The modern written language (Modern Standard Arabic) is derived from Classical Arabic.It is widely taught in schools and universities, and is used to varying degrees in workplaces, government, and the media.For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help: IPA.It is named after the Arabs, a term initially used to describe peoples living from Mesopotamia in the east to the Anti-Lebanon mountains in the west, in northwestern Arabia, and in the Sinai peninsula.The last two share important isoglosses with later forms of Arabic, leading scholars to theorize that Safaitic and Hismaic are in fact early forms of Arabic and that they should be considered Old Arabic.Beginning in the 1st century CE, fragments of Northern Old Arabic are attested in the Nabataean script across northern Arabia.Arabic is a Central Semitic language, closely related to the Northwest Semitic languages (Aramaic, Hebrew, Ugaritic and Phoenician), the Ancient South Arabian languages, and various other Semitic languages of Arabia such as Dadanitic.The Semitic languages changed a great deal between Proto-Semitic and the establishment of the Central Semitic languages, particularly in grammar.
Much of the new vocabulary is used to denote concepts that have arisen in the post-classical era, especially in modern times.
Innovations of the Central Semitic languages—all maintained in Arabic—include: There are several features which Classical Arabic, the modern Arabic varieties, as well as the Safaitic and Hismaic inscriptions share which are unattested in any other Central Semitic language variety, including the Dadanitic and Taymanitic languages of the northern Hijaz.
These features are evidence of common descent from a hypothetical ancestor, Proto-Arabic.
During the Middle Ages, Literary Arabic was a major vehicle of culture in Europe, especially in science, mathematics and philosophy.
As a result, many European languages have also borrowed many words from it.