Arabic (اَلْعَرَبِيَّةُ, DIN al ʕaraˈbijːa; عَرَبِيّ, DIN ˈʕarabiː or ʕaraˈbij) is a Semitic language spoken primarily across the Arab world. Having emerged in the 1st century, it is named after the Arab people; the term "Arab" was initially used to describe those living in the Arabian Peninsula, as perceived by geographers from ancient Greece.
Since the 7th century, Arabic has been characterized by diglossia, with an opposition between a standard prestige language—i.e., Literary Arabic: Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) or Classical Arabic—and diverse vernacular varieties, which serve as mother tongues. Colloquial dialects vary significantly from MSA, impeding mutual intelligibility. MSA is only acquired through formal education and is not spoken natively. It is the language of literature, official documents, and formal written media. In spoken form, MSA is used in formal contexts, news bulletins and for prayers. This variety is the lingua franca of the Arab world and the liturgical langu