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Why Study Arabic?

Arabic is the 5th most commonly spoken native language in the world

Arabic is the official language of over 20 countries and there are well over 375 million native speakers of the language. 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 of the United Nations, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference, and the African Union.

There is a high demand and low supply of Arabic-speakers in the Western world

Relatively few Westerners ever venture to learn Arabic. With the growing importance of the Middle East in international affairs, there is thus an extreme shortage of workers in the West who are versed in Arabic language and culture. Those who study Arabic can find careers in a variety of fields: journalism, business and industry, education, finance and banking, translation and interpretation, consulting, foreign service and intelligence, and many others.

Arabic-speaking peoples have made significant contributions to world civilization

While Europe was experiencing the relative intellectual stagnation of the Middle Ages, the Arab-Islamic civilization was at its zenith. Arabs contributed a great deal to the advancement of science, medicine, and philosophy. Much learning from the Greek, Roman, and Byzantine cultures was preserved for the world through the Arab libraries. Arabs have also made significant contributions in such areas as literature, mathematics, navigation, astrology, and architecture. A knowledge of Arabic enables the exploration of this vast body of knowledge in their original language.

"Having got to a reasonable level in French i realised how useful and fun learning languages could be. I wanted to challenge myself with a non latinate language and so opted for Arabic. The fast pace here at Warwick here is sometimes hard but it makes you learn a lot! After just one year of studying I visited Morocco and was pleased to find that I was able to have small meaningful conversations with people. Very rewarding!"
Jonathon Escalante-Phillips

LL131 Arabic 1, 2012/13, LL233A Arabic 2, 2013/14

The Arab-speaking world has a rich cultural heritage

The Arab world has its own unique art, music, literature, cuisine, and way of life. Westerners know about belly dance, perhaps have read 1001 Nights, and may have tried some popular Middle Eastern dishes such as humous or falafel, but Western exposure to the Arab way of life is generally limited. In exploring the Arabic world, you will learn to appreciate its distinct cultural products and practices and you will come to understand some of the values important to the Arabic people, such as honour, dignity, and hospitality.

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 Qur’an, it is understood by Muslims throughout the world.


"I'm taking Arabic because post-2008 crisis shifts the balance from conventional banking to Islamic banking. Islamic countries (Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi, UAE) have been aggressively promoting the expansion of Islamic banking and thus by learning Arabic, it would equip me with better understanding of the technical jargons, and wider job-scopes and opportunities as currently the supply of Islamic bankers are very low."
Muhammad Jaafar
LL131 Arabic 1, 2012/13, LL233A Arabic 2, 2013/14

Read why Arabic is not as hard as you think here

"Learning Arabic has been a challenging but enriching experience. Not only have I come to appreciate the beauty of the language but the rich culture behind it as well. I highly recommend anyone who is interested to take up the language."
Sin Ying Chua
L11A Arabic (beginners)

Studying Arabic at Warwick

The course aims at developing students’ basic skills in reading, writing, listening, speaking and grammatical structures. It will enable the learners to enhance their knowledge on basic sentence patterns and structures, adding to the development of their competence in a variety of practical contexts that touch on everyday situations. Students will learn various techniques of approaching reading and writing and will be able to enhance their awareness of the various parts of speech through patterns and structures and their functionality. This approach will be supported by aural, written and visual material, most important of which is the use of technological advances in this field. The course is based on Modern Standard Arabic which is a key variety that is understood across the Arab world despite the variations in dialects. An appreciation of the deviation between MSA and the dialects will be explained and some processes of the main differences will be introduced. Based on a step-by-step approach, the course is divided into learning blocks each of which focuses on practical, useful and manageable language. In addition, the learner will develop cultural awareness of the Arabic speaking world and will have access to online resources for more independent learning. In the final year module colloquial spoken varieties of Arabic will be introduced, where students can establish an appreciation of the main differences between them and Modern Standard Arabic.