Do you know the most prominent languages spoken in the Middle East? Tired of feeling ignorant about a region so rich in history, culture, and world-reaching commerce? Don't sweat it - we're here to enlighten you.
At LinguaLinx, we help people across the world with all their translation needs, from legal to healthcare to educational, and everywhere in between. Along with the capability to translate into 98% of the world's known languages, we also have a love for other cultures and the ways that these languages came to be.
This article covers which countries make up the Middle East region, the most common languages spoken there, and brief history lesson.
Countries and Languages of the Middle East
The Middle East has been in the news in the West fairly consistently over the last decade or so, for a myriad of different reasons.
We talk about it all the time — but it’s difficult to fully grasp any of the cultures represented therein without first knowing a bit about the region and what languages are spoken there. So, what are the most prominent dialects in the Middle East?
First, let us explore what countries make up the region. The Middle East is comprised of the following countries, listing here in order of population from highest to lowest:
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
The most common language spoken in the region is Arabic, a Semitic language that is very closely related to Hebrew. Arabic was developed beginning in the 8th century B.C., and it currently boasts approximately 280 million speakers in the Arab world.
The second most widely spoken language in the Arab world is Persian or Farsi, which is the national language of Iran.
It is estimated that there are about 65 million people who speak Persian or Farsi, most of which are concentrated in Iran itself.
But there are significant populations in Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates who also speak Farsi. A somewhat newer language than Arabic, the language — comprised of 3 primary dialects — has been around since 400 B.C. and shares a lot of similarities with Urdu and Hindi languages.
Next is Hebrew, which is the primary language of nearly 3.8 million people in the Middle East, though that concentration is almost exclusively in Israel.
It’s one of the oldest languages still used today, with Hebrew inscriptions found to be somewhere around 3,000 years old.
Another widely spoken language in the region is Turkish, the national language of Turkey, spoken by roughly 170,000 people in Turkey and the Fertile Crescent region. Kurdish is also spoken widely in that region, though it is not quite so prevalent as Turkish.
This is not an exhaustive list of the many countless languages spoken in the Middle East. A not insignificant number of North Africans speak Berber; Azeri is a minority language spoken in Turkey; and Armenian is used as well, in urban centers like Damascus, Beirut, Tehran, and Cairo.
Middle East Language Translations
In this article, you learned the countries that comprise the Middle East and the primary languages (Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, & Turkish). You also learned about several lesser-known languages spoken in the region.
Whether you are looking to have a document translated from English to Arabic or vise versa, it is important to work with a qualified translator who is a native speaker of the target language.
Gender assignation, the use of accents, and contractions can all cause issues when translating a document into, or out of, Arabic.
Lastly, knowing whether the target audience is in the Middle East is of the utmost importance, as different dialects use different idioms and phrases.
Continue Learning with these helpful articles:
- 12 Interesting Facts About Languages
- Differences Between Farsi and Arabic
- What are the Most Popular Languages in the US?
To translate anything from medical documentation to legal papers, click on the link below -