An Aramaic language spoken throughout the Islamic world, most notably in the Middle East and Northern Africa, it has been one of the world's major literary languages for over 1,500 years. Due to its close association with the Islam (it is the language of the Qur'an), Arabic spread rapidly throughout the Muslim world. Today, there are some 225,000,000 speakers living around the world. The languages of Turkey, Iran, northern India, even Portugal and Spain, are replete with words borrowed directly or formed with Arabic roots. It is also closely related to Hebrew.
It is important to note that while spoken forms vary greatly from country to country, written Arabic has remained remarkably consistent and varies little between nations. In many ways, Modern Standard Arabic (اللغة العربية الفصحى, also known as MSA) is as universally understood between nations much the same way that English is seamlessly understood among English-speaking nations. The expression Arabic itself can be used to refer to either the written form or to one of the many spoken varieties found around the Muslim world. Speakers tend to view spoken variations as mere dialects while considering MSA to be the true standard.
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