Arabic is the most widespread of the living Semitic languages. Classified as South Central Semitic, Arabic is related to Hebrew, spoken in Israel, and Amharic, spoken in Ethiopia, as well as to the ancient Semitic languages. The earliest written inscriptions in Arabic were found in the Arabian Peninsula and date from the early 4th century ad
Many linguists consider Arabic to be the most Semitic of any modern Semitic languages in terms of how completely it preserves the features of Proto-Semitic: the common ancestor for all Semitic languages
There are three spoken varieties of the Arabic language today.
Classical, or Koranic Arabic, is the form of Arabic which was used in the Koran, the Islamic holy book, as well as in numerous literary texts from the 7th to 9th centuries. This form of Arabic is difficult to understand by ordinary Arabs today. However, it is still used for reading and studying the Koran and for other religious purposes. It is still the language of religious preaching, mostly for the Salafist branch of Islam (Saudi Arabia).
Modern Standard Arabic is a modern version used in formal speaking, most television and radio, and practically all written matter, including all books, newspapers.
Colloquial or dialectal Arabic refers to the many regional varieties derived from old Arabian dialects, spoken daily across North Africa and the Middle East, which constitute the everyday spoken language.