Posted by: SSU Lingua Franca | April 28, 2016

Why Study Arabic?

Why Study Arabic?    لماذا يجب إختيار اللغة العربية؟

By Louissa Abdelghany

Welcome! أهلاً و سهلاً 

We invite you to join the growing community of Arabic learners and give Arabic study a try. Here are some reasons why students choose to study Arabic:

* Arabic is the 6th most commonly spoken native language in the world. Arabic is the official language of over 20 countries with well over 300 million native speakers. These speakers are largely concentrated in the Middle East, but there are minority groups of native speakers throughout the world. It is also an official language in the UN, the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the African Union.

* Arabic is the liturgical language of Islam. In addition to the millions of native speakers, many more millions know Arabic as a foreign language, since, as the language of the Quran; it is understood by Muslims throughout the world.

* Arabic speakers are in high demand and low supply in the western world. With the growing importance of the Middle East in international affairs, there is an extreme shortage of workers in the west who are versed in Arabic language and culture. Knowing Arabic is a significant asset, one that makes you more marketable in a variety of fields: business, industry, education, finance, journalism, translation, international law, consulting, and foreign services.

* There are financial incentives for learning Arabic. The U.S. government has designated Arabic as a language of strategic importance. The National Strategic Language Initiative instituted in 2006 promotes the learning of Arabic among Americans through numerous scholarships and supported learning opportunities. These include support for language courses from beginning to advanced levels, study abroad programs, intensive instruction opportunities, teacher exchanges, and professional development.

* Arabic speaking nations are a fast growing market for trade. Initiatives to integrate the Arab world into the global economy are opening up numerous potential new business opportunities. The Arab region with its rapidly growing population provides a huge export market for goods and services. With a GDP of over 600 billion dollars annually, the region also has much to offer the world market. In order to do business effectively, one must understand the language and culture of the people with whom one hopes to negotiate and conduct trade.

* Learning Arabic would increase international understanding and promote global communication. Only 9.3% of Americans are fluent in English and another language–compared to 52% of Europeans fluent in their native language in addition to at least one more language. Arab civilization has made significant contributions to the world in areas including medicine, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, music, philosophy, poetry, and astronomy. Learning Arabic will open up your world, introducing you to this rich civilization. It will help you better understand and appreciate a region that is often misrepresented and oversimplified in the mainstream media.

If you are not sure about whether or not Arabic is the right language for you, please feel free to contact Dr. Louissa Abdelghany at labdelghany@salemstate.edu. We will do our best to answer your questions and help you fit Arabic into your other academic plans at Salem State University.

 

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