How Arabic Influences Other Languages Around the World

Did you know that some languages around the world like English, French and Spanish are greatly influenced by the Arabic language?

Many centuries ago, the main language of politics and commerce was internationally known as Arabic. When the Islamic Empire grew into the Mediterranean sometime between the 8th and 12th centuries, Arabic became hugely influential among other cultures and is continuing to expand its popularity and demand today.

The following are the top three languages that have been greatly inspired by the Arabic language.


The English language has many words descending from Arabic influences. Over the centuries many English words were either borrowed directly from the Arabic vocabulary or indirectly through other languages which were influenced by Arabic.


Words such as ‘sugar’ ‘algebra’ ‘alcohol’ ‘lemon’ ‘alchemy’ ‘tulip’ and ‘cotton’ are all derived from Arabic. If you speak English, you may not even realize that you may also be speaking Arabic. There are approximately 10,000 words which stem from Arabic.


Even today, you will hear English speaking people say Arabic words like; ‘hummus’, ‘kebab’, falafel’, and ‘couscous’ and not even realize where these words originate from. Such words are even making there way into the English dictionary!



The Arabic language has made its way into many European cultures, especially among the French peoples. There are literally hundreds of French words that are derived from the Arabic terms; abricot, alcool, alembic, dame, divan, fakir, harem, magasin, mesquin, safari, tarif and tableau are just some examples


The Spanish language is heavily influenced by Arabic and many languages like English and French have picked up their Arabic source of influence via the Spanish dialect. That is because between the 7th and the 15th centuries, Arabic was spoken in the Iberian Peninsula which is Spanish Arabic. Today, an Arabic speaker would not be able comprehend Spanish Arabic from that time however; many words can still be understood. A lot of these words have been borrowed by the English and French speakers.

There are also thousands of places in Spain derived from Arabic origin such as Alcarria, Albacete, Algarve, Tarifa, La Sagara, Medina-Sidoni, River Almanzora, River Guadiana, Javalambre, Cape Trafalgar and Pico Almanzor.

You may have heard of the great actor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous quote in the movie, ‘The Terminator’ “Hasta La Vista, Baby” in Spanish. Which means “Until next time, Baby”. Did you know that the word “Until” which is what ‘hasta’ means comes from the Arabic word ‘hata’ and has the exact same meaning?

One of the most exciting thing about languages, is how impactive they have on one another. You may even enjoy the process of seeking which Arabic words you are already familiar with from your own native tongue.  How many words can you find from your own language that was initiated by Arabic?

Arabic is a vibrant language reflecting not only its influence among other languages like English, French and Spanish, but it’s a language of international diplomacy as well as a global business language. There are many benefits to learning Arabic that can help you to advance in many opportunities around the world.