Due to the territorial expansion of the Arab population during the Middle Ages as well as the diffusion of the Koran, the liturgical language of Arabic spread into the Near East, the Middle East and North Africa.
Based on Classical Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic is the literary language used in most current printed Arabic publications and spoken by the Arabic media across North Africa and the Middle East. It is the common written language of all Arabophone countries.
Number of speakers worldwide: 280 million native speakers
Modern Standard Arabic is the official language of all 22 states of the Arab League, as well as Chad, Eritrea and Israel (along with Hebrew).
Family: Arabic is a Central Semitic language and is thus related to other Semitic languages such as Akkadian, Aramaic, Hebrew, Phoenician and Syriac. The Arabic alphabet, like the Latin alphabet, stems from the Phoenician alphabet.
Arabic is written from right to left. The graphic layout for any printed material must take this into account. The numerals used in Western counting are borrowed from Arabic, which in turn descended from Indian numerals.
Due to certain characteristics, Arabic faces some challenges in its effort to internationalise. Spoken or Colloquial Arabic can refer to any one of the multiple national or regional variations. Each variation is the day-to-day language in its corresponding area and is the first language to be learned by children. In addition, most of them differ enough from each other to be mutually incomprehensible. However, the popularity of media outlets like Al Jazeera and Al-Arabiya across regional lines has presented interesting developments in spoken Arabic and belies the conception of the Modern Standard as only a written standard.