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Arabic Language

Map No.

109

Years

Arabic is a collection of distinct dialects, spoken largely in the Middle East (northern Africa and western Asia), but also by smaller numbers in territories throughout the world. It is spoken as a first language by around 260 million people in at least 65 different territories.

Standard Arabic is widely use in education, business and the media, and bridges the gaps between the various dialects that may not always be mutually intelligible.

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Technical Notes

Territory size shows the proportion of all people who speak Arabic as a first language that live in that territory.

Definition
The maps in the 2005 language data series are made from data on the number of people speaking a language as their first-language, that is the language they would use at home.

Data sources
This map uses data several sources, the main one being Ethnologue (15th Edition, 2005). Estimating the number of speakers of a language is fraught with difficulty on several levels (last accessed January 2009). We aim to map as complete data as possible and therefore estimate data for missing values. The language numbers we use and publish are rough estimates, and should not be taken as definitive. In some cases, missing data for very small territories is not used in the cartogram and that area is therefore omitted in the map.

All modifications to the original data source are noted in our data sheets. Data for this map will soon be available as a download.

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