Further to my blog on a new Arabic language translation center, .languagehat has blogged a Politics, Language and Cultures of the Arab World blog which seems to link to mainly English language sites.
Interestingly, the site’s headline term language is in the singular; yet surely there are more languages than Arabic (even with its various dialects) in the Arab world – Aramaic in Lebanese churches, Kurdish in Northern Irak, Coptic in Northern Egypt, Berber in Maghrebi countries etc. We don’t seem to use the expression Arabic-speaking countries – which would extend the geography to parts of sub-Sahara Africa – but do often tend to confuse Arabic the language with Arab (or even Islam) the culture.
I may be over-influenced here by French which has one word form arabe for the language and a person from the Arab world. But I notice a lot of slippage in the use of Arab/Arabic among English speakers too. Arabic is a language of the Arab world, albeit the dominant one; and the religious language of the Islamic world; but some Arabs are not Muslims and Arabic may be spoken outside of the ethnically Arab world.