The knowledge of Arabic opens up doors to the Arab world with its rich and diverse culture and to a vast literary heritage dating back to the pre-Islamic era (5th century A.D.). As one of the world's major languages, Arabic is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, as well as the liturgical language for over a billion Muslims. Spoken by nearly 300 million people, it is the official language of approximately twenty countries, among them Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.
Arabic is a Semitic language akin to Aramaic, Amharic, and Hebrew. Modern Standard Arabic or MSA (in Arabic, fusHa) is the language of instruction, all written publications, and is the language of the Arabic broadcast media. Spoken or colloquial Arabic, or 'ammiyya, varies greatly from region to region, and is not generally written down or taught in the Arab world, because it is acquired as a mother tongue.
The Arabic program at Occidental College offers elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels of MSA. Please consult the Courses link to the right for more information. Our students are also encouraged to participate in our successful Arabic Study Abroad program in Morocco and Jordan.
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