Published: 2017-11-20 15:41
Last Updated: 2017-11-20 20:02
The Arabic language ranks the fourth most widely spoken language in the world, while there are more than 230 million native speakers and around 100–200 million people across northern Africa and western Asia whose Arabic is their second language.
This is according to a report released by the British Council, called: Languages for the Future 2017, which studies the most important languages for the UK’s future prosperity, security and influence.
Arabic was the fourth language among the ten most important languages for the country.
“As in 2013, the same five languages: Spanish, Mandarin, French, Arabic and German, make it to the top of the table. These five languages appear consistently as the most important,” the report states.
The three highest ranking languages were occupied by Spanish, Mandarin and French, respectively. Meanwhile, German, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian were on the other half of the table.
Arabic is an official language for a number of international organisations, including the United Nations, International Criminal Court and the World Health Organization, as well as regional organisations such as the African Union, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League.
The report says that the Arabic language is currently being taught in around 5 to 6% of the English secondary schools in the UK, although it is an extracurricular subject, meaning it falls outside the normal curriculum of school or university education.
In terms of international education, Arabic is one of the ten most significant languages worldwide, the report adds.
“The recent growth in Arabic learning is almost entirely due to the expansion of Muslim faith schools and that very few non-Muslim children have opportunities to learn the language or be introduced to Arabic-speaking cultures,” the report said.
The report, released by the British Council, aims to examine the foreign languages most needed for the United Kingdom to become a truly global nation.
It recommends that government of the four nations of the UK should be teaching the top five languages identified in the report, and takes an approach to build language skills in Arabic and Mandarin Chinese, alongside the standardised French, Spanish and German.