Middle East Languages and Dialects - Island Trips Middle East Hotels Travel - IslandTrips.Org
The five top languages, in terms of numbers of speakers, are Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Berber, and Kurdish. Arabic and Berber represent the Afro-Asiatic language family. Persian and Kurdish belong to the Indo-European language family. And Turkish belongs to Turkic language family. About 20 minority languages are also spoken in the Middle East.
Arabic (with all its dialects) is the most widely spoken and/or written language in the Middle East, being official in all North African and in most West Asian countries. It is also spoken in some adjacent areas in neighbouring Middle Eastern non-Arab countries. It is a member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic languages.
Persian is the second most spoken language. While it is confined to Iran and some border areas in neghbouring countries, the country is one of the region's largest and most populous. It belongs to the Indo-Iranian branch of the family of Indo-European languages.
The third-most widely spoken language, Turkish, is largely confined to Turkey, which is also one of the region's largest and most populous countries, but it is present in areas in neighboring countries. It is a member of the Turkic languages, which have their origins in Central Asia.
Other languages spoken in the region include Semitic languages such as Hebrew and Mesopotamian Aramaic dialects spoken mainly by Assyrians and Mandeans. Also to be found are Armenian, Azerbaijani, Berber which is spoken across North Africa, Circassian, smaller Iranian languages, Kurdish, smaller Turkic languages (such as Gagauz), Shabaki, Yazidi, Roma, Georgian, Greek, and several Modern South Arabian languages such as Geez. Maltese is also linguistically and geographically a Middle Eastern language.
English is commonly taught and used as a second language, especially among the middle and upper classes, in countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. It is also a main language in some of the Emirates of the United Arab Emirates.
French is taught and used in many government facilities and media in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Lebanon. It is taught in some primary and secondary schools of Egypt, Israel and Syria. Urdu is widely spoken by migrant communities in many Middle Eastern countries, such as Saudi Arabia (where 20-25% of the population is South Asian), the United Arab Emirates (where 50-55% of the population is South Asian), Israel, and Qatar, which have large numbers of Pakistani immigrants. The largest Romanian-speaking community in the Middle East is found in Israel, where as of 1995 Romanian is spoken by 5% of the population. Russian is also spoken by a large portion of the Israeli population, because of emigration in the late 1990s.
Middle East History
The Middle East lies at the juncture of Eurasia and Africa and of the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. It is the birthplace and spiritual center of religions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Manichaeism, Yezidi, Druze, Yarsan and Mandeanism, and in Iran, Mithraism, Zoroastrianism, Manicheanism, and the Baháí Faith. Throughout its history the Middle East has been a major center of world affairs; a strategically, economically, politically, culturally, and religiously sensitive area. More info about Middle East History