Arabic (Arabic: العَرَبِيَّة) al-ʻarabiyyah [ʔalʕaraˈbijːah] ( listen) or (Arabic: عَرَبِيّ) ʻarabī [ˈʕarabiː] ( listen) or [ʕaraˈbij]) is a Central Semitic language that first emerged in Iron Age northwestern Arabia and is now the lingua franca of the Arab world. 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. Arabic is classified as a macrolanguage comprising 30 modern varieties, including its standard form (Modern Standard Arabic). 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. The two formal varieties are grouped together as Literary Arabic (fuṣḥā), which is the official language of 26 states and the liturgical language of Islam. Modern Standard Arabic largely follows the grammatical standards of Classical Arabic and uses much of the same vocabulary. However, it has discarded some grammatical constructions and vocabulary that no longer have any counterpart in the spoken varieties, and has adopted certain new constructions and vocabulary from the spoken varieties. Much of the new vocabulary is used to denote concepts that have arisen in the post-classical era, especially in modern times. During the Middle Ages, Literary Arabic was a major vehicle of culture in Europe, especially in science, mathematics and philosophy.
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