10+ Non-Arabic Languages in The Arab World

Arabic is the official language of 22 countries in the Middle East and Africa, which make up “The Arab World”. These Arab states occupy an area stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the east, and from the Mediterranean Sea in the north to the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean in the southeat.

The Arab world has a combined population of around 385.3 million, with over half under 25 years of age.

Although Arabic is the language used by the vast majority of the Arabs, this doesn’t mean that it’s the only language used in the region. Here is a list of 13 other languages used by minorities of the Arab world.

1- The Kurdish Language

The Kurdish language belongs to the family of Indo-European languages and to the Irano-Aryan group of this family. It is the language of more than 30 million Kurds living in an immense unbroken region between Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Iran. The Kurds who belong to Arab countries (in northern Iraq, and northern Syria) make up to about 8 million people.

2- The Assyrian Language

Also called Neo-Aramaic Language, it’s spoken in Iraq and Syria. It’s used in Assyrian churches in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. It is believed to be the same language used by Jesus Christ.

3- The Armenian Language

It’s an Indo-European language and is the official language of the Republic of Armenia. It is spoken by Arabs of Armenian descent whose ancestors migrated to Iraq and the Levant in the first millennium AD. Long after that, the large scale of Armenian deportees during the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire dramatically increased the number of Armenians in the Arab countries.

4- The Turkmen Language

It’s distinct from the Turkish language. It’s spoken by Iraqis and Syrians of Turkish origins, who came during the Ottoman empire.

5- The Chechen Language

A typical Caucus language that is used by about 30,000 Arabs of Chechen origin, whose ancestors migrated to present-day Syria, Jordan, and Iraq during the time of the Ottoman Empire.

6- The Circassian Language

Is a dialect continuum of the North Caucasus. It originated in the Arab world when Circassians fled to the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th and early 20th century, in what is known as the Circassian Diaspora. The language is used in Syria, Jordan, and Egypt.

7- The Amazigh/Berber Language

It’s a language that is mainly used in North Africa. The Amazigh speakers in the Arab world extend from the Siwa Oasis in the west of Egypt to Morocco, including Libya, Tunisia, and Mauritania. It’s spoken by a large population in Morocco that it’s an official language besides Arabic.

8- The Mehri Language

It’s the language spoken by the Mehri tribe; an ethnic group primarily inhabiting South Arabia. The language is spoken by the Mehris who are spread across the Arab peninsula in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar. Mehris are estimated to be 20,000 people.

9- The Nubian Language

Belongs to the Afro-Asian and Berber languages; It’s used by the Nubians who live along River Nile in the southernmost on Egypt and the North of Sudan.

10- The Somali Language

It’s an Afro-asiatic language, belonging to that family’s Cushitic branch. In Somalia, it’s an official language besides the Arabic. It’s also used by a recognized minority in Djibouti, but not an official language.

11- The Swahili Language

It is a Bantu language, and the first language of the Swahili people. It is mainly the language of Southeast Africa, including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, and Congo. Within the Arab world boarders, it’s used in Somalia, Djibouti, Comoros, as well as Oman.

12- The Comorian Language

This is the official language of Comoros (independent islands in the Indian Ocean, off Mozambique and Madagascar). The language is a blend of Arabic and Swahili languages.

13- The French Language

Unlike the above languages, French is not inherited by any race in the Arab world, but, it has to be included as a language that’s widely used by Arabs due to the French occupation which lasted for more than a century in some Arab countries. French is widely spoken in Maghreb countries; mainly in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia.Moreover, it’s the official language in Djibouti besides Arabic.