Arabic is a Semitic language and is closely related to Hebrew. Standard Arabic is widely understood - but in many countries there are varying dialects of Arabic - there are something of the order of 23 different local versions of the language. It is generally the case that educated Arabs can converse in Standard Arabic and their local variant. It has also influenced the vocabulary of many European languages and Arabic words have been widely adopted in Urdu, Hindi, Turkish, and Indonesian or Malay.
There are 290 million native Arabic speakers, mainly across the Middle East and northern Africa. Arabic is also the liturgical language of around 1.5 billion Muslims.
Written from right to left, Standard Arabic has a fairly constant script or alphabet throughout the world. For computer input, it has been necessary to use a Latinised alphabet known as either IM or Chat Arabic - but nowadays direct input of Arabic is feasible and indexable by search engines.
Vowels are split into long and short vowels – and short vowels do not appear in writing. Furthermore, modal verbs and indefinite articles do not exist in Arabic.
Google Arabic dominates the Arabic search market, with around 95% market share across the Middle East and northern Africa.
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