Arabic Language Blog

Arab Culture الثقافة العربية Posted by on May 23, 2011 in Arabic Language, Culture, Uncategorized, Vocabulary

        In previous posts, we defined what is meant by communication, context and culture. Today, we are going to look at the term “Arab” and we will try to define it.

What do we mean by “Arab”?

      This term is as hard to define exactly as the term “American”. Arabs were the people living in the Arabian Peninsula before Islam. They included pagans, Jews and Christians. With the rise of Islam, lots and lots of Muslims emigrated and settled down in different parts of the Islamic empire that extended from the Atlantic Ocean and Southern Europe in the west to India and China in the Far East and down to Central Africa. Some countries adopted the Arabic Language as their first language and most of their populations converted to Islam, while some other countries maintained their own tongue and learnt Arabic only for Islamic and religious rituals and studies. The countries in North Africa and the Middle East have Arabic as their first language and have a majority population of Muslims. You can still see other religious minorities (Christians & Jews)  in some parts of the Arab World like in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon and Syria. So, Arabs started mainly in the Arabian Peninsula but emigrated to different parts, melted in other cultures, affected and were affected by these cultures. Hence, comes the difficulty of defining the term “Arab”.

       Some people define the term Arab as those countries which are members of the League of the Arab States. Those countries are: Mauritania موريتانيا , Morocco المغرب , Algeria الجزائر , Tunisia تونس , Libya ليبيا , Sudan السودان , Djibouti جيبوتى , Somalia الصومال , Egypt مصر , Palestine فلسطين , Lebanon لبنان , Syria سوريا , Jordan الأردن , Iraq العراق , Saudi Arabia السعودية , Kuwait الكويت , Qatar قطر , United Arab Emirates الإمارات , Oman عُمان , Yemen اليمن  and Comoros islands جزر القُمُر .

      It is easier to specify what an Arab is not rather than what he/she is. Arab is not a race, religion, or nationality. For easiness, we are going to adopt the following definition.

Definition of an Arab:

” .. anyone who speaks Arabic as his/her own language and consequently feels as an Arab.”


Adapted from : “Arab Cultural Communication Patterns” by Ellen Feghali.


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Peace سلام   / Salam/

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About the Author: Fisal

Well, I was born near the city of Rasheed or Rosetta, Egypt. Yes, the city where the Rosetta Stone was discovered. It is a small city on the north of Egypt where the Nile meets the Mediterranean. I am a Teacher of EFL.