Arabic Alive

Arabic has had a great influence on other languages as diverse as Berber, Kurdish, Persian, Swahili, Urdu, Hindi, Turkish, Malay, Kanuri and Indonesian, as well as other languages in countries where these languages are spoken. Many languages borrowed words from Arabic like Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, Hausa, Somali, Italian and Uyghur.

In common with other European languages, many English words are derived from Arabic. Between the 9th and the 15th centuries Portuguese acquired 1000 words from Arabic. During the Middle Ages Arabic was a major vehicle of culture, especially in science, maths and philosophy, with the result that many European languages borrowed numerous words from it. Religious terms used by Muslims around the world are borrowings from Arabic.

Arabic script is or was used to write a number of other languages like Persian, Kurdish, Pashto, Urdu, some Turkic languages, Malay, Swahili and Hausa. The Maltese language is a form of Arabic written in the Latin alphabet.

270 million people speak Arabic, making it the 4th biggest language in the world. It is the official language of 24 countries. Arabic-Afrikaans was Afrikaans written in Arabic script. The best example was Uiteensetting van die Godsdiens (Exposition of the Religion), a Hanafi law book written by Abu Bakr Effendi. This helped the development of Afrikaans. Effendi, from Kurdistan, was sent in 1862 by the Ottoman sultan to the Cape to teach Muslims. From 1862–1869 he studied Afrikaans and compiled the book, printed in 1877 by the state press in Istanbul.