Arabic is spoken in most Arab nations. It is the primary language of the Arab World mostly found in Asia, Middle East, and North Africa. Of the total world population, approximately 420 million speak Arabic, and this makes it the fifth most popular language in the world. Arabic is derived from the word Arab referring to the Bedouins since Arabic originated from the Arabian Peninsula, a region consisting mainly of nomadic tribes.
The Arabic language evolved from Aramaic, and it is written from left to right as opposed to the standard style of writing. Classical Arabic was a dialect that was spoken between the 7th and 9th centuries and predated modern Arabic. Countries speaking Arabic are different from one another depending on their history, dialect, culture, and sports. It is the primary spoken language in many countries including Tunisia, Western Sahara, Egypt, and Syria.
Countries With the Largest Arabic-Speaking Populations
Egypt - 82,449,200
In Egypt, the official language is Arabic. Egypt has a rich Arabic culture and history which gives it a distinctive national identity. As one of the cradles of humankind, Egypt experienced some of the world's earliest forms of development in things like agriculture, religion, and urbanization. Egypt has a hot, sunny and dry climate with very high temperatures. About 93% of the Egyptian population speaks Arabic while Islam is the predominant religion. Egypt relies on agriculture, tourism, natural gas, and petroleum trade for economic growth. The ancient cities and great pyramids have been a source of revenue thanks to the millions of tourists who travel to Egypt every year.
Algeria - 40,100,000
Also found in North Africa, Algeria is home to more than 40 Arabic speakers. Algerian Arabic is a national language in the country and is spoken by 73% of Algerians. Algerian Arabic is considered to be a unique Arabic dialect. Algerian Arabic is notable for differing from other versions of the language such as Literary Arabic. Other languages spoken in Algeria, which is Africa's largest country by land area, are French and Berber.
Sudan - 28,164,500
Unlike its neighbor and former nationals South Sudan, where the predominant language is English, Literary Arabic is the official language of Sudan. Out of Sudan's 39 million residents, 28 million people speak Arabic. The remainder of the popular primarily speaks English or indigenous languages - there are more than 100 languages that are native to Sudan. Many of the country's native languages come from the Niger-Congo family.
Saudi Arabia - 27,178,770
Saudi Arabia is a large country on the Arabian Peninsula. It is home to 33 million people, around 27 million of whom speak Arabic as their first language. Saudi Arabia's population speaks a variety of Arabic dialects, among them Jejazi Arabic, Gulf Arabic, and Najdi Arabic. The reason for the gap in Arabic speakers compared to the entire Saudi population is the large presence of an expat community, many of whom do not come from Arabic speaking countries.
Other Arabic Speaking Countries
Tunisia - 10,800,500
Tunisia, one of the smallest countries in Africa, was once a colony of France. In 1956, Tunisia attained independence under the leadership of President Habib Bourguiba. He was instrumental in repressing Islamic fundamentalists in the country. Currently, Tunisia is a member of the League of Arab States. A total of 98% of Tunisian population speaks Arabic with the 2% mainly emigrants and refugees from neighboring non-Arabic speaking countries.
Syria - 17,951,639
The Syrian Arab Republic is a Western Asian country with high mountains, deserts, and fertile plains. Syria has diverse religious and ethnic groups like Armenians, Greeks, Arabs, Mandeans, and Assyrians among others. However, Syria is among the world's worst countries in terms of human rights with frequent arrests and detention of activists, bloggers, and widespread disappearances. Syria has the highest number of its citizens as refugees in Europe.
Which Countries Speak Arabic?
Large populations of Arabic speakers live in Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Syria, and more.
List of Countries By Arabic Speakers
|Rank||Country||Number of Arabic Speakers|
|14||United Arab Emirates||3,607,600|
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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