicled the evolution of the Arabic language in over 17 centuries.

Recently, a movement was started to boost the online presence of Arabic authors. The Emirates Literature Foundation teamed up Google to launch Kateb Maktub initiative, aiming to increase the number of Arab author pages on Wikipedia by tenfold.

The team is now looking to recruit an army of volunteers to join the movement and become Wikipedia data editors, gathering and sharing content about Arab authors and books so they can be known worldwide.

Back in April 2012, the Charter for the Arabic Language was introduced. It was considered a milestone in the UAE’s efforts to protect the Arabic language with the aim of strengthening its presence in all areas of life.

Virtual seminars

A top official at the UAE’s Arabic Language Protection Association (Alpa) said this year’s celebration includes a conference that will shed light on the current state of the language and its future in the UAE.

In the Capital, the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre will be conducting virtual events via library.dctabudhabi.ae. In Sharjah, a Zoom conference will be held by the Educational Centre for the Arabic Language for the Gulf States and Arabic Language Complex.

afkarali@khaleejtimes.com

Afkar Abdullah





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