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Arabic alphabet

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second most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world (the Latin alphabet is the most widespread). Originally developed for writing the Arabic language and carried across much of the Eastern Hemisphere by the spread of Islam, the Arabic script has been adapted to such diverse languages as Persian, Turkish, Spanish, and Swahili. Although it probably developed…


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More from Britannica on "Arabic alphabet"...
95 Encyclopædia Britannica articles, from the full 32 volume encyclopedia
>Arabic alphabet
second most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world (the Latin alphabet is the most widespread). Originally developed for writing the Arabic language and carried across much of the Eastern Hemisphere by the spread of Islam, the Arabic script has been adapted to such diverse languages as Persian, Turkish, Spanish, and Swahili. Although it probably developed in ...
>Nabataean alphabet
writing system used between approximately 150 BC and AD 150 in the Nabataean kingdom of Petra in the Arabian Peninsula. Used by the Nabataeans to write the Aramaic language, this alphabet was related to the Aramaic alphabet, one of the major Semitic scripts. The Nabataean script gave rise to the neo-Sinaitic alphabet, the ancestor of the Arabic alphabet. Like its Semitic ...
>South Arabic language
Semitic language of southern Arabia and the island of Socotra. South Arabic belongs to the Southern Peripheral group of Semitic languages, along with Ge'ez, Amharic, Tigré, Tigrinya, and the other Semitic languages of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and The Sudan. Modern dialects of the language include Mahri, Shahri (Ehkali), Harsusi, and Bathari on the Arabian shore of the Indian ...
>Aramaic alphabet
major writing system in the Middle East in the latter half of the 1st millennium BC. Derived from the North Semitic script, the Aramaic alphabet was developed in the 10th and 9th centuries BC and came into prominence after the conquest of the Aramaean states by Assyria in the 9th and 8th centuries BC.
>Syriac alphabet
writing system used by the Syriac Christians from the 1st century AD until about the 14th century. A Semitic alphabet, Syriac was an offshoot of a cursive Aramaic script. It had 22 letters, all representing consonants, and was generally written from right to left, although occasionally vertically downward. Diacritical marks to represent vowels were introduced in the 8th ...

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15 Student Encyclopedia Britannica articles, specially written for elementary and high school students
The Alphabet Returns to the Semites
   from the alphabet article
The alphabet passed in the course of time from the Greeks back to the Semites, thus repaying the debt of the original borrowing of the Phoenician writing by the Greeks. In the Semitic writings, however, the vowels were generally indicated by means of diacritic marks in the form of small strokes, dots, and circles, placed either above or below or at the side of consonant ...
Hausa Literature
   from the African literature article
The Islamic Arabs who conquered and converted northern Africa in the 7th century had a great influence on the Hausa literature of what are now northern Nigeria and southern Niger. The first poems in Hausa were written by Islamic scholars. In the early 19th century, they used the Arabic alphabet to write religious poems called ajami. Poets like Nagwamatse wrote about the ...
Swahili Literature
   from the African literature article
The Swahili of what are now Kenya and Tanzania were the among the first Africans to put the sounds of their language in writing. Since the 14th century, Arab traders had settled in East African cities, spreading the Islamic religion (see Islam). The first people to write in Swahili used the Arabic alphabet, but the Roman alphabet has been used since the mid–19th century. ...
The Range of Islamic Literature
   from the Islamic literature article
The Muslim empire was enormous in size; it included a great diversity of peoples, many of whom had preserved ancient cultures and languages. For a long period, Arabic became the literary language for many regions of the empire; but as time passed, local influences reasserted themselves and native languages once again came into use. This was particularly true in Persia, ...
Atatürk
(1881–1938). As a founder of Turkey and the country's first president, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk presided over the end of the Ottoman Empire. He inaugurated numerous programs of reform to help modernize his country. (See also Ottoman Empire.)

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