Arabic (العربية al-‘arabīyah [alʕaraˈbijːa]; colloquially عربي ‘arabī [ˈʕarabiː]) is a Central Semitic language that first emerged in Iron Age northwestern Arabia and is now the lingua franca of the Arab world. It is named after the Arabs, a term initially used to describe peoples living from Mesopotamia in the east to the Anti-Lebanon mountains in the west, in northwestern Arabia, and in the Sinai Peninsula. Arabic is classified as a macrolanguage comprising 30 modern varieties (dialects), including Modern Standard Arabic, which is derived from Classical Arabic.
Arabic has influenced many languages around the globe throughout its history. Some of the most influenced languages are Persian, Turkish, Spanish, Urdu, Kashmiri, Kurdish, Bosnian, Kazakh, Bengali, Hindi, Malay, Maldivian, Indonesian, Pashto, Punjabi, Tagalog, Sindhi, and Hausa, and some languages in parts of Africa. Conversely, Arabic has borrowed words from other languages, including Greek and Persian in medieval times, and contemporary European languages such as English and French in modern times.
Classical Arabic is the liturgical language of 1.8 billion Muslims and Modern Standard Arabic is one of six official languages of the United Nations. All varieties of Arabic combined are spoken by perhaps as many as 422 million speakers (native and non-native) in the Arab world, making it the fifth most spoken language in the world. Arabic is written with the Arabic alphabet, which is an abjad script and is written from right to left, although the spoken varieties are sometimes written in ASCII Latin from left to right with no standardized orthography.
Modern Standard Arabic (MSA; known in Arabic as فصحى fus'ha) is the standardized register of the Arabic language used in official settings, such as official speeches, party congresses, TV and radio broadcasts (especially the news), and of course in educational settings.
Palestinian Arabic (العربية الفلسطينية al-‘arabīyah al-falastīnīyah) is the academic term applied to the handful of closely related dialects of Arabic spoken in the Republic of Palestine. There is no standard dialect per se; rather, the varied ethnoreligious makeup of the country is reflected in the different regional accents and dialects throughout.
The Arab population is divided roughly 50:40:10 between Sunnis, Shiites and Christians, and the many regional dialects can be roughly grouped into three categories: Sunni Arabic bears more similarity to the Levantine dialect of Sunni-majority Syria, while the Shiite dialect is closer to the dialect spoken in the Shia-majority region of southern Lebanon. Christians have their own dialect, which is notably more influenced by Hebrew than the Muslim dialects. There are also other much smaller Arabic-speaking communities, notably the Druze and Samaritans, who have a distinct dialect as well.
Bedouins make up almost 5% of the Arabs in the country, and are mostly Sunnis. Their dialect is known as Badawi Arabic, and is actually related more closely to Peninsular (Gulf and Saudi) dialects than to Levantine; this is due to the Bedouins' history as nomads and their peninsular origins. This is the most common dialect in the southern Sinai, which the exception of Dahab and Sharm al-Sheikh, which are populated mostly by Palestinians and Copts. Badawi Arabic is arguably the only dialect of Arabic in Palestine that is not fully intelligible with other Arabic-speakers.