The Arabic culture is one rich with tradition, respect, and ritual. If you have been drawn to learn how to speak Arabic it is likely that you are not only interested in Arabic vocabulary and the Arabic alphabet, but the entire culture that draws together centuries of tradition and a focus on honor.
A major element of the Arabic culture is the language. This language is a part of what is called the Semitic branch of the language family referred to as Afro-Asiatic language family. It is very closely related to the Hebrew and Aramic languages. When you are learning how to speak Arabic you are becoming a part of a widespread tongue that is spoken throughout the Islamic and Arab worlds. Like most languages, Arabic can be spoken in both the formal “standard” version that is used for educational, media, and other more precise situations, and the less formal everyday spoken version that is comprised of a variety of dialects specific to various areas.
Another vital aspect of Arabic culture is religion. Though there are others, including a large influx of Arab Jews in recent years, by far the predominant religion within the Arab world is Islam. The religion of Muslims, Islam infiltrates all aspects of the lives of followers and creates the path for every day of their existence. The holy text of Islam, the Koran, was originally written in Arabic, and many believe that it should never be translated into other languages because it can be very difficult to translate Arabic phrases without losing some of the intended meaning. Because of this learning how to speak Arabic is an important part of the studies of virtually all Muslims, even those not living in Arab countries. By learning to read and speak the language, Muslims are able to pray the original words, which is extremely meaningful for many followers.
As with most cultures, literature is prevalent in the artistic expression of Arabic people. The word for Arabic literature is adab, which means “to invite someone for a meal”, which is used to imply politeness and the intention to enrich those that read the works. This word is not used to refer to works that are written in the Arabic alphabet but do not use the traditional Arabic language.