To know Arabs and their culture, one must first learn their language, but with many opposing theories about its origins, this is no easy task.
To keep a language used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, December 18 is the selected UN Arabic Language Day.
The day was organized by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in 2010 to “celebrate multilingualism and social diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six of its official working languages throughout the organisation.”
This date was picked because it was the day in 1973 when Arabic became the sixth official working language of the General Assembly of the United Nations and its principal commissions – the others being Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
“Arabic is a very intense language; it has different accents and different calligraphic forms and styles,” says Hasan Al Naboodah, an Emirati historian and dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at the UAE University in Al Ain.
“Its history is as complicated as the history of the countries that use the language.”