First, it is important to define what actually makes an Arab. The answer is quite simple – The Arabic language! An Arab is a member of a linguistic group—and therefore, the Arab World can best be defined as the region in which people predominantly speak Arabic. Yet throughout what would be considered the Arab World, tens of thousands of people speak languages other than Arabic, ranging from the numerous dialects of Berber on the African coast of the Mediterranean to Kurdish and Armenian in southwest Asia, and so on.
Arabic is a Semitic language and the sixth most common language in the world. It is a language of religious importance since it is the holy language of the ...view middle of the document...
Standard Arabic is more or less the same throughout the Arab World, while there are wide differences between the various colloquial dialects.
The most-spoken variety would likely be Egyptian Arabic, with more than 50,000,000 native speakers.
Main features of Modern Standard Arabic writing:
• Words are written from right to left.
• Letters are always joined together in Arabic writing (both written and typed)
Due to the influence of Islam, the Arabic alphabet is one of the most widespread writing systems in the world that has a great influence on other languages, especially in vocabulary. Arabic influence is seen in Romance languages, particularly Spanish, Portuguese, and Sicilian, owing to both the proximity of European and Arab civilizations and 700 years of Muslim/Moorish rule in some parts of the Iberian peninsula.
The political systems in the various Arab states differ markedly. The governments range from absolute monarchies (Saudi Arabia) to constitutional monarchies (Jordan) to military dictatorships (Yemen) and from one-party democracies (Syria) to nascent actual representative governments (Lebanon).
Role of the family
The traditional Arab family constitutes an economic and social unit because all members cooperate to ensure its continuation and improve its standing in the community.
Even today, Arab society is built around the extended family system. Individuals feel a strong affiliation with all of their relatives – uncles, aunts and cousins – not just with their immediate family. The degree to which all blood relationships are encompassed by a family unit varies among families but most Arabs have over a hundred “fairly close” relatives.
Social loyalty is of great importance in Arab culture. While self-reliance, individuality, and responsibility are taught by American parents to their children, family loyalty is the greatest lesson taught in Arab families. Arab culture teaches that the needs of the group are more important than the needs of one person. Family loyalty and obligations take precedence over loyalty to friends or demands of a job. Members of a family are expected to support each other, including giving financial assistance if necessary or concerning disputes with outsiders. Family affiliation provides security and assures one that he or she will never be entirely without resources, emotional or material. Only the most foolhardy person would risk being censured or disowned by the family.
Family honor is is one of the highest values in Arab countries. The reputation, the success or failure of an individual member becomes that of the family as a whole. Every member of the family may be held responsible for the acts of every other member. If the honor is tarnished, Arabs feel shame and lose face. The sexual misbehavior of a girl, for example, reflects not only upon herself but upon her father, her brother, and her family as a whole.
The "crime of honor," which sometimes still occurs in tightly...