Babylon 10
The world's best online dictionary

Download it's free

The Arabic-Speaking World



From its humble beginnings in the desert to its empire-sized nature of today, the Arabic language is a language of art and culture that has embellished our minds and eyes with it magnificent script. It is widely spoken today as native language to countless of nations, and as a consequence has acquired many dialectical forms. Divided into two distinct classes, the literary Arabic and spoken Arabic, this language is regarded as a daily essential to the countries listed below:


Country Languages (%)
Algeria Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects
Australia English 78.5%, Chinese 2.5%, Italian 1.6%, Greek 1.3%, Arabic 1.2%, Vietnamese 1%, other 8.2%, unspecified 5.7% (2006 Census)
Bahrain Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu
Chad French (official), Arabic (official), Sara (in south), more than 120 different languages and dialects
Comoros Arabic (official), French (official), Shikomoro (a blend of Swahili and Arabic)
Djibouti French (official), Arabic (official), Somali, Afar
Egypt Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated classes
Eritrea Afar, Arabic, Tigre and Kunama, Tigrinya, other Cushitic languages
Gaza Strip Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by many Palestinians), English (widely understood)
Iran Persian and Persian dialects 58%, Turkic and Turkic dialects 26%, Kurdish 9%, Luri 2%, Balochi 1%, Arabic 1%, Turkish 1%, other 2%
Iraq Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Turkoman (a Turkish dialect), Assyrian (Neo-Aramaic), Armenian
Israel Hebrew (official), Arabic used officially for Arab minority, English most commonly used foreign language
Jordan Arabic (official), English widely understood among upper and middle classes
Kuwait Arabic (official), English widely spoken
Lebanon Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian
Libya Arabic, Italian, English, all are widely understood in the major cities
Maldives Maldivian Dhivehi (dialect of Sinhala, script derived from Arabic), English spoken by most government officials
Mauritania Arabic (official and national), Pulaar, Soninke, Wolof (all national languages), French, Hassaniya
Morocco Arabic (official), Berber dialects, French often the language of business, government, and diplomacy
Oman Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects
Qatar Arabic (official), English commonly used as a second language
Saudi Arabia Arabic
Somalia Somali (official), Arabic, Italian, English
Sudan Arabic (official), English (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages

note: program of "Arabization" in process
Syria Arabic (official); Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian widely understood; French, English somewhat understood
Tanzania Kiswahili or Swahili (official), Kiunguja (name for Swahili in Zanzibar), English (official, primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education), Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar), many local languages

note: Kiswahili (Swahili) is the mother tongue of the Bantu people living in Zanzibar and nearby coastal Tanzania; although Kiswahili is Bantu in structure and origin, its vocabulary draws on a variety of sources including Arabic and English; it has become the lingua franca of central and eastern Africa; the first language of most people is one of the local languages
Tunisia Arabic (official and one of the languages of commerce), French (commerce)
Uganda English (official national language, taught in grade schools, used in courts of law and by most newspapers and some radio broadcasts), Ganda or Luganda (most widely used of the Niger-Congo languages, preferred for native language publications in the capital and may be taught in school), other Niger-Congo languages, Nilo-Saharan languages, Swahili, Arabic
United Arab Emirates Arabic (official), Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu
West Bank Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by Israeli settlers and many Palestinians), English (widely understood)
Western Sahara Hassaniya Arabic, Moroccan Arabic
World Mandarin Chinese 13.22%, Spanish 4.88%, English 4.68%, Arabic 3.12%, Hindi 2.74%, Portuguese 2.69%, Bengali 2.59%, Russian 2.2%, Japanese 1.85%, Standard German 1.44%, French 1.2% (2005 est.)

note: percents are for "first language" speakers only
Yemen Arabic

Source: CIA - The World Factbook