When most people think about learning a foreign language, they think about taking courses in Spanish or French. However, as interest in the rich history and culture of the Muslim world grows, and as economic opportunities open up there, a growing number of people are learning Arabic.

Nearly 300 million people, worldwide, speak Arabic, making it one of the world’s major languages, as it is the fifth most commonly spoken language in the world. The number of students taking Arabic in college courses increased by 127 percent between 2002 and 2006, as interest in the Middle East has grown, as a result of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As the language is widely spoken in the Middle East, people who intend to visit the area for work or vacation purposes would do well to develop basic skills in Arabic. Understanding the language will allow visitors to be more independent and to immerse themselves in the places they visit.

There are a number of other reasons foreign language students may choose Arabic. For example, here in the West, there is a high demand for Arabic speakers in various governmental and other career fields, such as finance, journalism, education, etc. The supply of Arabic speakers to meet this demand is inadequate, creating a situation where various employers are offering premium wages for Arabic speakers. Learning to speak Arabic fluently can be a potential guarantee of a high-paying, secure career in a variety of fields.

Business opportunities are also opening up in the Arabic speaking world, as economies grow more globalized and interdependent. Entrepreneurs looking for a growing foreign market to trade with may do well to learn Arabic and develop links in that part of the globe.

For people interested in studying Islam and Muslim culture, knowledge of Arabic is vital, as Arabic is the language of the Qur’an, which is the holy book of the Islamic religion. Knowing the language and having the opportunity to read the Qur’an and other literature from the region, without the filter of translation, creates a deeper, richer experience.

There are a variety of programs people who wish to learn Arabic can use to quickly master the language, including Pimsleur Arabic, an innovative language learning method that can quickly help foreign language students become fluent in a number of world languages. This innovative method uses four basic principles of association and language recall – anticipation, graduated-interval recall, core vocabulary and organic learning. The systematic approach offered by Pimsleur Arabic and similar language learning systems are helpful to people who want a convenient way to learn Arabic at their own pace at home.